for the interest of people interested in this thread, Susanna replied on
wiki:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Affiliate-selected_Board_seats/2016/Nominations/Susanna_Mkrtchyan#Questions_about_government_support_for_Wikimedia_Armenia

I suggest continuing the discussion there, since it is related to the
current elections, and some people may not be following the list closely.

copied for your convenience:
Dear Andreas,Thank you very much for the important questions that you raise.Let
me first point out that Wikimedia Armenia is financially independent from
the Armenian government. Organizations which currently fund us are WMF and
Gulbenkian Foundation, located in Portugal. The only support that we
accepted from the Armenian government is our office space which is located
in a state-owned property (but not governmental building).I can ascertain
that we are well aware of the corruption risks in our country and how it
can have an impact on the Wikimedia movement. In fact we have had some
challenges in the past, especially with a past sponsor, those are issues
that we keep Wikimedia Foundation, in particular its lawyers, Asaf Bartov,
Jan Bart de Vreede, Liam Wyatt updated about.So we are very cautious when
cooperating with government agencies, statespeople or sponsors, this
doesn't however mean that we exclude any such cooperation. "One Armenian,
one article" campaign is one example of such cooperation (where different
statespeople (including opposition party members) and celebrities
encouraged people to edit Wikipedia). We did not notice many of these
statespeople actually editing Wikipedia, but the campaign overall
contributed to improve awareness about Wikipedia.As for the Soviet
Encyclopedia which is free-licensed and is used mainly by novice editors,
we do encourage editors to leave out outdated or politically loaded topics
that may include soviet-propaganda.Finally, about your concern that if I
worked for state institutions in the past: those were only scientific and
research institutions. Currently I am employed as leading researcher in the
Institute for Informatics and Automation Problems which is part of the
National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. As for Wikimedia Armenia, I always
and only worked as a volunteer (although we have paid staff).Thank you and
please let me know if you have any other concern points.--SusikMkr
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:SusikMkr> (talk
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:SusikMkr>) 14:39, 3 March 2016
(UTC)


On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 1:54 AM, Peter Southwood <
peter.southw...@telkomsa.net> wrote:

> But is it avoidable?
> Peter
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On
> Behalf Of Andreas Kolbe
> Sent: Thursday, 03 March 2016 2:37 AM
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Armenia candidate for the board
>
> Asaf,
>
> I hear you. My apologies to Susanna and the list for anything I have said
> that cast aspersions on Susanna's character.
>
> Nevertheless, I remain concerned. She is part of a state committee under
> the authority of the Armenian Minister of Education and Science, who along
> with other senior political figures has repeatedly been a featured speaker
> at Wikimedia Armenia events during her tenure as the President of Wikimedia
> Armenia.[1][2]
>
> I do not consider that sort of government proximity healthy or advisable.
>
> Andreas
>
> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiConference_Yerevan_2015/Schedule
> [2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiConference_Yerevan_2012/Schedule
>
> On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 12:24 AM, Asaf Bartov <abar...@wikimedia.org>
> wrote:
>
> > I would like to add that I have been following Susanna's work in
> > Armenia since 2011, and have had occasion to evaluate it as a grants
> officer.
> > During these five years, Susanna has been an exemplary Wikimedian,
> > building community around her, empowering other volunteers to do their
> > best work, and building partnerships with cultural institutions as
> > well as government in her country.  I have had the pleasure of
> > visiting Armenia last year and seeing up close one of Susanna's
> > impressive projects -- the Wikicamp -- as well as attending and
> > speaking at a conference at Matenadaran (the national
> > archive) and meeting many Armenian Wikipedians.
> >
> > Nothing I have seen leads me to be concerned about Susanna's
> > commitment to movement values, *despite* working in a country
> > struggling with corruption[1], ongoing military conflict, and
> > relatively weak democratic discipline.  Indeed, I have personally
> > witnessed Susanna *resist* attempts at co-optation of Wikimedia
> Armenia's work.
> >
> > I encourage Andreas to retract his accusations ("clearly" etc.).
> > Expressing a concern that there *might* be government interference was
> > perhaps legitimate, but proceeding to besmirch Susanna and her work
> > without evidence is unacceptable.
> >
> >    Asaf
> >
> > [1] let us remember countries in the west struggle with tremendous
> > corruption too, albeit manifested more financially than ideologically.
> >
> > On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 4:10 PM, Cristian Consonni
> > <kikkocrist...@gmail.com
> > >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > 2016-03-03 0:15 GMT+01:00 Andreas Kolbe <jayen...@gmail.com>:
> > > > I don't know Susanna, and in fact until yesterday had never heard
> > > > of
> > her.
> > > > She may well be a delightful and charming person with a genuine
> > > enthusiasm
> > > > for open knowledge. There are after all many encyclopedic topics
> > > > that
> > > have
> > > > no political sensitivity or relevance at all. But she is clearly
> > > > part
> > of
> > > a
> > > > government-sponsored effort to control the Armenian Wikipedia.
> > >
> > > [...]
> > >
> > > 2016-03-03 0:26 GMT+01:00 Risker <risker...@gmail.com>:
> > > > Wow, Andreas. That's taking several major leaps of logic.
> > > > Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Any reason why you brought
> > > > these rather extraordinary assumptions to this mailing list before
> > > > Susanna had even
> > > had
> > > > a chance to respond to your question at her nomination page?
> > >
> > > [...]
> > >
> > > 2016-03-03 0:33 GMT+01:00 Nathan <nawr...@gmail.com>:
> > > > Is there any actual connection between Susanna and the high-level
> > > > government interest or effort around the Armenian Wikipedia? What
> > > > I'm asking is if there is anything here, other than supposition
> > > > that
> > because
> > > > she is Armenian and the Armenian government is interested in
> > > > Wikipedia
> > > that
> > > > Susanna must be guilty of corruption and repression by association?
> > >
> > > Andreas,
> > >
> > > You are making very strong and, what's worse, completely
> > > unsubstantiated accusations towards a person while admitting of not
> > > knowing her, her history and her contributions to the movement.
> > >
> > > The only person that thinks that  "she [Susanna] is clearly part of
> > > a government-sponsored effort to control the Armenian Wikipedia" is
> you.
> > >
> > > As Risker already noted your reasoning contains majors leaps of
> > > logic and I find that your behavior is frankly appalling. As Nathan
> > > said you have no evidence to support anything of what you have said
> > > besides the fact that Susanna is Armenian.
> > >
> > > The FDC reviewed in May 2015 the activities of Wikimedia Armenia in
> > > the APG 2014/2015 round 2 [1] and found all programs to be
> > > volunteer-led and well-aligned with the values and the mission of
> > > the Wikimedia movement. The FDC judged Wikimedia Armenia to be "a
> > > grassroots organization with a strong volunteer base. It is small,
> > > flexible, and able to engage with a wide range of volunteers through
> > > its projects."[2]. The evaluation of the FDC of Wikimedia Armenia
> > > was a praise (and a recommendation for full funding)[2]. Not in a
> > > single moment there was the least shred of doubt that the activities
> > > of Wikimedia Armenia could go against the values of the movement.
> > > Never there was even the remote suspicion of Wikimedia Armenia being
> > > part of the government-led "scheme" to oppress people that you are
> suggesting.
> > > In the occasion of the APG proposal (and besides that, at any time)
> > > there were and there are several avenues to criticize  - also
> > > privately and anonymously, if one so needs or wishes -  what the
> > > chapter does and what the people in the chapter do and there was not
> > > a single instance of any kind of accusation like the ones that you
> > > are making from nothing.
> > >
> > > Your accusation are an insult to all the volunteers in Wikimedia
> > > Armenia, and I think you owe them an apology, especially to Susanna.
> > >
> > > I want you to know that I find this behavior to be toxic and that in
> > > my opinion you are harming the people in the movement and its mission.
> > >
> > > Cristian
> > >
> > > [1]
> > >
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:APG/Proposals/2014-2015_ro
> > und2/Wikimedia_Armenia/Proposal_form#Praise_and_one_question
> > > [2]
> > >
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:APG/FDC_recommendations/2014-20
> > 15_round_2#Wikimedia_Armenia
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
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> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> >     Asaf Bartov
> >     Wikimedia Foundation <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>
> >
> > Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
> > the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
> > https://donate.wikimedia.org
> > _______________________________________________
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-- 

__________________________
prof. dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
kierownik katedry Zarządzania Międzynarodowego
i grupy badawczej NeRDS
Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego
http://n <http://www.crow.alk.edu.pl/>wrds.kozminski.edu.pl

członek Akademii Młodych Uczonych Polskiej Akademii Nauk
członek Komitetu Polityki Naukowej MNiSW

Wyszła pierwsza na świecie etnografia Wikipedii "Common Knowledge? An
Ethnography of Wikipedia" (2014, Stanford University Press) mojego
autorstwa http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=24010

Recenzje
Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml
Pacific Standard:
http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/killed-wikipedia-93777/
Motherboard: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/an-ethnography-of-wikipedia
The Wikipedian:
http://thewikipedian.net/2014/10/10/dariusz-jemielniak-common-knowledge
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