Victory rhetoric strong in Armenia and MSM, but more journalists contradict it

By | Rachel Brooks

November 5, 2020 

Above, satellite image of the destruction of Aghdam after Armenian forces invasion in the previous conflict, shared by the editor of BILD, fair use. 

Despite the anticipated victory of the Azerbaijani forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian army continues to pursue the region as if it had gained the upper hand. This position is supported by frequent victory rhetoric which has been published by the Armenian Defense Ministry. 

This included reports of “destroyed” Azerbaijani forces. 

“Hostilities continued in the #Azerbaijan#Karabakh conflict zone.

#Artsakh Defense Forces destroyed Az. small groups in the area of Karin Tak & Lisagor.

An accumulation of Az. armored vehicles were observed in the direction of Shushi. Defense Forces destroyed them w/precise fire,” stated the Artsakh Defense Army official Twitter.

Despite the frequent reports and press releases like this one, Armenian forces are losing considerable ground in the region. Azerbaijan is expected to reclaim all of the territory lost in the immediate post-Soviet conflict of the 1988-1994 era. 

The media that is shared with one of Armenia’s official press outlets is sent out across them all. This information, though inaccurate at best, has not been refuted by global press agencies. The global press appears to hold a significant bias for the Armenian side of the conflict, and for this reason, rhetoric is recirculated without a complete fact check. 

The continued rhetoric of the Armenian offensive into Nagorno-Karabakh has been pressed forward by emotionally sympathetic pieces that appeared in the Associated Press. Anna A. Naghdalyan cited Associated Press’ coverage of the many baptisms Armenian recruits have recently received into the Apostolic Church before they go to the front. She called it a “fight for their homeland,” even though Nagorno-Karabakh is a territory previously shared by a heavy percentage of both Azerbaijani and Armenians that has, within 30 years, been completely ethnically cleansed of Azerbaijani citizens. 

Thomas C. Theiner, a frequent commentator of the conflict, noted the despair on the faces of the youths who appear in the Associated Press baptism film. 

“The conscripts facial expressions tell you how long they expect to live… while from #Yerevan safety #Armenia‘s government officials keep gloating about how many youngsters they send to a senseless, inevitable death,” tweeted Theiner. 

As continued rhetoric of victory against all odds is also met with aggression toward any counter-narrative by the Armenian lobby. Commentators around the world have received direct threats, and have been accused of conspiring with President Ilham Aliyev or the Azerbaijani government. Journalists in France and Italy have been berated for covering the conflict on behalf of their media companies. 

On November 3, conflict commentator Tom Zein posted to his Twitter a list of the threats he had personally received. 

“I receive many hate messages from #Armenians and false statements that I am being sponsored by @presidentaz (as if he has no other business). Short compilation for you!,” tweeted Zein

Despite this fact, more reporters of the world press have begun to post commentary that changes the set-in-stone rhetoric regarding Armenia’s self-proclaimed homeland defense in the Nagorno-Karabakh. Among these is the editor of BILD, a German-language newspaper. 

“Seriously, dear Armenians.

Stop telling me about “ethnic. cleansing” and how you “defend your homeland”. You are fighting on Azerbaijani soil and you displaced hundreds of thousands there, “tweeted Julian Ropcke, the editor of Bild, on November 3. 

#Agdam is a good example of what you did and until that very day defend to be totally ok… “