The Unfortunate Tradeoff of Survival and Sovereignty

Is this our fate as a nation? To always be denied the warm embrace of true freedom? Since the fall of the Cilician Rupenian Kingdom in 1375, Armenia has experienced sovereignty as a nation only a little over 32 years. The good news? Thirty of those years have been in our lifetime. Why is it that we are always under the watchful eye, or more often the thumb, of a greater power? The easy answer is that is the fate of the small nations. There are countless examples throughout history to support this premise. Empires, kingdoms or colonial powers…call them what you wish, but they have always been there to subjugate those with less means. But is that the full answer? Is it possible that years of oppression have created a “victim” mentality that encourages dependency? We are still struggling as a people to shed the victim behavior of the Genocide and take our rightful place as a respected contributor to civilization. That’s been over 100 years. We are on the eve of the 30th year of the Republic’s independence, and some large questions loom on our fulfillment of the term “sovereignty.” We hear this word frequently when referring to the foreign relations of Armenia and the border incursions that are far too common. The term represents the self-governing power, authority and control over a specific territory. It is the basis for creating a constitution, laws and systems of governance. Certainly, Armenia is in the United Nations recognized by all member states including the Republics of Azerbaijan and Turkey who violate that recognition regularly.

How well does Armenia fit the definition in 2021 of a sovereign state? The infrastructure elements such as a constitution, system of governance, rule of law and civil rights of citizens are in place. We can debate the effectiveness of the conformance and the consistency of application, but the foundation is in place. Armenia is undoubtedly on a maturation curve relative to its market economy, social development and civil society. But the presence of these factors is consistent with a sovereign state. The volatility is in the areas of economic development, border security and foreign policy. Unfortunately, these are significant factors in the true definition of sovereignty. If sovereignty reflects the freedom of a state to make decisions that guide its present and future and maintain control over that process, then Armenia is in a disadvantageous position. Essentially, the citizens of a nation surrender some of their fundamental freedom in exchange for security. It is the basis for most social contracts in modern democracies. Security can be expressed economically with the pursuit of material needs and also through safety at the individual and national level. 

In today’s Armenia, the ideal of full sovereignty is embraced, but the events of the past year have taken us in the wrong direction. It is important to understand that over the last 30 years, pieces of sovereignty have been traded for greed and more recently fundamental survival. In the earlier years, there is little doubt that parts of our sovereign economic structure were exchanged for individual personal gain and primarily for Russian interests. As a result, Armenia went from a Soviet state as part of a centralized network to an oligarch-based monopolistic system where prosperity was limited to few and poverty became institutionalized. The struggle to recover economic sovereignty has been a major shortcoming. There has been progress with diversified investment from the Middle East, Europe and Asia, but the inertia created by the earlier transition is powerful. 

For example, Russia controls the energy sector in Armenia, and on several occasions the Armenian government has agreed to compromises to maintain supply and affordable pricing. Armenia’s membership in the Russian controlled Eurasian Economic Union creates market opportunities but also comes with significant constraints in the area of partners, trade volume and pricing. The presence of corruption in the narrow definition of a market economy serves to further frustrate the general population and diminish hope. Pashinyan was swept into power in 2018 on an anti-corruption mantra. Progress has been made, but until the poverty rate declines (estimated at 30-percent) substantially the impact is minimal. Economic growth nationally in the absence of building a stronger middle class runs the risk of making Armenia a “have and have not” society. Doubtful? Travel outside of Yerevan where a majority of the population resides.

A barricade protects homes in Yeraskh from gunfire (Photo: Office of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia)

The loss of border security has been a particularly visible and humiliating experience for Armenians this past year. Generally, what happens in remote border areas is not a headline item for those enjoying the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Yerevan. All that changed with the 2020 Artsakh War. After independence, Armenia was one of the newly independent nations that didn’t drift far from “mother Russia.” The presence of Russian border guards on the Turkish-Armenian border was an initial surprise for diaspora Armenians as they gazed at Ararat from Khor Virap. Actually, nothing changed in this regard from the Soviet times. Russian maintained its border presence as the head of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Ironic that the term “independent” is used to rationalize the continued presence after 1991. Granted, the Russian presence is a deterrent to the vile Turks, but we must also remember what we are mortgaging. The Russian base near Gyumri (102nd) is a constant reminder. Usually the presence of foreign troops in another country is tied to a military pact (US troops in Germany NATO) or as a result of a peace plan (US troops in South Korea). Ostensibly the Russian troops are there to protect Armenia (through the Collective Security Treaty Organization—CSTO) yet despite numerous provocations in Tavush, Syunik and other southern regions, this presence has had no impact. Again, there are those who say the deterrent of presence is the benefit. That comes with a price also. The border violations in the last six months by the Azeri military are both dangerous and publicly humiliating. The Azeris seem to have no fear of the Russian presence which suggests an understanding that defines the limits…all at Armenia’s expense. The border incursions in Syunik, Tavush, Gegharkunik, Yeraskh and elsewhere are violations of international law and an affront to the sovereignty of Armenia. The criminals remain a few kilometers into Syunik, and the only response has been more Russian border troops. Can Armenia defend itself? Is this situation temporary? Is it truly a sovereign nation when it cannot defend its borders and answers only with more dependency on Russia and rhetoric?

There is no doubt that the relationship with Russia is unique. The political relationship goes back to the 4th and 5th Russo-Persian Wars with the Treaties of Gulistan and Turkmenchay (1813, 1828) that formalized the transfer of Eastern Armenian provinces to Czarist Russia. The relationship has transcended the Czarist period to the Bolshevik/Soviet times to the current Russian Federation. What some describe as “strategic” others describe as dominant. In fairness, a small landlocked nation with few natural resources usually trades security and survival for sovereignty. The relationship is often described by both parties as a “partnership.” Any concept of shared responsibility or shared risk is certainly not on an equal footing in this relationship. The benefit for Armenia is survival and for Russia control of its backyard. The collateral is a piece of Armenian sovereignty. We tend to analyze today’s reality from a modern perspective, but this type of arrangement is not new for an Armenian state or people that has always lived on the edge of survival. It is critical that when mortgaging your future, you maintain enough “equity” or critical mass for the civilization to continue. PM Pashinyan learned this lesson the hard way.

He came onto the scene with anti-corruption and pro-western thinking that was bound to hit a wall with Russia at one point. That moment for Russia to display its power and “message” was the 44-day Artsakh War. Russia armed both sides and watched the carnage as Turkey and Azerbaijan violated international and humanitarian law against a brave Armenian military and an inexperienced government. They humiliated Armenia by stopping the onslaught just as Shushi was captured by the Azeri. It is now clear that an agreement was made with the Turks on Syria while the land-grab Azeris got their bounty. The OSCE Minsk Group was nowhere to be found as the so-called tripartite agreement was announced that carved up Artsakh with no mention of the border violations, illegal weapons use and jihadist mercenaries. The “partnership” in this case delivered survival, but Armenia paid a heavy price. The outlaw Azeri nation was emboldened by the lopsided agreement, enabling the border incursions we witness daily. With each violation, Russia dispatches more troops as border guards. Anyone care to wager on when those troops will leave? Many were surprised this week by the appointment of former speaker of the National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan to the foreign minister post. Mirzoyan is certainly a Pashinyan loyalist and an insider but has no real experience as the top diplomat and negotiator for his nation. The selection seems to suggest a dependable choice for Pashinyan and one who will not upset Russia. Mr. Pashinyan is paying very close attention to pleasing Russia. Lesson learned?

If the goal of Armenian nationhood is to experience a sovereign prosperous existence, then short term tradeoffs are acceptable. But for every setback there must be a recovery plan. If we objectively look at economic sovereignty, the past several years have delivered some improvements, but overall the sovereignty of the nation has degraded. Walking down the streets of Yerevan, life seems reasonable. Stores are open; people are going about their daily lives, and all seems calm. But lurking behind these facades is a slow decaying of the reason for nationhood. The border violations must be resolved by Armenia. Short term mediation from Russia in Armenia proper only re-enforces the vassal state perception. What good is strengthening the military if they are not enabled to protect borders and provide security? Trading sovereignty for survival has diminishing returns. We are there.

Stepan Piligian

Stepan Piligian

Columnist
Stepan was raised in the Armenian community of Indian Orchard, MA at the St. Gregory Parish. A former member of the AYF Central Executive and the Eastern Prelacy Executive Council, he also served many years as a delegate to the Eastern Diocesan Assembly. Currently , he serves as a member of the board and executive committee of the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). He also serves on the board of the Armenian Heritage Foundation. Stepan is a retired executive in the computer storage industry and resides in the Boston area with his wife Susan. He has spent many years as a volunteer teacher of Armenian history and contemporary issues to the young generation and adults at schools, camps and churches. His interests include the Armenian diaspora, Armenia, sports and reading.
Stepan Piligian

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16 Comments

  1. It’s amazing how little Armenians understand their history. It must be cognitive dissonance stemming from hollow arrogance. Armenia was truly independent only 35 years in the last two-thousand plus years, and that was during Tigran the Great’s time. All other Armenian kingdoms, principalities, republics, etc, have existed under one superpower or another. The Last king of Armenian Cilicia for example was a full blooded Frenchmen. The “Lusignans” were a French noble family.

    Now, about Nagorno karabakh:

    I don’t understand why this is so hard to understand but let me try to set the record straight. Russia is Armenia’s one and ONLY ally in the world but Russia was NEVER on Armenia’s side regarding the 7 territories Armenians occupied outside of the internationally recognized borders of Nagorno Karabakh. For 30 years Moscow and Western powers have been telling Armenians to respect international law and pull back from lands that officially belong to Azerbaijan. For 30 years Russians have been saying, Nagorno Karabakh has the right to exist independent from Azerbaijan but Armenia does not have the right to takeover land that the international community recognizes as Azerbaijan. For 30 years Moscow was asking Armenians to allow Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno Karabakh. Moscow was promising us all of Nagorno Karabakh PLUS a 20 kilometer wide Lachin corridor connecting the territory to Armenia. We said – NYET! We thought we were special. We thought we were mighty. We were neither. Eventually a NED (i.e. CIA) sponsored tabloid journalist by the name of Nikol Pashinyan came to power in 2018 and turned Armenia into a pro-Turkish and pro-Western globalist cesspool.

    So, when Azerbaijan took the opportunity to start the war it was preparing for many years, Russia took the opportunity to teach its belligerent Armenian ally a hard lesson in geopolitics. Moscow had thought the same lesson to Azerbaijan in 1992, Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. Moscow therefore did not do anything to stop Azerbaijan’s war on September 27, 2020. However, President Putin gave Nikol the opportunity to stop the war on October 19, when Hadrut and Shushi were still in Armenian hands. Nikol however rejected the offer. President Putin essentially said okay, continue. The war continued and Armenia’s Nikol led military lost large amounts of lives, military hardware and territory every single day. And just when Stepanakart was in danger of falling on November 09, 2020, Russia intervened and stop the bloodbath Armenians were suffering.

    Nevertheless, had it not been for Russia ALL of Nagorno Karabakh would have fallen to Azerbaijan. Had it not been for Russia ALL of Armenia would have fallen to Turks long-long time ago. So, in the end, Russia got what it wanted. Good for them. Had we Armenians fully appreciated the importance of Armenia’s alliance with Russia and truly understood the nature of geopolitics, we would have seen the writing on the wall and pulled back for the 7 territories, invited Russian troops into Nagorno Karabakh and put a stop to the invasion of Armenia by Western financed NGOs and activists.

    We Armenians are a wonderful people, an intelligent and talented people but, as the last three years in particular have shown, when it comes to politics we Armenians are a bunch of imbeciles.

    • Turkey was directly involved in this war and made clear its anti Armenian policy. Russia, Armenia’s #1 ally, sat and watched while Armenian kids were murdered and made every excuse why they will sit this out as you are doing. Russia screws Armenians whenever it needs to. It can care less about Armenia. It cares to not have Turks surround its underbelly. AND THAT’S ABOUT IT. That’s the garbage you want? Not me. That is stupid. Also the real traitor is the POS useless PM that I believe purposely secretly wanted to lose this war as no air power or Armenian drones were ever used. The Armenian Army sat out as volunteers went to die instead. Pashinyan needs to hang. hes a traitor. Instead of Russia’s useless hegemony that leads to nothing of substance why not Unite Armenia Artsakh and diaspora working as one? That’s the real answer. Relying on anything or anyone is disaster.

  2. Mirzoyan is anti- Russian …..Pashinyan continuing to put Armenian statehood in Jeopardy with anti- Russian posturing ….this is the kind of behavior that made the 44 day war possible! Like it or not as soon as the Russian troops pull out of Armenia our fate as a nation will be sealed! Surrounded by the Turks on both East and west….Pashinyan should have resigned after the defeat if he had any self respect or love for our country….he is an agent of the Freemasons and the globalists ….Armenian people do not understand this ….most are ignorant to geopolitics

    • All the articles, comments and suggestions in all Armenian newspapers discussing the problems of Armenia e.g economic, social, political, technological, security and all other crucially ignore and miss the important point. The diagnosis of the root cause of all problems. On the contrary they all focus on the effects and manifestations of the problem. The root cause in this case is the absence of peace and relationships with neighbors and the extreme societal xenophobia to everything non Armenian. If Armenia establish diplomatic relations with both neighbors to the east and west, recognize their borders, renounce the dormant and hidden designs on Georgian territory I can guarantee that 80 per cent of problems facing Armenia will be solved automatically. The hated Turks have no wish to invade Armenia’s internationally recognized borders and both have in fact recognized the country albeit short of establishing diplomatic ready for want of Armenia to answer sincerely to their extended hands of friendship. If this happens Armenia will have no need even for a minute to host foreign forces for its protection and survival. Armenia will gradually shed the vessalage and regain the lost sovereignty. The other issues can then draw government attention automatically. But for all this to happen Armenia first has to recognize the neighbors.

    • At Shahid, When Pakistan recognizes India’s Sovereignty over Kashmir then there will peace there too. How about that? BTW Turks are invaders from central Asia. they DO NOT belong in the Caucus or Anatolia at all. They are opportunistic murdering thieves squatting on ancient Armenian lands. They want all Armenians gone. That’s what Armenia should agree too for peace?

  3. Israel is dependent on the USA.
    North Korea is dependent on China.
    Azerbaijan is dependent on Turkey.

    Every nation wants to be independent and self sufficient, but there is no basis to this in reality. The countries I listed above have more dependencies on their bigger sponsors than Armenia does on Russia. The diaspora may have been shocked to find out about Russian border guards, but remember that our ancestors suffered annihilation because of being a defenceless minority in a hostile empire.
    Armenian-Americans, French-Armenians, Russian-Armenians etc. have to stop pretending that just because their host country is powerful means that Armenia can be just as formidable. The genocide ruined our demographic, economic, cultural, and political advancements. We should focus on developing those first before being “independent.”
    The US,Russia/Soviet Union, and China did not become world powers overnight.

  4. “Azerbaijan is dependent on Turkey.”

    No, Azerbaijan is dependent on RUSSIA. Turkey and Israel are just gravy.

    Russia, the so-called “ally” of Armenia, which has been continuously handing away Armenian sovereignty and lands to Turk/Azeri interests for 100 years straight.

    When will Apparatchiks learn and just accept that two mortal enemies cannot have the same host? Does the USA support Israel and Iran? Does China support Norht Korea and South Korea? Oh but wait, I forgot how “special” Armenia is at the hands of Russia – “Mother Russia” supports every enemy of Armenia!

    How many times does a drunk Russian have to slam the balalaika over your heads while you are looking away to finally admit that Armenia has NOTHING Russia needs apart from the empty land without Armenians and Russia wants Armenians “to just go away”?

    The hard-headed know-it-all but in reality know-nothing halfwits in “leadership” positions in Armenia had 30 years to change that, but instead chose to rip off the diaspora instead. And now they want to conveniently blame everything on halfwit #4 Pashin-oghloo. Pashin-oghloo is the exact same thing and the natural continuation of Serjhik.

    The diaspora is guilty here too, I don’t see any outrage and rejection on the entirety of the circus show calling itself the “Armenian Government”, as usual we just take this side or that side and both of them are the losing side. If we want an Armenia, the diaspora needs to deconstruct Armenia piece by piece first. And then there needs to be a real and not claimed THREAT against Russia inside of Armenia if Armenians want Russia to act like a real ally. And the only country that can accomplish that threat is the USA, for starters form a committee for building US military bases inside Armenia once the forced contract by Russia to sit in Armenia for free runs out.

    The apparatchik argument of “strict obedience to Mother Russia no matter what” will NEVER work. It is the height of stupidity to give a poor, arrogant and belligerent banana republic like Russia unfettered access and mechanisms to do anything with Armenia as it pleases. For the entire Soviet and post-Soviet period, all we saw from Russia was abuse and turkophile projects to harm Armenia.

    • Of all the posters on here, you have to be the most negative.
      You did not refute my point, nor did you make an interesting remark.
      In every one of your posts, you seem to repeat the same straw men, the same stereotypes, and the same creepy and sociopathic cynicism.
      I would be wasting my time replying to your post, since I have done that without any benefit to myself, for years.

    • Your problem with my posts is thus that I am “negative”.

      Agreed. And to that I say I am only “negative” because, as the saying goes… “The Party is Over”. What “party”? The decades of incompetence, lies, deceit, theft and abuse of diaspora patriotic sentiments coming from the crooks and halfwits of Armenia and their expat apologetics like you.

      As for not refuting your point, there was not much to “refute”, just like your other pals here you made a false point/claim then made assumptions on it, which of course will be wrong. Russia has played both sides against one another for three decades, a fact that cannot be denied. And the fact of all the russamol Armenians that exist still with such dispicable behavior from Russia is a bizarre phenomenon, and it basically highlights the incompetence and weak character of Armenians from post-Soviet Armenia.

      All smaller countries “rely” on larger countries, true, but not all countries are in a dire position as Armenia in the first place, and support and alliances for most other nations are not contradictory like it is with the ridiculous Armenia-Russia relationship. Russia has clearly showed us it values relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey much more than with Armenia. And Armenia has no recourse, which is essentially what I am calling for. In fact that can sum up my entire narrative posting here at the AW. Armenia needs to have an answer for Russia every time Russia engages in despicable behavior against Armenia. There needs to be consequences for Russia’s anti-Armenian behavior and policies. No rational Armenian in my view would find this unreasonable.

      The “we must worship Russia at all costs” does not fly with me.

  5. The lack of sovereignty hasn’t suddenly appeared, it has merely been exposed for what it is. How can a nation be sovereign if it hasn’t used the last 30 years to build (even a modest) defence industry. Instead of building artsakh (even just nkr) into a complete fortress, we handed over our economy to the non tax paying oligarchs.

    We could have been one part of the Russian weapons industry supplying know-how and design.

    Yes, we have had a limited number of playing cards since independence, but we didn’t even use these cards. The author correctly says how the energy sector was given to the russians (reducing our sovereignty and leverage), why is it only now that we decided to use solar energy to reduce this russian leverage. The same can be done with gas and so on.

    Why isn’t Armenia using its financial services to be a tax haven for russian business interests in the same way as Luxembourg is for the EU? This would give us leverage.

    Why was the north south road not built to allow the EU to push back russian influence a little bit? So the oligarchs could embezzle more money?

    Let’s not blame others, it is our fault for not building our own state, falling into a pit and blaming big powers for not helping us soon enough.

    • Every country has a dependent. If you read my post above, you’ll see what I wrote.
      I agree with your general sentiment about the leadership, but this is not only found in Armenia.
      The Ukraine, Georgia, Lebanon, and many other countries have this issue.
      We could have solved this issue in 2016 under Sargsyan, but Sasna Tsrer’s terrorist attack in 2016 poisoned the minds of Armenians into thinking we were going to “surrender.”
      We opted for Varuzhan Avetisyan and Jirair Sefilian’s insanity about “not one inch” and only postponed the inevitable war that happened last year.

  6. Zartir Lao you have done it again. Your post did not refute anything.
    You created another bunch of strawman arguments.
    To address your point about Russia:
    That is the reality of being a former empire, you have to want to keep your near abroad under your wing. You seem to lack any knowledge on geopolitics.
    Second of all, worshipping the West doesn’t sit well with me, since they are the reason Turkey and Azerbaijan exist in the first place. The fact that with the creation and legitimization of Turkey there are still people like you who believe the West is moral is astonishing to me.
    Once again, you seem to attack Armenians from Armenia, claiming they are less intelligent than you. This is a typical diaspora response. Armenians living in the West need to understand that in the eyes of many Hayastancis and other diaspora, you look arrogant when you think you know better than everyone else.
    Aside from all that, your post was rather pointless.

    • Your arguments are horrible. The West is the future. No one is talking about switching sides overnight champ. You need to keep the ball rolling and wait for opportunities.

      Oh yea Russia is full of moral and ethics. Radioactive tea is very hipster as well as jailing your opponents if they make any head way before the elections. Putin approves of Assad’s election process. Assad hand picks single opponent, dictates terms, has soldiers watching over the voting/ballots. Man get out of here.

    • Sorry, you’re the one making strawman arguments, you stated an incorrect fact trying to insinuate that “Azerbaijan is supported by Turkey and Armenia is supported by Russia”, therefore “we must be supportive of Russia at all costs”. Since your initial “fact” was incorrect, that makes your conclusion incorrect as well.

      I deal with real facts now, the theoretical “Russia is Armenia’s only ally” is no longer valid. Russia clearly has been supplying the bulk of Azerbaijan’s weaponry for the past three decades, while knowing that Armenia and Azerbaijan are mortal enemies, and also knowing that Armenia’s security would be compromised without Artsakh, keeping in mind that it was Russia all along that prevented from Armenians solving the Artsakh issue when they had won in 1994.

      You can interpret this any way you like, and you have the right to mislead YOURSELF if you want to, but you do not have the luxury of misrepresenting facts, like you always do along with other “Mother Russia is the best” balalaika players here regarding a so-called “alliance” between Russia and Armenia.

      Your narrative is just plain weak… if Russia is a powerful country and ally, then it had every capability of stopping any aggression on Armenia and Artsakh with only one sentence, and without sending a single weapon or troop or firing a single bullet. Russia did the opposite, while pretending to help Armenia during the war in order to fool the gullible “Russia is the best” cheerleaders. And “Knowledge of geopolitics” is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT here. This is only a matter of Russia giving the green light to Turkey, Azerbaijan and Alqaeda. And this is a fact that Armenians have no right to forget about, not that traitors inside Armenia weren’t involved either in this pre-planned “war”.

      And you are also misrepresenting what I say too, I never said “Armenia must worship the west”. Nor did I ever say the west is “moral”. Unlike Russia, the west at least can offer Armenia stability and predictability. In order for Armenia to become a real nation, it needs to have options to force Russia into consequences every time Russia stabs Armenians in the back as is our history for 100 years now. If there were options to kick Russia out and bring the USA in, Russia would be acting completely differently. The fact that Armenia does not have this option and people like you advocate to keep it that way means, Armenia cannot exist as a free and sovereign nation.

      And lastly, stop trying to make it out that like “I am bigoted and arrogant against Hayastantsis because they are Hayastantsis”. My “bigotry” is not based on family or bloodline, it is based on mindset. And first of all the know-it-all but know-nothing post-Soviet Hayastantsis are the ones that are arrogant, who for that exact reason ran Armenia into the ground instead of inviting the diaspora to form a viable, strong nation. Yes, I am bigoted… bigoted against the Soviet and post-Soviet incompetence and mindset, and especially the irrational and unrealistic amongst us who think that any criticism of “Mother Russia” should be the 11th Commandment.

  7. This post is in response to Shahid from Pakistan.
    Your country is much more xenophobic than any other one on Earth.
    Our neighbours have depopulated us from our historical lands in the last 106 years, systematically.
    By the way, Israel, Azerbaijan, Germany, and other countries are all vassal states of another country. This does not stop them from being successful.
    Our problem is simple, we have genocidal neighbours who will stop at nothing to destroy us. It has nothing to do with Dashnaks, Russia, diaspora, or any of that.
    The problem is Turkey and Azerbaijan.

  8. The writer appears to present a false choice between survival under Russian tutelage and sovreignty/independence with its associated dangers from Turkey/Azerbaijan. i.e Armenia is between a rock and hard plate and there isn’t much we can do. The answer to this conundrum lies in mobilizing the whole Armenian nation across the globe numbering about eight million people. This requires vision, organization and plan of action. Key elements/goals of this mobilization include :
    – revival of the Armenian nation in the 21st century in Armenia and diaspora
    – a world congress made up of local national chapters in Armenia, Artsakh, Russia, USA, France, Argentina etc
    – mobilize financial resources by taxing Armenian families (say $ 1000 per family per year), securing annually major donations from philanthropists, and selling Armenia bonds, instead of relying on one time donations
    – benefits to Armenia include funds for development of a) infrastructure b) new businesses c) development of military technology, d) improve quality of universities
    – increase prosperity and safety of Armenia so that people will stop emigrating and start returning
    -benefits to disapora communities include a)setting up social centers for our youth b) high quality schools with an Armenian slant c) provide economic help to those in need d) set up and support Armenian universities in Yerevan, Beirut, Moscow, Paris and Los Angeles to provide intellectual leadership for Armenia and diaspora, d) assist existing churches, social networks and political organizations.

    I could add many other benefits of organzing the world wide Armenian nation. But this will not be easy to do because one must overcome apathy, pessimism, naysayers and lack of experience. There are some existing organizations (AGBU, ARS, political parties etc) that carry out some of these functions already, but the scope needs to be greatly expanded. Bottom line is that Armenians must recapture the initiative through global organization, economic revival and intellectual renaissance. This is necessary for Armenians to survive into the 22nd century. Otherwise there is a real danger that they will end up stateless like the Assyrians and the Kurds. Russia is not a long term guarantee of Armenian survival nor sovreignty.

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