An antisemitic article on website Armenianreport.com spreads on Twitter. But despite its name, this website is not a real news outlet, and is not at all Armenian.
On October 5, Armenianreport.com website wrote an article titled “Israel helps Azerbaijan, so Armenia will help Palestine” (original Russian title “Израиль помогает Азербайджану, а Армения поможет Палестине”)․ The article was presented as an analytical piece, where the author, named Tevos Arshakyan, argued that Armenia should develop relations with Arab states, first of all Palestine, because Israel and Jews are “greedy” and “mercantile”, and have interest only in rich Azerbaijan and not in small Armenia. Packed with simplistic representations of the most widespread antisemitic stereotypes, the article’s message was summed up as “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
On October 8, American analyst and lobbyist Michael Doran shared this article on Twitter. “The antisemitism of this Armenian publication is off the charts. Straight out of the Nazi playbook,” he wrote. His post was shared more than a hundred times, including by the member of French Senate Nathalie Goulet.
However, Armenianreport.com is not a real Armenian news website.
The site appeared in 2010 as a Russian-language news and analytics website. Back then it was presented as a website operated from the “Research center of political and economic processes in Eurasia (Vienna, Austria)” (see the archived version of the website here). However, there is no information about this center: no reports, publications, addresses or any other signs of activity a real research center would have. The name of the center only appeared in the publications of other websites about Armenianreport.com, specifically in articles about this website presenting itself as an Armenian source, but being Azerbaijani propaganda instead (example 1, example 2, example 3).
Since then, Armenianreport.com deleted the note on the Austrian “research center”, but warning signs about the website’s inauthenticity are not difficult to spot.
- Google search of the name Tevos Arshakyan, the alleged authors of the antisemitic article, does not show any publications in the Armenian press signed by such a person. Instead, the name “Tevos Arshakyan” is mostly cited as “Armenian analyst” on a number of Azerbaijani platforms, such as Axar.az, Day.az, Vestikavkaza.ru, etc. When this name is mentioned in Armenian press, such as in the article by newspaper Novaya Vremya, it is for debunking a fake author.
- We searched other names mentioned as authors of the articles currently published on the front page of Armenianreport.com: neither of these names are published authors in Armenian press, but are consistently cited as “Armenian analyst” on Azerbaijani websites (example 1, example 2).
According to the SimilarWeb web analytics company, most of the overall traffic of Armenianreport.com, almost 42%, comes from Azerbaijan, followed by Russia and Poland. No traffic comes from Armenia.
It is worth mentioning that in 2011 media expert Samvel Martirosyan traced Armenianreport.com to Azerbaijani administration using technical analysis of cookie files.
Fake news websites are an infowar tool
Although Armenianreport.com is the largest and most consistently maintained propaganda website of this kind in the Armenian-Azerbaijani information war, it is not the only one. Two other websites, Volnacaspiya.com and Talyshistantimes.com, present as news websites of ethnic minorities of Azerbaijan.
However, as in the case of Armenianreport.com, the Google search of these websites shows little connection to the country they present themselves from: mostly Armenian news outlets refer to and republish Volnacaspiya.com and Talyshistantimes.com (example 1, example 2). Furthermore, Google search of a name of an author published by these websites shows no publications in Azerbaijani media, but multiple citations by Armenian news outlets.