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‘Azerbaijan’s business’ The Kremlin’s media guidelines tell the Russian press to blame Armenia and the West for Baku’s deadly shelling of Nagorno-Karabakh
Meduza has obtained a copy of guidelines distributed by the Kremlin late September 19 to Russia’s state-controlled news media. The memo contains instructions on how to cover Azerbaijan’s military strike on Nagorno-Karabakh, in which 32 people have been killed and more than 200 injured.
Russia’s propagandist news media are advised to stress that the assault was precipitated by Armenia and its Western “partners,” and that “the Armenian leadership has recognized the sovereignty of Azerbaijan over Karabakh.”
To support this claim, the Kremlin suggests quoting what Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in October 2022 when he and Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, made mutual assurances of each country’s respect for the other’s sovereignty.
The media guidelines say this:
The Armenian Premier was probably pushed to make these remarks by his Western “partners,” who should now fully share the responsibility for their consequences. The Armenian leadership’s decision, which cardinally altered Karabakh’s status, prompted Azerbaijan to take action. Baku now sees the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh as its own internal business.
As for the Russian peacekeepers deployed in Karabakh, the Kremlin suggests describing their function as “monitoring” the situation in the region. It is, nevertheless, advisable to talk about how the peacekeepers help “evacuate the civilian population.”
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Other suggested topics for the media to cover include a story about displaced Karabakh residents taking “refuge” in an Orthodox church building, located on the grounds of a Russian peacekeeping base.
Examples of compliant coverage have already started to appear in print. The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, for instance, writes that Nikol Pashinyan agrees that “Karabakh is Azerbaijan.” “The people of Armenia want to see peace in Karabakh and prosperity in Armenia. The government in Yerevan, though, judging by its policies, only dreams of getting rid of Karabakh and sailing west,” the paper opines.
Similarly, the online news outlet Lenta.ru writes that “the Karabakh question is essentially turning into Azerbaijan’s internal business.”
On September 20, Azerbaijan and the government in Nagorno-Karabakh declared a cease-fire. The Artsakh Defense Forces, established with Armenia’s help in Nagorno-Karabakh, will now be dissolved.
On September 21, a meeting on “reintegrating” the Karabakh Armenians into Azerbaijan and ensuring their safety is scheduled to take place in Yevlakh.
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