Russian TV Portrays Karabakh Move as Humanitarian, Political Success

By Emil Sanamyan

Russia’s Channel 1 dedicated roughly eight minutes of its hour-long Sunday news show to Karabakh, which included interviews with local residents, Russian personnel in Karabakh and selective citations of Western media commentary.

“Big thank you to your president Putin, he saved us, and stopped the war,” says Inessa Safaryan, living in temporary housing for internally displaced in Stepanakert. “If it wasn’t for Russia, for Russian soldiers, none of us would be here.”

The report continues by highlighting the work of Russian de-miners clearing unexploded ordnance and military medics providing health services to locals. “People here haven’t seen doctors of this qualification for a long time,” says the narrator.

The report continues with description of the Russian peacekeeping deployment and mission to safeguard the cease-fire along the line of contact and the link between Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia.

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“Had Russian peacekeepers come earlier, this war would not have happened,” says an elderly man in Stepanakert’s main square. The narrator adds: “Putin’s role in securing the cease-fire saved thousands, if not tens of thousands of lives.”

“Western media, which is typically not very sympathetic to Russia had to recognize our country’s accomplishments,” the narrator continues, presenting a quote from an article in the Wall Street Journal calling Russian peacekeeping in Karabakh, a “geopolitical triumph.”

“Russia used this opportunity to win internationally and to increase its regional influence,” reports an Eastern European publication. “The West is losing its regional influence,” adds a German newspaper.

“It is hard to remember another conflict that would stop so quickly after introduction of peacekeepers,” the narrator continues. “This became possible with Putin’s mediation.” The report concludes with Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan making positive comments about the cease-fire and its implementation at their January 11 meeting in Moscow.

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This piece was originally published in Focus on Karabkah.

Emil Sanamyan is a South Caucasus specialist based in Washington D.C.. He is the editor of the University of Southern Claifornia Focus on Karabakh platform.