Lazarian Club’s Flood Claims Debunked: Reference Laboratory Centers Unaffected

Ophelia Simonyan

Journalist, fact-checker

The Lazarian Club’s official website published an article predicting an increase in epidemics in Armenia. The article is titled “US Biological Labs Flooded.” According to the author, during his speech at the 6th session of the Russian-Armenian Lazarian Club meeting in Moscow, the former Minister of Defense of Armenia, Arshak Karapetyan, stated that, based on information he received, American biological laboratories were flooded during the flood in the northern regions of Armenia.

The article states that Armenian virologists are predicting an upcoming epidemic of unknown diseases in the country. They accused the current Armenian authorities of favoritism and treason. It is worth noting that the words attributed to Arshak Karapetyan were distributed in a text version, but his speech could not be found in any of the published videos.

The news about the flooded laboratories was reported by Caliber.az, Moskovskij Komsomolets, Haqqin.az, and several other platforms. The article was also shared by Konstantin Zatulin, the club’s president and deputy of the Russian State Duma, on his Telegram channel.

The information spread does not correspond to reality. The so-called “American bio laboratories” are actually the Reference Laboratory Centers and do not have branches in disaster zones. There are two centers in Tavush and Lori marzes, located in Ijevan and Vanadzor, which are not disaster zones.

The spokesperson of the Ijevan municipality told the Media.am fact-checking team that their community was not affected by the flood.

“Our community was not affected by the flood. Just a few miles away, a bridge over the Aghstev River has partially collapsed, which is the only problem we have experienced due to the flood. Thankfully, our community was not affected. Our branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is located so high up that the river could not have reached it,” he said.

Distance between Aghstev River and the Ijevan branch of Reference Laboratories, Google Earth image

According to the press secretary of the Vanadzor municipality, “the river overflowed its banks, but did not damage any part of the residential area. There were no destructions. We received warnings from 4-5 private properties for compensation for not too big damages, but the laboratory was not on that list.”

The distance between Pambak River and Vanadzor branch of Reference Laboratories.

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