Photo by Aleksandra Dementeva on Unsplash
The Pro-Western and pro-democratic Armenian PR campaign is intensifying, flooding Armenian outlets in English all over the world. “Will the West save Armenia?”, laments the reputable Past outlet, demanding to protect the only democracy in the Caucasus from Azerbaijani dictatorship. “The West should support Armenia’s democracy, because it cannot be taken for granted,” echoes local CivilNet.
Other outlets are vehemently explaining how Yerevan is stuck between Tehran and Moscow and cannot protect itself from the cruel Turks and Azerbaijanis, so the Western countries should replace Russia and Iran, starting by giving Armenia money and weapons.
Is Armenia really a democratic state, as it presents itself? As the Romanian Newsweek edition states, it, in fact, could not be further from the truth, as Armenia is a textbook case of Eastern type autocracy, thinly covered with a veneer of modern values and civilisation. According to this publication the oppressive influence of Putin’s totalitarian regime and the dictatorship of the Ayatollahs, Yerevan’s main strategic partners, has taken its toll on the population.
Newsweek brings a plethora of examples of undemocratic actions by Yerevan, which testify to the fact that they use methods of pressure and persecution of political opponents, independent journalists and human rights activists, especially those who represent the interests of national minorities, reminiscent of Soviet times.
The democratic PR campaign of Yerevan comes as an attempt to retaliate against the increasingly frequent publications in Western media on Armenia’s support of the Russian-Iranian coalition.
The Guardian reported recently that Iranian drones of several types made their way into Russia using boats and an Iranian state-owned airline. An article by EU Reporter expanded on this, adding that Armenia played an integral part in these deliveries, allowing Iranian cargo planes to land in its airports before proceeding to deliver weapons to the Russian forces in Ukraine. According to The Telegraph, the «German Centre for the South Caucasus» found out that Armenia is used by Russia as a proxy for imports to and exports.
The New York Times has revealed an extraordinary increase in Armenian imports of electronic components, including eight particularly sensitive categories of semiconductor chips. Based on documentation of the US Bureau of Industry and Security, between 2021 and 2022, Armenia’s imports of chips and microprocessors from the US shot up by 515%; from the EU it was by 212%. The bureau estimated that nearly all the imports, 97% of them, were re-exported to Russia.
Sanctions against Russian imports of crucial electronic components have been particularly effective at undermining the country’s war effort against Ukraine; it has been reduced to trying to repurpose components ripped out of domestic appliances. As a close ally of Russia, Armenia is an unsurprising route for sanctions-busting but now it wants the US and EU to ignore what’s been going on, according to the article in EU reporter.
“As supplies via Turkey and Central Asia become increasingly scarce, Russia is increasing parallel imports via Armenia. Between January and March, trade between the two countries increased by 2.4 times. This is despite the fact that Armenian exports to Russia were already worth $2.4 billion in 2022 – an increase of 185.7% compared to 2021″, Polish news outlet Salon24 wrote. According to Salon 24, as early as March 2nd, a Trilateral Memo from the Department of Justice, the Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Treasury Department listed Armenia among trans-shipment points commonly used for the illegal shipment of (sanctioned) restricted goods to Russia and Belarus.
To play devil’s advocate – Maybe Armenia is not that active in the triple alliance with Iran and Russia? Maybe the country is being bullied and oppressed by its two powerful neighbours and forced into an unwelcome cooperation with them? Maybe there is just a small group of Armenians operating for the benefit of Tehran and Moscow? There is a powerful large-scale Armenian lobby in the US, they might be of help, to stop this partnership with Iran and Russia?
Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case. The Armenian Weekly – one of the mouthpieces of the notorious ANCA (The Armenian National Committee of America), published an article on May 9th entitled «After Nagorno-Karabakh, Iran may be next», a large part of which was dedicated to an interview with Dr. Ehsan Movahedian – a professor of international relations at Tehran’s ATU University. Dr. Movahedian is a prominent anti-Semite, anti-Israeli activist and a proponent of anti-Azerbaijani policy in Iran. Dr. Movahedian’s anti-Semitism is tied deeply to his opposition of both Israel and Azerbaijan. He became well known last year for posting the infamous anti-Semitic caricature of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in the style of the old Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer.
In the article, Dr. Movahedian put forward his bogus analysis on Baku and its puppet master from Tel Aviv. Movahedian presented alleged proof on how the sinister intentions of the Zionist Regime, as Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kanani said, are to tie a noose around Iran, using proxies in neighbouring countries to limit Iranian capabilities, striking at it from different angles and forcing Iran defend itself.
Dr. Movahedian also threatened a targeted military operation against Azerbaijan, if the latter were to not back down from collaboration with Israel. This rhetoric is deeply concerning, as it is simply a semantic excuse to not use the infamous phrase Special Military Operation which we’ve come to know from Putin’s own propaganda campaign in Ukraine.
The Armenian Weekly article noted how Israel’s interests in the Caucasus include resolving the Armenian Issue and removing the Armenian population and the Russian military presence from the Karabakh region. On the face of it, it may seem like foreign intervention trying to cleanse a piece of land. However, it is crucial to understand that it is, in fact, not Israel, but Azerbaijan, who wishes to remove the presence of a foreign military force from its own internationally recognised territory, while reports of attempts to forcefully remove the Armenian population from the region are fabricated and exaggerated by the Russian media and, strangely enough, ANCA.
The Massachusetts-based outlet intended for the Armenian diaspora in the US is spreading slander about one of the closest allies of the US through an interview with a pronounced Iranian hater of Israel and the US.
On top of that, the almost-systematic pro-Russian and pro-Iranian rhetoric used throughout the article really shows what the Armenian diaspora believes is best for Armenia – to stay well within the spheres of influence and protection of Russia and Iran, rendering it a collaborator in all of their anti-Western activities.
Talking about supporting Russia, actions speak louder than words, and Armenia’s Prime Minister Pashinyan’s latest actions all but shout “I am a loyal friend of the Kremlin”. On May 9th, Pashinyan appeared alongside Putin during the celebration of the Soviet Victory day over Nazi Germany, looking chummy with all of the other autocratic pals of Putin. Curiously enough, one of the invited guests refused to attend the gathering – Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, a man whose allegiances lie far away from Moscow and whose country is the constant target of the Armenian propaganda campaign.