What to Do? The Issue of Armenia

A Der Hayr's Perspective

 

I never thought that I would be writing such an article. I am not a politician. However, like any patriotic Armenian, I am very concerned about the situation in Armenia. In my opinion, today in the Diaspora we are missing the importance of what is going on in Armenia, and that is what I would like to discuss. The current situation cannot continue. There is a desperate need for change, and the implementation of a new constitution in April 2018 gives us such an opportunity.

A view of Yerevan from the Mother Armenia monument. The twin peaks of Mount Ararat are in the background. (Photo: David Sullivan)

The other reason I am writing this article is that it is hard to find reliable information about Russia in the Armenian media, whether in Armenia or in the Diaspora. What I have seen is one-sided—positive or negative—based on unreliable sources. Because I was educated in Russia and lived there for 14 years, I thought I could pass along a realistic picture about Russia and its policies toward Armenia.

I very much hope that I will be able to get my points across.

Armenia, Current Situation

“What can we do for Armenia?” is a crucial question. For 26 years, we have discussed and criticized our motherland out of concern. We are all aware that the situation has become desperate, especially in the last few years.

It was an appalling sign, early on, when so-called goghakan (semi-criminal) circles were unembarrassed and unafraid to be visible. Many of these goghakans or people in their families are members of the National Assembly of Armenia (MPs). These kinds of people usually have nicknames similar to bosses in the mafia.

Among these people are, Sashik, probably Armenia’s most hated man—and President Serge Sarkisian’s brother (real name Alexander Sarkisian, also known as the 50/50 man), Lfik Samo (Samvel Alexanyan, who has the monopoly over sugar imports and who also controls the Malatia neighborhood in Yerevan), Shmays (Arakel Movsisian, family originally from Qamishli, Syria), Nemets Rubo (Ruben Hayrapetyan; in Russian, nemets means German), Chiorny (Gagik Tovmasian, the former minister of transportation; chiorny means black in Russian), Tokhmakhi Mher (Mher Setrakyan), Mouk (Hovik Abrahamian, former prime minister; his nickname means mouse), Liska (Souren Kachatryan, the former governor of Syunik region), and others. Among these questionable men is also the well-known Dodi Gago (Gagik Tzaroukyan), who compared with the others is popular because he supports charities and helps people. In addition, I have to mention so-called generals of the armed forces who are corrupt who steal from the people and the army, and they keep people living in fear. The most infamous of these generals is Manuel Grigoryan of Etchmiadzin, who is like a cancer on his city and the surrounding area. I was told by an eyewitness that an individual was beaten cruelly by Gregorian’s bodyguards—just because Grigoryan’s car, inappropriately parked on the street, was scratched by that individual’s car. Grigoryan’s son is the mayor of Etchmiadzin.

The corruption in Armenia has probably never been as bad as it is now even though that phenomena has existed since the Soviet era. One reason for this increase in corruption and disintegration of the political system was the attack on the National Assembly and the killing of Karen Demirjyan and Vazgen Sargsyan on Oct. 27, 1999. After that national tragedy, so that Robert Kocharyan, the President of Armenia at that time, could stay in power, deals were made with the above-mentioned people and groups. As a result, those people became incredibly powerful and out of control. Moreover, Kocharyan, in return for forgiveness of Armenian debt owed to Russia, gave up an important part of Armenia’s energy and other important infrastructure to Russia. That deal created a huge imbalance between Armenia and Russia in Russia’s favor. And those problems have deepened and expanded dramatically during Serge Sarkisian’s presidency.

People over the years have become indifferent to the situation because they feel tired and exhausted. The main purpose of Sasna Tsrer’s actions in the summer of 2016 (the takeover of a police station) was to push the people to rise up. That did not happen, and the numbers that showed up to support the group were not enough to effect any significant change in the country. It seems that the time has passed when people were able to protest on the streets by the hundreds of thousands and achieve change. The situation is so dire that during the last elections, held earlier this year for the National Assembly, there were confirmed reports that a huge numbers of votes were bought for insignificant amounts, at an average of 20,000 drams, which is the equivalent of about $40. In effect, our people in Armenia are “supporting” their government even though it is the government abusing them. In other words, the victim is supporting his victimizer. Such behavior shows how deep and serious the crisis is in our motherland. The consequences could be tragic if we do not change our behavior. We should not blame others for our crisis, but instead, examine our own contributions to the current situation.

I believe that Armenians understand that the situation in Armenia should be our first concern. Here I would like to point out that even if the current government decided to make a change, it is not capable of doing so effectively. The current government is trapped by the situation that it created.

There needs to be real, dramatic change when the new constitution is implemented in April of 2018; otherwise, the consequences could be very negative.

 

The Russian Impact

Many Armenians blame Russia for the current situation in Armenia. The blame is partly valid, but it certainly is not the only contributing factor. Russia has been corrupt since the days of the Russian Empire; however, in contrast to Armenia, Russia is powerful and wealthy because of its natural resources. It has also open borders. In addition, there is another important difference between Armenia and Russia today: Vladimir Putin is a popular president among his people. The Western media unfairly provides biased, negative information regarding Putin’s leadership. It is undeniable that Putin was fairly elected three times as the President of Russia. Most importantly, he became a national leader in the eyes of most Russians because he was able to unify a country where more than 100 ethnicities live. Following the humiliation many Russians felt in 1990s, he inspired national pride. Right or wrong, Putin’s actions are relevant to the Russians’ mentality and their way of life. This is the source of his power. Armenian leadership pales in comparison to the Russian counterpart’s. It is one of our current deficiencies as a nation that we do not have a national leader, someone like Khrimian Hayrik, Garegin Nejdeh, or Aram Manoukian. Potentially, such a person may exist somewhere, but our situation does not foster the development of such a leader.

Moreover, I would like to point out that Russian Orthodox Church and its Patriarch, Kirill I, are having a major positive role in keeping the peace in Russia and in unifying the Russian people. Russia has about 20 million Muslims and more than a hundred different ethnicities. Russian Orthodoxy has served as the main source of national identity for the Russian people. As a result, the state does not control the Church, but instead there is a mutual understanding and common interests between the Church and the state.

Over the past few years, and especially after last year’s war in Artsakh, there has been an increase in anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia and in the Diaspora. This growing discontent is mainly a result of Russia’s large arms sales to Azerbaijan. We know that in politics there are no friends, morals, or feelings; there are only interests. Russia has its own interests as a powerful government. Russia wants to keep control over the former Soviet territory as much as it can. Russia hopes to prevent Azerbaijan from becoming an enemy like Georgia. One of the ways to keep Azerbaijan under control is to be its weapons supplier. A second and more powerful way for Russia to influence Azerbaijan is the Artsakh issue. In reality, Russia does not want a final solution to the conflict in Artsakh because once Azerbaijan no longer needs support from Russia  it could turn to Turkey and pursue becoming a NATO member, like Georgia. Until the Artsakh conflict is resolved, Azerbaijan will be dependent on Russia. We know that to keep the strategic balance with Azerbaijan, Russia supplies weapons to Armenia with long-term credit and sometimes even for free. I would like to repeat, this shows that Russia is a difficult ally, and that the Armenian government has to deal with it and does whatever it can to decrease the negative impacts of such policies of Russia.

Regarding Artsakh, international powers oppose a long-term war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. So one of the remaining possibilities is a short war, like the one of the last year. Azerbaijan gained very little during that war because of the heroism of our young soldiers and their martyrdom. Our losses could have been far less if our army were better organized and more alert. I am confident that lessons were learned, and there will be fewer casualties and a better and more powerful response in the case of a new war. I would like to point out an interesting fact: In January of this year, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was asked a question by an Azerbaijani journalist about what Russia would do in the case of a new war. He responded that the Artsakh conflict is not an internal issue for Azerbaijan. He continued by saying that there are many international parties involved, and it is better for Azerbaijan to not start a new war. Additionally, it was interesting to see that during last year’s war, the Russian state media and public opinion, including the opposition, were more pro-Armenian despite official Russian neutrality. I think after seeing the Azerbaijan army’s bad performances despite the great amount of money spent for weapons and training, Russia became convinced that in the case of a new war Azerbaijan will not be successful—therefore the reason for Lavrov’s statement.

Russia is powerful and has its own interests that are not necessarily aligned with Armenia’s interests. That situation is not uncommon between allies. The Armenian government has to work to fix the problems that exist in our relationship with Russia. Cutting ties with Russia and not being its ally is not an option. People who suggest doing so cannot see the consequences, and misguide public opinion either intentionally or unintentionally. Without Russia as our ally, there is no guarantee that another power would be willing to assist Armenia. It is unclear whether any country would be willing to establish a military presence within Armenia to guarantee our security against Turkey: People must remember the words said to us before, “Our fleet cannot climb up to the Armenian mountains.” Also, recall what happened in Georgia in 2008. Some people, as support for such an anti-Russia argument, bring up Lenin’s disastrous policy toward Armenia in the 1920s. Lenin was an international revolutionary; he did not have national feelings. Today, he is rejected by the current leadership and by the majority of Russian people. Actually, he gave up more Russian territories than Armenian territories. Near the end of the WWI, Russia could have taken significant territory from Germany since Russia was on the winning side. Instead, Lenin made a deal with Germany: Lenin would return territories to Germany if they would support his bid for power. That is exactly what happened.

Today, Russia’s policy is different. For example, Russia supported the Syrian government during the Syrian war despite immense pressure. From a strategic viewpoint, Russia supports Syria most likely because it is the only Russian ally in the Middle East. The same thing is true about Armenia; our country is the only ally to Russia in Transcaucasia. The relationship with Azerbaijan cannot be as deep as it is with Armenia, which is a strategic ally of Russia, whereas Azerbaijan is a strategic partner and looks toward Turkey as its strategic ally and big brother. There have also been recent, visible improvements in the Russian-Turkish relationship. This happened on Russia’s terms. For instance, Turkey apologized for taking down a Russian warplane. One of the positive results of these improvements was a dramatic shift in Turkey’s policy toward Syria. Aleppo’s liberation was partly a result of that change. It was also partly because of President Trump’s new policy toward Syria and refusal to arm the Syrian opposition since the majority are thinly veiled Muslim jihadists.

After looking at Russian policies, it seems to me that Russia is closely watching and keeping the situation in its neighborhood under control. For me and for many, despite the existing problems, it is clear that Russia is the most trusted power committed to Armenia’s security for its own interests. Typically, it is believed that authoritarian countries have more stable policies since there is no change in leadership. For this reason, we can count on Russia for a long time since our interests align with theirs.

Each country has to know how to pursue its own interests, and I think it is mostly the Armenian government’s weakness that causes the huge current imbalance in Armenian-Russian relations. For example, there was a summit of Eurasian Economic Union’s prime ministers scheduled to occur in Yerevan in the spring of 2016. That meeting was moved to Moscow by the request of Kazakhstan, which was trying to show its support for Azerbaijan. Despite this humiliation for Armenia, the prime minister at that time, Hovik Abrahamian, attended the summit and did not boycott it. Even if that meeting was important for Armenia, Abrahamian still could have sent his deputy instead of attending himself, and thus sent a message. More recently, an exhibition at Hovhannes Tumanian’s museum depicting Stalinist terror was dismantled presumably because it portrayed Russia in a negative light. On the other hand, Garegin Nejdeh’s statue was put up in the center of Yerevan after last year’s war, even though that angered Moscow since Nejdeh was staunchly anti-Soviet and had cooperated with Nazi Germany. However, because of its weakness and lack of support from its people, the Armenian government cannot use the full potential of the country and the Armenian people to counteract the imbalance in its relations with Russia.

Most recently, there have been signs of positive changes in the Russian approach to Armenia and the Artsakh issue. It seems there is a consensus among the three international powers involved in Artsakh talks—Russia, the US, and France—to freeze the conflict: in other words, to keep the status quo, which aligns with Armenia’s and Artsakh’s interests. During a recent visit to Baku, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talked about the difficulties of resolving the Artsakh conflict in this period. In other words, there will be no change in the status of the conflict. The other positive recent development was Armenia’s signing of a partnership agreement with the European Union. This agreement gives Armenia more flexibility and hopefully less dependence on the Russian economy and more possibilities of improvement.

However, to have a strong government requires having the support of the people and being less dependent on a corrupt system. Otherwise, the Armenian government will not be capable to use the potential of the country and the Armenian people in its relations with others, including Russia.

 

What to Do?

All this brings us to the most important question: What to do. We cannot focus only on what we want or what we dream of; we must also deal with the current situation. Politics is the art of dealing with realities. What can we truly accomplish given the current situation?

I think it must first be acknowledged that any long-lasting internal armed conflict would be fatal for Armenia. Some people do discuss this type of conflict from time to time. However, I will not address this option, since it would be disastrous.

Another option could be the use of peaceful strikes and civil disobedience on the national level to effect change within the regime. But as I noted earlier, that is unlikely given the level of political apathy of the majority of the people in Armenia. However, if something like this were to be organized, it should be used only for a short period of time. Armenia cannot survive any long-lasting instability.

The only option that seems possible is a peaceful transition of power from the current regime to a better one. Taking into consideration all the abovementioned facts and conclusions and the current situation, I see only one possibility for this kind of transfer of power. The current Prime Minister, Karen Karapetyan, should remain in his position after the new constitution is implemented in April 2018. That means he, rather than Serge Sarkisian, should become the head of the executive branch of the government and the state.

Karapetyan is a charismatic and an experienced corporate executive. He is wealthy and a political outsider of the current system. Therefore, he is not dependent on Armenia’s current politicians. He is not beholden to Armenia’s semi-criminal, corrupt, and oligarchic system. His main disadvantage is that he has strong ties with Russia and has had them since before he became Armenia’s prime minister. Most of his life he has worked for the Russian state-controlled gas industry. That, however, raises concerns about Russia’s exerting even more control over Armenia and over Armenian policy toward Artsakh.

There are reliable sources that indicate Russia wants Armenia to give up some of the territories of the buffer zone surrounding Artsakh to Azerbaijan, without receiving any concessions in return. That move would be beneficial for Russia, since it would keep Azerbaijan in Russia’s orbit; such a transfer of territories would also look like a balancing of power between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and show that Russia can do something for Azerbaijan. Actually, Russia’s Lavrov expressed this same idea indirectly during last year’s Artsakh war. I don’t think, however, that there are big differences between Sarkisian and Karapetyan considering this matter. Sarkisian already looks weak in front of Putin. Anyway, there are some indications that Sarkisian already tried to give up some territories from the buffer zone, but he was stopped from doing so by the people of Artsakh. To prevent any misunderstanding, I would like to emphasize that there is no talk about giving up Artsakh itself. All international parties involved in the negotiations, including Russia, understand that there is no way that Artsakh could be a part of Azerbaijan.

Although Karapetyan’s coming to Armenia was an Armenian initiative, I assume it was done with Russia’s knowledge. Being aware of Russia’s imperialistic approach to Armenia, I realize that Russia does not want for Armenia to become powerful and fully independent. However, I also think that Russia does not want its ally, Armenia, to be very weak.

If we think logically, we might guess that Karapetyan did not come to Armenia just to be a prime minister. Additionally, we might assume that everything was agreed upon with Sarkisian, including Karapetyan’s transition to leader of Armenia. To have this transition happen smoothly and peacefully, Karapetyan needs to get the support of the army and the security apparatuses. Karapetyan might face opposition here from a group of high-ranking officers who are corrupt and have connections with the oligarchs. However, I hope that Sarkisian and his command have already thought about this and made the required arrangements. The support of the army must be guaranteed for Karapetyan. Besides the military support, there is another condition without which a peaceful transition of the power is not possible. Sarkisian and his people and their families must be granted a guarantee of immunity upon their leaving power. Back in the day, in Russia, that’s how Yeltsin transferred power over to Putin.

Recently, there have been some issues raised from parts of both the ruling party and the opposition about Karapetyan’s becoming the leader of Armenia. Usually, these people argue that Sarkisian should remain the leader of the country. For now, it is likely that this type of talk will increase. People who have benefited from the current situation are likely afraid of Karapetyan. They worry about his statements and are concerned about his possible future actions. They are troubled by the likelihood that they will no longer benefit if he becomes leader. For instance, Karapetyan has spoken about ending monopolies in different sectors of the Armenian economy. Many specialists say those monopolies are the main obstacle to improving the economy in Armenia.

Here I would like to express my concern about Serge Sarkisian, who is well known for not keeping his promises and for his chicanery. I very much hope that I am mistaken, and that this is not the case. In the end, I hope that Sarkisian is considering what history might say about him. If he does not go through with the transition of power, the situation in Armenia will worsen, and the level of migration will increase. For these reasons, Armenian-Russian entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan. who is well informed, said Karapetyan is our last hope.

And here, I hope that we will be surprised by the actions of brave, revolutionary patriots who may be able to inspire the people to rise up and to support a quick, beneficial change. I am saying this because our young people’s heroism during last year’s war in Artsakh gives me hope that there is still a healthy element within our nation. It is not a coincidence that the government was confused for a while after that war.

In conclusion, I hope that I was able to describe the current situation in Armenia correctly and was able to answer the question regarding what to do. As a Diaspora, we have to both support and continue pressuring the current government for a peaceful transition of the power in Armenia in April 2018. Only then can we hope for an improvement and for slowing down out-migration, with a vision of creating a powerful and prosperous Armenia in the future.

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Fr. Bedros Shetilian

Fr. Bedros Shetilian was born in Aleppo in 1963. After attending the Armenian schools in Aleppo, he moved to Armenia and graduated from Yerevan Musical College. After Yerevan, he moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, and received a master's degree in symphony conducting from St. Petersburg Conservatory. He started a successful career, had concerts in Russia, Armenia and Europe, but his Christian beliefs caused him to have difficulties in pursuing his career as a conductor. Fr. Shetilian attended the Catholic College in St. Petersburg and the Seminary of the Catholicosate of Cilicia. He was ordained as a priest in 2003 and between 2005-2015 he was a shared pastor for St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Indian Orchard, Mass. and Holy Cross of Troy, N.Y. Since April of 2015, he is a full-time pastor in Indian Orchard. Currently Fr. Shetilian is trying to combine his two callings as a clergyman and a musician.
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94 Comments

  1. What to do? Please mind your business and enjoy your “American Dream” while it lasts. Armenia, despite its many growing pains, most of which brought to us by Western influence, is pressing forward. After your beloved USA is long dead and gone, Armenia and Armenians will still be around.

    PS: Vazgen Sargsyan and Karen Demirjyan were just as corrupt as any of our current so called “oligarchs”. Moreover, the political path they had put Armenia on was nothing less than suicidal. I for one am glad they were stopped before they could do serious damage.

    • I suggested to you to come forward and calm down in order to have a reasonable conversation.
      You can continue in this way as much as you want. Insulting is not a way to solve issues.

    • PS:

      I mostly agree with your comments about Russia. But you don’t have to sound like an nervous apologist in explaining yourself, as if you are making excuses for a bad nation. Trust me, one day you will realize that your beloved nation, the United States, is far more corrupt than Russia. In fact, you will one day realize that the United States is the real evil empire doing Satan’s work around the world. In any case, don’t worry much about Russian-Armenian relations, a vast majority of Armenians in Armenia are pro-Russian and will remains so despite Moscow’s stance on Artsakh. Why? Because Armenians consciously and subconsciously understand that Armenia has existed for the past two hundreds years primarily because of the strong Russian presence in the region. For your information, the criminals know as “Sasna Dzrer” were financed from abroad. Their main goal was to drive a wedge between Moscow and Yerevan. Moreover, P.M. Karapethyan is Moscow’s man. He was essentially sent to Armenia to stop Armenians from acting self-destructive.

      The bottom line is this: Armenia’s independence from Russia (which Moscow will never allow even if it has to destroy the country) will simply result in Armenia’s dependence on Turkey. Without Russian troops protecting Armenia’s western border, not even a million big talking “Diasporan Dashaks” would be able to stop Turks from violating Armenia once again. Also, by keeping Turks on their side of the border in the west, and providing Armenia with affordable advanced weaponry, Moscow provides our tiny and embattled nation the opportunity to concentrate its limited resources on keeping Azeris on their side of the border in the east. Without Russia we would not have an Armenia or an Artsakh.

      Those that bring up Bolshevik crimes to cast a bad light on Russians are either idiots or Western agents. Blaming Russians for the crimes of Bolsheviks is like blaming the murder victim for the crimes of the murderer. Bolshevism was a Jew-led Western campaign to destroy the Russian Empire. There were more Armenians in the Bolshevik leadership than ethnic Russians. Ethnic Russians, Christian Slavs, suffered by far the worst fate under Bolshevism. Thankfully, Bolshevism took on a Russian flavor only as a result of the Second World War and Stalin’s earlier purges.

      The only country on earth today that would be seriously threatened by Armenia’s demise is Russia. After Armenians Russians are the only people on earth that would be willing to shed blood for Armenia. Look at how valiantly Russians have been fighting for Syria (and thwarting another genocide of Christians there) and imagine how they would fight for Armenia. Armenia’s enemies know this well. It’s Diasporans that have a hard time understanding this. It’s simple: No Russia in Armenia = no Armenia in the south Caucasus. Period.

    • [Those that bring up Bolshevik crimes to cast a bad light on Russians are either idiots or Western agents.] -Or both…

    • As an Armenian living in the US, I find it insulting to be told to “enjoy my American dream and mind my own business”. Armenia IS my business. Unlike those of us who had the privilege to be born in their homeland, I, and the many other Diaspora Armenians, had to work very hard to maintain our culture and our identity.

      I see the many Armenians who emigrate to Los Angeles from the Republic of Armenia and, within less than a generation, have already become indistinguishable from their American neighbors. But we, the descendants of those who were slaughtered by the Turks, have managed to maintain our identify for over 100 years. We speak Armenian, we read Armenian, we feel Armenian, and we find it very painful to see what is happening in our homeland. A significant number of us have moved to Armenia and have supported our homeland financially or by volunteering our time. We do it because we love our homeland and we want to be part of the economic and political life there.

      Are we influenced by the West? Sure, just like Armenians from the Republic are influenced by Russia. And, no, we did not live through the awful 90’s, but we lived through our own awful years, in 1915, and then later in Lebanon, Syria, Iran… A little respect and brotherly love between compatriots goes a long way.

    • Ara,

      Your perception of the reality we all live in seems to be quite off. I guess you and I live on different planets. From what I can see, a vast majority of Armenians from Armenia have managed to maintain their Armenian identity both in the U.S. and Russia (the top two largest Armenian Diasporas today). Their Russian/Soviet Armenian identity may differ somewhat from your Turkish/Arab/Kurdish/American Armenian idenity, but it is still an Armenian identity nonetheless. In any case, better Russian than Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic or American.

      Get down from your high horse and just realize that a vast majority of Western Armenians have already assimilated beyond recognition. Those you see prading around as Western Armenians today are actually a tiny minority of the greater Western Armenian body. Regarding this tiny minority, speaking broken Armenian (with Turkish, Arabic, French and English words mixed in) does not constitute knowing the Armenian language. Once again, better Russian than the aforementioned. Also, going to April 24 demonstrations and/or attending church picknick does not constitue being an Armenian either. In the big picture, being an Armenians means (or should mean) you have a direct/physical connection to the Armenian homeland. That homeland today is located in the south Caucasus. Having a physical connection means you either live in the Armenian homeland or you regularly visit it and have connections there. Sadly, without a Western Armenia to act as an epicenter for Western Armenian identity, Western Armenian identity will die out in a couple of more generations.

      If you do have a intimate connection to the Armenian hoemland none of this applies to you. If you don’t then you will eventually have a problem maintaining your Armenian identity. If you have children, take a good look at them, and try to imagine how “Armenian” their children or their grandchildren will be. Having a healthy connection to an Armenian homeland is the most important factor in determining whether one is a viable Armenian or a superficial one that will eventually cease to exist. In the big picture, as long as you don’t have a connection to the homeland, you are a gypsie not an Armenian. Period.

    • Unt, you even manage to insult Ara who gave such an inspiring post.

      “I guess you and I live on different planets”

      That’s definitely correct, what uncharted delusional planet are you from?

      “better Russian than Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic or American”.

      You forgot the most important: better Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic or American than a RUSSIFID AZERI.

      “Get down from your high horse”

      Pretty funny from an Apparatchik whose horse is so high, we can’t even see his face.

      I won’t “analyze” the rest of your nonsense. The rest of your rant is just removed from reality drivel. You prove time and again, you don’t know anything about Armenians. I am even beginning to doubt you are an Armenian.

  2. My biggest disappointment is that Russia, who is Armenia’s Ally and protecting our borders from any attacks from Turkey… why is she not backing up our Armenian enclave of Artsakh and telling the Azeris to stop sniping our Armenian soldiers & village people & the killings of over 400 in these past years. Also, we get no coverage in the American newspapers & American TV on these monthly killings. How many more of our Armenians from Artsakh are our people going to go through & no help from the U.S. & the United Nations. This must change.

    • Russia is not better than any superpower. All big powers act similarly for their own interests. However, there are signes that the situation has been changed in our favor. Recently, there has been less violence in Artsakh. The main reason is that Russia has more control on Turkey than before, and accordingly Azerbaijan is weakened. The other reason is that the US and Russia have common interests to keep peace in the region. Artsakh is one of the few issues that the US and Russia are still cooperating on.I hope this will be permanent.
      Please read this article:
      https://armenpress.am/eng/news/907724/us-secretary-of-state-rex-tillerson-wants-artsakh-de-mining-completed-asap.html
      Best regards.

    • Der Hayr, you’re a clergyman and a musician, and these occupations affect your political judgments. I appreciate your courage to wite on domestic and international politics, but please, give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give to God the things that are God’s. For example, this: “Russia is no better than any superpower”. Well, in international politics there are no such concepts as ‘better’ or ‘worse’. There is a plethora of geopolitical variables that define a smaller state’s dependency on a mightier state for her defense and national security. Geography–and not ‘good guy-bad guy’ paradigm–occupies the most prominent place among these variables.

  3. Norserunt, after reading the above article, I didn’t get the feeling that USA and Americans are the writer’s beloved. Just the opposite, I didn’t read him recommending Armenia to forge better relationship with US, etc.. I think his remarks are well balanced and realistic. As a small country, Armenia needs as much help as we she get; therefore, diplomacy is the most important tool toward achieving political success, including safeguarding our borders and those of Artzakh. Before anything else and priority number one is to clean the country from the existing corruption that is the biggest obstacle for advancement.

    • Virginia,

      My perception about his true allegiance is based on his previous writings. An Armenian that was born in Syria (Aleppo) and educated in Armenia and Russia should know better than singing the praise of the United States – an evil empire that is the enemy of all three aforementioned nations. American wealth and power – criminally acquired through genocide, slavery and wars – is precisely why Armenians such as him, who live comfortable lives in well manicured American suburbs, regularly make excuses for America’s many-many sins around the world – yet waste to time in attacking Armenia and its government, despite the fact that Armenia is simply going through natural growing pains that all nation (including western ones) suffer from. By doing what they do, people like him participate in the spiritually destructive information war (psy-ops) that is being waged agianst Armenia by American/Western interests. He, as a man of God, and one representing our national Church, should be held to a higher standard. He, as a man of God and a representative of our national Church, should have the wisdom to see the truth and bare witness to it…

    • Thank you. Actually, I love the US and I am a proud American, but I am not as we say in Armenian “A blind supporter”. I am realistic. The US won’t come to Armenia to defend its borders. Russia is there for its own interests. We have to remember that while Western Armenia does not exist, Eastern Armenia is there despite all difficulties.
      I am not sure if you read my previous article, about being an American:
      https://armenianweekly.com/2017/10/03/proud-american-der-hayrs-reflections/
      Best regards.

    • I see big issue with all of you…. first, you got to make up your mind… If you leave in the United States 🇺🇸, if you have United States citizenship, you all must be on the side of the United States Interest !!!!
      Armenia is the #1 ally of Russia … that means Armenia on the side of the enemy of the United States.
      Russian soldiers in Armenia is more than armenian in Armenia…..and you asking what to do ?
      1. Move Russian soldiers out of Armenia
      2. Become the ally of the United States.
      3. Solve the problems with countries around Armenia: Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan – Armenia basically out of every single regional economic project. Try to get in.

    • Very well said, Effendi Rasim! That is – exactly – what what Armenians in the service of Uncle Sam essentially want Armenia’s government to do: Expell Russians from Armenia and make friends with Turks. Correct, they want Armenia to commit suicide. And that is exactly why any Armenian today that wants to drive a wedge between Russia and Armenia is a traitor to Armenia regardless of his or her intention. In fact, I have most respect for Turks such as yourself (who are an external enemy) than such Armenians, who are an internal – cancerous – threat…

    • This is what Russia-haters achieve. Instantaneously a Turko-Azeri (Rasim) pops up trying to tilt the minds of the Armenians (itself a ridiculous task given the fact who tries to tilt the mind of whom, if you know what I mean). His bottom line is (1) move Russian soldiers out of Armenia so the Azeris and their genocidal brethren Turks could gobble up Armenia easily; (2) become the ally of the United States, knowing too well that geography and geopolitical interests of the US won’t allow Washington to replace Russia as Armenia’s strategic ally; and (3) solve the problems with the surrounding countries: Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, that is surrender to their will. Note how Georgia is “conveniently” placed in between the two Turkic ilks and is “inadvertently” portrayed as a country with which Armenia has problems, whereas in reality she doesn’t. Is this what you, Russophobes, want?

    • John,
      Would you please tell us who are the Russophobes?! I don’t see anyone here hating on Russia. Even the author hasn’t suggested that in his article. Looks to me the accusations from West about the Russian cyber-army trolling websites is not that far from reality! Who cares what some Azerbaijani says. He is Azerbaijani, so naturally he is repeating his governments official policy and that has nothing to do with Russia-haters or even this article. The author, although not a politician, has a very good understanding of the current situation in Armenia and the region. I read the whole thing twice and didn’t find anything anti-Russian there. So, what is exactly your point? No one should ever say anything about Russia?!

    • Minas,

      I didn’t mean the author. I meant certain posters (Zartir Lao, Stepan, GB, Stephen Dulgarian) who in this and other threads post comments not very favorable, to say the least, to the strategic alliance with Russia, which is vital to Armenia’s survival at this historical juncture. This last clause is my point.

      Cheers.

    • Minas: that is exactly their point the johns and unts try to make, that we in the diaspora who want the best for our mother nation need to be completely silent where Russia is concerned unless we have only praise to give “mother Russia”. In other words, we need to be loyal to Russia before Armenia. This essentially is their agenda. In the meantime, anyone who even utters a single negative word about Russia is automatically a “western agent”. And I challenge these two to show me exactly where and when not only I or anyone on this page, where have diaspora Armenians ever suggested that “we need to get Russian troops out of Armenia” or that “we need to cut relations with Russia”????? Tell me, exactly where and who has suggested this who is Armenian and not Azeri/Turk, I am waiting?????

  4. Sounds like “Norserunt” in the previous comment rejects any diasporan view as a matter of course, no matter how well reasoned. This is an old and a very sad push-back against the diaspora community, a repeated theme since 1990. However, apathy is so strong in Armenia that sometimes the only way to give civic involvement a nudge in the butt is to allow the views of those from a distance. Just food for thought.

    Fr. Bedros Shetilian, politely does not mention the non-role the U.S. has succumbed to over the last decade. While U.S. ambassadors do a good job, they are highly restrained and directed to not create controversy, just continue the delicate dance. Russia has the gas and with that control, that is the way it is, period. Hard to argue this point.

    Lastly in my view, Fr. Bedros Shetilian, is really talking about hope for the future. If the brightest and best young Armenians are to be convinced to stay in Armenia, there must be hope that the process will someday not be as corrupt and the oligarchs will be nudged out. Maybe someday overwhelming central Yerevan control will be eased and rural villages will have a democratic say in dealing with their own local issues and needs. This rural democratic movement might then nudge the cities to take more control and eventually the central government will change in a peaceful process. Optimistic, but just maybe…..it is all about suppressing apathy, building hope and tapping the spirit and energy of young Armenians.

  5. Regardless Fr.Bedros Shetilian is priest or musician, he clearly and truthfully described the situation in Armenia. He targeted to the points that are entirely true. So don’t underestimate his opinion and conclusion.

  6. Fr. Shetilian is correct. The oligarchs are draining the blood out of Armenia though Tzaroukyan also gives scholarships and has built some churches. But this is like mafia dons donating to churches and hospitals. In a recent poll only Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan got over a 50% favorable rating. During visits during the past 3-4 years the anti-government sentiment has skyrocketed. The oligarchs have established their own monopolies, Sashig shakes down any business that happens to appeal to him and every one including his brother the president knows this. Water is being deprived from villagers who need it for their crops and diverted to oligarchs for their personal projects. Food prices are climbing while farmers in villages receive practically nothing for their products; meanwhile we read some time ago that apples were being imported from Azerbaijan.

    We constantly read of foreign funds financing anti-corruption efforts by the government. At the same time the oligarchs are stashing tons of dollars on foreign shores. Mining in Armenia is dumping tons of toxic mine waste filling valleys and lakes with chemicals and heavy metals. Our press, all of our press, speaks very little about this. And villages are emptying. I have visited villages with a few villagers living there during the summer, and no one during the winter. In one village only one family is staying this winter. Villagers feel abandoned both by the government and by other organizations. Yerevan, where tourists visit, is not representative of Armenia; it is Armenia’s “Disney Land”.

    I am NOT pessimistic, I have great confidence in Armenia’s ordinary people who are extraordinary. But Armenia is NOT living up to its capabilities and the fault is the government.

    Der Hair, God bless you and continue to speak the truth.

  7. Thanks for writing this. It’s good to know that there are still people in diaspora who are not afraid to call things by their names. There is none of the sugarcoating and blissful ignorance that we usually see in diaspora websites in your article. Sadly, most diaspora Armenian pundits are more concerned about democracy in Azerbaijan or Turkey than Armenia!
    You did a great job of describing the current situation in Armenia. Those few notorious names you mentioned have done much more damage to Armenia than Aliyev and Erdogan combined. But I do not agree with your solution.
    There is absolutely no doubt that Serjik needs to go. Any kind of leadership role for Serjik beyond his two terms presidency will immensely tarnish Armenia’s image in west. Let’s not forget that Aliyev’s dictatorship is a card that Armenians have constantly used against Azerbaijan. Now, if Serjik becomes the next PM we wont have much to say in that regard.
    In any case, I don’t think Karapetyan is going to change much. In the end of the day, Karapetyan is a part of the same system, representing the same corrupt oligarchs. Armenia needs institutional changes. Media and judiciary are two of the most important things that need change. All major TV stations directly or indirectly are controlled by the government. Opposition politicians are rarely invited. Sometimes, they invite them a few months before the elections since they know there are European observes monitoring the election coverage. If there is one thing that diaspora can do is the establishment of an independent TV channel. Those who really care about Armenia’s future should come together and form an independent nonpartisan group to push for decomcracy in the country. On top of that, we can orgainze campagins targeting busniesses owned by oligarchs. I can only imagine how many diaspora Armenians will refuse to do shopping from that grocery store chain whose owner was shamelessly insulting his workers before the elections for failing to bring him enough votes! These things need organization and work but they will eventually pay off. It needs websites. It needs leaders who will raise the issue in diaspora and openly critiseze and ask for his expulsion from parliament. Our diaspora leaders are good at critisizing US presidents for not recognizing the Armenian Genocide but they turn a blind eye on a thug who humilates those who work in his grocery store chain publicly simply because they have failed to enlist more names that are going to vote for him! Where is the Armenian lobby that cares about human rights?

    • I agree with you that Karapetyan is not a perfect choice. Having said that, I disagree with your statement that he represents the oligarchs. Otherwise, why most of Armenia’s oligarchs and people connected to them will oppose him directly or indirectly?
      Regarding your idea to have an institutional change, I don’t think that is possible and realistic for now. There have been attempts before with no success. The government controls everything. I see the only possibility is for Karapetyan to be the leader. He will bring a positive change.

      Best regards.

    • Fr. Shetilian,
      Karapetyan is no doubt the lesser of two evils, but he is not the kind of reformist that Armenia’s propaganda media is trying to portray him. I know that a lot of people were very optimistic about him but his approval rating has nosedived in the last few months. He came with the promise to put an end to monopolies but later started justifying them. What is even worse is that many think he is in agreement with Serjik to facilitate his switch from president to PM, let’s hope that one is not true.
      You are right that institutional reforms have all failed. But that has nothing to do with how powerful the government is. The reality is that the government in Armenia is extremely vulnerable, or else Serjik would have never tolerated the closure of Baghramian for almost a month by a bunch of kids. Today’s Armenia has one main difference from the Armenia of 2008: massive foreign debt. Any kind of sanctions by west has the potential to literally destroy the economy in a few weeks, if not days. That is the main reason that Serjik is very cautious dealing with protests. The reason why institutional reforms don’t work in Armenia is simply because there is no one to advocate reform. The government is happy with the situation, the opposition(with the exception of a small minority) is only interested in power. There are only a few NGO’s, mostly funded by EU, that work on issues related to human rights, media neutrality, etc. This is where I believe that diaspora has a lot to do. Enough of building roads and bridges.
      It is naïve to think that one individual, in this case Karapetyan, can change the whole system. Armenia needs direct diaspora involvement to get out of this mess.

    • Dear Minas,

      To start I would like to make clear that I either never thought that Karapetyan can change the entire system. What I said that he could bring change in the sense that there could be a progress. The fact that he is an outsider is important. And if he becomes the leader he will bring his team. Also, we must remember that he left a good impression when he was the mayor of Yerevan for one year several years ago. He left the office of the mayor because he couldn’t survive in that environment. Regarding you comment that Karapetyan later started to justify the monopolies, I think that was a tactical and not a strategic choice. That was done in order to get a support from the Republican Party, since The Republican Party has the majority in the National Assembly (the parliament) and he needs their vote to stay on his position as the prime minister.

      In my opinion, changing the entire system is not possible in Armenia, because whatever we do we will be Russia’s ally and we have to play in that box. What we can hope is a gradual improvement, at least to create more jobs in order to decrease the migration. Surely, if a national leader comes up with a great moral authority and political shrewdness, someone like Abraham Lincoln, Charles De Gaul or Nelson Mandela, we may be able to be Russia’s strategic ally and at the same time pursue to have a Western oriented economy and civil society. We are not lucky to have such a leader. Our security is a top priority. Saakashvilli was able to change the Georgian government system in a short period of time, because he became West’s ally and an enemy to Russia and personally to Putin. But Georgia paid a big prize for that. Georgia lost Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

      I agree with your concern about Armenia’s debt (around $6.5 billion) and other issues. But you see, the cooperation agreement with Europe was the right thing. I will give the credit here to the government for signing that agreement. In my opinion, I don’t think that Diaspora’s active involvement with the NGO will make a big difference on the ground.

      Meanwhile, most recent news and contacts with Armenia indicates that it might be not Karapetyan, but Vigen Saskisyan (current Minister of Defense, and the closest man to Serge Sarkissian) is the choice of Serge Sarkissian and the Republican Party. I hope that is not true. We must watch closely. For me, Vigen is a much worse choice than Karapetyan. If this is confirmed it will change the direction of our discussion.

      Best regards.

  8. Norserunt
    Russian lullaby put you in heavenly sleep. As long as Armenian Oligarchs corrupting our beloved nation in Armenia and leave ordinary people brainless, then you are right to call “Putin’s Russia” as our savior. Perhaps we deserved to be remain that way!

    Remember our survival as a nation is neither Russia nor America, it is in our unity!!

    • GB, ok get back to me after you unite Armenians. And good luck, because it has never happened in our five thousand year history. Anyway, until then, I will remain a steadfast Russophile!

  9. I am disappointed in our Church. The only option for social justice is Etchmiadzin. Attending a ribbon cutting ceremony is so disheartening.

  10. Thank you Der Bedros for your insightful article. The importance of your commentary is to engage in the dialogue through awareness and understanding the options going forward. Your assessment is very complex and has many aspects. I would like to comment on a few.
    1. Russia -I feel your view of Russia was balanced. Frankly, I am tired of the view that claims Russia to our “great
    protector”. We all know that the Czarist years were full of oppression and limited Armenia’s development on its
    historic eastern lands. The withdrawal of the Russian army in 1917 created the collapse of the front and led to
    significant massacres by the Turks. During the Soviet years, Russia was responsible for the ceding of significant
    historic land( Kars/Ardahan to Turkey, Javakhk to Georgia and Artsakh and Nakitchevan to Azerbaijan. I find it
    ironic that Russia is viewed by some as our ally vis a vis Artsakh when they created the problem in 1923. They
    also refused to correct the situation over the decades, including the legal and peaceful efforts of 1988. They
    watched and supported the Turkification after the “glory” years of Russia. Medical facilities, utilities infrastructure
    and quality of life was appalling. How many times have we asked ourselves as decrepit facilities slowly
    upgraded….”what did the Russian do the last fifty years?” The Russia controlled CSTO has done nothing as
    Non-CSTO Azerbaijan attacked the sovereign border of Armenia in Tavush. It is a mutual defense organizations!
    If a powerful nation like Russia is Armenia’s “protector”, then why is the poverty rate in Armenia over 30%? The
    answer is the same as the defense comments…keep Armenia alive but weak so it can be manipulated.

    2. Any discussion of Armenia should include the role of the church. In the early years of the Republic, the church
    collaborated with the government for favorable status. It was done to help the church buy time to take its historic
    position as one of the leading institutions in Armenian society. The Soviet times had weakened the church and it
    was facing problems with the influx of other religious organizations. As a result, however, the Church has
    become a party to the corruption so rampant in Armenia. Why do we build these massive oligarch funded
    churches when a more modest church would be more appropriate and money could be allocated to improving
    the quality of life of the faithful with infrastructure and employment. Why has Holy Etchmiadzin become a college
    campus of incredible investment….when a few feet from the massive entrance gates, common citizens who look
    like our grandmothers beg for daily needs and live in shanty neighborhoods. We all have heard the stories of
    corruption yet nothing is done to bring the humility of our church to the forefront. We support an overly
    hierarchical and materialistic institution. We have turned Etchmiadzin into a tourist destination and compromised
    our values. I cry when I stand by the altar where Our Lord Descended and all I see are tourists clicking cameras,
    talking loud and walking around like they are in a museum not a sanctuary. These visuals are representative of a
    church that is too comfortable with its societal position. The church must live for the faithful ….not the reverse.

    I am an optimist about Armenia because I believe that the Armenian people are stronger than the issues that limit us….whether they are internal or external. Thank you Der Hayr for your efforts.

  11. Der Hayr, while I understand that anyone who was given a green light by AW editors can post articles here, I would expect that authors be more than patriotic Armenians and have enough credentials to express views on domestic and international politics. One of the reasons to be concerned about the situation in Armenia is that most Armenians who furnish judgements on political issues think that being patriots is enough to do so. This is one rampant delusion of most Armenians. To be a patriot is not enough and, as historical evidence shows, can even be disastrous. You’d be better off if you expressed your views as a clergyman and a musician on subjects other than politics. For instance, you touched upon the issue of Russian Orthodox Church and its Patriarch that are having a positive role in keeping the peace in Russia and in unifying the Russian people. Why wouldn’t you develop this topic extending it on and comparing it with the state of affairs in Armenia? Is the Armenian Apostolic Church playing a similar positive role in Armenia? How does our Church stand against various destructive sects that are shooting up like mushrooms in Armenia? I for one would be most interested in reading your next article on the subject.

    • I don’t know who you are and whom you represent. You are trying by every means to stop me. If you are a professional, why don’t you come forward with your real identity and write an article and express your opinion?

      Meanwhile, here is what I’ve got from well known accomplished professionals:

      -From ANC: “I read it today. Great analysis. Everything was true and correct and how we see it at the office”.

      – From Harut Sassounian:
      ” Fr. Bedros,
      I read your analysis with great interest. I agree with most of your statements. I particularly like your support for the Prime Minister. However, I do not think that he was sent by Russia to Yerevan, (that was corrected, author).

      Reading your analysis, I was impressed that I was reading the thoughts of an accomplished political scientist, which is rare in the Armenian world, rather than a clergyman.
      I hope Hairenik publishes your article.

      Best regards,

      Harut”.

      Best regards.

    • Very well said, John. Typically, no sane person who is not a doctor would give medical advice to anyone. Similarly, no sane person who is not a musician would give musical advice to anyone. Yet, for some strange reason, people who know next to nothing about politics, history or military matters are first to express opinions?! Something’s wrong here. I think before people are allowed vote in political elections or voice opinions about serious political matters they need to show their credentials. I bet most of the “opinionated” people here have probably never even read a serious book on history or politics in their entire lives.

    • You mustn’t know who I am and whether or not I represent anyone. This is just a discussion forum and AW regulations do not require that posters reveal their identities. No one here tries to “stop” you, especially as your article was already published. My point was about one of the ills of the Armenian nation, when most Armenians think that being patriots is sufficient to furnish judgments on domestic and international politics, history, and related disciplines. It is not. I’d be interested to read your evaluation of the role of the Armenian Apostolic Church, its leadership, and its ability to combat the spread of sectarian heresy in the Armenian society.

  12. This is a very good and courageous article.

    One hopes that those parties currently in alliance with the corrupt Armenian government will heed what the author says, as unlikely as that is.

    Regarding the author’s statement that Russia is merely acting in its own national interest:

    Countries make mistakes even when they think they are acting in their national self-interest. Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor. Saddam’s invasion of Iraq. The US invasion of Iraq. Hitler’s invasion of the USSR.

    Russia is making a historic REPEAT mistake by cozying up to Turkic Azerbaijan and Turkey.

    Those two countries are Russia’s enemies and cannot be made friends. Russia may lose Armenia as a result or open itself (Russia) up to pan-Turkism.

    Russia is pretty much doing today what the Bolsheviks did to Armenia after WW 1: Cozying up to Turkey, providing it all kinds of aid and pushing Armenia aside in the mistaken belief that it can draw Turkey into some sort of Russian-led union, as Alexander Dugin has suggested to his friend Putin.
    Putin is not a genius, by the way.

    Fact is, Russia is addicted to ethnic games and can’t seem to help itself.

    Bottom line: Yes, Armenia needs Russia. But without its only ally in the Caucasus – that is, Armenia – Russia will lose the entire Caucasus to NATO as well as the Caspian and perhaps even Central Asia as well. Russia will be almost completely surrounded by superior forces who hate it.

    Why is it that few Armenians are aware of these simple points? This is very troubling. Does it stem from some sort of inferiority complex, and are we just clueless? Sorry.

  13. The April war told me everything I needed to know about Russia. Israel and Turkey (Azerbaijan’s loose allies) came out in favor of the aggressor and instigator of the war, Azerbaijan and blamed Armenia openly. Armenia’s only ‘ally’ played the same duduk as all the other imperialists: “both sides must stop”, meaning the Armenians were equally to blame. Only one nations comes to mind that openly told the truth: Cyprus. Yes generally Russians the people, might side with Armenia, but this is no different than Americans or any other Europeans. What matters is that Russia the government does not and never did want to see a free and independent Armenia. As opposed to the Jews who used the resources of a super power to stabilize their country and turn it into a true ally, the Armenians of Russia failed miserably. This is especially an insult when we also consider that Azeris and Turks did nothing for Russia of any particular note, but Armenia did, and was still thrown under the bus. But, I don’t blame Russia actually, I only acknowledge her nature. I blame the Armenian “let’s settle for chewing Russia’s leftover bones” mentality. And this mentality still prevails and is on open display here by those who repeat like a broken record, “Armenia wouldn’t exist without mother Russia”. Yeah? Neither would Azerbaijan or Georgia. And Turkey wouldn’t exist without NATO, and a bunch of other nations who have aligned themselves by the protection of a larger power. The difference is, those people are not brown-nosers-without-results like Armenia’s leaders of the past century.

    • Lao, as usual, I’m not impressed. You and others like “Dave” above you remind me of the saying կոշկակարների քաղաքականություն. Your take on Russia, Armenia or politics and history in general is very immature if not downright silly. Friendly advice, despite what you think, politics is a not a family dispute or a street fight. Politics is an exact science and an art form. Those who master the discipline, develop powerful nations. Those that don’t, well, take a close look at our history. Sadly, an Armenian can be absolutely brilliant in academia, music, sport, business, etc., but somehow when it comes to politics an Armenian is almost always a total idiot. We Armenians may admire Jews for their political agility and foresight, but when the times comes to start acting like Jews in politics, we Armenians somehow resort to acting likes Arabs instead. Go figure…

  14. The internal problems we see in Armenia – depopulation, mafia, corruption, weak economy, injustice, etc, – exists in most developing nation on earth. In fact, most developing nations today are worst off than Armenia. In fact, Western nations, in their developing years, were much worst off. Armenia is still one of the safest countries in the world. Armenia is still a family oriented society. Armenia is still homogeneous nation. Armenia is till a Christian nation. Armenia is still a politically stable nation. Armenia has a powerful military. Armenia is allied to a superpower that would even resort to a nuclear war to protect it. Armenia is a great place to start a business. Armenia is becoming a major tourist destination. Lastly, and most importantly, from the first time in over one thousand years, Armenia has increased in size.

    Armenia’s sociopolitical problems are primarily related to its landlocked situation and its 25-plus year old double blockade by a NATO member and Azerbaijan. Because of this, even if Armenia’s so-called oligarchs sprouted wings and became angels overnight, Armenia would still be economically depressed and therefore sociopolitical troubled. What’s more, every single one of Armenia’s problems today are rooted in the way with which the Soviet Union collapsed. Our problems are post-Soviet (think Levon Ter Petrosian) related. The Soviet Union should have never collapsed, it should have been modernized (think China and Vietnam).

    Those who compare our tiny, poor, landlocked, embattled, blockaded and fledgling nation in a nasty/dangerous place like the south Caucasus to countries like Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Canada or, amazingly, to the United States are simply put morons! Such people would do well to assimilate as soon as possible and leave Armenia to those of us who really understand her problems and worry about her welfare. Ultimately, what Armenia needs is not “democracy”, “civil society”, or “free press” (all code words for Western intervention and societal degradation), what Armenia needs in reality is peace in the south Caucasus. And the only way to achieve peace in the south Caucasus is through Russia. The south Caucasus therefore desperately needs Pax Russica. In my opinion, we are not too far war from ot. There may be one or two more hurdles, but we’ll eventually be there. Despite all the Western-funded doomsayers and the idiots who believe them, Armenia’s future actually looks quite good.

    PS: The main problem I have with this article is that it’s written by someone that should know better than to write such petty nonsense. In other words, I expect more from our clergy.

    • {The Soviet Union should have never collapsed, it should have been modernized (think China and Vietnam).} -This is, indeed, THE root of our problems, to which we found ourselves unprepared, just like in 1918 after the collapse of the Russian empire. Unfortunately, it was not possible to salvage either the Russian empire or the Soviet Union, because the so-called “collapse” of both state entities was orchestrated by supragovernmental powers and modernization of Russia/Soviet Union wasn’t part of their plan.

  15. The world is changing. It’s not Russia, US, or EU anymore. It is GazProm, RosNeft, LukOil, Exxon Mobile, Conoco Phillips, Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, NorskOil, Eni, etc.

    Armenia and Artsakh add risks to their pipeline projects. They would prefer not to have such high risks as responsible stewards of their shareholders’ interests. To mitigate risks they steer their respective governments, media, civil societies, and academia under their control in opposite directions as they compete between themselves or create alliances.

    All of them would prefer Armenians to move away from their projects so they can continue robbery and theft just like they do in all other oil and gas rich regions of the world.

  16. Very interesting article and the question is still hanging “What to do?”
    Here is a bit of destruction or reflection, whichever way you might take it.
    Singapore become the world’s most advanced, educated and rich country in a very short time. One of the most important single credos of its leader at the time, Lee Kuan Yew, was honesty. He was known for his ruthlessness when dealing with DISHONEST politicians and civil serves staff with no exceptions – jailing relatives and friends if they were corrupt and dishonest.
    Can you see any leader closer to home capable of this type of morality and mentality revolution? Unless this happens, it is naïve to expect any change …

    http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/remembering-lee-kuan-yew-a-leader-who-was-ruthless-in-demanding-honesty

    • Lee Kuan Yew was a leader of the Chinese (well, mostly Chinese). A leader whom you envision closer to home will be a leader of the Armenians. If you know what I mean…

    • What is wrong with you people? What’s with Armenians and their recent obsession with Singapore?! What’s “naive” is expecting Armenia – a tiny, poor, embattled, landlocked and blockaded nation surrounded by historic enemies in a very volatile geographical environment to replicate an island nation in south-east Asia that has no serious problems with its neighborhood and sits right on the world’s busiest trade routes. A better question is how would Singapore have fared had it traded places with Armenia?

      Just for your information: Singapore is also a dictatorship that woudl not tolerate any of the nonesense Armenia’s Western led political opposition gets away with. And, Singapore’s population, a mix of Chinese, Malays and Indians, are very hard working and they dont complain much – unlike Armenians.

      Wake up Armenians!

  17. To Norserunt:

    Here is my response to some of your statements that I disagree upon:
    1 – I am not making any excuses for Russia. That is how it is. Politics are always controversial.

    2 – I lived in Russia and the US for a long time and there is no comparison between the scale of the corruption in Russia and the US. Russia is much more corrupt. While the corruption in the US is in the top, in Russia it affects average people. And you know that very well. It seems to me that you live or lived in the US because your English is good.

    3 – This is very important. There is no way that “Sasna Dzrer” were financed from abroad. They are well-known fighters (fidayis) since the Artsakh war of the 1990s. The West didn’t support them. This is proof that your statement is completely false. What they did was a desperate attempt to shake things up. For me and for many others, “Sasna Dzrer” are the conscience of our nation.

    4 – When you say that Karapetyan was sent by Russia, you are humiliating our nation. Whatever it is and how bad it is, don’t you think that we are capable to solve our problems? I believe that Karapetyan’s coming to Armenia, first of all, was an Armenian initiative with Russian awareness.

    5 – Yes, strategically and militarily, we must be Russia’s ally. The vast majority of Armenians agree with that. That doesn’t mean that we have to be an enemy of the West. We should have a balanced policy and try to get the best from each country. We should be cooperating with the West on the economy, high-tech, etc. Armenia signed a cooperation agreement with the European Union and that is an important step in the right direction.

    6 – The Bolshevik revolution was a disaster for Russia, Armenia, and other nations. It was led by a multi-ethnic group of people. Bolshevik Jews who were an important part of the leadership were non-nationalistic people, like Armenian Bolsheviks or Russian Bolsheviks. They did not care about their national identity. Their priority was an international revolution. From this perspective, Anastas Mikoyan criticized Armenians who were demanding the return of Western Armenia to our nation.

    About your response to Virginia:
    6 – The fact that I was born in Aleppo does not mean that I can’t say the truth. The US is a superpower. Like any superpower of the past, British Empire, Russian Empire, Soviet Union, it has its own interest and its mistakes are similar to the mistakes of the others. That’s how it is. Here in the US, as citizens, we criticize the mistakes of our government and try to fix them. If there was an evil empire, that was the Soviet Union.

    7- By saying that I am a part of the American/Western destructive information war, you are contradicting yourself. My article’s main goal is to show support to Karapetyan, who by your own words “Is Moscow’s man. He was essentially sent to Armenia to stop Armenians from acting self-destructive”.

    8 – The fact that in the US, wealthy or middle-class people live a comfortable life is one of the great achievements of the Western Civilization. Besides that, we care about our families and communities. As Armenian-Americans we care about both our countries. I am a proud American and a proud Armenian.

    9 – Finally, no one is insulting others here except you. Please be respectful, even though you may disagree with others.

    Best regards

    • If I may intervene in your debate with Norserunt and put my two cents for points 5 and 6. My humble contribution may be worth reading, just may be, because these points pertain to my professional specializations, my cup of tea, so to speak.

      In point 5, it is stated that “we should have a balanced policy and try to get the best from each country”. This is an outdated, as old as Adam, long dead, and long decomposed foreign policy concept that’s been attempted back in the 1990s, when Russia was in shambles after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The concept was called “complementary foreign policy” and miserably failed by the end of the end of the 1990s having never produced substantial results. It failed primarily because by the late-1990s and the early-2000s, Russia got back on track, fortifying its influence over the former Soviet republics and the regions adjacent to the former Soviet borders that were of geostrategic importance to the Kremlin. The point I’m trying to make is that for a variety of reasons—geographic, politico-military, economic, etc.—Armenia cannot keep a symmetrical foreign policy balance between Russia and the West. Geographic variable plays the key role here. The country is closer to Russia than the West, need I say. Therefore, the “balance” can at best be assymetrical, more or less reminiscent of what we have today, with Armenia getting “the best”, as you say, from Russia that provides for defense, national security, energy, banking, and cultural affinity to Armenia, and the West that provides for, basically, what?, humanitarian assistance half of which goes back home, grants to NGOs that advance Western “values”, and several companies in economic, high-tech, and energy spheres. As for Armenia’s signing a cooperation agreement with the European Union, okay, but hardly could it be equal in importance to Armenia’s full membership in the Eurasian Union and CSTO. Whether Armenia’s signing an agreement with the EU is an important step or not could be determined only when the EU agrees to deploy a military base and troops on the Armenian-Turkish border and supply Armenia with weaponry, natural gas, oil, grain, and nuclear fuel.

      In point 6, it is stated that “the Bolshevik revolution was led by a multi-ethnic group of people.” Well, not exactly. It cannot be termed ‘multiethnic’, because the prevailing majority of the group were full or matrilineal Jews. Bolshevik Jews stated they were non-nationalistic people, revolutionaries and atheists. Stated, yes. But the practical consequences of these non-nationalistic people’s coming to power and rule were utterly nationalistic in that millions of people—predominantly non-Jews and predominantly Russians—had died during the revolution and the ensued Civil War and famine, while scores of monasteries and churches were destroyed and Christian clergymen killed. Victims, in their prevailing majority, were the Russians. If we take their ideology alone, Bolshevik Jews were nationalistic in a sense that they degraded the Russians (read matrilineal Jew Lenin’s works where he called the Russians ‘Vankis’, pejorative for Ivans or full Jew Leon Trotsky’s, alias Lev Davidovich Bronstein, works, where he suggested that Russia becomes the firewood to fuel his permanent world revolution), among other Bolshevik leaders’ works.

      Der Hayr, please pray for the Armenian people that God grants us the wisdom and the serenity to accept the things we can’t change, that God makes us more pragmatic and less emotional, more politically savvy and less narrowly nationalistic, more broad-minded and less myopic, more professional and less dilettante, more safe and less self-destructive. Thank you.

    • Ter Hayr, with all due respects, it’s obvious you understand very little about the United States, Russia, politics in general and the state of affairs in Armenia. I am therefore not going to respond to your comments point by point. Individuals who you quoted earlier as commending you on the merits of your article are either also clueless about the world their live in or are simply being polite with you. In any case, I am not here to be polite because these types of topics go beyond the individual and are crucially important to the long-term health and well being of Armenia. I am instead here you get politically ignorant and naive Armenians to start thinking rationally, intelligently, objectively and strategically.

      PS: So called “Sasna Dzrer” movement (also known as Founding Parliament) was indeed financed from abroad. France and America were two places they were getting material and moral support from. Also, being a war hero does not qualify one for being a good politician, nor does it imply any degree of intelligence. Regardless of their contribution to the war effort 25 years ago, “Sasna Dzrer” activists are criminals (they did after all murder Armenian policemen) in the service of Western interests. Simply put: They allowed themselves to get recruited by Western intelligence due to their utter hate and irrational paranoia towards Russia. It’s obvious you know very little about the political opposition in Armenia.

    • John, brilliant responce. Have no doubt however that your words will fall on deaf ears. With exceptions, Armenians in general may be genetically programmed to be politically ignorant and self-destructive. My greatest fear in all this is that we Armenians may be destined to be perennial losers.

    • Regarding John’s point 5 rebuttal. Sorry, what Der Hayr said about point 5 is the most reasonable, and in no way Russophobe. And in fact trying to suggest that Armenia give up on Europe and USA, for what? Preposterous. Not only is this very dangerous for the diaspora, you don’t understand that the USA can cause extensive damage to any nation without even firing a weapon do you? When Russia declares Turkey an enemy instead of a “friend”, and when Russia declares Azerbaijan a hostile state instead of a “strategic partner”, and shows, not promises, how Russia will help Armenia get back all her lost territories as a result of the illegal and anti-Armenian policies of the Soviet Union administered by Russia, then come back and talk to us about Armenia burning her bridges with everyone, but for Russia.

    • To John:

      About your comments to point 5: Well, that is already happening. Again, the cooperation agreement with the EU is one important step towards Armenia being less dependent on Russian economy in the first place. Still, we have to see how it will be implemented. The EU agreement is not a military one and there is no need to be. I lived both in Russia and in the West. Economically the Western system is much much better. Anyone who has common sense cannot question that.

      You are trying to say that being a strategic ally to Russia, being a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization), Armenia cannot become a Western-oriented economy. You have your point. Still, Armenia can do much better. Armenian Diaspora in the West can be a major contributing factor. The current heavy dependence on Russia’s economy is mainly because of a weak leadership and not because of other reasons you have mentioned. No country’s leadership in return for its debts gives up the most important part of its energy and railroads system, gas industry. Yakunin, the former head of the Russian state railroad company opposed Armenia’s having a railroad connection with Iran, etc. I can’t understand why you are by all means trying to justify the current situation. As you say you are a specialist, and if that is true you should know that there is a better way for our motherland. It is more about interior politics.

      About your comments to point 6: Jews suffered as much as the other nations, especially by Stalin who didn’t like them as much as he didn’t like us. Trotsky in his exile in 1920-1930s, was mostly talking and writing about Soviet Russia and international revolution and was not interested in Jews who were going through persecution and were struggling to build their homeland. Once he was asked what he thinks about the rise of antisemitism in the US. His answer was that only a communist revolution can solve that problem. He was a bloody international revolutionary.

      There are some Armenians, unfortunately even politicians, who are shortsighted and want to make Jews our enemies.

      Best regards.

    • I’ll try to be laconic this time in order to avoid dreary debates.

      {Well, that [cooperation agreement with the EU] is already happening. We have to see how it will be implemented.}

      Okay, let’s see how it will be implemented without jumping to conclusions. Economically the Western system maybe “better”, as you say, but Armenia has more commonalities with the Russian system, more goods and services to offer to the Russian and other CIS countries’ markets, and is closer to the Russian market in many respects. This doesn’t mean that Armenia cannot have economic relations with other countries. I’m only trying to think pragmatically. Living in both Russia and the West, by the way, doesn’t make one a political strategist or an astute economist.

      {Armenia can do much better.}

      Of course. As some posters here attempted to compare the incomparable, Armenia with Singapore, Armenia of course could do much better had it been situated where Singapore is located, surrounded by friendly nations, free of the burden of genocide, loss of ancestral lands, wars, conflicts, blockades. Of course, it could…

      {Armenian Diaspora in the West can be a major contributing factor.}

      I’d think so, yes. Not sure about ‘major’, though. Until now Armenian Diaspora in Russia is incomparably more contributing. But I have no problems with all of the Diasporan Armenians becoming major contributing factors.

      {The current heavy dependence on Russia’s economy is mainly because of a weak leadership and not because of other reasons you have mentioned.}

      No. You’re mistaken. The heavy dependence on Russia has other powerful undercurrents rooted in the issue.

      {Jews suffered as much as the other nations, especially by Stalin who didn’t like them as much as he didn’t like us.}

      I had the Bolshevik “revolution” and the ensued Civil War (1917-1922) in mind, not the Stalin’s purges of the late 1930s. During and after the Bolshevik Jewish “revolution”, Russians endured incomparably more hardship and deprivation, as well as loss of life, than any other ethnic group. As for Trotsky, I already wrote about his views on Russia and the Russians.

      {There are some Armenians, unfortunately even politicians, who are short-sighted and want to make Jews our enemies.}

      I don’t want to make Jews our enemies. I want them to recognize Armenian sufferings and the loss of ancestral lands as genocide, stop hindering Armenian lobbyist efforts at genocide recognition worldwide, and stop unilateral supplies of arms to our enemies. By such behavior, Jews are making themselves enemies of the Armenians.

    • And one more thing, Der Hayr, about this fundamental misconception of yours, which is a byproduct of your limited knowledge of how international politics work and what supragovernmental forces pull strings behind politicians’ backs: “The current heavy dependence on Russia […] is mainly because of a weak leadership [in Armenia].” Without delving into the ‘weak leadership-strong leadership’ issue, let me assure you that the current leadership in Armenia is more or less equally acceptable and tolerable by all major power centers that have geostrategic interests in Armenia as part of the greater Caucasus and Middle Eastern regions, that is, it is not only Russia, on which Armenia depends for a host of reasons I‘d like to avoid reiterating, but also the United States and the European Union that accept and tolerate Armenia’s leadership. Yes, you heard me right, the United States and the European Union are also interested in such leadership in Armenia, whether it is weak or strong. Unfortunately, certain things cannot be disclosed in a public forum, but those who believe, based on their professional knowledge and experience, that oftentimes the US and Russia act in tandem on many regional and international security issues, will understand what I mean. So please refrain from representing this matter in such a way that only Russia “pushes” Armenia into dependency on Moscow and all other major power centers are such nice and fluffed fellows. This is one rampant, deeply flawed dilettante delusion.

  18. Alex,

    One other ill of the Armenian nation is that most Armenians think that change will happen when a kindly uncle will descend from heaven and solve our problems or at least lay the foundations for solving. Professionals in the field, on the other hand, understand that no fundamental societal change happens from the top down. Lee Kuan Yew remembers in his book that he first asked the people whether they were prepared to radically change their miserable lives, whether they understood that they would be subjected to fines, arrests, indictments, prison times, etc. for breaking the law. And only after the people voted unequivocally that they were ready to bear responsibility for their actions and behavior was he able to start the reform process. That is, oftentimes it works from bottom up and not from top to bottom.

    • Yes John,
      I agree. Everyone needs to sign up to morality and mentality revolution and it will and must happen sooner or later, and only then a Leader will appear to lead the willing. Yes, it will be a (benevolent) dictatorship, which is necessary when the nation is at perpetual war.

  19. Actually, not only did I enjoy reading this article written by a Der Hayr, unlike those claiming “stick to what you know” bs, I think he should also be teaching those so-called “expert politicians” in Armenia. It amazes me that such a balanced well thought out article get criticized as “Russophobic” by our resident torch bearers for Russia. This crowd believes that everything can be criticized except Russia. As if “Mother Russia” is their holy god. I find this so weird in a segment of the Armenian mentality. But in my view this is why our nation and our culture has been stolen from us. This “subservient to another power” mentality that we just can’t seem to shake off. Compare this to Israel: without the USA, Israel would not exist for one second. Yet, with any even perceived “anti-Israeli” move by the USA, they turn the entire world upside down, and criticize the US like there was no tomorrow, I’m confident to stay to the point of just stopping short of cursing out the US openly and burning American flags. These people certainly are not worried about the consequences of angering “Mother America” now are they? Why? Because they have the balls and the chutzpah to get things done, unlike our uneducated clueless about the world chobans-turned-government in Armenia, who up to this time have done nothing to make me as a diaspora Armenian feel proud of my nation that I want to be proud and even become a part of but can’t because I have no confidence neither in their abilities nor visions for all of our collective future. I even want to say, if you claim that “most Armenians think like you” then just go and shut down Armenia completely and declare it an exclave state of Russia. At least then those that are actually living there wouldn’t have to suffer.

    • Lao, we see the depth Armenian insanity when Armenians compare themselves to Jews. Comparing Jews, with the full spectrum dominance they have over American society, to Armenians is like comparing the hunting skills of a great lion in the wild to that of a domesticated house cat. Guess who is the house cat? Anyone that cannot see that Jews are in fact a global power today is clearly deaf, dumb and blind. You are beginning to do yourself a great disservice every time you mouth. That said, I dare you to post a single mainstream Jewish article attacking the United States. Unlike Armenians, Jews don’t allow their emotions to get the better of them. Unlike our idiots, who actually do burn Russian flags, no Jew, no Jewish organization is stupid enough to engage in such stupidity. On the contrary, Jewish mainstream media is utterly saturated with pro-American nonsense. Prominent American Jews proudly claim that America is their promise land.

    • Your argument makes no sense as usual. In fact in Israel’s history, Israel has acted towards the USA in a manner where the USA would have gone to war against Israel if not for the Jewish influence in the US, such as time and again American Jews spying and stealing state secrets from America for the benefit of Israel, and Israel has gotten a pass every time, and this problem is even present recently as leaked documents have shown. This is actually a lot worse than burning the flags of your “friend”. And I have every right to compare Armenian leadership to any other that is successful for their interests, you will not tell me anything where I would see a need to lower my standards for the benefit of your beloved Russia. And by the way, as Obama was in the last year, you obviously missed all the news articles bashing the American government for making deals with Iran, Israel’s worst enemy in their view, not only from Israel and the Jewish lobby, but many Americans under their influence. The Jews did everything correctly for themselves and used the USA to their full benefit. Armenians didn’t do the same with Russia, and when left up to you, will remain that way, an irrelevant pitiful state in the south Caucasus, existing for the benefit of Russia.

  20. Armenia needs a new hero like Andranik and Njdeh. Maybe someone like Soghomon Tehlirian and the operation nemesis. Someone who can mobilize enough resources to chop the heads of all the oligarchs one by one. It’s hard for me to understand how we can have so many ruthless bastards in our own nation lacking compassion and sucking the juice out of our humble simple people. Like many other diaspora Armenians, I love my homeland and I’m doing everything in my power to help the needy there. I have hard time imagining the level of corruption in our country and I think we need a final solution to the oligarchy!

  21. How about we try to answer the “What to Do” question instead of “Who to Blame”?

    Here is my take – we need a massive, organized, and separate repatriation to Armenia and Artsakh.

    Imagine what kind of negotiations the Minsk Group would be conducting in Vienna if there were 30,000 Americans, 15,000 French, 10,000 Lebanese and 50,000 Russian citizens living in Artsakh in separate settlements.

    Each large diaspora is capable of establishing and supporting such settlements for their own repatriates. Let’s bring some healthy competition;) The settlements should be run just like in the home country. Only children born in Artsakh would be able to fully integrate into the new society.

    Legally they can be registered as Free Economic Zones with their own laws, currencies, language regulations, etc. Artsakh will get security, infrastructure and taxes out of this deal.

    To finance this there should be a 2% national Armenian voluntary tax. Think about it this way: to send one family we need 48 families to pitch in 2% of their annual income. And that would mean that family would never have to work. But they will work and produce strong economy with time. Before the wars Artsakh had 500,000 population. There are enough resources there to sustain a million or more.

    • Armenains are too individualistic, selffish, materialistic, cynical, disorganized and apolitical for it to work. But it’s a wonderful dream nonetheless. So, thank you, you are at least trying to be constructive and creative, unlike others here to are almost always destructive and see the world in black and white terms…

    • Norserunt,

      Reading successful personal stories on RepatArmenia.org gives me hope. It is a scalable process. The ultimate collapse of the twin Evil Empire that is unsustainable for the whole world to support without its primary goal of fighting communist USSR can expedite the process. The current leadership in its destructive ways reminds me of Soviet Union circa 1987 under Mr. Gorbachev.

      It might become attractive for many Armenians to move to Artsakh and Armenia to avoid living in Glendale dumpsters. If the conditions are right and everything is prepared for the mass repatriation by a few pioneers, we might see an organized exodus much sooner than anybody can expect.

    • Despite its many flaws, the current leadership in Armenia is the best choice we have at tbhis poin in time. In other words, it is a lesser evil. The political opposition in Armenia presents an existential threat to the country.
      You dont want Armenians from Glendale (or North Hollywood) to ever go back to Armenia. Trust me on that.
      As a result of the way in which the Soviet Union collapsed and the way in which Armenians dismantled almost everything that was built by the Soviet system, Armenia today is a broken and depleted nation with no industry and no direct/free outlets to the outside world. Therefore, as it currently exists, Armenia can barely the population it has. An influx of people will only add to the country’s burden. When the region’s geopolitical tug-of-war between Russia and the West ends; when the Artsakh dispute is settled; when the Eurasian Economic Union begins to develop; in other words, when there is peace and economic growth in the south Caucasus, that is when Armenia will be able to handle an influx of Armenians from around the world.
      That said, Armenia does need an influx of professionals, experts and investors.

  22. RUSSIA NOWADAYS IS THE CANCER OF ARMENIA, THEY STOP US FROM BECOMING A GREAT NATION. THEY HAVE STOLEN OUR FACTORIES AND ENERGY, LAND AND MILITARY, and MOST IMPORTANTLY OUR TRUST. “ALLIES” DONT SELL ARMS TO ENEMIES. THEY ALSO TREAT ARMENIANS LIKE SECOND CLASS CITIZENS. WE CAN SUCCEED WITHOUT THEM, THEY ARE FAILING AND TAKING US DOWN.

    • THE ONLY THING RUSSIA IS STOPPING IS THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ARMENIA. SECOND CLASS CITIZENS?! RUSSIAN-ARMENIAN DIASPORA IS THE MOST AFFLUENT IN THE WORLD. ARMENIANS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY PRESENT IN THE HIGHEST LAYERS OF RUSSIAN SOCIETY, INCLUDING ITS GOVERNMENT. WHAT DO YOU AMERICA-HAYS GOT COMPARE? A HOLLYWOOD WHORE, A LAS VEGAS BILLIONAIRE AND A ROCK STAR?

  23. The problems Armenia faces are rooted in the spiritual state of the people: the majority of Armenians are not Christians. As much as many Armenians would like to call themselves Christians, most of the ones who mouth their allegiance to the Orthodox Church are not Christians: they lie, they steal, they commit murder in the case of the oligarchs and the other mafiosos, they cheat each other, they deceive each other, they don’t help each other, they don’t pay the wages to the laborer worthy of his wage, and a ton of other sins that plague this stubborn people. If Mesrop Mashtots were to appear to Armenians in Armenia and around the world, he would cry and plead for their repentance because it is only leading to their destruction. Until the Armenian nation as a whole comes back to Jesus whom their forefathers worshiped and loved and forever puts away the endless corruption, Armenia will only continue to plummet into despair and finally, into utter and permanent non existence.

    • Theophilus,

      According to your formula the Chinese, Vietnamese, Cubans, Singaporese and most western and northern European nations should also be failures. Don’t let your Christian zeal cloud your reasoning. The degree to which Armenians practice Christianity per se has little to do with the problem Armenians face. The fundamental problems we have with Armenians today is Armenian folk culture and genetic makeup and the absence of a national/political ideology among the masses. “Religious” nations or “Christian” ntions also have serious sociopolitical and economic problems. Like I said, the problem we have today is very similar to what Bolshevism did to Armenians and other Soviet peoples during the 20th century. Today’s Bolshevism – Globalism/Westernization – has stripped peoples around the world of any kind of ideological and spiritual conviction. Once more: The problems we face in Armenia and in the Diaspora is two fold: Armenian traits (cultural and genetic) and the corrosive Anglo-American-Jewish climate of the world we live in.

  24. I wonder whether Vladimir Vladimirovich pays some of these trolls in rubles or if they insist on drams to show their հայրենասիրություն. ‘Pax Russica’, no less! Տէր Ողորմյա! Or should I say, Господи помилуй?

    • You have forgotten the first Armenian genocide took place with the hand of our beloved Gregory the Illuminator who converted Armenians to Christianity by force. I will give you one example to show you how our mother church helps Armenia: The major bank account of our Armenian Church is located in swish bank. We can solve our problem pulling all our power and abilities in order to built stronger economy and Super Armenia.

  25. Compare this to the First Amendment of the wonderland some call “Mother America”. Just a few days ago, Michael Chikindas, a professor in the Food Science department at Rutgers University in NJ, was fired for posting a comment on his personal Facebook page, stating that the top leaders of the Young Turks, who orchestrated the Armenian genocide, were Jews. Repeat, the professor was fired from his workplace for posting a private comment on his personal Facebook page. Not on the premises of his university. Not during a lecture since he wasn’t even a professor of political science or history. Not while using a computer in the university’s computer lab. Not even during his conversation with his university colleagues. Go figure…

    • And just recently, the multiethnic (and now increasingly genderless) Theme Park known as the United States was caught trying to bring GMOs into Armenia. I find is exceedingly sad that the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, an evil and bloodthirsty global empire the kind of which not seen since Roman times, and one that has killed tens-of-millions of people (including Christians) around the world has fans in the Armenian Church. I find it sad that Americans have turned out to be the world’s most violent, most drug addicted, dumbest, sickest and most sexually confused and perverted people on earth, and we have priests singing their praise. Increadible what a nice car and a comfortable home in a manicured neighborhood (all essentially the by-product of centuries of genocide, slavery and wars for plunder) can do to a person’s spiritual integrity and intelligence.

    • Actualy john, thanks for proving my point. Clearly you are attempting to misinterpret what I wrote. “Mother America” is the same for a Jew as “Mother Russia” is to you and norserunt, which I asked, and you still haven’t addressed, why is it alright with “patriotic American Jews” that Jews can criticize America and yet get more advantages than Armenians from Russia and yet we are not “allowed” to criticize Russia according to you and norserunt etc. Is Russia your perfect utopia which is offering Armenia her unconditional love, support and friendship? I also pointed out why that is not true, and I still have no answer to every one of my points.

      1. Russia refrained from any moral support of Armenia in the April war.
      2. Russia knew the April war was coming and did not share this intelligence, nad we lost 100 young men for nothing.
      3. Russia did not let the Artsakh troops from finishing the job in 1994 with excuses about NATO, (which was not even involved with Azerbaijan to begin with), but gladly invaded Georgia when it came time for her own benefits, ignoring NATO threats.
      4. Russia quickly recognized Abkhaz and Ossetis in a month as nations, but hasn’t done it to Artsakh for two decades.
      5. During the Soviet Union, transfering Artsakh to Armenia was a matter of a couple orders and a couple signatures, and still did not do it.
      6. Armenia gave her soul to save Russia in WWII sacrificing its young men it could not afford to, Azerbaijan did very little in comparioson, and Turkey sat back and supported Germany economically, and yet, Russia did not offer anything to Armenia still, keeping Nakhichevan and Artsakh to Azerbaijan, Kars to Turkey.
      7. Armenia gave the Soviet Union artists, scientists, military leaders to the point that it made a difference in putting the Soviet Union on the map, Azerbaijan has nothing to show for, yet still nothing coming forward to reward Armenia for her loyalty to Russia.

      How many points do you need before admitting that Russia is not Armenia’s friend, but just uses Armenia for her own benefits, and the worst part, makes Armenia pay for it, like the Trumpian theory. The US has a base in Turkey to face off with Russia. Russia has a base in Armenia to face off with the USA. The USA pays Turkey large sums of money and all kinds of military benefits. Russia not only does not pay Armenia to protect its interests in the south Caucasus, it gives Armenia weapons “at a discount” and loans to make it look like it is helping Armenia survive. In fact Russia needs Armenia as much as Armenia needs Russia. If Turks invaded and took over Armenia, Russia would be finished next. But none of you Russia cheerleaders will ever come forwards to admit any of this, because your loyalty seems to be with Russia not Armenia. If you had any concern for Armenia’s future you would be spreading ideas to how Armenia can use its advantage in its location to gain permanent security in the Caucasus, and return all its territories. Instead you are all too happy that Russia keeps the Turk-Azeri threat alive against Armenia in order to have a subservient colony placed on automatic in the south Caucasus which she won’t need to worry about. Maybe this makes you happy, for me this just means more of the same mediocre existence Armenia has had for the past century, chewing on Russia’s leftover bones and saying thank you with a smile. I will conclude, with the current Russian policy in the south Cacasus, Armenia will NEVER be a viable nation with any kind of future. All it can hope for is to be a landlocked exclave of Russia, and of course this is what Russia has wanted all along. Yeah I know, your tool for silencing anyone you don’t like to be revealing the truth is “you know nothing about geopolitics”. Fine, I don’t need to know anything about it, but I do know enough about common sense to see that I don’t but any of the bs that Russia is Armenia’s best friend and hope and acts in Armenia’s interests rather than its own. And if you deny this, you are simply not honest with yourselves.

    • Lao, I repeat: We see the depth of Armenian insanity when Armenians begin comparing themselves to Jews. Comparing Jews, with the full spectrum dominance they have over American society, to Armenians is like comparing the hunting skills of a great lion in the wild to that of a domesticated house cat. Guess who is the house cat? Anyone that cannot see that Jews are in fact a global power today is clearly deaf, dumb and blind. You are now beginning to do yourself a great disservice every time you mouth. That said, I dare you to post a single mainstream Jewish article attacking/insulting the United States. Unlike Armenians like you, Jews don’t allow their emotions to get the better of them. Unlike our idiots, who actually do burn Russian flags, no Jew, no Jewish organization is stupid enough to engage in such stupidity. On the contrary, Jewish mainstream media is utterly saturated with pro-American lovefest and prominent American-Jews proudly claim that America is their promise land.

      Had you been truely interested in Armenia’s wellbeing and not your ego, you would have recognized Russia as a historic opportunity for Armenia. You are one of those who admire Jews but when the time comes to be like Jews you instead act like Arabs.

      Regarding the Arpil war: You have a vivid imagination. You are making a number of unsubstantiated allegations/accusations, ultimately proving that you have very little understanding of military matters and the geopolitical climate of the region in question. If anybody other than Baku knew about the Azeri military’s intentions, it’s Yerevan and Washington. All three parties, Americans, Armenians and Azeris, were in Washington holding meetings merely a day or two before the fighting began. With serious situations brewing in Ukraine and Syria, the LAT THING Moscow needs is war in the south Caucasus.

      At the end of the day, we Armenians have managed to hold onto Artsakh for 25-plus years because of Russian support. At the end of the day, Armenia exists because of Russian support. The day Russia pulls its hand away from Armenia, that is the day Armenia will cease to exist. Russia is Armenia’s number one trade partner, number one investory, number one tourist provider, only nuclear fuel provider, only cheep gas/oil provider. By guarding Armenia’s western borders with Turkey, Moscow has given Yerevan the opportunity to concentrate all its effort in keeping Azerbaijan at bay in the east. By providing Armenia will affordable (and often free) modern weaponry, Moscow has given Yerevan the opportunity to compete with an oil-rich Baku who has billions to waste on weapons system from around the world.

      Characters like Lao and other here prove that Armenians have historically been Armenia’s only limiting factor. What Armenia undamentally needs is for her troubled children to grow up.

    • PS: Obama/Clinton administration was financed and led by left-wing Jews. The Trump administration is financed and led by right-wing Jews. Therefore, regardless of what political side one may be on in the United States they are in fact on a side financed and led by Jews. Jews have in recent decades gained almost total control over the United States. The Iran deal was essentially a left-wing Jewish agenda. Trump’s intention to do away with it is essentially a right-wing Jewish agenda. Simply put: Jews are torn over what to do with Iran. When Jews criticize the United States, it’s primarily left-wing Jews criticizing what right-wing Jews are doing in the White House or right-wing Jews criticizing what left-wing Jews are doing in the White House. It’s that simple. Nevertheless, Jews do not in any way criticize or attack the United States per se for any reason. They in fact love America and Anglo-American culture essentially because they have come to repesent it. How they will be towards the United States in the future remains to be seen. Thus far, they are in control, they will therefore treat the United States quite literally as their “promise land”.

  26. Our Russophobes’ best friends, at least in the spiritual and ideological sense, are Turks and Azeris. In fact, the rhetoric of our so-called “nationalists” is virtually indistinguishable from the nonsense put out by Turkish and Azerbaijani state propaganda:

    Russia’s consistent arms supply to Azerbaijan greatly dissatisfies Armenia, says MP: https://www.azernews.az/nation/123975.html

    Keep Armenia isolated, George Friedman: http://www.news.az/articles/armenia/26918

    Adnan Oktar’s live discussion on A9 TV with Richard Giragosian,…: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PCTE3MPGHs

    Turkish Advice: Armenian diaspora, focus on Russia rather than Turkey! http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/barcin-yinanc/armenian-diaspora-focus-on-russia-rather-than-turkey-59677

  27. Zartir Lao, the answer to your simplistic questions is pretty obvious, “why is it alright with “patriotic American Jews” that Jews can criticize America and yet get more advantages than Armenians from Russia and yet we are not “allowed” to criticize Russia”

    The Jews have overwhelming influence and hold sway over all levers of power in the US – Wall street, White House, State Dept, Hollywood, MSM, Education…etc. Are you naive enough to compare our situation to theirs.
    What John and Norserunt are saying are absolutely correct. The ONLY other superpower that has an interest in our existence as a nation is Russia. Unlike the US, Russia is currently governed by a nationalistic, pragmatic, calculating, highly intelligent and militaristic elite. Contrary to the BS you hear on the US news, and despite the impotent sanctions, Russia is doing exceptionally well and has recorded impressive gains economically, politically, militarily and geopolitically, and will continue to do so in the decades to come due to their immense natural resource and scientific/military capabilities, plus their growing relationship with China. Russia’s strategic interests clearly align with ours but they also aim to balance those interests with the 100 million or so ethnic Turks that live within or on the periphery of their country and we should understand their goals and manoeuvre within those constraints. So whether we love them or not (and I personally don’t like nor dislike them), they hold the key to our survival as a nation, and yes, to any future expansion of our borders.

    What we get out of our strategic relationship with Russia is entirely due to the negotiating skill of our elite and the lobbying skills of our people as a whole. So far we have gotten billions in free or subsidized weapons, gas at a third of the price that Germans pay, secure borders against a genocidal culture to the west, and the ability to hold on to Artsakh despite tens of billions the Azeris have wasted on weapons.

    Those entities pushing for severing ties with our only true strategic partner are laying the seeds for the eventual destruction of Armenia. So be careful of what you preach. Let shoemakers excel in the art of making shoes and let those truly knowledgeable in the art of geopolitics take care of the serious business.

  28. I feel like a lot of you are you confused about “Azeris.” It’s not ‘Azeris’ and ‘Turks,’ it’s ‘Turks.” Azeris ARE Turks. The Russians used to call all Turks (an Asian invader peoples) Tatars, until they gave them names to distinguish them based on their geography.

  29. What To Do:

    First be united, without this nothing can happen. Instead of coming up with more ideas on how to make Armenia the best place for all Armenians to live and return to, some come in try to divide and attack a fellow Armenian who is leaving in diaspora comfortably but is willing to invest his time and money to better Armenia, instead of spending that time and money on himself, so norserunt just chill and take your negativity somewhere else.

    “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” (SOCRATES)

    Instead of fighting the old rotten regime, we just need to concentrate on todays youth and make sure they have high paying jobs in technology and they are valued in Armenia not in other countries. Every one who is capable of creating jobs especially in IT, Tech, manufacturing and Tourism in Armenia should do so and remember that they don’t have to be the president to make a difference in Armenia. Job creation is our number one priority. For example look at whats happening with these companies who have bright young individuals helping put Armenia on the map for IT, TECH and digital services.

    http://arloopa.com
    http://backbonebranding.com on of their latest inovative product is the Valterman which had a great success http://backbonebranding.com/works/volterman/
    PicsArt 450 million installs strong, PicsArt is the #1 photo editor and pic collage maker on mobile
    http://www.karaswines.com
    http://hivefund.co

    The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

    We need to stop at looking at other countries to take care of us, If we are united and are building a strong country we don’t have to depend on anyone, look at Israel, they do this because they know how to collaborate and be united, we can’t do that because we think we are all kings and no one should tell us what to do. Until we change this attitude new can’t move forward to bigger and better things for Armenia.

    Nothing contributes so much to the happiness and prosperity of a country as high profits. (David Ricardo)
    If we want our people to be happy in Armenia then anyone capable of doing so should work on creating jobs in Armenia.

    100 years later Fins are flourishing because of Tech and innovation
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/finland-is-flourishing-after-100-years-of-independence-1512333515

    I love Armenia every auction that I take I always think how will this benefit Armenia or an Armenian family.

  30. I regularly find myself only reading comments posted by readers because they are often much more interesting than the articles themselves. That’s specially the case here. I spent all night reading the comments on this page. With all due respects to the author of this article I have to agree with what was said by Norserunt, John and Gurgen (not to be confused with me). Times have changed. America has become a source of evil and Russia has become a force for good. I also want to say the situation in Armenia is not all that desperate. Sometimes we can be our worst enemy. We need to stop panicking. The country is headed in the right direction.

    I want to also thank AW staff for allowing this exchange of ideas.

    • What can you say about 2 million Armenians who are living now in Russia (the official number is 1,182, 400, according to 2011 census)? Don’t you think that is a huge problem when there is a migration on such scale from a small country? Are we heading in the right direction?
      According to a poll conducted in the month of August 2017, by Aharon Adibekyan, a well-known pro-Russian social scientist in Armenia, Serge Sarkisyan has only the support of 10 percent of the population, while Karapetyan has 60 percent.

      Actually, after reading your and Norserunt’s, John’s and Gurgen’s comments, I am getting a feeling that your concern is the current government of Armenian more than being Armenia’s relation with Russia. All you started talking about Russia and ended up by advocating for the current government.

      https://rusarminfo.ru/2017/08/23/serzhu-sargsyanu-doveryaet-10-procentov-naseleniya-armenii-dannye-socoprosa/

      Best regards.

    • And, hypothetically speaking, if tomorrow a pro-American marionette president is brought to power, you think most of Armenia’s problems will go away? Huh, Der Hayr? Or you think he will be installed with the sole purpose of “improving the well-being of the Armenian people”? You don’t really think that once such a president will enjoy the support of 60 per cent of the population—based on those manipulable “public opinion polls”—the US will rush to deploy a military base on Armenian soil, commit troops, sell arms at preferential rates or sometimes give them for free, lay thousands of miles of oil- and gas pipelines on the Atlantic Ocean seabed to the Mediterranean Sea and on to Armenia via Turkey, or supply Armenia with nuclear fuel, do you? Or you do?…

    • John, I didn’t know that Karapetyan is the US’ man and could bring US/NATO bases to Armenia. Lol…
      One more proof that you are trying to protect the current regime and Sarkisyan. Russia is just a cover-up.

    • Exactly what are you laughing out loud at? Do share with us, perhaps you found something funny that we didn’t? In none of my posts have I mentioned names of politicians or uttered a word in support or opposition to the current government. For many other posters except yourself, as it seems, it served as a proof that my concern is Armenia aligning her geopolitical interests with Russia’s strategic interests at this historical juncture. But if you feel more comfortable posting comments from a make-believe world, I can’t prevent you from doing so.

    • John,
      Here are your words in the support for the current Sarkisian government published just a couple paragraphs above: “It is not only Russia, on which Armenia depends for a host of reasons I‘d like to avoid reiterating, but also the United States and the European Union that accept and tolerate Armenia’s leadership. Yes, you heard me right, the United States and the European Union are also interested in such leadership in Armenia, whether it is weak or strong”. What a short memory…

    • Exactly what in this para: “It is not only Russia, on which Armenia depends for a host of reasons I‘d like to avoid reiterating, but also the United States and the European Union that accept and tolerate Armenia’s leadership. Yes, you heard me right, the US and the EU are also interested in such leadership in Armenia, whether it is weak or strong” made you think that I was “trying to protect the current regime and Sarkisyan”? I didn’t bring up the US and the EU in an attempt to say that they support Armenia’s leadership because the leadership is good. My point was that whether the leadership is good or bad it is supported not only by Russia, but also by the US and the EU. You seem to have understood my words the wrong way.

    • John,
      That is an indirect support. Actually more effective, since you are bringing the statements of the Western governments in support of the current regime in Armenia. In other words, you are saying: “Shut up, who you are to criticize the Armenian government since not only Russia, but the West also is showing a support”. And now you are trying to change the real meaning of your initial intention because you are trapped.

    • You seem fixated on what you wish to make of this sentence. Please don’t tell me I’m trying to change the “real meaning” of it. After all, I am the author and I therefore know what meaning I put behind it. The point I’m trying to convey to you, unsuccessfully, is that SUCH a regime and SUCH a president are backed not only by Russia, but also by other major power centers. This doesn’t mean I’m suggesting to shut up and stop criticizing the Armenian government. It means that your idea that “the current heavy dependence on Russia is mainly because of a weak leadership in Armenia” is fundamentally flawed. Again, not only Russia, but the US and the EU are interested in seeing a weak, and therefore controllable, leadership in Armenia. But if you take pleasure in repeating the mantra that someone’s “trying to protect the current regime and Sarkisyan”, I can’t deny you the pleasure…

    • John,
      I am not fixated. What I say is based on the facts. You are saying:” It means that your idea that “the current heavy dependence on Russia is mainly because of a weak leadership in Armenia” is fundamentally flawed.”
      However, the fact shows the opposite. Why Armenia cannot has a railway connection with Iran and buy more oil and gas from Iran? Certainly, Russia is blocking such efforts in order to keep Armenia under its complete control. Yakunin, the former head of the Russian railway system, openly opposed for Armenia to have a railway connection with Iran. Why is the Armenian government complying with Russia? Because it is weak and lacks the support of its own people, which makes it more dependent on Russia. There is another reason and that is the fact that many Armenian high officials have personal interests and businesses in Russia, like Kocharian, who was the one who gave up to Russia an important part from Armenia’s energetic system: http://www.rosbalt.ru/main/2006/04/07/249792.html
      Nevertheless, I agree with you, that Russia and the West want to see a weak Armenian government. Finally, we are on the same page.

    • Der Hayr, the facts in international politics show unequivocally that any mightier state will tend to make its smaller neighbour-states weak. This is an axiom of Realpolitik. You don’t have to go far. Just look how America treats its Central and Southern American neighbours, their presidents (remember Hugo Chavez?), and spreads controlled chaos all over the globe by means of “color revolutions”, “Arab springs”, etc. Why America is doing this? To keep smaller states weak and disorganized in order to dominate for a variety of economic, financial, political, and military reasons. That is, to be in “complete control” if, of course, there is such a thing in nature as complete control. There isn’t. Why, as you think, Russia is keeping Armenia weak? Perhaps, hypothetically speaking, for the same reasons, but also because: (a)Armenians can unpredictably turn self-destructive if given a chance; (b)stronger Armenia doesn’t sit well with power brokers with interests in the broader region; and (c)the West is interested in suppressing armed conflict situations in the region because it’s in the need for oil and gas resources. There is a host of other reasons. Why is the Armenian government complying with Russia? I’m astonished at your question. Seriously? Had there been America in Russia’s place, Armenia would have complied with the US. Any doubts? Because a resource-poor country in a vulnerable geopolitical setting, at dormant war with one neighbour and memories of genocidal extermination and continuing blockade by another, will always be on a lookout for mightier security guarantors. Because Russia at this historical juncture secures Armenia’s border defense against a potential Turkic aggressor, offers arms at below cost or sometimes for free so Armenia could keep another Turkic neighbor at bay, delivers natural gas and oil so Armenia’s economic infrastructures keep functioning, supplies nuclear fuel for Armenia’s NPP and dumps nuclear waste in her (Russia’s) soil. You think the RoA government is complying with Russia because it lacks the support of its own people? I asked you a question, but never received a response. Please tell us, if a pro-Western marionette government is tomorrow brought to power, do you think that most of Armenia’s problems will go away? If such a government will enjoy the support of the majority of eligible voters, do you seriously think that the US and the EU will rush to deploy a military base on Armenian soil, commit ground troops, sell arms at preferential rates or give them for free, lay thousands of miles of pipelines on the Atlantic Ocean seabed to the Mediterranean Sea and on to Armenia, and supply Armenia with nuclear fuel? In other words, if Armenia overnight becomes stronger and its government will enjoy the broad-based support of its people, could such Armenia not be dependent on a mightier state for her defense, national security, and economy? If you answer that such Armenia will be somehow capable of sustaining herself on her own, I’ll consider it an insult to my intellect.

  31. My problem with Russia is their failure to back up Armenia on the Artsakh issue whereby our soldiers & village people are being sniped & killed month after month whereby over 400 Armenians have been killed in that Enclave. If Russia is a true Ally to Armenia, then she should be putting pressure on Azerbaijan to stop the killing of our soldiers. Russia is also selling arms to the Azeri’s as well as Israel whom has not recognized our Armenian Genocide of 1915 whereby at least 2 million Armenians were slaughtered or starved to death & another million or more were forced to become Moslems, & millions fled to other lands. that doesent count what we lost in the 2894-1896 massacres where we lost 300,000 Armenians & another 300,000 were forced to become Moslems. Then the Adana Massacres where we lost another 30,000 Armenians. The Turks will never change unless Armenians wake up. Talaat Pasha was Jewish, Kemal Attaturk was Lenin was Jewish & Stalin was part Jewish whom they wanted Armenians eliminated from the face of this earth. Turks are using five Jewish Organizations in Armerica to put aside the Armenian Genocide so that Jews in Turkey will not get harmed as well Israel is getting 30% of the Oil from the Azeri Turks. No U.S. Newspapers or TV Stations write what is happening Armenians in Artsakh because of Jews controlling the Media here in America. We must wake up to what the Jews are doing to the Armenian People, otherwise we will be a lost Nation in the future years to come.

  32. Despite all its faults, both real and perceived, it is the current government in Yerevan that ensured Armenia’s place within Russia’s orbit, and institutionalized Armenia’s military alliance with Russia. Had we listened to people like of you, Armenia would have long ago fallen under Turkish/NATO/Salafist occupation. Once you realize who is waiting on the sidelines (both in and out of the country) to take advantage of any political unrest in Armenia you will come to the realization that Armenia’s current leadership under President Sargsyan is a lesser evil. That said, I was born anew when Moscow sent Karen Karapetyan to Armenai to stop Armenians from committing suicide. Now, allow me to say a few words about Armenia’s population.

    As you already know, during the Soviet period every single Armenian citizen was cared for by the system. Free medical care. Free higher education. Free housing. Employment for all. Protected borders. Etc. Soviet Armenia was a growing technological and insdustrial power.

    Now, consider that Armenia’s population at the time (at a time when EVERYTHING was taken care of by the Soviet system) was a little over 3 million. Now consider the way in which the Soviet Union collapsed. The Soviet Union, and all it had built, was totally destroyed, down to the very roots. Armenians themselves literally tore down industrial factories and technological facilities and sold them to Iranians and other buyers as scrap metal. Armenians enthusiastically destroyed everything Soviet/Russia in the country. One could argue that the Soviet Union’s collapse, as nasty as it was, was bound to happen. But that is not the point.

    This is the point: How could a country that had hosted 3 million people at the very height of the Soviet period now support 3 million people with the complete and total destruction of the Soviet Union? Especially a country that is at war with a much larger neighbor; a country that was terribly devastated by a historic earthquake; a country that is blockaded by two of four neighbors; a small, poor and resourceless country that is landlocked; and a country surrounded by predators in a terrible area of the world?

    Sadly, with the way the Soviet Union was destroyed and with the geographical and geopolitical situation Armenia has found itself in since the Soviet collapse – I say the number of citizens Armenia can realistically/comfortably support is between 1 to 1.5 million people. This means Armenia’s current population (said to be over 2 million) will have hundreds of thousands of unemployed, underemplyed and genrally speaking disgruntled people. No matter how one looks at it, this is our reality today, and getting rid of this or that “oligarch” or president won’t change anything.

    So, THANK GOD there is a close-by and friedly Russia to provide Armenia’s many victims of history (and Western machinations) with employment opportunities. THANK GOD there is a Russia to ensure Armenia’s survival in a nasty place like the south Caucasus. With a little wisdom and clarity of vision anyone can realize all this.

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