May 2, 2019
The election of Nikol Pashinyan as Prime Minister of Armenia in May 2018, following a series of pro-democracy demonstrations termed the country’s “Velvet Revolution,” ushered in a revitalized sense of trust in government in Armenia and reinvigorated the country’s dense civil society landscape. In 2018, The Economist named Armenia its “Country of the Year,” proclaiming that now this “ancient and often misruled nation in a turbulent region has a chance of democracy and renewal. But while the Velvet Revolution has invigorated Armenia’s sociopolitical fabric, it has also galvanized the adversaries of political change. In recent months, several such adversaries, comprising a network under the hashtag campaign #SutNikol (translated from Armenian to “#FakeNikol”), have launched a sophisticated online influence operation with the aim of discrediting Nikol Pashinyan and his supporters by spreading biased narratives and disinformation online.