During a question-and-answer session with members of the government on December 4 in the National Assembly, MP Lilit Stepanyan asked Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan why this year’s Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s Telethon gathered less money than in previous years. Pashinyan responded that in the past the fund was not a pan-Armenian fund, but a fund for narrow circles.
“3240 citizens of Armenia participated in the 2017 Pan-Armenian Marathon and 9644 in 2019, i.e. three times more. In 2008, for example, $ 35 million was promised and $ 9 million was transferred. Let us try to understand the essence of the issue. So far they have collected money by means of administrative methods, begging money from oligarchs, sometimes threatening them, demanding money from the same people for 30 years, to say the least” the prime minister said.
Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s 22nd Telethon of 2019 has been the subject of heated debate. This year $ 9,856,100 was pledged, which is $ 2 million less than last year. Critics call this a lack of trust in the government.
There were publications that concluded that the Telethon failed, “the nation is in a ridiculous state”, or that the Diaspora had no confidence in Prime Minister Pashinyan, the reason being the recent arrest of the former director of the foundation, and so on.
The Fact Investigation Platform tried to check whether the Prime Minister’s statement was true and how much money was pledged and transferred to the marathon, and how many participants it had this year and the previous two years.
Donations pledged and donations made
During the annual telethon, donations are pledged. However, the promised funds are not always transferred. Haykak Arshamyan, Director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund, has provided Fip.am with the amount of money pledged and actually transferred to the Fund over the past 10 years, making it clear that the pledges and reality are different.
It should be noted that the amount pledged in 2019 has already reached $ 10,235,847 as of December 3.
Thus, we can note that Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that $ 35 million was pledged in 2008, $ 9 million transferred, is partially true, as Samvel Karapetyan implemented the project directly with the Artsakh government instead of transferring the pledged funds (hospital was built).
Number of RA citizens and organizations participating in the fundraising
The Director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund also presented the number of Armenian citizens and organizations that have participated in the fundraising for the past three years. Accordingly, 3240 citizens and organizations participated in the marathon in 2017, 5994 in 2018 and 9644 in 2019.
That is, Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that the number of participants in 2019 is three times higher than in 2017 is true.
As for the total number of donors who participated in the fundraising, Haykak Arshamyan noted that there is no such statistics at the moment. However, he presented an approximate number of participants from the United States, according to which about 12,000 families, organizations, individuals participated in the fundraising in 2018, which was 20 percent more than 2017. Thus, the number of participants in 2019 was 14,000-15,000.
Arshamyan did not specify the number of participants from Europe either, but said that as last year, the number was around 10,000.
Thus, statements that the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s donations in 2019 are unprecedented low are in fact wrong, since in 2017, despite more pledges, $ 6,732,870 was transferred to the fund and $ 9,301,704 in 2018. And in 2019, although $ 9,856,100 was pledged on the day of the marathon, the pledges still continue, and as of December 3, the pledge amounted to $ 10,235,847, which cannot be considered final.