By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The leader of an NGO that lost the parliament’s pledged funding last week on Monday disputed the fairness of the decision, but stopped short of open accusations of political revenge.
Henrik Bakunts, an Orinats Yerkir member who worked as advisor to the ex-parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian for three years, said the Center for Russian-Armenian Inter-regional Cooperation that he heads will continue its work despite the decision of Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosian to stop the allocation of 10 million drams (about $25,000) to it this year.
The Center received 20 million drams (about $50,000) from the parliament’s internal resources in 2005 and 10 million this year. Torosian stopped further financing envisaged for this year, warning that “the National Assembly is not a donor organization.”
Many observers saw political implications behind Torosian’s financial audit of the parliament’s internal spending and said his decision mainly targeted Artur Baghdasarian, who resigned as Armenian parliament speaker three months ago after falling out with his coalition partners, and his Orinats Yerkir party that quit the ruling coalition.
“I don’t want to analyze these relations,” Bakunts said. “The government had allocated that money to the National Assembly for us.”
Bakunts claimed that the center was established following an interstate agreement signed between the top legislators of Armenia and Russia in April 2005. However, he failed to produce a document confirming his statement.
During its activities the center established to promote Armenian-Russian cooperation, in particular, assisted in organizing the premiere of the Norma opera film and publishing a collection of books by Armenian poet Avetik Isahakian.