In the last few months, especially after the Velvet Revolution, the name of George Soros is frequently mentioned in Armenia. Many people link the name with events, big or small, taking place in the country, beginning with the revolution itself to the issue of replacing the head of Yerevan State University.
For those who do not know who George Soros is, he is a Hungarian-born American billionaire. Through his Open Society Foundation, he provides millions of dollars in grants to non-governmental organizations mostly active in eastern European courtiers. This is why the “colored” revolutions that have taken place in these countries during the last few decades are, rightly or wrongly, associated with Soros’s name. In United States Gorge Soros is a major contributor to progressive causes, and for this reason he is constantly under attack by the right wing media.
In Armenia the Soros Foundation supports numerous NGOs that run programs in the field of human rights protection, women’s rights protection, anti-corruption campaigns, election monitoring and oversight and other causes. Naturally, these organizations, with their years of activities, have contributed to the victory of Nikol Pashinyan’s popular movement. Many of the leaders of these organizations are currently holding high level positions in the new government. For the old regime members this is a proof that many in Pashinyan’s circle are beholden to foreign forces.
Recently, the same accusations were leveled when the issue of replacing the rector of Yerevan State University Aram Simonyan was raised again. Simonyan’s defenders are accusing “Soros’s men” in pursuing the goal of destroying the University.
However, this week the names of those who have applied and received grants from the Open Society Foundation’s Armenia branch over the years, were made public. Not only supporters of Pashinyan were on the list, but apparently many anti-Pashinyan politicians and names associated with the former regime were recipients of grants from George Soros’s Foundation. More than one million dollars was granted to the Yerevan State University itself, to implement special educational programs. Many Republican MPs, as well as Robert Kocharyan’s lawyer Hayk Alumyan and others have received funds from the same organization.
The name of George Soros has become a political football in Armenia and is kicked around on every occasion. After the publication of these list, a question arises as who are “George Soros’s men” in Armenia.