On April 24, 2021, US President Joe Biden recognized the Armenian Genocide in his statement, fulfilling his pre-election promise.
This event was widely covered in the Russian media and discussed by many experts.
The official position of the Kremlin was expressed by Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman of the Russian President. He told the reporters that “it [the recognition of the Genocide –Ed.] is the internal affair of the United States.”
It is noteworthy that Russia did not officially address any message to the Armenian people on that day. Instead, the Russian propaganda machine, which was in full swing, strongly criticized the recognition of the Genocide by Biden’s office, generating numerous propaganda theses. The most common ones are presented below.
“Where was the US during the 44-day war?” “The US does not care about Armenians”
The fact that Biden recognized the Armenian Genocide was first criticized by Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Russia Today state news agency, who described the recognition as a “crumb” thrown at Armenians more than a century later. Simonyan also threw out the manipulative question “Where was the USA during the second Artsakh war?”
“Where have you been, America, this fall?” Did you even lift a finger? No, you didn’t. And this is all you need to know about the attitude of the American elite towards Armenians. It simply does not exist. It’s neither good nor bad,” Simonyan wrote. Later on her telegram channel she called on “those who demand justice” to recognize Crimea instead.
Meanwhile, during the program “Evening with Solovyov” broadcast on the Russian federal TV channel “Russia”, the Dean of the Faculty of World Politics of Moscow State University Andrey Sidorov stated: “Americans, I assure you, do not even care about Armenians or Armenia.” At the same time, however, he noted that in contrast to Russian influence in the South Caucasus, Armenia is an important object for the United States.
In the meantime, Yaakov Kedmi, a former leader of Nativ (Israeli state body dealing with Jews in the former USSR and Eastern Europe) and a longtime analyst at Olma Media Group, owned by Oleg Tkach, who is a member of Russia’s ruling United Russia party, called Biden’s statement an “insult to the memory of the victims.”
The political scientist also stressed that the United States did nothing for Armenians during the war unleashed by Azerbaijan in Artsakh with the support of Turkey.
The Kremlin propagandists found supporters in Armenia as well, despite the fact that the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is one of the main directions of Armenia’s foreign policy.
For example, on Armenian “Channel 5”, the host voiced her assumptions that Biden “probably did not feel guilty” for not condemning Azerbaijan’s criminal actions during the 44-day war (whereas Biden became president after the war).
“US supports Pashinyan by recognizing the Genocide”
Russian experts linked Biden’s recognition of the Genocide to internal political developments in Armenia. The thesis that Biden “favors the Armenian authorities” and expresses support for Nikol Pashinyan’s regime in the upcoming snap elections by recognizing the Armenian Genocide was actively circulated.
Such an opinion was expressed by Yevgeny Satanovsky, a Russian archaeologist and one of the regular speakers in political-analytical programs on Russia TV, who insisted that “this actions may have been necessary to support Pashinyan before the elections.”
During the program “Evening with Solovyov”, Vladimir Avatkov, an associate professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, assured that with this step the United States is strengthening its position in Armenia against the background of the forthcoming snap elections.
“[The USA-Ed.] aims to strengthen its positions in Armenia, where, as you [addressing the host – Ed.] rightly pointed out, its largest embassy is located. Against the backdrop of France’s failures, and by “failure” I mean in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Americans are trying to restore and strengthen their influence [in Armenia – Ed.] in the upcoming elections,” said Avatkov.
This thesis was also reproduced in the Armenian media. Particularly, Garnik Isagulyan, the leader of the National Security Party, even claimed that Biden had agreed with Erdogan to recognize the Genocide, as it would “support Turkey and Azerbaijan-funded Pashinyan” during the pre-election period.
“US punishes Turkey for rapprochement with Russia”
The news of Biden’s recognition of the Genocide was presented on Russian television mainly in the context of relations with Russia.
In particular, during the news broadcast of Russia 24, the news anchor reminded that the United States has been “doing everything possible to persuade Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to abandon good-neighborly relations with Russia.”
United States “punishes Turkey for its independent foreign policy, particularly for the purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems.”
Wave of anti-Russianism, weakening of Russia’s influence and “Sorosians”
Concerns about the rise of another wave of anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia and the orientation of the society turning towards the West were running like a red thread in the analyzes and discussions on the topic.
In this context, the Russian propaganda machine again targeted and labeled the Armenian civil society and non-governmental organizations.
For example, during the program “Solovyov LIVE”, political scientist Simyon Baghdasarov first expressed cconviction that in Armenia this issue will be manipulated against Russia, in favor of the United States.
“The absolute majority of the population of Armenia is pro-Russian. Of course there is also a small segment, which has a pro-American attitude. We call them “sorosians”. They will play this card. Moreover, some of them are currently in power,” Baghdasarov said, noting that a geopolitical game is being played to oust Russia from the South Caucasus, and Biden’s actions should be analyzed from this perspective.
During the program “American Hills” broadcast by “Zvezda” TV channel of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Dmitry Egorchenkov also referred to the Armenian civil society as a a tool in the hands of the West.
He claims that the United States wants to use that leverage to advance its interests in Armenia, reducing Russia’s influence in the South Caucasus.
Union of Informed Citizens