Friday’s broadcast of Channel 1 Russia’s “Vremya Pokazhet” program was dedicated to the Eastern Partnership Summit and to Armenia. The occasion was the signing of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the EU and Armenia.
Apart from propaganda, labeling of dissidents and calling post-Soviet countries “ours” (i.e. belonging to Russia), there was a shower of lies during the program, part of which we consider worth addressing.
US Ambassador and Nuclear Power Plant
“Russia has built a nuclear power plant there [read: in Armenia], has provided assistance in the form of 270 million USD loan and 30 million USD grant [․․․]. And what the US ambassador says: eliminate the nuclear power plant and you will receive 8 billion USD investments in the energy sector”, the program host Anatoli Kuzichev says.
We should note that Ambassador Richard Mills has really talked about 8 billion USD investments in Armenia. However, the ambassador has not mentioned any precondition related to closing the NPP. “American companies are interested in investments in the renewable energy sector in Armenia, and there is a possibility for about 8 billion USD investment cooperation”, the ambassador said.
Moreover, while Russia has provided a 30 million USD grant to the Metsamor NPP, the grant provided by the US to the nuclear power plant makes up 65 million USD, and that of the EU – 55 million.
“Electric Yerevan” Became “Energy Maidan”
However, the attempts to discredit the West were not limited to the aforementioned statement only. The program host also addressed the “Electric Yerevan” social movement against electricity price hike in Armenia two years ago, which, according to his claim, was called “Energy Maidan” in Armenia.
According to Kuzichev, the protestors who gathered on Baghramyan Avenue were not even aware of energy prices in Armenia. “In my opinion, somebody “helped” those young men to take to the streets”, the host said, implicitly referring to the West.
Nevertheless, these two allegations are false. The movement did not bear the name “Energy Maidan” in 2015, and the overwhelming majority of the protestors were well aware of the electricity tariff and the 7 AMD price hike.
US and Russian Interests Always Contradict Each Other in Armenia
Program guest, American journalist Michael Bohm tried to explain that Armenia can cooperate both with the West and Russia. In other words, he reinstated official Yerevan’s position. In response, the TV host interrupted the speaker and started to claim that the US and Russian interests cannot overlap in Armenia since they are competitors in the international arena.
We should note, however, that there are a number of sectors in Armenia in which the US and Russia share common interests, and cooperate with each other. First of all, it is the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement issue within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. Another example is related to the support of both countries in ensuring nuclear security in the country, the activity of biological reference laboratories, the fight against international crimes (drug trafficking, human trafficking, and etc.). Keeping silence on the aforementioned, the Russian propaganda continues to promote “What is good for America is bad for us” slogan.
Arming Azerbaijan: A Forbidden Topic
In the second part of the program, passions intensified. Maxim Shevchenko, member of “Civil Society and Human Rights Council” adjunct to the President of Russia announced that Nagorno Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, and its fate should be decided by Russia, Turkey, and Iran.
When the Polish journalist Tomasz Matseichuk tried to object, claiming that Nagorno Karabakh is Armenian, and weapons sale to Azerbaijan by Russia is an abominable act, TV host Kuzichev interrupted him and gave the word to another speaker, changing the topic of discussion.