Since February 12, Russian TV channel RT (RussiaToday) has been circulating its “journalistic investigation”, where using false facts it refers to CampCamp2018 international seminar held on November 7-11, 2019 in Yerevan. Russian leading state-owned TV channels have also touched upon this seminar. Through fraudulent publications and speeches, an attempt is made to substantiate that the United States is trying to make “colorful revolutions” in Russia and Belarus through Armenia.
In particular, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Sputnik and Russia Today, spoke in a negative and manipulative manner about the CampCamp2018 project organized by the “Prague Civil Society Center”. Simonyan also noted that the project was implemented within the framework of the document “US sanctions against the adversaries” (CAATSA) by the US Congress, which aims at teaching young participants the methods of regime change, even by means of a lie. This information was actively spread by several Armenian media outlets.
Let us find out what the event is about, and how the reality is distorted through manipulations in the press.
The speculation of the anti-Russian document
The CampCamp project has nothing to do with the US Congress’s CAATSA document , and the goal of the project is to help civil initiatives, to strengthen ties with local organizations through new technologies and creative solutions. CampCamp cannot deal with an anti-Russian CAATSA document, as the document implies support for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Kosovo, Serbia and Ukraine, whereas Ukraine and Moldova are the only countries that have been presented at the event. Therefore, this document cannot finance participants from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Russia and Tajikistan.
First, we have to mention that about 150 people participated in the program, most of whom were speakers (about 100 people). From Margarita Simonyan’s words, one can conclude that most of the participants were Russian teens, but speaking with one of the program volunteers, we found out that there were only 2-3 participants from Russia, others were from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Armenia.
Looking at the CampCamp2018 agenda, we see that in the framework of the program, during four days, the topic of revolution was brought up only once and only for the reason that a recent revolution took place in the host country, Armenia. As to the other sections of the seminar, they were aimed at capacity building among young people relating to environmental activism, feminism, promotion, video blogging, art, Olympic Games, sales and more.
Prior to the organization of the event there was a participant application procedure, and the process of selection of the participants was quite transparent.
The speakers were also from different spheres – art, music, education, business, marketing, filmography, journalism, and more.
The basis of the fraud
Margarita Simonyan,the head of the Russian state information campaign, claims, “…Our video footage shows how the participants are taught to distribute false information as if the authorities are going to cut trees. It will result in public dissatisfaction, and on this occasion a protest can be organized, which will be filmed and spread on the Internet…” It should be noted that there is no such video.Thus, Margarita Simonyan is lying even about the “investigation” published by her own agency.
Vladimir Solovyov, the host of the TV program “Who is against”, broadcasted by “Russia” state-owned TV channel, emphasized at the beginning of the program that revolution is “fashionable” nowadays. He repeated the example of cutting the trees brought by Margarita Simonyan the previous day and insisted, that the participants have been trained to deliberately lie to get people out in the streets.
And while Margarita Simonyan, Vladimir Solovyov and their colleagues call on people not to mislead the public, instead, they are doing it themselves, making outright false statements and manipulative conclusions.
The RT channel, headed by Margarita Simonyan, belongs to the Russian government, from which it annually receives about $ 300 million. Simonyan was Vladimir Putin’s proxy in the 2018 presidential election. In 2010, Simonyan received a Movses Khorenatsi medal from Serzh Sargsyan. Agencies led by Simonyan (RT and Sputnik) are considered “heavy artillery” of the Kremlin propaganda machine both in Russia and abroad.
This series of disinformation was widely disseminated through Vladimir Solovyov’s two programs, “Who is against” and “Evening with Vladimir Solovyov” on ”Russia” TV channel, which belongs to the Russian government. The Solovyov is known for his outstanding support for Vladimir Putin. Solovyov called the people “feces”, who showed up against Putin in 2017. The prominent host Vladimir Pozner has even stated that Solovyov dishonors journalism and that “He will not shake his hand upon meeting”.
Thus, we can conclude that the CampCamp2018 program was quite saturated and multi-faceted, did not target the Russian authorities and generally did not encourage young people in the participating countries to resort to arbitrary civil strife, and the “journalistic investigation” of the Russian media is simply disinformation.