Essay

The arrest of Mikael Arzumanyan. an example of propaganda

02 / 09 / 2022

In the modern struggle of speech (discourse), the supremacy in the information field occupies an important place. An important element of this struggle is the ability to form such an agenda that will occupy a leading position and become the main subject of public discussion. It is possible with the combination of two components. The first component is a sharp diversion of the audience’s attention from the main issue to the secondary issue.

An example of this is the detention of Mikael Arzumanyan, the former commander of the Defense Army of the Republic of Artsakh, the current chief advisor to the President of the Republic of Artsakh. It was this news that began to occupy a dominant position in the Armenian information field.

To understand what problem this detention solves, it is important to pay attention to the chronology of events. Five days before the arrest, on August 25, the de facto authorities handed over Berdzor, Aghavno and Sus to Azerbaijan. This national-scale tragedy has accumulated negative feelings towards the current regime in Armenia. On the day of the arrest, August 30, the Berdzor corridor was handed over and the new communication route between Armenia and Artsakh was launched.In order not to allow a doubling of public negative sentiments due to the anti-national policy, the arrest planned for that day focused all attention on this event, overshadowing the mentioned steps.

The second component of success is focusing on the chosen event.

Thus, the Investigative Committee of Armenia claims that during the large-scale aggression of Azerbaijan against Artsakh from October 30 to November 9, 2020, Lieutenant-General Arzumanyan, organizing the defense of the city of Shushi and the surrounding regions, showed a negligent attitude towards his official duties, not fulfilling them and performing improperly, which led to the complete transfer of control of the city to the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan.

So, the de facto authorities of Armenia appointed the culprits of Shushi’s downfall. The main desire of the Armenian society is to punish the culprits of the 2020 capitulation. The symbol of capitulation is the fall of Shushi, because after this event the war stopped. Therefore, finding the “culprit” of this particular tragedy was a priority for the de facto authorities. This also allows to focus the attention of the public, because the arrest is not an event as such, but a whole series of information manipulation that can be used in the future.

For example, as a result of the upcoming meeting in Brussels, Nikol Pashinyan may secure another diplomatic capitulation, as he did in April, when he announced “the need to lower the bar of expectations in the Artsakh issue.” In such cases, one can press on the sore point again and report what exactly Arzumanyan is guilty of or reveal the details of the negligence, making it the main agenda, overshadowing dangerous topics for the de facto authorities.

PhD Sergei Melkonian

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