More Confessions of an Angry Armenian

The current crisis in Armenia and Artsakh has led to a national brain freeze. After having spent the last month and a half in a delusional state, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his supporters and apologists are now preaching realism. The message is clear: if everyone is to blame for this fiasco, then nobody is to blame, surely not the Prime Minister. In his world, everyone who has led the country and military before him led us down a path that was irreversible in the 30 months of his regime. The Armenian people now are being told to accept this new reality and unite to build a bright and prosperous future. We are being told to remember all the previous calamities of our past and how we were able to overcome them. And these are our realists. Unfortunately, they are once again presenting a fantasy, and I just cannot understand why many people continue to follow along in a mindless trance.

Let me throw some cold-water reality on our realists.

Those referring to the past defeats that Armenians have emerged from fail to realize or mention that each one led to a reduced homeland and decimated population. The Armenian Genocide did not lead to a rebirth of the Armenian people in our homeland, but instead a dispersal of our people. Yes, we rebuilt, but as a global nation, not in our homeland which continues to be pillaged of our heritage. While one should indeed think of our global presence as an asset, every government in Armenia since independence 30 years ago has either squandered the opportunities to harness the Diaspora’s resources or, worse, viewed the Diaspora simply as a cash cow to be milked.

Today’s defeat has led us to sign away even more of our ancestral homeland. Again, we are being told to rebuild to get strong enough to meet our future challenges even though we were incapable of avoiding the supposedly inevitable failures of the past. But tomorrow, with less land, with more Armenians displaced from their homeland, and with enemies even closer to our doorsteps and in more control of our capabilities, we are expected to believe our leadership now understands what is necessary for success.

Pashinyan mistakenly believed he still had some negotiating ability throughout the latest war and now mistakenly believes Armenia retains its sovereignty. In addition, the messaging to the Armenian people is that Turkey and Azerbaijan, given what they want, will allow Armenia to rebuild, to re-arm and to gain the strength needed to defend its reduced borders. As the ANCA has been warning for years – does anyone really believe that more land will make Azerbaijan less aggressive?

The real answer is that with no other options, this is what Armenians must believe in to retain some semblance of hope. Armenians around the world pinned so much hope on the Velvet Revolution that to realize its failings will lead to a profound psychological crisis and be the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Thus, those who were the most hopeful then are the least likely now to face the reality of the situation even though the trappings of that previous hope are all but gone now.

Since signing the agreement with Azerbaijan, Pashinyan has focused on two things; first, consolidating his power through the arrest and intimidation of all those who voice criticism of him and his administration and second, making the Armenian people believe he had done everything he could against impossible odds and we must now accept the capitulation. It does not seem to concern his hopeful followers that Pashinyan is devoid of realistic answers to today’s challenges. Instead, they remain silent and bury their head in the sand so as not to see that their king is no different than the kings before him. 

Even Pashinyan’s 15-point plan has not raised a peep of concern; yet its twelfth objective is a new law on amendments to the electoral code. This does not have any relevance to the current crisis and, thus, must be interpreted as another act of political consolidation especially in light of Pashinyan’s actions over the past two weeks.

At this point, if you are still reading, you would be correct in wondering why I should contribute to your feeling of complete and absolute hopelessness.

First, let me dispel some of the messaging out there. Criticism of Pashinyan is not a plea to return to the corrupt regimes that came before him. In this I am being hopeful as I believe that Armenia can be governed by better leadership. The ineptness of Pashinyan or the corrupt authoritarianism of all the regimes before him cannot be our only choices. But again, just like the agreement, the Armenian people are being told there are no such alternatives and, thus, Pashinyan is the lesser of two evils. 

Second, if one does not fully understand how we got here, one will not see what is coming next either. While Pashinyan twiddles his thumbs, the Russians, Azeris and Turks are already taking action. Roads are being built; populations are being moved into formerly held Armenian territories; and political and military strategies are being implemented. 

With each passing day, we march toward the destruction of Armenia.

The messaging today is that Artsakh is already lost or, worse, must be sacrificed in order to preserve what remains of Armenia. Thus, with nothing possibly to be gained further from the agreement, a change in leadership would only lead to more harmful and dreaded disunity. 

Neither sacrificing Artsakh, nor temporarily appeasing Turkey and Azerbaijan, will lead to the preservation of Armenia. If we are to begin building a stronger, more capable Armenia, the process must begin from this very moment. The agreement has left out much of the details of implementation. The fluidity of the agreement has been evident since its signing. Tragically, the Pashinyan government is incapable of taking advantage of the fluidity of the situation and, thus, must resign. With each passing day, we march toward the destruction of Armenia.  

If this is to be the end of Armenia with the Pashinyan government incapable of solutions and unwilling to resign, then Armenians best start looking for a new homeland. I do not jest. If you believe nothing could be done to avoid getting us to the dire circumstances we find ourselves in today, then those same realities [excuses] will exist for the foreseeable future and long after Armenia will be gobbled up by its more populace, militarily superior and uncompromising neighbors.

The best option for Pashinyan then is to beg Russia to allow us a new homeland in an area far from the Armenian reality of today. We should not be concerned with our sovereignty or even with governance. Leave that to others. Let us just find a place where all Armenians can live without fear of persecution, and then maybe you will see what we can build and achieve. Wherever that place is, it surely is not in the Armenian highlands. Without such a place, Armenians will continue to be dispersed across the globe as the Republic is gradually depopulated. Ah, remember those heady days just one week before the war broke out when Pashinyan set a goal of five million Armenians in the homeland and 1.5 million new jobs by 2050? I guess those dreams can be added to the garbage heap along with the others.

Thus, under such circumstances, why not propose Russia facilitate the wholesale removal of the entire Armenian population of Armenia, Artsakh and, for that matter, Georgia as well, for example, to the Magadan oblast. This region is the least populated oblast in Russia with a population of around 150,000. With an area over 15 times the size of the Republic of Armenia, clearly it can sustain a much larger population. I cannot deny, the conditions are harsh there. But think of it as just another challenge for the Armenian people to overcome. Hey, in 100 years global warming will probably make it more desirable. That should give us some time to prepare before envious enemies come knocking.

At the very least, we would learn whether Russian interests align with Armenians remaining in their homeland.

[RELATED: Confessions of an Angry Armenian | November 11, 2020]

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George Aghjayan

George Aghjayan is the Director of the Armenian Historical Archives and the chair of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee of the Eastern United States. Aghjayan graduated with honors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Mathematics. He achieved Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries in 1996. After a career in both insurance and structured finance, Aghjayan retired in 2014 to concentrate on Armenian related research and projects. His primary area of focus is the demographics and geography of western Armenia as well as a keen interest in the hidden Armenians living there today. Other topics he has written and lectured on include Armenian genealogy and genocide denial. He is a board member of the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), a frequent contributor to the Armenian Weekly and Houshamadyan.org, and the creator and curator westernarmenia.weebly.com, a website dedicated to the preservation of Armenian culture in Western Armenia.
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17 Comments

  1. I agreed with most of this article until the last two paragraphs, which was quite shocking to read. The idea of uprooting Armenians from lands they lived in for more than two millennia, to a remote and barren part of the world, completely dependent on Russia in every aspect, is a something you’d expect Turkey or Azerbaijan to propose. No self-respecting Armenian would ever agree to such terms. It’s the same reason why Jews turned down British proposal of creating a Jewish homeland in Uganda. Armenians have absolutely no historical, economic, political, etc. connection to Magadan, why would they ever move to such place? I suspect almost all Armenians would rather die defending their historic homelands than to agree to such an outrageous proposal.

    Armenians are shell-shocked at the moment, which is completely understandable, and naturally want to blame somebody. I know this is easier said than done, but this whole charade of finger-pointing and searching for easy scapegoats is not helping the country. What Armenia needs, above anything else at the moment, is to start thinking ahead and being as industrious as possible to pull the country out of its current predicament. It needs to rebuild the country by investing heavily in its infrastructure, expand access to higher and quality education for its population, modernize its bureaucracy by keeping government agencies lean and transparent, and reduce red tape for an ease of business. A strong economy, an educated population, and most importantly, the will of its people, will make Armenia a prosperous country. Everything else is just a distraction and counter-productive at the moment.

    • We must find a way to defeat our enemies….build a stronger drone fleet and a world class military! We need to start domestic defense manufacturing and take lessons from Israel … when attacked hit the enemy hard and where it hurts right away!

    • Nope, while the author is being facetious, he is correct. The country is untenable other than as a Russian military basis. This has various reasons but is primarily explained by a genocide that nobody attempted to correct. As some of us have found out, and others knew well already, culturual, linguistic and religious differences meant nobody cared the last 100 years and nobody will care the next 100. There is no future in the absolutely disgusting neighborhood that we find ourselves in – Turks over Turks, Iran, Israel, Saudi, Russia, Georgia – literally worse than anything else there is. I recommend leasing the country half to the US and half to China just to spite the Russians and then have everybody move out to someplace either as a professional or a refugee. Let them figure out their big geopolitical game devoid of any morals. Enjoy killing each other without us in the way for a change, thanks.

  2. I agree with Oguz, that we don’t need to move no where.
    We been living in our ancestral lands for 7/8 thousands years.
    We been in wars all our life, defending our lands and our nation.
    We fought against all who tried to fight and destroy us,with a small army, we fought and won battle s and wars against all others who tried to liquidate our race.
    We don’t need to move or to be allocated any other place,we will stay and fight till last drop of our blood.
    The only way to us being strong 💪 and successful, we need to clean ourselves from all those traitors.

  3. Armenia’s best hope is to negotiate open borders with Azerbaijan, Georgia, and even eventually Turkey. Enmity will not work against stronger neighbors. We should instead try to prevent our past from destroying our future. Cooperation is all we have left. There is simply no other option anymore. We lost.

    • Funny, it sounds like you have an option there. Ever looked in an Azeri schoolbook? Ever noticed how consistent votes the MHP is getting in Turkey?

  4. Zaven, are you serious? Leasing half the country to the US? We tried courting them over to us many times, yet they ignored us throughout the war. You are unhinged.

    • Maybe try not ignoring my wider point which is moving out of the country as a whole. Which is going back to the author’s point in the last two paragraphs. It’s not about the “converting” anyone to anything at all, I couldn’t care less about the Americans. It’s about doing what I would have been thankful for Armenians to do 1000 years ago, which is get the hell out of this utterly disgusting corner of the world. I don’t care for interim victories if you are constantly between Persians, Russians, etc. There is no getting in a good shape EVER under these circumstances because 90% of your efforts are wasted as you are in a constant state of war and rebuilding. It doesn’t help that as a nation, there never seems to be any consolidation of power either, which means the other 10% of energy are spent on internal conflicts.

      The problem is, just like the Turkish imposter Babakhanian suggested, that you are surrounded by enmity which is not because of something you do or don’t do but because of who you are and on top of that, you have been cornered for 100 years without any meaningful support. If you want to free yourself from that, there is but one solution: Move on. It may be painful but certainly not more painful than constantly being stone between bigger wheels. This doesn’t have to be definite. How long do you think it will take the Turks to take on the Georgians if we’re out of the picture? The Russians on the Turks? The Azeris on the Iranians?

  5. I don’t believe your suggesting that Armenians need to uproot and live somewhere else? That is total nonsense. Most Armenians already live somewhere else as a result of the genocide and the polices of the first 3 presidents who supported emigration as a vehicle for not only consolidating their rule but the theft of the country..Lets be clear: Armenia is recognized as a sovereign country by everyone. Artsakh was not. The reason for the war defeat was poor LEADERSHIP. This was clearly stated by the last Chief of staff of the Armenian Armed forces, who was sacked in 2018 right after Pashinyan took office. He stated that his replacement was the most unprepared general to be placed in that position. He further stated that the replenishment and mobilization of the armed forces was nonexistent. Instead useless unprepared volunteers where encouraged to fight. Imagine that. Further, the president of Artsakh even stated that Armenian special ops forces refused to fight early on. That is incredible. Almost treasonous. I saw no Armenian drones being used till the end. No real counter offensive ever. No military planes being used. No iskanders. Armenia didn’t even recognize Artsakh’s independence while being bombarded everyday. Villages in Armenia were being shelled and no counter offense to speak of. It seemed like Artsakh was left on its own almost purposefully… Clearly a useless loser like Pashinyan, who has no remedy to speak of, who has no hope to unify anything or anyone anymore, has become a real danger to the very existence of Armenia and needs to go at all cost. That is clear. It starts at the top. Armenia needs new better unifying forward vision leadership as a starting point right now. We are in damage control. Pashinyan needs to be rid. Its that simple.

  6. no way- do we ever leave our homes and lands -though the azeri and otto turks (turkeys) occupy our land- history has one lesson for all and it shall repeat- we stay and get back what they stole-though they raped and molested and butchered our people- we can shove them all in a loutrine where they came from- 600 years ago or so-they startedd- they want us and all Christians dead- t he Jews are fooled by making them and the turkey peep leaders money but they will slice them to heaven-we stay and move on and capture all our lands back- they will pay a price as did the hitler lovers and others- though the turks multiply and leave their deposits all over- we will not harm innocence as they the cowards do- we will decimate them-slowly and for sure

  7. Pashinyan is the Trojan horse used by Ter Petrossian to get us out of Artsakh and subjugate us to the will of Russia.Let us face it folks;there is no alternative other than having Russia annex Artsakh and be protectorate of Armenia!Then it will be up to Armenians to build a strong economy and a strong military to eventually get out of Russia’s yoke.Forget USA and the diaspora.They are no help in nation building other than talk, and throwing few dollars our way during real crisis.

  8. George, I respect all the work you have done on behalf of Armenian history and diaspora and I understand the anger but the document was signed because there was no choice at the time. ARF and the opposition have not put forth an alternative plan to how the war should have ended. If they have such great ideas now, they should get in there and work with the government to make things better and not walk in the streets just shouting. ARF is losing credibility. We know what the parties of the oligarchs want. What does ARF want?

    • Arousiak’s thoughts –like so many other statements–are well expressed: there was no choice.
      We keep beating this like “there was a way”.
      With what manpower resource?
      With what financial resources?
      With what military technology?
      With what political leverage ?
      Armenia does not have the capital –whatever makes up the definition– to deal with conflict against Azeris, Turkey, mercenaries as well as U.S and U.N apathy.
      There was, and is, no plan from any political party to win a war with no strengths.
      Plans are theoretical.
      Let’s all bring catharsis to a close and write checks to our favorite organization to help displaced families.

  9. Armenia is in a bad geographical position, Thru centuries we have been invaded and massacred. Our best deal is to organize a movement to go to Australia and ask the Australian government to give the Armenians and area to go live and develop a new Armenia. Quite a few years back the Australian government had decided to do that for the Armenians. I don t see anything wrong with that. After the reformation in France , the French went to Canada and formed the province of Quebec. Now they are living in peace and they have prosper tremendously and in peace. This is what the Armenians should be doing, ask the Australian government to give us an area where we could live and prosper autonomously in peace under the protection of the Australian government instead of being dispersed through out the world .

    • The whole point of NK was autonomy. That’s not to say that a trade of a sliver of land somewhere against the current one wouldn’t work. Again, make it a military basis for whomever and leave that disgusting corner. Let the Russians and Turks and Iranians deal among themselves. Sure, we’ve been defending our soil and fighting for a free and independent country for millenia but that’s sunk costs. You can’t keep yourself from prospering. Any chance Israel would prosper without… ehem “help” from… ehem “America”? Not that they exactly prosper but doing well enough given the circumstances. Now Armenia’s clout is 1% of that, at best. Well, we don’t have that help from anyone. And in a way that was the good thing about this war – maybe now people realize that any support they thought they had was just empty words. It will never get better because you’re being ground down every 100 or so years, it’s just tiresome and pointless. The genocide, in that sense, helped because there now is a decent Diaspora that often prospers individually. Bringing them together is a different topic, but it seems futile to bring them together in (A) that corner of the world and (B) given the fact that the current population cannot be trusted with the basics (like not electing clowns with obviously anti-Armenian agendas).

  10. After reading Mr. Aghjayan’s article, I came to the conclusion that his closing remarks about the possibility of relocating Armenians to Magadan was similar to comrade Stalin’s ill-fated plan of establishing a Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Birobijan in Siberia and relocate the Soviet Jewry there!
    Having said that, I think the future course for the Armenian citizens should be:
    -Get rid of Pashinyan ASAP!
    -Replace him with a more Russia-friendly and less pro West-leaning leadership who can unlike Pashinyan speak an accent-free and fluent Russian .
    -Request Russia to speed up the Armenia-Artsakh road connection.
    -Enhance Russia’s military presence in Armenia beyond Gunri.
    -Minimize or abolish the Nakhchevan-Azerbaijan corridor. That should make Iranian happy too!
    -Assist and encourage the displaced population of Artsakh to return to their homes. Provide them with security and all kinds of assistance.
    -In addition to strengthening our ties with Russia we should also not ignore of forgett our Western ties. This is where the Armenian Diaspora comes in especially in the US where we have a very active Armenian lobby.
    -If everything fails and Armenia and Artsakh’s sovereignity and territorial integrity is under the danger of being compromised by a united Turkish-Azeri Unholy alliance, Armenians should put aside their tradional squabbles and after recognizing Artsakh join the Russian Federation. That may seem to many of us like a bitter pill to swallow but this is the only remaining option to survive as a nation-state.

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