18 September 2021

Saturday, 10:55



Interview with Russian historian, lawyer and political analyst Oleg KUZNETSOV



Obviously, the summit of the Council of Heads of States of the CIS held in mid-October in Ashgabat will most likely be remembered by the bold and uncompromising statement by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the glorification of Nazism in Armenia. In the presence of the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinian, Aliyev condemned the new Armenian authorities for the erection of a monument to Hitler's henchman Garegin Nzhdeh in the centre of Yerevan, which is going to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the victory over fascism with other neighbours in the former USSR.

 "As the heads of states, we have repeatedly opposed the glorification of Nazism. Unfortunately, this still happens in the CIS, in particular in Armenia, where the former authorities erected a monument in the centre of Yerevan to a fascist executioner and traitor Garegin Ter-Harutyunian, also known among the German fascists under his nickname Garegin Nzhdeh," Aliyev said and read excerpts from a number of documents proving his allegations.

The devastating speech of the President of Azerbaijan, as well as the unsuccessful attempt of the Armenian Prime Minister to respond, did not go unnoticed by the media and the expert community. A Russian historian, lawyer and political analyst Oleg KUZNETSOV, who is well aware of the glorification of Nazism, believes that the statement of the Azerbaijani leader will not pass unnoticed in Armenia.

"Oleg Yuryevich, President Aliyev has refreshed the issue of the glorification of Nazi collaborators in Armenia. Russian media now accentuates the problem of exporting the phenomenon from Armenia to Russia. As a scientist who has been investigating this problem for a long time, do you expect any progress in this case?"

"I think it is too early to talk about progress. This would be too optimistic a statement. I think we can say that it was "the first bell ringing." President Aliyev has made a courageous step by revealing the truth as is. In essence, what he said at the recent summit in Ashgabat can be wrapped up as follows: Armenian Nazism existed during the World War II; until recently, Nazism has been widely glorified in Armenia; the majority of Armenians cannot be blamed for the insidious acts of Armenian authorities.

In other words, President Aliyev once again demonstrated the moral character of Azerbaijani foreign policy based on the principles of dialogue and openness for cooperation with anyone.

He has made it clear for the CIS leaders that there is a problem of glorification of Nazism in one of the neighbouring countries. Azerbaijan's partners in the Commonwealth now have to make a choice either to give a damn and forget, or to solve the problem. It seems to me that they will go on with the second option. But this should combine a set of political, administrative, legal, and possibly even coercive measures and actions. Their scale and relevance still need to be determined. Developing a set of measures and making decisions takes time. Usually, in politics practical actions follow the statements and not vice versa. And as soon as the first official statement of international format is made, one can rightfully say that there is a progress."

"In his response to Aliyev's statement, Nikol Pashinian did not refer to the pre-revolutionary authorities of Armenia, but he couldn’t answer substantively either. In fact, he claimed that President Aliyev was exaggerating the obvious. Does it mean that he actually shared the responsibility for the glorification of Hitler's accomplices in his country?"

"Understanding Pashinian is not difficult. Finding himself in a stalemate situation, he did not, although he could, make excuses shifting all the blame for the state policy of glorification of Nazism in Armenia to his political predecessors, as the Russian Foreign Ministry had previously done in its famous report of May 6, 2019. On the contrary, Pashinian cheerfully and arrogantly repeated everything that the former president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan had told about Nazi Nzhdeh before him.

By doing so, he discredited himself in the eyes of his colleagues in the Council even more than before. In fact, he unleashed the true face of Armenian diplomacy that it has hidden during these years so as not to seem odious in this matter. Incidentally, the leaders of the CIS states had agreed on joint or collective celebration of the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War way before the meeting in Ashgabat. But nobody expected that Armenia wanted to hold the celebrations under the banner of a Nazi criminal Nzhdeh, although Marshal Ivan Bagramian was a real hero of Armenian people in that war.

Interestingly, Pashinian’s position regarding the situation with Nzhdeh seems absurd even amidst the national liberation struggle of the Armenian people for their national independence. I will now try to completely disengage from all the usual concepts of good and evil in relation to the events of the Great Patriotic War and look at the situation through the eyes of an Armenian Orthodox ultranationalist, completely immersed in his thought forms. If you look from the height of Ararat, it turns out that Marshal Baghramyan defended the regime of the Soviet occupation of Armenia. However, Nzhdeh did not want its independence and sought to turn it into a colony of Nazi Germany. That is, he did not want the freedom of Armenia, but its submission to another occupation regime in order to obtain personal power over his fellow tribesmen from the hands of the Nazis. The question arises: was he even a fighter for the freedom of Armenia? I don’t know if Yerevan is aware of the schizophrenic nature of such a situation. If not, the only way to cure this disease is total active denazification of Armenia following the example of Germany after its defeat in the Second World War."

"In your books, articles and interviews, you often accuse the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of not being categorical enough to condemn the heroism of Garegin Nzhdeh in Armenia. On the other hand, you are raising the alarm about the export of this process to the territory of Russia. Why cannot Russia prevent this process at least at home?"

"Yes, I criticise the Russian Foreign Ministry for not being categorical in condemning the glorification of Nazism in Armenia. General Prosecutor's Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Federal Security Service of Russia ought to fight the attempts to glorify Armenian Nazism in Russia in accordance with relevant laws.

The statement of President Ilham Aliyev in Ashgabat was a very loud signal, to which everyone should react immediately. Russian law enforcement officers will now have to work hard to uproot all the manifestations of the glorification of Armenian Nazism in southern Russia, which are not limited to the installation of a memorial tablet to Nzhdeh back in 2012 on the fence of the Armenian-Gregorian Assumption Church in Armavir.

In fact, up until 1918 the Armenians had never had national statehood, being forced to exist and survive in national and religious environment alien to them, constantly adapt to the power of more powerful peoples. Such way of life has formed in them two main features of a national character: servility to the authorities and cruelty towards competitors.

Armenian businessmen and political and religious figures associated with them do not spare money on bribing officials of various profiles and ranks and building corruption schemes. If we analyse historical facts, we can see that this practice has always contributed to the existence of the Armenian ethnos. Provoking and maintaining local corruption is not just a habitual and natural thing for them, but almost an innate instinct, so they easily integrate those in power or their relatives in their places of residence in their business.

Russia is no different from other countries. The local population does not like this state of affairs, which occasionally leads widespread popular protests and open anti-Armenian riots. In 2007, the Armenian protests took place in the city of Venev, Tula region, in 2013 - in the city of Pugachev, Samara region of Russia, and in January 2019 - in the Karaganda region of Kazakhstan. The reason behind these events was the same: merging of local authorities and law enforcement agencies with Armenian business. A similar situation also takes place in Armavir, where the municipal government not only allowed a memorial tablet to the Nazi Nzhdeh, but also participated in its opening, according to the reports of the Krasnodar press."

"Apparently, a single memorial tablet of Nzhdeh at the Armavir church is not enough for the Armenians. I have seen a few petitions on social networks demanding to establish a monument to Nzdeh in the Krasnodar Krai. Is it Ilham Aliyev who made them so angry?"

"No, the situation is a bit different. Immediately after the erection of a monument to Nzhdeh on the central square of Yerevan in front of the government building in May 2016, radical nationalists from the Armenian Diaspora of Russia initiated a series of frankly provocative petitions. Their goal was to transfer the practice of glorification of this Nazi criminal to the territory of Russia. One such petition was demanding for the renaming of the ancient Russian city of Vladimir, which used to be the capital of the Russian state, to Nzhdeh, because he died and was buried in a local prison cemetery.

The story of the petition, which demanded the authorities of the Krasnodar Krai of Russia to erect a monument to Nzhdeh in Armavir and rename one of the city's streets in honour of this Nazi collaborator, also dates back to that time. And now I am going to share with you a little historical secret, which I have not found out recently but have not yet reported to the press. A sort of exclusive sharing for your magazine.

When I was studying the World War II documents published by the Russian FSB of Russia, I came across information that in 1942 the Nazi occupation authorities opened an Armenian church in Armavir for worship, which was closed by the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s. The Germans opened it by personal request of Nzhdeh before the leadership of the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories of Hitler Germany. The church has been open since then. The Armenians of the Krasnodar Krai remember this and therefore treat Nzhdeh with such trepidation; they are ready to idolise him even against the laws and official state ideology of modern Russia.

I am sure that a significant part of the Armenian diaspora in Russia worships Nzhdeh today on the mental-religious level, and this phenomenon can be fought only through its total denazification, as happened in Germany after the fall of Hitlerism and Nazism by decision of the Potsdam Conference in 1945 -1955."

"Why is Armenia so interested in the glorification of Nazi minions? After all, Nzhdeh is not the only one?"

"I found an answer to your question about a year ago. And no one has been able to prove me wrong since then. I think Nzhdeh has become a national hero of Armenia during the establishment of Armenian state ideology after the country became independent from the USSR. Armenian ethnic mentality (and nothing can be done about it!) is traditionally or historically structured so that the people should blindly and collectively follow any given ideological stereotype. In other words, instead of having own ideas, the Armenian people should have a role model to follow. Armenian intellectual leaders are well aware of this emotional and psychological dominant consciousness of their compatriots. Therefore, they have been very careful about choosing a national hero no. 1 for their people and taking the nation’s idol to the 21st century.

Over the past quarter century, various characters of the new and modern history of Armenia have been nominated for the role of a charismatic image for the Armenian intelligentsia and youth, who would be ideal for all political elites within Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora abroad. These include Drastamat Kanayan, Andranik Ozanian, international terrorist Monte Melkonian and other criminals, who are now revered as national heroes. But all of them have been rejected later for various reasons.

As a result, Yerevan decided to proclaim Garegin Nzhdeh as their national hero. Moreover, the choice was largely determined by the struggle for power within Armenia, not by ideological reasons. This process began in 2000, when Andranik Margarian, the organiser and first leader of the Republican Party of Armenia founded in accordance with Nzhdeh's racist theory of Tseghakron, was appointed a prime minister. At that time, there was a fierce internal political struggle in Armenia between supporters of the country's first president Levon Ter-Petrosian and his successor, Robert Kocharian.

A military junta of field commanders of the illegal Armenian armed groups fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, known in the Russian media as the Karabakh Clan, declared the occupied Azerbaijani territories part of Armenia to explain and legitimise their usurpation of power in Yerevan. To increase its authority in Armenia, the new government decided to glorify Garegin Nzhdeh, since in April 1921 the latter proclaimed the establishment of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia, which was the second Armenian state in the South Caucasus. This fact is the root of claims of modern Armenian nationalists to the occupied lands of Azerbaijan. It also serves to explain to the indigenous people of Armenia, the Yerevan Armenians, why the Karabakh Armenians who came from Azerbaijan and seized power in the country have a moral right to rule them.

The theory of Nzhdeh is also used in Armenian foreign policy to justify its aggression against Azerbaijan. It becomes clear that the whole life of modern Armenia is subordinated to the idea of ​​occupying Nagorno-Karabakh by all means, including human, material, financial, administrative and diplomatic.

Glorification of Nazism in Armenia has always pursued a single goal: to consolidate the occupation regime by making up an image of a moral right to exist, although the latter completely violates the international law. In fact, this approach is full of legal nihilism, violation of human dignity, which has always been, is and will be a hallmark of Nazism in all its ideological manifestations and interpretations.