Foreign political news is important to the media. The materials in this section show the media outlet’s priorities.
One of the most widely covered online newsletters in foreign policy is 1in.am. In the Foreign Policy section of the site, there are both newsletters and copyrighted materials (over a dozen daily publications).
We have taken the materials from this section from two years (2018 and 2019) in the same time period (February 18 – March 18).
We have reviewed the number of materials, who the website’s experts have been, and what main messages the site has been circulating.
In 2019, more than 30 materials have been published in the Foreign Policy section with a journalist’s signature. Mainly in the genre of interview or commentary. Last year, about 25 materials. Moreover, there were no changes in journalists, the department was entrusted to five 5 journalists. Despite the fact that the number of materials in that section has increased.
Past and current experts
Of course, it is very good to have a comprehensive expert opinion and to find new professionals from time to time. But that’s not so easy. 1in.am is also looking for experts also outside of Armenia for several years, since foreign policy needs to be looked at from both inside and outside.
During both of the observed periods, commentators are the same local experts. For example, the key expert on Armenian-American relations is an expert in international relations, Suren Sargsyan, the expert on Armenian-Iranian relations, Armen Vardanyan from the Armenian Institute for International and Security Affairs, on Armenian-Georgian relations, political scientist Gela Vasadze and Johnny Melikyan, and Armenian-Turkish relations, Turkologist Hayk Gabrielyan and so on.
Ruben Mehrabyan, the editor of the Russian section of Aravot.am, is the most frequently-featured expert on the site, who previously worked at 1in.am. During our observation period, his expert opinion was presented about ten times, mostly in the context of Armenian-Russian relations.
The range of foreign experts is not wide, but the choice is interesting. In the mentioned period, senior analyst Steven Blank, an American analyst, and analyst at the American Foreign Policy Council commented on the website and Georgian political scientist Gela Vasadze.
In 2019, the geography of foreign experts on the site has changed, and the Russians have increased. This year, besides Vasadze, the commentary of political analyst Vadim Dubnov, deputy director of Moscow Institute of CIS Countries, head of the Caucasus department and military expert Vladimir Euseyev, deputy director of the Moscow Center for Political and Military Analysis and military expert, Alexander Khramchikhin, foreign policy, defence and security expert Grigori Trofimchuk, invited Honorary Professor of George Mason University Richard Kauzlarich, and an expert living in Russia, Arbak Khachatryan has been presented.
In 2018, Mike Pompeo was appointed Chief of the US Central Intelligence Department, and the site asked Steven Blank what changes would be made in Washington’s Iranian policy during Pompeo’s tenure, and how will it affect Armenian-Iranian Relations.
The website asked Georgian expert Vasadze whether the Georgian-Turkish relations might develop at the expense of Armenian-Georgian relations.
In 2019, the same expert assessed the Georgian-Azerbaijani relations, as well as the partnership between Armenians and Georgians.
Political commentator Vadim Dubnov assessed Nikol Pashinyan’s speech at the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in a conversation with the site. “Neither the closer Armenia-European Union relations are a conspiracy against Russia, neither the Armenian-Russian relations a conspiracy against the EU, is a message directed to both the Russian and European sides.”
Military expert Vladimir Euseyev, speaking on the Armenian-NATO relations on the website, touched upon Russia’s point of view, saying that cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance is Armenia’s sovereign right, “but in any case, Armenia should prioritize relations with Russia and its CSTO commitments.”
Military expert, Alexander Khramchikhin spoke about conceptual changes in the general defense policy of Armenia, noting that only the defeat strategy remains for Armenia, and it can only be used for offensive actions.
Grigory Trofimchuk, expert on defense and security issues, commented on the US position on the NK issue. He said that the United States is interested only in its own interests and is not guided by the wishes of Yerevan or Baku.
“The United States is waiting for the further weakening of the Russian Federation, so Moscow will pay less attention to Karabakh and they will be able to strengthen their positions here without much effort.”
The visit of US President’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, to Armenia had been kept as the focus of 1in.am for months and received a comment from Professor Richard Kauzlarich. He said that Bolton’s approach does not essentially differ from the previous approaches to the South Caucasus. And the visit to the South Caucasus is largely related to the Iranian problem.
From the review of the content from the same period in 2018 and 2019, we concluded that 1in.am.
Has begun to pay more attention to foreign political content.
Has enlarged the circle of non-local experts.
Has begun to work with more Russian specialists. As a result, Russia’s position on the website has grown.
By the way, the materials of the foreign policy section of the website do not have a lot of views in comparison, with an average of 1,500. This is in that case when there are publications with 10,000 and more views on the website.
The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.