False And Manipulative News About Armenia In The Region: June

Karine Ghazaryan

Journalist, semiotician-to-be

In June, the foreign press and politicians reacted to the eventful Armenian political life. There were many false or manipulative theses in these reactions. The government was declared a puppet of the United States and Israel, the “anti-Russian” developments were eye-popping, and the biological laboratories once again fell victim to political propaganda.

International references of manipulative allegations about Gagik Tsarukyan’s case

One of the main pieces of news in the month of June was the initiation of a criminal case against PAP leader Gagik Tsarukyan, depriving him of his parliamentary immunity.

These events were covered in the international press and commented on by high-ranking European and Russian officials.

Thus, on June 17, Donald Tusk, the leader of the European Conservative Party (which the Republican Party of Armenia is also a member of), called on the Armenian authorities to “refrain from putting pressure on the opposition.”

Nikol Pashinyan responded to Tusk by noting that Armenia has been encouraged to fight corruption for 30 years, and now they say do not put pressure on the opposition. “Those who have been corrupt for 30 years are now in the opposition,” Pashinyan said.

On the same day, the Russian ambassador to Armenia met with PAP deputies, and the next day the Russian ruling United Russia party expressed concern over Tsarukyan’s persecution. “United Russia” and the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) signed a cooperation agreement in 2008.

More remarkable than the impact of the Russian press was the discussion of the well-known host of the state “Rossiya-1” TV channel Vladimir Solovyov, who garners about 195,000 views on his YouTube channel, “Solovyov LIVE.”

Solovyov, who is known as a journalist who spreads the Kremlin’s propaganda, made remarkable remarks about Armenia. Thus, he was inquired from his guest, PAP and NA Deputy Speaker Vahe Enfiajyan, “You are great people, seriously, don’t you remember the history of the October Revolution? Everyone who stood by the Bolsheviks was then eliminated by the Bolsheviks.”

սոլովյով լայվ ծառուկյան

Another guest of Solovyov, historian Armen Gasparyan, stated that the name of the “Exit” bloc led by Pashinyan meant “getting out of all agreements with Russia, no strategic cooperation is needed.” It is not known where Gasparyan took such an interpretation of the name, as the meaning of “Exit’s” name is neither mentioned in official statements nor in the alliance’s program.

Political commentator and Verelq․am columnist Hayk Khalatyan expressed concern on the air of “Solovyov LIVE” that investments in Armenia may decrease due to the government’s actions.

The current state of Armenia is concerning for different politicians

After the revolution, various politicians are concerned about the sad and gray future of Armenia, and the press is spreading their old and new concerns.

For example, in June, mushroom sites recalled an old statement by Russian MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky that after the revolution it was worse than before, that is why “Armenians are going to regret that Pashinyan was brought to power.”

Arthur Danielyan, the leader of the extremist conservative Adekvad group, was very concerned about the situation in Armenia and was convinced that the West, Israel and the Protestant sects had sponsored the coup d’etat carried out by Pashinyan, which is why Pashinyan is now “Russophobic” and pro-Turkish and defends homosexuality.

This interview of Danielyan given to Verelq.am was reprinted by Russian Eadaily.com (three Verelq journalists, Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Hayk Khalatyan and Lia Khojoyan, also reported or are reporting to EADaily).

The Russian propaganda thesis, a political tool in Armenia

The Russian website EADaily, one of the owners of which is Armenian, which often spreads information that corresponds to the Kremlin’s views, published two interviews in June with Grigor Grigoryan, the former head of the SFSS.

EADaily spoke to Grigoryan several times within March as well. In these interviews, Grigoryan spreads various conspiracy theories about the pandemic and especially repeats the Russian propaganda story about biological laboratories often.

This story, which contains false and manipulative allegations, is voiced by high-ranking Russian officials, speculated in Azerbaijani propaganda, and is used by various Armenian political groups. These allegations have been repeatedly denied. In particular:

❌ No biological weapons are developed in the laboratories.

❌ They are not controlled by external forces but are under the subordination of the RA Ministry of Health.

Despite the fact that these allegations have already been refuted, in his next interview with EADaily, Grigor Grigoryan stated that Armenia has transferred the biological security to the foreign, US administration.

He claimed that the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (known as the “American Biolaboratory”) is a US Army project designed to serve the needs of the United States during times of war, but is already conducting some dangerous research in Armenia.

Grigor Grigoryan is the brother of urologist Gevorg Grigoryan. The latter came to the attention of the international press in May due to receiving a grant from the US Embassy and establishing a website spreading false news about Covid-19.

Why did Pashinyan cancel his visit to Moscow?

On June 19, it was announced that Nikol Pashinyan would not leave for Moscow to take part in the Victory Parade. This news became a subject of speculation in both the Armenian and Russian press.

“Hraparak” newspaper wrote that Pashinyan did not go to Moscow, as the Russian side had doubts about his having been recently infected and rehabilitated and demanded that he take a new test.

This statement was quoted by “168 Hours,” adding another two versions: 1) No agreement has been reached on the Pashinyan-Putin meeting, 2) the Russian side had canceled the visit.

Both newspapers referred to either the press or anonymous sources. However, this did not prevent the rossaprimavera.ru website, founded by pro-Kremlin politician Sergey Kurghinyan, from quoting Hraparak’s version. Kurghinyan’s website also asked the opinion of Russian expert Mina Khachatryan, who was convinced that the decision to cancel the visit was “made by the host party, in an attempt to keep away from trouble.”

Anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia

YerevanToday wrote that Argishti Kyaramyan received the post of director of the National Security Service thanks to being an “anti-Russian figure” and assumed that “the predictions about Kyaramyan’s further activities are not in the interests of the Armenian-Russian allied relations.”

Another manifestation of anti-Russian sentiment was noticed by rossaprimavera.ru. The article on the website was dedicated to the monitoring of the media carried out by the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression in Armenia.

The study was funded by the Government of the Netherlands. Taking into account this fact, the website had a manipulative headline, “The European Committee has advised Armenia to limit Russian television broadcasting.”

❌ Rossaprimavera.ru ignored the fact that the report recommended that not only Russian but also other foreign channels carrying out propaganda be transferred to the cable domain (p. 22).

❌ There is no such thing as a European Committee, and the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression is an Armenian organization.

The article of Rossaprimavera.ru was reprinted on the website of the Russian-Armenian “Lazarian Club.”

The revocation of all charges against Kocharyan is a guarantee of agreements with Russia

In June, the “Lazarian Club” also referred to the release of the second president Robert Kocharyan. The statement of the club, welcoming the decision of the court, is quoted by the Russian state agency Regnum.

Russian political commentator Igor Korotchenko saw a new period of tense political struggle in Kocharyan’s release. In an interview with the Russian-language newspaper Moscow-Baku, Korotchenko called Pashinyan an “invader” who only pretended to be a supporter of democracy. The expert also saw the revocation of all the charges against Kocharyan as a guarantee for reaching agreements with Russia.

Իգոր Կորոտչենկո

Igor Korotchenko is not an impartial expert: He stands out for his strong pro-Kremlin stance.

The Armenian press often quotes Korotchenko, who sometimes makes manipulative or false allegations. For example, in his latest interview with 168 Zham, Korotchenko claimed that the Russian business in Armenia was under pressure and that the Armenian government did not allow Russian specialists to enter “Pentagon-funded” laboratories.

Karine Ghazaryan

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