False And Refuted News Between December 15-31

Karine Ghazaryan

Journalist, semiotician-to-be

In the second half of December, false or manipulative news was spread not only about the Second Artsakh War but also about the coronavirus vaccine and Armenian civil society.

The council member spread an old fake document

BAP member of the Yerevan Council Tehmina Vardanyan posted a false document on her Facebook page about the evacuation of Artsakh residents. The date of the document was September 22, and according to Vardanyan, it testified that the authorities were aware of the war being prepared. This information was also spread by the Armlur.am website.

There are several mistakes in the document. For example, as a contact of the Artsakh NSS, an address is listed and a mobile phone number, the code of which is incorrect. The stamp on the document also raises doubts. It is the seal of the NSS personnel department.

The document distributed by Vardanyan is not really new: It had been circulated and denied even before the war. Moreover, Prime Minister Pashinyan stated in October that the war was not a surprise, the Armenian side was aware of the danger.

The airspace of Armenia and Turkey has been open before

At the end of December, the Azerbaijani press reported that the Turkish civilian plane had flown to Baku via Armenia for the first time. The news was also published by the Armenian media.

Soon, however, it became clear that the flight was not the first. The Civil Aviation Committee informed that the airspace of Armenia is open for all civil flights. The former adviser to the Prime Minister on aviation Hakob Chagharyan wrote on his Facebook page that both Turkey and Armenia used each other’s airspace for civil flights in peacetime.

Incorrect news about the handover of Armenian settlements

In the second half of December, rumors were often spread that this or that Armenian settlement would be handed over to Azerbaijan. While the state borders are still being clarified, this news often turned out to be wrong.

? The executive director of the 5th Channel, Harutyun Harutyunyan, wrote on his Facebook page that according to Azerbaijani sources, 13 villages of the Syunik region should be transferred to Azerbaijan on December 18. This information was also spread by the website of “Kentron” TV, blog.168.am, bavnews.am, etc.

This information was manipulative: It was not about villages, but about adjacent hills. Hetq notes that these positions provided security for 13 villages.

? On the same day, iravaban.net wrote that the village of Setants in the Syunik region would be handed over to Azerbaijan. Setants village, however, is not located in the Syunik region, it is outside the state borders of Armenia. 

? A few days later, an Azerbaijani video titled “Azerbaijani tanks entered Vorotan village of Syunik region” was spread in the Armenian media. The sign in the video showed not the village, but the city of Vorotan. The city of Vorotan is in Artsakh and after the war it came under the control of Azerbaijan.

? Another Azerbaijani video was misinterpreted. Fip.am found out that the incident of the Azerbaijani soldiers in Lake Sevan was actually filmed outside the new state borders of Armenia, near Al Lakes.

The video of the captives was old

Political scientist Edgar Elbakyan wrote on his Facebook page that 3 Armenian civilians were taken prisoner and tortured on the Goris-Kapan road. The post was spread in the press, it was reprinted by hayeli.am, lurer.com, 168.am etc.

Later it turned out that Elbakyan had wrongly located the video. He edited the post, noting that the video was actually old։ made in Shushi. Only media outlet lurer.com added a note about the update.

The Information Control Center, contacting the captives who were seen in the video, announced that the video was old and that they had already returned to Armenia.

Wargonzo spread misinformation about Artsakh and Putin

The Wargonzo Telegram channel reported that Vladimir Putin was named Man of the Year in Artsakh.

This news is wrong. The basis of Wargonzo’s claim is not an official statement, but the poster of “De Facto” magazine about recognizing Putin as the person of the year. “De Facto” is a private Armenian media outlet. The editor-in-chief of the magazine is one of the candidates on the RPA national list in the 2018 special elections, Menua Harutyunyan.

Conspiracy theories continued to circulate among online vaccine communities

False or manipulative information during the second half of December mainly referred to the Artsakh war. However, conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccine continued to spread on social media.

Thus, the “National Control System” Facebook page, founded by Marina Khachatryan, a former doctor and now a political activist, referred to the destroyed batch of Moderna products, noting that the US Food and Drug Administration “turned a blind eye” to the destroyed batch.

The news about the destruction of the batch was announced by the US official bodies. Moderna, founded by Armenian businessman Nubar Afeyan, did not have any problems with the license, as the batch was destroyed due to a production problem, not due to failed tests (those were successful).

Another post on social networks claimed that an American nurse fainted live after the vaccination. This video has been widely spread on English-language social networks and has already been denied. The nurse was indeed unconscious, but soon recovered, and she explained to reporters that she had a diagnosis and often fainted when feeling pain.

The party members accused civil society of being “destroyers of the nation” and hiding money

Tsovinar Kostanyan and Arman Ghukasyan, members of the People’s Voice expert club, announced on December 22 that 40 Armenian NGOs were hiding money and engaging in “destructive” activities that would bring about the “destruction of the nation” by fulfilling Western, Turkish and Azerbaijani orders.

According to the speakers, the source of the allegations was the analytical company Dun & Bradstreet. The services of this company in Armenia are provided by the company established jointly with the Russian “Interfax” news agency. Inaccuracies about Armenian companies are often found on the Dun & Bradstreet website. For example, according to the Dun & Bradstreet website, the Ministry of Education and Science is engaged in business and has only 2 employees. According to that website, the “Children of Armenia Foundation” is engaged in providing professional services, and the head is education expert Serob Khachatryan. In fact, the foundation is a non-governmental organization, and Serob Khachatryan managed it years ago.

Tsovinar Kostanyan and Arman Ghukasyan, members of the “People’s Voice” expert club representing “revelations” about NGOs, also have a party, “For Social Justice.”

Kostanyan and Ghukasyan’s press conference was taking place in the “Sputnik Armenia” pavilion. “Sputnik Armenia” is part of the Russian state “Россия сегодня” news agency. “Россия сегодня” is headed by Margarita Simonyan, whom Russian opposition figures accuse of using large-scale corruption schemes and conducting state propaganda.

In recent years, Russia has been putting more pressure on civil society. Thus, a few days ago, the State Duma passed a law by which any individual or organization that has received funding from a foreign country can be recognized as a so-called “foreign agent.” This law was criticized as an attempt to put pressure on the opposition.


? On December 16, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Russian peacekeepers were under siege in the Old District and Khtsaberd communities of Artsakh. The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that this information did not correspond to reality.

? Kapan Mayor, Gevorg Parsyan, denied the information spread on social networks that Kapan airport was under blockade.

? The Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure denied the information spread by the website Politik.am that the Azerbaijanis had blown up the Iran-Armenia pipeline. The Ministry mentioned that the pipeline has been working without any interruptions.

? During the rally in Republic Square, the deputy of the “Prosperous Armenia” faction Naira Zohrabyan announced that the Chakaten community of the Syunik region is being handed over to Azerbaijan. Zohrabyan was referring to the words of the local residents. The governor of Syunik categorically denied the information. The mayor of Kapan also denied the news.

? The spokesman for the Artsakh President, Vahram Poghosyan, denied the information spread on social networks that the Red Market community should be handed over to Azerbaijan.

? Pastinfo.am wrote that recordings had been handed over to the Special Investigation Service, according to which Prime Minister Pashinyan stopped recruiting the army on the second day of the war. The SIS, however, called this news misinformation.

? NA Vice Speaker Alen Simonyan said that the “Armenian National Congress” and “For the Republic” parties responded to Nikol Pashinyan’s call to have a discussion with the opposition forces and announced that they would take part in such a discussion. The “Armenian National Congress,” however, denied Simonyan’s statement.

Karine Ghazaryan

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