Armenia has suspended the license of Russian state-owned media outlet Sputnik in the country. This 30-day suspension follows outcry from Russian pundit Tigran Keosayan making offensive comments about Armenia. In a November broadcast, Keosayan made unspecified remarks which reportedly “encouraged illegal acts” within Armenia’s border. The Russian Embassy in Armenia made this statement following the ban:
“We regret that the verdict of the republican regulator will affect the unconditional right of the Armenian listener to receive information from the source of his choice.
We also noticed that the decision to suspend broadcasting of a branch of the Russian media in our friendly Armenia was made just a week after the December 14th of this year. In a constructive manner of consultations through the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of High-Technological Industry of the Republic of Armenia, during which the parties agreed on close cooperation in resolving all controversial issues that arise.
This step cannot but look like a concession to those who are increasingly in favor of breaking the traditional, mutually beneficial and mutually respectful allied relations between Russia and Armenia.”
Russian State Duma member Khinstein also called the ban “depressing and sad” in a Telegram post.
This move to suspended the Russian outlet is significant in that it occurred in a deeply Russian aligned caucus state, a state that currently has thousands of Russian troops stationed in it for security. However, Sputnik has been branded a propaganda arm of the Russian Federation and has already been banned in the European Union. After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western countries rejected the propaganda line of the invasion with alacrity.