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Armenian PM Threatens to Ban Russian TV Channels

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Armenia could ban Russian television broadcasts if Moscow continues ignoring Yerevan’s requests for more balanced coverage, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Tuesday.

“We expect the broadcasts of Russian TV channels to respect the citizens and the state system of Armenia,” Pashinyan said during a marathon press conference, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. “We ask for a respectful attitude toward Armenia and its interests.”

Russian state television has regularly aired attacks on Armenia’s leadership and policies since relations between the two countries soured over Moscow’s failure to prevent Azerbaijan from seizing control over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region last fall. Russia had maintained a peacekeeping mission in the region following a brief war between Baku and Yerevan in 2020.

Independent Russian media previously reported that the Kremlin had ordered state media and lawmakers to blame Armenia for Azerbaijan’s attack in September 2023.

Armenia issued a 30-day suspension in December for the local branch of the Kremlin-funded Russian broadcaster Sputnik over remarks by the pro-Kremlin TV personality Tigran Keosayan, who is the husband of RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.

Likewise, the Armenian authorities blocked pro-Kremlin TV host Vladimir Solovyov’s shows in March over “continuous violations.”

According to Interfax, Pashinyan threatened Tuesday that “if the numerous demands are ignored, there’s no other way [but for] all these [Russian] TV channels to be switched off and not broadcast in Armenia.” 

“We’ve already asked and demanded seven and more times, and we will demand two more times. If not, then let’s put on record what our next step will be,” he said.

Since invading Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has stepped back from its role as a regional power broker as it has been forced to redirect most of its military and resources toward its war effort.

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