Respect And Restriction Surrounding Simonyan’s Image

Nune Hakhverdyan

Art critic, journalist

The news that Margarita Simonyan, a front-line fighter of Russian media propaganda and head of Russia Today, was banned from entering the territory of the Republic of Armenia, is neither true nor false. 

More precisely, it does not matter whether it is right or wrong. That news is already being discussed and spread, receiving a response and finding a place in reputable media and state platforms. And since the truth is in the details, not just the statements, then it is the stimuli, the hints, the reactions, not the facts that get the charm. 

And stimuli and reactions can be artificial, woven from nothing, out of thin air. 

Margarita Simonyan was the first to report this ban (and remains the only one) personally, writing that Konstantin Zatulin, the first vice-chairman of the Committee on CIS Affairs of the Russian State Duma, is not allowed to enter Armenia. “By the way, neither can I,” she wrote. 

And that’s how the news entered the media “by the way.” Likewise, Simonyan did not consider it necessary to mention who told her about it. 

RA authorities considered Zatulin’s visit to Armenia undesirable, the National Assembly informed him about it in an official letter. “Haykakan Zhamanak” (“Armenian Time”), owned by the RA Prime Minister’s family, wrote about it, quoting the NA letter. 

And in the case of Margarita Simonyan, everything is in the field of stimuli, hints, and “by the ways.” 

By the way, it is not at all excluded that it is a big bluff, that Simonyan, the heavy artillery of Russian propaganda, makes a good ripple in the Armenian-Russian relations and makes herself a quoted person on various media platforms. 

The logic of “by the ways” was unexpectedly continued by RA NA Speaker Alen Simonyan, who, speaking about the restriction on Margarita Simonyan’s entry, neither confirmed nor ruled out the news. 

He said, “I don’t have such information, but I don’t rule out that either she or her husband or agents of different countries with Armenian surnames and various people who will show disrespect towards Armenia, towards the independence of Armenia, towards the former leaders of Armenia, by the way, in private conversations, they will make many insulting remarks about the former leaders of RA…” 

The relations between Armenia and Russia are about to enter a new stage, where propaganda messages are being mobilized, mostly with texts about age-old friendship and brotherhood and at the same time with threats (you can remember what, for example, Margarita Simonyan said about Armenia in 2020 during the war), but with more inconspicuous footnotes. 

In any case, a big fight is expected in the media field as well. 

And it is interesting that Alen Simonyan actually said something very original. 

It turned out that he warned Margarita Simonyan and the Armenian propagandists working for the Russian authorities that Russia should not dare to criticize the RA authorities, mainly the former ones. Leave our Kocharyan and Sargsyan alone: he said roughly this. 

Alen Simonyan defended former presidents of the RA from Margarita Simonyan. He defended well. By the way, ignoring the current authorities. Yes, they are all ours, he said, and don’t criticize, because it shakes the foundations of our statehood. He said well (he didn’t say, he hinted). 

By the way, the news about who is undesirable in Russia for Armenia was not confirmed by the RA NSS. They did not confirm, but also did not deny, that the entry of Margarita Simonyan and Konstantin Zatulin to Armenia is prohibited. 

Perhaps one can ask how in that case the news became available to “Armenian Time” and whether the NSS will allow “Armenian Time” to continue shaking the pillars of our republic by throwing documents, letters, and writings into the media field, which are impossible to confirm or deny. 

Neither to exclude nor to accept. These are the rules of the game by which RA officials have started to play in this environment. The game has changed, you have to adapt. 

The only question is “Armenian Time.” And it would be good if restriction and respect were mixed when referring to that media as well. 

Nune Hakhverdyan 

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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