As if calamities that had befallen on Armenia had not been enough, August 14 brought another tragedy, when an explosion ripped through the Surmalu market, leaving 16 citizens dead and sending 61 to hospitals. While rescue operations continue, the authorities are investigating the cause of the blast, which all indications suggest is poorly-stored explosives. They have already ruled out an act of terror but speculation continued in the news and social media, with many proposing different scenarios and even some pointing a finger at Armenia’s foes.
Only some members of a fringe political group called the National Democratic Axis (Bever; NDA) have indirectly accused Russia as the perpetrator of the disaster.
Indeed, a supporter of the NDA has claimed in a Facebook post: “The Russians will blow up half of Armenia with fireworks until it capitulates.”
Another leader of the same group, Garegin Chukaszyan, believes that “foreign forces are behind these actions, diverting public attention from the upcoming ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh.”
Other than those few statements, there have only been scant references to Russia regarding this tragedy. Mainstream media, in particular, has been cautious not to make similar claims against Russia.
However, Moscow has lodged an irate protest with the Armenian government, asking it to curb the promulgation of such accusations.