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Azatutyun: A Powerful Propaganda Tool in Armenia

Azatutyun came into the limelight the other day when General Movses Hakobyan refused to answer a reporter’s question from that media outlet, accusing them of carrying on work that ruined Armenia. He was right.

The day after Traitor Nikol signed the total capitulation agreement with Azerbaijan, giving away 80% of Artsakh including Shushi and Karvajar, Azatutyun’s sister organization, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) published a video on their YouTube page titled, “Armenians And Azeris Live In Harmony In Georgian Village​.” The video is about Tsopi village in Georgia. You may remember this village’s name from a CivilNet report in December 2019 titled, “A Village Where Armenians and Azeris Share Problems Other Than Conflict,” which led to my article titled, “Irrelevant Narratives of Peace.”

Azatutyun produces some of the highest-quality reporting in Armenia; I know many of you use its website and watch its news. Do you know how it’s able to provide such high-quality reporting? Because it is funded by the United States government.

For those of you who don’t know, Azatutyun’s sister organization, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was established during the Cold War as a propaganda channel (today it goes by “public diplomacy”) and as a CIA front organization to cause internal dissent within Eastern Bloc countries, including the Soviet Union. That’s good, you may say. OK. The USSR is gone – why do Azatutyun and RFE/RL continue to exist?

They exist under the guise of expanding subjective abstractions like “freedom,” “democracy,” and “fairness” in countries where these things, according to them are, somehow invariably, insufficient. In reality, Azatutyun and its sister media organizations are just propaganda outlets that freely operate in countries much weaker than the United States in order to promote whatever the US government believes is in its best interest. Local media companies have to compete with this. They usually can’t so they apply to foreign grants, which themselves have requirements and boundaries about what to report, and thus you have media field which overwhelmingly presents just one side of the story. All under the name of freedom.

So, whenever there was a protest in the pre-Nikol years, Azatutyun, along with CivilNet, would provide live coverage and, not infrequently, put themselves in positions where they would be overrun by police or caught amid a clash between activists and police, which would then be used as an example of brutality against journalists duly reported to whatever international body could pass judgement on that sort of thing and lower Armenia’s score in some international ranking.

The live coverage and the subsequent write-ups would focus their “journalism” on the protestors and activists, publicizing their calls for people to get out, acting as an advertising platform for more people to join the protests; they would reiterate the message of the protestors that people need to hit the streets under the guise of reporting the news. They would cut their videos to increase outrage among viewers that protestors were being abused, they would cut their videos to show large crowds when they weren’t so large yet.

This happened during the electricity protests in Yerevan where they were raising the rate by a few cents but it became some sort of national outrage; this happened when terrorists took over a police station and killed three innocent police officers; and, this happened, most importantly, in 2018, when Nikol Pashinyan, the foreign-funded yellow journalist and his cohort of foreign-funded activists, launched a nationwide protest movement that unseated the previous government. It was done with the full backing of Azatutyun and CivilNet and other foreign-funded media outlets and individuals.

Conversely, when protestors gathered in Liberty Square in Yerevan when Traitor Pashinyan signed the capitulation agreement, they weren’t even showing the protestors in the live broadcast. Rather, they were hiding and filming the police, making it seem like the police outnumbered the people.

Make no mistake about it: the tragedy that is Armenia today is a direct result of the yearslong efforts of Azatutyun and other foreign-funded outlets that operate not with Armenia’s best interests in mind but those of their benefactors.

So, why should a media outlet like Azatutyun that doesn’t have the best interests of Armenia in mind and is fully funded by a foreign government have free reign in a country where it is able to significantly shift public opinion?

…yet we wonder how we got here.


  1. Mesrob Mesrob Dec 21, 2020

    Good stuff. Why would anyone who knows “Azadoutune” is funded by the U.S. State Department watch it? I suspect a lot of Armenia media is compromised because of owner or donor (oligarch, political parties, Soros, and others) interference. The U.S. State Department is so self-confident that it doesn’t bother to change the channel’s name to something other than Liberty”. There are duplicates of “Azadoutune” all over the globe.

  2. David Davidian David Davidian Dec 21, 2020

    Hungary 1956, Prague 1968, need we say more!

    Yerevan, Armenia

  3. Vahram Bagratounian Vahram Bagratounian Jul 11, 2021

    Dear William, I discovered The Armenite quite recently and I would like to express my gratitude for the good work that you carry out. The first article I real was “The useful idiots of revolution ” and the ideas expressed in the article were something I’d been carrying in my mind since June 2018. So I was more than happy to find a fellow Armenian who shared my concerns and ideas. What I consider as a rarely positive character trait in your articles is your critical and honest analysis of the western policies toward Armenia. Shortly, I admire you for not being infrcted with a disease very common among Armenians living in the west, escpecially in USA, i.e. A tendency to justify and applaud to US foreign policy, irrational russophobia based on ignorance, brainwash and poor education. I have lived in Denmark since 1993 with my wife and my daughter, being originally from Armenia. I am well aware how the western foreign policy works and what are the true motives of USA, NATO=Turkey when it comes to the Middle East and the Southern Caucasus. The overwhelming majority of the western societies is extremely conformist but yet they believe the myth of spreading freedom and democracy by their governments and NATO, like they did in Iraq and Syria. Unfortunately our nation had to suffer this tragedy in order to come to its senses and try to understand how it happened and who were behind that chain of events. Anyway, thank you for your articles and keep up the good work. Hopefully your work will help some of our fellow Armenians to wake up from ignorance and apathy.

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