Author: Oleg KUZNETSOV, Moscow
Concluding the series of articles, we thought it was important and necessary to explain why Armenian authorities and the Diaspora make serious efforts to exalt the personality of Garegin Nzhdeh, but not of any other Armenian nationalist, who had contributed to the emergence of the Republic of Armenia on the world political map more than he had.
Over the past twenty-five years, a number of Armenian personalities have been nominated for the role of a charismatic ideal model for Armenian intelligentsia and youth, who would please all political elites within Armenia and the Diaspora.
International terrorist Monte Melkonian has been one of the first names propelled in this capacity shortly after the end of the 1988-1994 Karabakh war. Born and raised in the United States, the graduate of Berkeley University (California) took part in the 1975-1990 civil war in Lebanon and was the second person in the transnational Armenian terrorist group ASALA. He later transformed it into a terrorist group ASALA-RM, which he took to Armenia in 1989 to start the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. The objective was to create a second independent Armenian state in the South Caucasus, as prescribed by Garegin Nzhdeh.
Incidentally, the Armenian diaspora of Russia still views Monte Melkonian as a major Armenian national hero of our time. However, the majority of Armenians believe that Melkonian could not establish himself in this capacity for two reasons: i) in summer 1992, Azerbaijani military completely destroyed his detachment called Arabo; ii) shortly after, Melkonian was killed during a reconnaissance mission and decapitated in a close-handed fight. Obviously, such an inglorious death of Melkonian and all of his soldiers could not reward his criminal personality with heroic coverage despite the ongoing attempts to make this happen.
Therefore, Yerevan chose Garegin Nzhdeh as the main national hero of Armenia. By and large, the choice was made due to a power struggle in Armenia, and not ideological reasons. The process began in 2000, when the leader of the Republican Party of Armenia created in accordance with Nzhdeh's racial theory of Tseghakron, Andranik Margarian, was appointed the Prime Minister of Armenia. That period is known for a fierce internal political struggle in Armenia between the supporters of the first Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosian and his successor, Robert Kocharian, who removed the former from this position. The cause of the political crisis was Ter-Petrosian's position in the negotiations with Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, which implied the return to Azerbaijan of most of the occupied territories adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh without any preliminary conditions. After a terrorist attack in the Armenian parliament on October 27, 1999, Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations were suspended. The military junta, which assumed the power in Armenia shortly after, mostly comprised of Armenians born in Azerbaijan, who declared the occupied Azerbaijani territories as part of Armenia in order to explain and legitimise the actual usurpation of power. To raise its authority in Armenia, the new government decided to glorify Garegin Nzhdeh, for in April 1921, he proclaimed the Republic of Mountainous Armenia (in fact, the second Armenian state in South Caucasus), thereby laying a basis for existing claims of Armenian nationalists on the occupied lands of Azerbaijan. The idea was to explain to the natives of Armenia and Yerevan why the Karabakhi Armenians from Azerbaijan have seized the power and had a moral right to govern them.
Nzhdeh's theory of Tseghakron was a significant factor contributing to the change of political elites during the struggle for power in Armenia. President Levon Ter-Petrosian was a supporter of liberal nationalism close to the ideology of the Dashnaktsutyun Party, which he nevertheless banned temporarily after the 1996 coup attempt by the radical group Dro. President Robert Kocharian should have offered the society a new national ideology, which would be clear for his fellow citizens and different from that of his predecessor. Since he was unable to formulate something fundamentally new, he simply borrowed the theory of Nzhdeh as the more right wing theory appropriate for his foreign and domestic policies. Over the years, Tseghakron has transformed from a party theory to a national one supported by a significant part of Armenian society.
Currently, the main ideological contradiction between the political elites of Armenia is that some of them consider the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as part of Armenia, while others view Armenia itself de facto not as a metropolis, but as a colony of the so-called Artsakh. Until recently, the latter dominated the Armenian political class, at least the part that had directly run the country.
As a matter of fact, the whole life, as well as all human, material, financial, administrative and diplomatic resources of modern Armenia are spinning around the idea of occupying Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, people from Karabakh who were citizens or at least natives of Azerbaijan, occupy or have occupied until recently all key positions in the government, local administration, military and law enforcement. They also had privileged positions in financial and business spheres. Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sargsyan have scrupulously transferred to Russia all material income accumulated during their tenure as presidents of Armenia, creating private campaigns and corporations in Russia and effectively implementing a colonial policy in Armenia. To curb the resistance of Armenian population to their comprador activities, Kocharian and Sargsyan have raised Garegin Nzhdeh, the founding father of the idea of the second Armenian state in South Caucasus, to the rank of a national idol.
Any disagreement of the civil society with this state of affairs has been brutally suppressed. On March 1-2, 2008, for example, the government used the army in Yerevan to disperse mass protests against the falsification of the results of the presidential elections won by another representative of the Karabakh clan, Serzh Sargsyan, killing ten protesters on the streets of Yerevan. Thus, the Nzhdeh theory is used not only in the foreign policy of Armenia to justify the aggression against Azerbaijan, but also in the domestic policy of Armenia to suppress the fundamental rights and democratic freedoms of Armenian citizens.
The glorification of the Nazi criminal Garegin Nzhdeh and the international terrorist Monte Melkonian has been a double-purpose tool used by Armenian authorities: i) to demonstrate to the people of Armenia that the policy of subordinating Armenia to the descendants from Nagorno-Karabakh Republic created by international terrorists in the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, or Artsakh in Armenian, is welcomed and approved by the international community (in fact, individual states); ii) to strengthen the occupation regime by setting an appearance of a moral right to exist, although this is completely unacceptable in accordance with the norms of international law. In fact, the entire policy is full of legal nihilism, a violation of human dignity, which has always been, is and will be a hallmark of Nazism in all its ideological manifestations and interpretations.
Thanks to the propaganda of the Diaspora, the image of Garegin Nzhdeh has twice proved incompatible with the norms of modern international law, because he was an active supporter of Nazism, creating one of its new theoretical varieties, and has his name associated with a theory that promotes nothing but the occupation of Azerbaijani territories of Nagorno-Karabakh.