"We view people exclusively through the prism of their links to Armenia," these words were regretfully said by one of Armenia's leading TV presenters, former KVN player Rafael Oganesyan seven years ago. How could he have known then whether this trend will gain momentum, hurt Armenia's relations with Russia and, ultimately, hit him?
Several years ago, a number of politicians and experts, having a very strange way of defending Armenia's rights in relations with Russia, has became more active in Yerevan. The essence of their conclusions was that Moscow refers to Armenian foreign policy without proper piety and underestimates Yerevan's colossal role. The situation got aggravated after a series of programs on Russian TV channels,where hosts and experts tried to sort out the important for Russia topic of Armenia signing the framework agreement with the European Union, while relations between Moscow and Brussels, to say the least, left much to be desired. Expert opinions were sometimes harsh, but the comments of Yerevan TV programs turned out to be much tougher, and their consequences could significantly complicate the Russian-Armenian interaction.
"Russia declared war on Armenia at the level of state propaganda," "Russia won't stop with propaganda, actions to follow," "Russia will seek out provocations in Karabakh indirectly, while creating a propaganda background that Armenian losses are a consequence of the Armenia-EU agreement," the Armenian media outlets predicted.
It is fair to say that the anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia gave results even before the signing of the agreement between Yerevan and the European Union. This summer, 50.67% of Armenian residents said that joining the EEU had a negative impact on the country, only 34.33% described Russia as Armenia's ally, 40% said that ties with Russia hampered Armenia's relations with the EU, 56% of respondents expressed confidence in the negative impact of Russia on the process of the Karabakh settlement.
Head of the Department of Political Science of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Gevorg Mirzayan, who realized that a sober assessment is the best option of patriotism, tried to talk some sense into compatriots. The expert appealed to the representatives of the Armenian political and academic community and Internet activists: "You are swollen with pride and feel your dignity aggrieved?" You have a very specific one, like any group affected by the wildest inferiority complex ... Attacking all those who criticize Armenia, you do nothing to make this criticism disappear. It is hard for you to accept that Armenia, with its entire history, ranks lowest in European rankings. And it is because of you, who, instead of improving the state, eliminating the oligarchy, fighting corruption and building a civil society, blame Putin and Russia for all the sins... "
(Rafael Oganesyan in the middle)
Mirzayan's statement caused the expected reaction - he was called a traitor, he was threatened, and then Rafael Oganesyan entered the political arena, who immediately set up an open letter to Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin.
The host demanded that the message be sent to President Putin, whom was called "the emperor" by the letter's author (to indicate "imperial ambitions" of Volynkin's country).
The essence of his demands reduces to the termination of talk shows on Russian TV channels, which, in the author's opinion, prevent the good attitude of Armenians towards Russia. The characteristics used by Oganesyan express blatant aggression. Linguists call it a pejorative - a grammatical form expressing a negative connotation.
In the letter, the same pejorative was used more than ten times - with respect to the hosts, experts and political scientists, that "make Armenian viewers angry".
"I am one of the few in our country who clearly separates the Russian government (together with its degenerative propaganda machine) from the people, from the Russians," the Armenian TV host writes to Volynkin.
Will his letter be read? Maybe. Will this message improve the attitude towards Armenia? The answer is obvious.
Maybe Mirzayan, the Armenian living in Russia, is right: "If you want more respect - you have have to boost the economy, society, as well as elect normal presidents and deputies. Raise Armenia in the rankings. Then you will have pride. And all you have now are stupid national minority ambitions"?
A similar opinion is shared by Anton Yevstratov, a Russian historian, publicist and journalist living in Armenia, lecturer at the Department of World History and Foreign Regional Studies at the Russian-Armenian University in Yerevan. "If people do not feel themselves incomplete - it does not matter for them what any country could say about them. But the position of "the commentators of commentators" is much more tragic, because they really believe that their opinions will change something ... Well, how? Will it improve the geopolitical position of Armenia? Will it increase its level of security? Will it change the state of economy and the standard of living for the better? Of course not.They have to work hard for this purpose - persistently, honestly and for a long time," Evstratov writes.
There were other voices in defense of Russian TV channels, however, the silence of other experts and colleagues of TV presenters - Semyon Bagdasarov, Sergey Kruginian, ethnic Armenians, living in Russia - is puzzling. For some reason, Roman Babayan - the presenter of the TV Tsentr weekly program 'The Right to Vote', is also silent. Meanwhile, what is happening today is a real war of the Armenian media against respected Russian experts and TV channels, and the activity of media personalities of Armenian origin on Russian television is in demand in this discussion as well, but we have not seen it so far.