"Armenians plug ears again"
    Naumov in touch with Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  28 September 2022 - 13:03

    Huseyn Safarov

    After Azerbaijan's victory in the 44-day war in Karabakh, anti-Russian protests in Armenia have become common. Since then, accusations of betrayal and the inability of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to "protect the Armenian population of Karabakh" have been voiced against Russia almost daily. And after Baku's decisive actions, which launched the military operation Revenge against Armenian gangs that settled in Karabakh in spite of the tripartite statement of November 10, 2020, a flurry of protests swept through Yerevan and the country's other cities this summer. Armenian citizens considered the neutrality observed by Russian peacekeepers to be a betrayal, as, in fact, Moscow's refusal to involve the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organisation] in the new Azerbaijani-Armenian tension, naturally, on the side of Armenia.

    Later, the situation was exacerbated by the construction of an alternative road to the already existing Lachin corridor, which is explicitly stated in the trilateral statement. According to paragraph 6 of the agreement, the new road should replace a portion of the existing Lachin corridor, ensuring the return of Lachin and its surrounding villages to Azerbaijani control, and the relocation of the peacekeeping contingent is provided for the protection of this route.

    Another reason for Yerevan residents to take to the streets was Armenia's provocations on the conditional Armenian-Azerbaijani border, more precisely, the way it was covered by Russian TV channels. Armenian public figures accused them of one-sided presentation of information and lobbying for Azerbaijani interests.

    The corresponding statement was made by the head of the committee for the protection of freedom of speech, Ashot Melikyan, who stated, in particular, that "Russian TV channels mislead the public by provoking negative sentiments. Lies, hatred and enmity are spreading, and all this is prohibited by the laws of Armenia". He even demanded to follow the example of Ukraine and Georgia and prohibit at the legislative level the broadcasting of Russian TV channels across Armenia.

    To find out who is initiating anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia and what consequences this may lead to, Calibre.Az had a conversation with an expert of the Russian Council on International Affairs, political scientist Alexei Naumov.

    In response to the website's questions, the political scientist first noted ironically that prohibiting the broadcast of Russian TV channels in Armenia is "a wonderful idea".

    "It is especially remarkable that the idea comes from the head of the committee for the protection of freedom of speech. In other words, the idea of restricting freedom of speech comes from the chairman of the committee for the protection of freedom of speech. In addition to the ban on Russian television, you can, in principle, close your eyes, and ears and not pay attention to what is happening around you. It is this amazing strategy that has already led a significant part of the Armenian society to a state of shock after November 2020. When, instead of objectively assessing the situation and taking difficult but necessary steps, it was decided to continue freezing the situation, content with words. The sweet promises of the West allowed Armenia to close its eyes, not see anything and continue a harmful, unproductive and unfavourable policy for Armenia," the expert has no doubt.

    At the same time, Naumov believes one can understand the frustration of some representatives of the Armenian society, who, thanks to this "wonderful" tactic, apparently, again expected that during the recent escalation on the conditional Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Russia would fight with Azerbaijan, would annex new lands to Armenia or, in general, replace the Armenian the state is a Russian state. Such hopes arise because Armenia again, instead of taking unpopular, sometimes difficult, even offensive, but the only possible measures simply prefer to plug its ears.

    "Melikyan's statement is obviously a call for this. We know what such appeals have led the Armenian society to. Practically, we have before us again an example of the battle between rationalism and emotions. Everyone knows where emotions lead, especially if they are not backed up by a powerful economy, a powerful army and clear decision-making.

    I want to believe that for the sake of the South Caucasus, for the sake of the entire region, for the sake of the world community, no one will take this call seriously or simply [it] will not be heard. Hopefully, logic will win this time. Although, of course, there are doubts...," Naumov concluded.


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