The loss of Armenian statehood, or how there is no place for Pushkin in Yerevan
    Political expert on Russophobia in "ancient state"

    ANALYTICS  30 November 2022 - 18:42

    Huseyn Safarov

    On the eve of the second anniversary of the signing of the trilateral ceasefire declaration in Karabakh on November 9, a march was held at the Russian Embassy in Yerevan. The rally participants and their supporters consider this date a day of shame for Armenia, on which the country was allegedly forced by Russia. And very soon, the anti-Russian concept of this political demonstration almost turned into an anti-Russian ideology.

    It should be noted that all those were happening ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Armenia. And it was not just a rally for the rupture of Russian-Armenian ties, but a torchlight march under the insulting slogan of “Farewell, unwashed Russia!" The campaign was organized by the pro-Western formation “People’s Democratic Pole”, known for its radical rejection of any contact between Armenia and Russia.

    It is noteworthy that the slogan “Farewell, unwashed Russia!” was voiced by one of the leaders of the action, Vahe Gasparyan, exactly one year ago, on November 9, 2021. At that time he proclaimed the fundamental principle of the formation, stating, that “there was no friendship between the Russian and Armenian peoples”. The radicals of the group blame precisely Russia for the defeat of the Armenian occupying forces by the liberating Azerbaijani army. According to them, Russia was supposed to fight together with the occupants against the Azerbaijani forces.

    Such demonstrations have become a common sight in Armenia. Nevertheless, slogans, echoed in the English garden in Yerevan on November 29 carry a special meaning. This time, the chronicle of the nationalist “appeals and achievements” of Armenia received an addition in the form of demands to demolish the monuments of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and all those that are in some way connected to Russian history and culture. One shouldn’t consider those threats as empty, as Armenians can claim the title of regional champion when it comes to destroying physical evidence of foreign (ergo not Armenian) nations.

    Anyways, dozens of citizens, led by the leader of the “European Party of Armenia” political fraction, Tigran Khzmalyan, gathered at Yerevan’s English park, which is quite symbolic, and demanded the dismantling of the monument erected at that place more than half a century ago for the great Russian poet, Aleksandr Pushkin. And a few days earlier the Armenian media reported on Khzmalyan telling journalists that all Russian monuments in Armenia should be removed.

    A member of the Christian-Democratic Party, Gevorg Engibaryan, explained why foremost everything connected with Pushkin should be eliminated, saying “It is humiliating to have a street and school named after Alexander Pushkin in the center of Yerevan, who wrote a poem called ‘Tazit’ insulting the Armenian people”. So this is what Alexander Sergeyevich is accused of having done to the Armenians!

    But Engibaryan did not stop there, adding, that “We have a street named after [Timur] Frunze in the center of Yerevan, who taught Turkish soldiers how to kill Armenians. They have no ideological or cultural connection to us, even their worldview has nothing to do with us, it is an evil empire. We must get rid of them. We still have Leningrad Street, there is no such city, yet in Yerevan, there is such a street. For example, we have no street named after Leonid Azgaldian, no street named after our heroes, but there is a street named after Lenin. These people stood at the origin of the destruction of our state”.

    According to this Christian-democrat Armenian filling, the memory of all famous personalities, regardless of nationality, should be completely erased if they are associated with Russian history.

    At the same time, Armenian opponents of the development of the Russian vector are convinced that with the departure of Moscow, the collective West will immediately come to the aid of the Armenians, and to be exact: all of the West. This, of course, is unlikely, but a negative response in Russian society to such appeals by Armenian public figures and related public initiatives can arise.

    Moreover, the demands of Khzmalyan and Enghibaryan transcend the borders of the political plane: as one can deduct from their statements, the distasteful and even hostile position towards Russian politics has grown into hatred towards the Russian people, language and culture. While the anti-Russian attacks of Yerevan are familiar and even understandable somewhere, the anti-Russian moves may lead to more tragic results for the Armenians.

    Aleksandr Razuvayev, a Russian expert on Eurasia, suggested in a conversation with Caliber.Az that one of the reasons for the current surge of Russophobia in Armenia is that Russia did not help it in the war with Azerbaijan.

    “The leadership of Armenia and the common people hoped that Russia would fight for them. After the fighting on the conditional Armenian-Azerbaijani border in September of this year, when the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] did not intervene in the situation, anti-Russian sentiment significantly increased. Now they hope that France or NATO will fight for them” the Russian expert said.

    At the same time, Razuvayev believes that the win of a radical nationalist movement in Armenia will lead to a complete breakdown of relations with Russia.

    “In this case, Armenia will become even poorer, because there will be no migrant workers and Russian tourists, and the economy is one of the main reasons for Russophobia of the Armenian nationalism. Armenia is still a relatively poor country, and poverty always led to nationalism. Among other things, if relations with Russia break down, Armenian nationalists will probably want to take revenge in Karabakh. On the military and political level, this risks the loss of the Armenian statehood. It will be a tragedy for the Armenian army and for the Armenian people. Naturally, in this case, Russia will not help them and I am sure that the West will not help either. Nationalism is always bad”, our interviewee was convinced.


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