A few days ago, one of my friends sent me an article from the online version of authoritative Russian “Expert” magazine to look through. The article under the pathetic headline of “Why did Armenia Make a Mistake in PACE” is written by a certain Gevorg Mirzayan who is known to the Armenian public by his inadequate assessments on Gyumri tragedy. I'll write about this person representing Armenia and Armenian expert at the end of the column. Now I'd like to focus on another issue. The author unambiguously accuses the Armenian delegation of betraying the strategic ally brining the example of Azerbaijanis and Turks who unlike Armenians voted against the PACE resolution as a counter-argument.
You may have noticed that in my column on PACE, I have avoided the talks on Armenia-Russia ''strategic'' cooperation within the structure as I had apprehensions that it would affect the relations of the two delegations. But as the Russian side itself opened up Pandora's box, I decided to present my impressions over the 8 years of reporting on Council of Europe and Parliamentary Assembly activities which are factually proved by voting protocols.
So, as is known, Armenia and Russia cooperate within a number of structures but the PACE has its own place in the list simply because...there is hardly ever any cooperation within it. During almost all the votes crucial for Armenia, the Russian delegation members either abstained from voting or were simply absent preferring to spend the time in Strasburg malls or swimming pools in Baden-Baden. Russian MPs almost never joins the Armenian delegation's collection of signatures or initiatives. Instead, they occasionally came back after signing to recall their signature. At the same time, members of the Russian delegation irrespective of the party belongings always gladly take part in all the events organized by Azerbaijan and Turkey in the CoE building or outside of it- exhibitions, dinners, receptions and concerts- accepting the abundant gifts of the countries. And every time when the PACE intends to punish Azerbaijan and Turkey for numerous violations of human rights, limitations of freedom of expression and political prisoners, it is the Russian delegation that volunteers for the role of their major defender.
During one of my visit a few years ago, I was present at the meeting of the heads of Armenian and Russian delegations on the corridor of the PACE building when the head of our delegation ( I can't reveal his name as I have promised. He will unveil himself if he wants to) turned to his Russian counterpart saying that he pinned his hopes on the Russian delegation at the important vote the next day. ''Sure, I have told all our members, they will come tomorrow and support you'', he replied. Perhaps, you may already guess that the Russian delegation was fully absent from the next day's vote on Armenia-Azerbaijan relations. The saying, ''May God defend me from my friends: I can defend myself from my enemies'', is relevant here.
You know what? Honestly, I am happy that our delegation is as independent as possible in this authoritative structure and doesn’t hide behind ''the big brother''.
Now let's talk a bit about the likes of Gevorg Mirzayan. The textbooks on information wars claim that the idea of using the insiders against the rival belongs to the king of propaganda Joseph Goebbels. It was him that proposed to choose the traitors among the Russian captives, give them special propaganda knowledge and send to the Soviet side where they held anti-Soviet propaganda persuading Soviet soldiers to surrender to the Germans. It was a very simple calculation: the traitors were shot dead if revealed as they didn’t have valuable information.
A question: why does the Russian propaganda make use of a person with Armenian surname against Armenia? One can only make assumptions. The first one is: “the good’’ Armenian is counterbalanced to the “bad” ones. The second: Goebbels’ ideas are close to the Russian propaganda. And third: the young man volunteered to “be more Catholic than the Pope’’ and give a good lesson to his rebellious and remote compatriots.
And here we again face an important question about which the specialists of Armenian studies do not have a single stance and which answer is crucial for the younger generation: who can be considered an Armenia and who cannot? Can the surname ending in “yan’’ allow a person be considered an Armenian while he has nothing else Armenian. My personal opinion is that the one who considers himself Armenian is Armenian even if he is Ivan Petrov or John Smith.
And finally. The Russian propaganda working style keeps surprising me. In January, the Russian media outlets managed to raise an anti-Russian wave in Gyumri- the most pro-Russian city of the world. And notorious Mirzayan had his small and - maybe even big -contribution to it. If you don’t believe it, read the comments on the article. And don’t say - it is America to be blamed…
Davit Alaverdyan is Chief Editor of Mediamax.