Anti-Western narratives in Azerbaijan embraced topics that dealt with the possible decay of the European project especially in comparison to the vibrant and active presence of Russia and China in the region. In an attempt to prove the low efficiency of democracy, pro-Kremlin websites insisted on messages that suggest the fall of the old European world as we knew it.
The leading states of European Union, such as Germany, are said to experience a dramatic turn. According to the anti-Western narratives palette, the EU’s management of the crisis revealed the EU’s moral decay: i.e. lack of solidarity with countries in need (Italy), supremacy of political priorities over humanitarian needs, especially in the case when the EU refused to abolish sanctions imposed on Russia.
The situation may get out of hand in Germany
Source: Sputnik Azerbaijan
Opinions often take the stance that the world order will change after the pandemic and the European globalists will find it difficult to be persuasive enough about the supremacy and advantages of a united Europe since it has been completely unprepared to face the pandemic. The case of Italy illustrates clearly the decorative character of the so called European Union.
The world fell into a systemic crisis – how coronavirus destroyed the mythical unity of the West
Source: Sputnik Azerbaijan
Viktor Orban: The pandemic showed the lack of unity among the EU states
Pro-Kremlin local websites
Dissemination of anti-Western messages is the responsibility of pro-Kremlin websites that operate mainly in Russian, as well as in Azeri. Sputnik Azerbaijan proved to have a rich palette of narratives that has been simultaneously spread throughout the region. Another local website that operates in Russian, Oxu.az, published an article that discredits the image of the EU having as example the case of Hungary. The article cites the words of Viktor Orban that the pandemics showed the lack of any unity in the EU, as Hungary benefited from more help from China than from the EU.
At the level of state actors, some deputies expressed publicly their approval of the undertaken quarantine measures that proved efficient in Azerbaijan: “That’s why we could control the spread of the virus, unlike some European states”
Anti-EU narratives target pro-Russian and pro-government populations. Some narratives, titles and images are thought-provoking enough to make those who are neutral about the EU to reconsider their position and choose for the more “visible and vibrant” presence of other international actors.
Anti-EU propaganda in Azerbaijan can be countered with official data with regard to financial aid provided by the EU to the states of the Eastern Partnership. Thus, the EU offered over €31 million to support immediate and short-term needs. Precisely, with the EU funds, vocational education schools in several regions will purchase equipment to produce protection equipment for medical staff.
Interestingly, there is no specific visible propaganda with regard to NATO or international institutions, such as the IMF. On 4th of May, Sputnik published an article that cites the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan that states that the country is determined to continue cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) to protect peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond. Besides, Poland, a EU and NATO member state provided medical equipment to Azerbaijan.
Coronavirus response: Poland provides Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan with medical supplies to fight the global pandemic