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Russian propaganda chief Margarita Simonyan banned from entering Armenia

The Armenian authorities have banned RT editor-in-chief and propagandist Margarita Simonyan from entering the country, Simonyan wrote on her Telegram channel while commenting on a similar restriction for State Duma deputy Konstantin Zatulin.

“Konstantin Zatulin, who has been a fierce supporter of Armenia for many years, was banned from entering Armenia by the current Armenian head of state. Me, too, by the way,” she wrote.

Simonyan did not name the reasons for the decision or specify when she was banned.

Zatulin reported the ban on October 25. He received a letter on the “undesirability” of his visit to Armenia, which claimed that the MP's recent public remarks about Armenia “damage the development of friendly and allied relations between the two states.” Armenian media outlets reported that Zatulin was deemed “undesirable” as he had repeatedly and publicly “accused the Armenian authorities of defeat during the 44-day war” in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Simonyan has also repeatedly provoked harsh reactions from the Armenian government with her remarks. In the summer of 2020, as another conflict unfolded in Nagorno-Karabakh, she wrote a post in which she called the current Armenian authorities “a handful of screaming politicians who betrayed the interests of the great Armenian people for a moment of power and petty personal revenge.”

“In response to the many years of kindness and protection you have received from Russia, you haven’t recognized Crimea [as part of Russia]. Because this is an internal Armenian matter. <...> you flooded the country with anti-Russian NGOs, which teach young people how to overthrow the government in Russia. <...> You became a springboard for anti-Russian forces in the Caucasus. Because this is an internal Armenian matter. <...> Actually, after everything you did, Russia has a full moral right to spit on you and rub it in,” Simonyan said then.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan personally responded to Simonyan, saying that her statements caused a strong negative reaction in the country, adding that all her claims were untenable. “Russia should understand that Russia's ally in Armenia is not Pashinyan, not Petrosyan, not Pogosyan, not Sargsyan, not Kocharyan, its ally and partner is the Armenian people,” he said.

In 2020, Simonyan claimed that she considers Russia her homeland, even though she is a native Armenian: “In our family, they make khash (a national Armenian dish) and sing songs in Armenian, and I enjoy traditional Armenian dances.”

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