Analysis of the News: “Armenia’s attack on Russia: An expert revealed the main reason for the betrayal”

September 2023.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Armenia’s attack on Russia: An expert revealed the main reason for the betrayal”

The events in Nagorno-Karabakh have stirred up the South Caucasus region again. Three years after the signing of the peace agreement, the door to military confrontation is open again. Russia, as a long-term partner and guarantor of Armenia’s security, finds itself in a vulnerable position, while anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia is growing stronger. This resulted in increased media and disinformation channels aimed at different interpretations of the events in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In this regard, the leaders of disinformation flow in our region, Webtribune, and, convey a text entitled “Armenia’s attack on Russia” which is commented on by political scientist Jurij Svetov. As one of the reasons for the “betrayal of Russia”, this political scientist cites the turn of the new Armenian government towards the West and the marginalization of the role of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization). It should be noted that Russia and Armenia share a history of close diplomatic, military, and economic ties, such as membership in the CSTO, and Armenia’s participation in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Armenia’s distance from Russia and the demand for less dependence on Russian influence began with the arrival of current President Pashinyan to power in 2018. Armenia’s pursuit of economic diversification and cooperation with the European Union has further strained its relations with Russia. Additionally, the signing of the partnership agreement between Armenia and the European Union (CEPA), also threatened the main links of Russian influence in the region, which are the above-mentioned CSTO and EEU.

Precisely for this reason, one of the narratives used by the pro-Russian media is the excuse that the conflict is occurring due to the non-engagement of the CSTO, as well as the statement that Armenia brings sovereign decisions solely because Russia is preoccupied with the conflict in Ukraine. Accordingly, one can assume that Armenia should not make sovereign decisions, but only decisions according to the dictates of the Russian Federation. A scenario similar to this one is often depicted in Russian foreign policy towards the former members of the Soviet Union.

The Webtribune article, which openly talks about Russia’s pretensions in the contemporary geo-political context, also shows that this continuity has continued. Political scientist Ruslan Bortnik states that Nikol Pashinyan’s policy is destructive due to his orientation towards the West, and excluding the possibility of a joint Russian-Belarussian Union, while he reaffirms that if he tries to ensure the survival of his people, he must decide on uniting with Russia.
In a similar tone, the RT article is published, pointing at Nikol Pashinyan’s “disastrous” policy, which goes a step further by quoting the editor of the RT media group, Margarita Simonyan, saying that masses shout in Armenia “Nikol is a traitor” and that whoever comes to power with anti-Russian views is by definition a traitor. This year, the International Republican Institute conducted a public opinion survey in Armenia, where we can see worrying data when it comes to trust in institutions and political parties. Although support for the prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has declined, his political party, Civil Contract, is still the leader in Armenia. However, it should be taken into account that as many as 64% of respondents declare that they do not trust any politician and that an extremely large number of voters would not even go to the polls.

The Russian authorities are trying at all costs to convince the Armenian people that they must see the blame for the potential loss of sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh in the West. Another text that is published both on the portal and Webtribune, discusses in detail the anti-Russian moves by the authorities of Armenia, as crucial in the re-orientation towards the West, and at the same time destructive for their people. In addition, it states the most important thing, which is that Russia must intensify its work to suppress such events. It can be said that this has already become a typical scenario that we have seen in relation to Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, and some Scandinavian countries. The so-called tit for tat, or whoever believes that they are close to Russia, that they claim the right to sovereign decisions, and that they are in conflict with Russian interests, will have to bear the consequences.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has triggered geopolitical changes in the entire South Caucasus, and Armenia’s distance from Russia now introduces an additional element of fear for the Armenian people that no longer applies only to Nagorno-Karabakh, but to all of Armenia, as Russian political envoys openly speak about.

Author: Đorđe Terek