Putin to Commemorate Genocide Centennial in Armenia

Arevagal, USA, 18 March 2015

France’s Agence France-Presse reported that President Putin will be traveling to Yerevan to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. This is wonderful news. I am truly grateful that a superpower such as Russia, an allied superpower at that, officially recognizes the historic tragedy that befell Armenia and Armenians one-hundred years ago and goes out of its way to stand with us, Armenians, as a symbolic yet powerful gesture that Armenia is not alone in the tumultuous south Caucasus.

Although 1995 is the year the Russian Duma officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, we must always remember that the Soviet Union commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 1965 by beginning the construction of the now world famous Armenian Genocide monument Tsitsernakaberd on the outskirts of Yerevan. April 24 was a major holiday for Soviet Armenia. Since 1995 all high ranking Russian officials and dignitaries who visit Armenia pay official visits to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex. Moreover, the Armenian Genocide is always acknowledged in state- funded Russian television programs and publications. In short, recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Moscow has not been a problem.

Arevagal, USA, 18 March 2015

France’s Agence France-Presse reported that President Putin will be traveling to Yerevan to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. This is wonderful news. I am truly grateful that a superpower such as Russia, an allied superpower at that, officially recognizes the historic tragedy that befell Armenia and Armenians one-hundred years ago and goes out of its way to stand with us, Armenians, as a symbolic yet powerful gesture that Armenia is not alone in the tumultuous south Caucasus.

Although 1995 is the year the Russian Duma officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, we must always remember that the Soviet Union commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 1965 by beginning the construction of the now world famous Armenian Genocide monument Tsitsernakaberd on the outskirts of Yerevan. April 24 was a major holiday for Soviet Armenia. Since 1995 all high ranking Russian officials and dignitaries who visit Armenia pay official visits to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex. Moreover, the Armenian Genocide is always acknowledged in state- funded Russian television programs and publications. In short, recognition of the Armenian Genocide in Moscow has not been a problem.

Which brings up an important question: If, as we are told, international relations is solely based on 'interests', why then is Moscow going out of its way to recognize the Armenian Genocide? Think about it: Armenia is almost totally dependent on Russia for its survival and Russians know that Armenia has no alternatives to Russia. Therefore, is it in Moscow's political or economic interests to disregard the wishes of Turks and Azeris and take sides with Armenians by recognizing a historic event that took place one-hundred years ago?

In my opinion, if Russian officials were simply being guided by selfish 'interests' Moscow would not have recognized the Armenian Genocide in the ways it has. After all, don't Anglo-American-Israeli officials always point to political considerations (i.e. close ties to Turkey) as the primary reason why they are incapable of recognizing the Armenian Genocide? Well, what about Russian ties to the Turks?

Let's take a brief look at this matter from a Russian perspective:

Bilateral trade between Russia and Turkey/Azerbaijan is very lucrative, running to the tune of tens of billions of dollars annually. Russia has been trying to lure Turkey away from NATO for many years. Russia has been doing its best to draw Azerbaijan into its political orbit. Russia recognizes Turkey's strategic importance as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. Russia recognizes Turkey's strategic control over the Bosporus Straits. Russia has a very lucrative arms supply deal with Baku. Russia just recently signed a major multi-billion dollar natural gas pipeline project with Turkey. Russia recognizes the importance of Azerbaijan as a strategic energy hub. Millions of Russians spend their vacations on Turkish beaches. Russians know that there are over one-hundred million Turks/Turanians bordering Russia. Russians know that millions of pacified Turkic peoples live right within the Russian Federation.

Similar to what Western powers do when it comes to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Russia has every excuse to pander to Turks and Azeris at the cost of Armenian interests. At the very least, Moscow has solid excuses for not officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Unlike what Western powers do, Russian officials have put aside their political and financial interests with Turkey and Azerbaijan to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Think about it: Is this not the definition of what a true friend should be? Is this not what an ally is supposed to do? It's worth mentioning that Moscow's pro-Armenian approach to this matter has been a Russian initiative because there is a virtual absence of Armenian lobbying efforts in Moscow. In other words, there is no "Hye Tad" and there is no ANC in Russia. Russians recognize the Armenian Genocide because Russians want to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The last time President Putin was in Armenia (2013) he once again made time to visit the memorial, and some of our "Westernized" citizens greeted the man's arrival with obscenities.

Although Armenians are–generally speaking–too politically ignorant or too emotional to realize it, Russians have been going out of their way to stand with us, Armenians, even though by doing so they may be hurting some of their national interests. Think about it: Other than keeping a group of troublesome Armenians temporarily happy, what are Russian officials gaining by their recognition of the Armenian Genocide? It's not like Armenia's dependence on Russia or allegiance to Moscow is at stake. In other words, nothing of political significance would change within the political landscape in Armenia if Russians did not recognize the Armenian Genocide. Other than hurting Armenian feelings, nothing of real political value would change in the political landscape in Armenia if Russian officials did not join us on April 24.

So then, why is Moscow standing firmly beside Armenians? Russians are temporarily putting aside their economic and political interests with Turks and Azeris to show Turks, Azeris and Armenians, as well as the rest of the world, that Russia's alliance and friendship with Armenia transcends political and/or economic calculations. In other words, Moscow wants the world to know that Russian-Armenian alliance goes beyond mere interests and that Russia sees Armenia as part and parcel of Russian and not Western civilization.

Let's take a look at what the Russian factor means for Armenia:

Russia provides invaluable military protection against Turkey, thereby allowing Armenia's small military to concentrate its limited resources on a more manageable enemy, Azerbaijan. Russian officials regularly warn Baku against trying to solve the unresolved dispute in Artsakh militarily. Russia provides Armenia modern weaponry at domestic prices and often for free to help Armenia keep up with oil-rich Baku's massive arms expenditures. Russia looks the other way when Yerevan transfers large quantities of Russians arms to Artsakh. Russia trains Armenian military specialists for free. Russian intelligence officials closely collaborate with their Armenian counterparts. Russian scientists and academicians closely collaborate with their Armenian counterparts. Russia supplies Armenia with very affordable gas and oil. Russia provides Armenia's atomic power plant its nuclear fuel and assists in its maintenance. Russia has invested billions of dollars in Armenia's economy and infrastructure. Russia is, by far, Armenia's largest trading partner. Russia provides work opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Armenians, whose remittances to Armenia represent a significant portion of the country's GDP. Russia uses its UN veto power to block actions against Armenia. Russia has tolerated Armenia's flirtations with Western powers. Finally, Russia officially recognizes the Armenian Genocide.

The only thing Russia has not begun doing in Armenia–at least to my knowledge–is give every Armenian alive a week-long, all-expenses paid vacation in Disneyland.

Although Armenians (including pro-Russian Armenians) complain about the way Moscow treats Armenia, the reality is that Russian officials have been treating Armenia with soft gloves, despite the fact that an increasing number of Armenians are making a living propagating Russophobia and despite the fact that Yerevan has maintained close ties with the political West against Russian wishes. It would be wise for Armenians to put aside their empty bravado–as well as Western fetishes–and realize that Armenia lives today not because of the 'almighty Armenian' and not because of the big-talking Diaspora but because of the Russian factor in Armenia. Had it not been for Russia, Armenia would have suffered the fate as Cyprus, Serbia, Georgia or Ukraine or worse a long time ago. Anyone that does not see this is either doesn't know the facts or is an agent of the West.

Thus it is no surprise that as Russians prepare to commemorate our solemn centennial with us, some prominent Western figures will run to stand with the  Turks…[such as] Prince Charles and Prince Harry to attend Gallipoli service for Anzac Day. Some Westerners are selling themselves to the Turks, other Westerners are selling themselves to the Azeris…
 

4 comments
  1. Putin’s visit

    When you have a leader of a country like Russia (a true superpower in the world along with China) coming to Armenia to share the pain of AG we should only be proud and thankful. 

    Let's watch and see who else from world powers will come on April 24, 2015 and at which level. This is a test to make or break.

    Russia has proved to be a true friend, reliable ally and a military-strategic partner. 

    To me Putin's visit on April 24, 2015 is a guarantee that another genocide will not happen. 
     

  2. Putin’s visit date not certain

    According to Dmitry Peskov (TASS, 20 March 2015) Putin's visit to Armenia is being discussed and the exact date will be announced once it's fixed. On March 18 Erdogan called Putin after he announced his April 24 visit to Yerevan following  March 17 call to Sargsyan. It is possible that Erdogan could have threatened Putin on Turkey not agreeing to the Turkish gas pipeline to carry Russian gas. As a result the uncertainty announced by Dmitri Peskov.

     

  3. A Futile Strategy

    Drawing a parallel between the United States of America and the world at large, I am inclined to believe in hindsight that inviting other countries to attend the commemoration of the Centennial of the Genocide by the Republic of Armenia was a purposeless strategy.

    Let me elaborate on the parallel.

    From Alaska to Washington, the overwhelming majority of the States, forty-two, have recognized the Armenian Genocide and yet the United States of America, the sum total of the fifty states, has not. In terms of strategy to have the United States recognize the Genocide, the recognition of the individual states, including the remaining eight that may come sooner or later, is meaningless.

    The recognition of individual countries or their good wills are also meaningless for us in terms of the world at large recognizing the Armenian Genocide and living up to its recognition. Their individual recognition and good wills are serving to advance their narrow interests and further their own strategies but not ours.

    We are becoming consumed and exhausted by pursuing a path that is not only of utter futility but also counter productive. We have been keeping a tab as to who among the invitees are willing to show up and who have turned our invitation down.  The Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide is our responsibility. We did not need to invite others to share our grief while welcoming those who want to join us on their own.

    Much like pursuing the recognition of the Armenian Genocide through the American Congress; on the world stage we should pursue it through the United Nations. If the latter is only fig leaf that even there our cause is doomed, then to hell with the world and its institutions.

    Human logic might not have reasoned that it would have been possible for a people so persecuted to endure; a Divine Power has led us as a people come a long way and there is no reason that we cannot go on being productive and enjoying our lives as long as we remain united and determined in pursuing our cause to its just resolution.

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