Narratives Spread By Russian Telegram Channels: Anti-Armenian Propaganda

Lusine Voskanyan


In recent years, parallel to the deterioration of Armenian-Russian relations, certain Russian Telegram channels have begun to disseminate anti-Armenian propaganda. These channels have a significant following and aim not only at the Armenian authorities but also disseminate hate speech and threats against the country.

“Verified” has studied some of these channels and identified their most popular narratives.


In 2022, the tension between Armenia and Russia escalated when Armenia asked for support from the Collective Security Treaty Organization and Russia during Azerbaijan’s attack in September but did not receive it. In September 2023, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Russia of not honoring its security commitments to Armenia and declared that relying solely on Russia for security purposes was a “strategic mistake.” Following this, during Prime Minister’s wife Anna Hakobyan’s visit to Kyiv, Armenia sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine for the first time.

In October 2023, Armenia ratified the Rome Statute, which was deemed unacceptable by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Then, in March 2024, RA Minister of Foreign Affairs Ararat Mirzoyan announced that the “existing issues in Russian-Armenian relations were no longer concealable.”

The studied channels and what unites them

We have analyzed Russian Telegram channels, including “Rybar,” “Priyemnik,” and Semyon Pegov’s War Gonzo, as well as Yuri Baranchik, “Colonelcassad,” “Yerevansky Nablyudatel” and “DTM.” These channels often discuss Armenia, especially during tensions with Russia or increased cooperation with Western countries.

Notably, these Telegram channels are interconnected and often reference each other; this means that the posts are seen not only by the followers of the specific channels but also by others, effectively increasing the reach of propaganda. For example, while only 1,800 users follow the “Yerevansky Nablyudatel” channel, the posts are actively spread by “Ribar,” with 1,210,000 followers, and “Priyemnik,” with around 31,000 followers.

It is worth mentioning that although the Telegram channel “Semyon | War Gonzo” is associated with Semyon Pegov, the creator of the WarGonzo project, it is officially stated to be his fan club page. No direct evidence supports a connection between “WarGonzo” and the Telegram channel.

These channels frequently reproduce and create their own content using statements from individuals considered to be pro-Russian in Armenia, such as Mika Badalyan, Arman Abovyan, or “Sputnik Armenia,” as well as information from Armenian Telegram channels.

Below, we have compiled the key narratives about Armenia that are being circulated by these channels.

Armenia: the new Ukraine

Russian channels often draw parallels between events in Armenia, Ukraine, and Moldova, claiming that “the West is destabilizing post-Soviet countries to weaken Russian influence.”

The “DTM” channel claims that Yerevan is promoting anti-Russian sentiment among its population through the Ukrainian scheme and relying on Paris for security, noting that for Paris, “peace in the South Caucasus is as important as peace in the Philippines.” Moreover, the channel points out that there are no Russian schools in Armenia, while Azerbaijan has 324. Currently, Armenian schools teach Russian only for a few hours a week, but there could be an increase in the teaching hours if Armenia does not shift towards the West, as seen in the Baltic countries and Ukraine.

On this topic Civilnetcheck wrote that there are 45 schools in Armenia where classes are taught in Russian, and 63 schools offer advanced Russian language training.

In January 2024, a rally organized by the “Hosank” movement in Yerevan on Garegin Nzhdeh’s birthday gained significant attention on Russian Telegram channels within the context of “Ukrainization.” Many Russians interpreted it as a signal of the rise of neo-Nazism in Armenia and a deterioration of relations with Russia, akin to events in Ukraine. In response, “DTM” expressed hope that high-level officials have assessed the risks and potential scenarios and are prepared to take action, noting historical precedents where passive approaches toward unfriendly CIS elites led to outcomes like those in Moldova or Ukraine. On the other hand, a Telegram channel run by Semyon Pegov conducted a poll on whether “denationalization” should be carried out in Armenia.

The news that Armenia would replace its representatives in NATO and OSCE with defense attachés Sparked another narrative.

“Similar events have been observed since 2014 in the so-called Ukraine, driven by promises to combat Russia. Consequently, they are discarded once their purpose is served. Armenia is poised to face a similar fate, albeit at a much swifter pace,” wrote “Ribar.”

“Did you just hand it over?”
“Yup. And Russia is to blame.” source:  DaZbastaDraw Telegram channel

Referring to the meeting of the leaders of Ukraine and Armenia in Granada in October 2023, “Colonelcassad” noted that Pashinyan is “the best thing that happened to Azerbaijan after losing the war in the 90s” because Pashinyan is so lame that Aliyev didn’t even bother to attend the meeting. Additionally, the Prime Minister of Armenia signed what is considered another “capitulation document,” referring to the statement recognizing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The channel also attached a caricature by “DaZbastaDraw” depicting the meeting between Pashinyan and Zelensky to the post.

Yuri Baranchik’s Telegram channel is reportedly preparing for a potential future conflict. The channel suggests that Russia should consider carrying out an operation against countries it perceives as “proxy countries” of the West, such as Poland, Finland, Armenia, Kazakhstan, the Baltic states, Georgia, and others, following a hypothetical victory over Ukraine.

Azerbaijan will destroy Armenia; the only savior is Russia

Another propaganda narrative of Telegram channels revolves around the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. These articles argue that Russia is the only ally that can protect Armenia against the Azerbaijani military threat. At the same time, the West is only interested in spreading hostility against Russia in the post-Soviet territory.

“Neither France nor other representatives of the collective West will take any action to stop the vicious illegalities in Artsakh. Even more so, the Armenian authorities are not expected to take any action either, as they are themselves subjecting their people to cultural genocide. Taking into account the degree of hatred of Azerbaijanis towards Armenians, one can assume that other Armenian territories may also come under similar purges in the future.” wrote “Rybar”.

As per the narrative, the Armenian authorities are not only provoking Russia but also leading their own country towards inevitable destruction. Currently, the only factor preventing Azerbaijan from advancing further is the presence of Russian soldiers and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). A channel run by Yuri Baranchik, who poses as an analyst, claims that Russian peacekeepers saved the people of Artsakh and that Pashinyan officially handed over Artsakh.

Յուրի Բարանչիկի տելեգրամյան ալիք

According to “Colonelcassad,” Armenia is at risk of being “Turkified” with the loss of Syunik, which was its only protection against Turkey. The prediction is based on the assumption that Armenia is no longer a de facto member of the CSTO, as it is not participating in the organization’s activities. However, Russia may still provide some support for Armenia, at least for the time being.

Western countries’ assistance is unlikely to impact the current situation significantly, claims the Russian side. They question how old Bastion carriers or a few defunct GM200 radars can provide any help to Armenian troops in the event of an attack by Azerbaijan.

Similarly, the defense cooperation agreement reached in 2023 between Armenia and Italy has been deemed “fictitious” by the Russians, claimed to be aimed at creating a false sense of security among the Armenian people. According to the Russians, this cooperation will not be effective in the face of an inevitable crisis.

Armenia is conducting espionage against Russia in favor of Western interests

As expected, the current primary focus of Telegram channels is on Armenia’s membership status in the CSTO being frozen. Despite not actively participating in any CSTO-related events, these channels highlight that Armenia still holds an official membership status.

Per “Rybar,” “Armenia has begun withdrawing from the CSTO. Nevertheless, as long as membership in the CSTO offers advantages, such as exerting influence over Russia in alignment with the interests of certain stakeholders, Armenia is expected to maintain its official status.”

“DTM,” on the other hand, claims that the EU monitoring mission is spying on Russia. The EU mission is also deemed an espionage program of French intelligence by “Colonelcassad,” who writes, “Apparently, French intelligence activity near Russia’s borders has increased significantly. It is also known that the French services in Pashinyan’s Armenia have been given complete carte blanche under the guise of a monitoring mission (EUMA). Furthermore, there has been an increase in the activity of French intelligence officers in Georgia.”

Evidently, Russian Telegram channels have been carrying out an anti-Armenian campaign, at least since the deterioration of Armenian-Russian relations. These channels consider Armenia as a region where the collective West implements plans against Russia, and they present Russia as the only savior of Armenia against Azerbaijan and Turkey. Additionally, these telegram channels do not hesitate to mention that Russia should take action if Armenia follows the path of Ukraine, even in the form of a “special operation”.

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