The signing of EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement has become one of the main topics of discussion at Russian political talk shows. The November 28 broadcast of “Meeting Point” (Место встречи) program of the federal “NTV” TV station was fully devoted to the European integration policies of EAEU members Armenia and Belarus, as well as to Moldova. The main emphasis was put on the EU-Armenia new agreement signed in Brussels on November 24.
Armenia’s “Husband” and “Lover”
Before addressing numerous pieces of disinformation circulated during the program, it is worth noting that there was evident mockery at Armenian current foreign policy processes during the program. First, the TV hosts and the experts mocked the “pride complex” of the Armenians. The Republic of Armenia was regularly compared with a woman who wants to have a young lover. That is how they interpret Armenia’s decision to enhance cooperation with the European Union. Armenia’s policy is compared with adultery. The experts also claimed that the EU does not need Armenia and such a rapprochement is just an attempt to harm Russia.
Distortion of Facts
There was a lot of disinformation during the program when discussing the Karabakh conflict. First of all, when discussing the resumption of hostilities in Nagorno Karabakh in April 2016, NTV reported about 33 fatalities. However, in reality, there were 92 fatalities from the Armenian side, and 31 to 800 (according to different sources) from the Azerbaijani side.
Another disinformation was related to the policy adopted by the EU with regard to Karabakh conflict resolution. The TV hosts claim that the European Union is practically putting pressure on Armenia, “demanding to remove its armed forces from the unrecognized republic”. However, this is not true at all. On the contrary, in spite of Azerbaijan’s tireless efforts, there was no pro-Azerbaijani formulation in the declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on November 24. The EU remained faithful to its own principles and preferred to omit the paragraph on regional conflicts traditionally included in Eastern Partnership summit documents. Moreover, in contrast to Azerbaijan’s desire, the EU-Armenia new agreement contains a reference to the right of self-determination of nations.
There is also false information with regard to economic indicators in Russia-Armenia and EU-Armenia relations. In particular, it is noted that Russia is Armenia’s leading trade partner, and that trade turnover between the countries exceeds 1 billion USD. In fact, the RA-Russia trade really formed 1.074 billion USD by the end of the third quarter of 2017 (according to the data of the National Statistical Service). However, during the same period of time, RA-EU trade made up 1.095 billion USD. It is noteworthy that the EU has recorded high growth rate, by being ahead both in terms of exports (about 34% growth), and imports (about 21% growth).
The program also addresses the Russian foreign investments in Armenia. According to their information, more than 4 billion USD was directed to Armenia from Russia since the country’s independence. However, as of July 2017, the gross foreign investment inflow to Armenia has made up 6.8 billion USD, of which Russia accounts for 2.4 billion only.
P.S. Note that NTV TV station belongs to “Gazprom Media Holding”, which indirectly belongs to the Russian government and has been under US sanctions since 2016.