Mimicry 36 Years Later: From "Miatsum" to "The Territory of the Armenian SSR

13.02.24 14:59

The month of February is significant in the history of Hay nationalism. It was in February 1988 that mass rallies of Caucasian nationalists began in Stepanakert (as Khankendi was called in the Soviet period) demanding the transfer of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region from the Azerbaijani SSR to the Armenian SSR. Demonstrations with similar demands were also held in Yerevan.


As a result of the demonstrations, on February 20, 1988, the extraordinary session of the Council of Peoples' Deputies of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region adopted the resolution "About the request to the Supreme Soviets of the Azerbaijani and the Armenian Soviet Republics to transfer the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region from the Azerbaijani to the Armenian Soviet Republic. Subsequently, the authorities of the Armenian SSR applied to the authorities of the USSR with a request to include the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in its composition. And without obtaining the consent of the "center" of the Union on the redrawing of the borders, the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR adopted a resolution "On the reunification of the Armenian SSR and Nagorno-Karabakh" on December 1, 1989.


In the view of the Hay nationalists, Azerbaijani Karabakh is part of the Armenian SSR, which, in their opinion, was originally Armenian but was transferred to the Azerbaijani SSR by Stalin's decision. This was stated at nationalist rallies in Khankendi (Stepanakert) and Yerevan in February 1988.


Understanding the words spoken by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the meeting of the initiative group of the Civil Contract Party held in Ashtarak on February 10, 2024, requires knowledge of events that occurred 36 years prior. In his speech, Pashinyan asked the rhetorical question, 'How are we going to organize our affairs so that our state will always be the Republic of Armenia?'


"Throughout history, our statehood has been interrupted for various periods.  The existence of our republics has also been sporadic. Our first republic only lasted for two years. After analyzing our historical experience, we must determine what ideology and concept should form the foundation of our state to ensure its permanence and security.  The stability, security, and relationships of Armenia should be based on the legitimacy of its policies, both domestically and internationally.  Legitimacy is a complex concept, but in this context, it refers to our understanding of the territory of the Republic of Armenia."  Nikol Pashinyan stated "very clearly and unambiguously that the policy is based on the same understanding of the territory of the Republic of Armenia as that of the Armenian SSR."


Nikol Pashinyan's statement that 'our understanding of the territory of the Republic of Armenia exactly coincides with our understanding of the Armenian SSR' raises concerns about potential territorial claims. This is especially true given the historical context of interrupted Hay statehood and differing interpretations of the borders of the Armenian SSR by Hay nationalists. The Armenian authorities need to clarify their stance on territorial disputes with their neighbors. It is important to ensure that there will be no aggression from Armenia in the future.


It should be noted that some Armenian nationalists believe that Karabakh should be part of the Armenian SSR, which they claim was wrongly taken away. Therefore, a final and unconditional condemnation of Hay nationalism and the concept of 'Greater Armenia' is necessary for any credible 'peaceful' discussions about the borders of the Armenian SSR.


In the view of the Hay nationalists, Joseph Stalin's actions were viewed negatively only when he allegedly "transferred" Karabakh, but in reality left it as part of the Azerbaijani SSR. However, when Stalin made claims to Turkey for its eastern territories and proposed including them in the same Armenian SSR, Hay nationalists did not oppose such a change in the borders of the SSR. In this matter, Stalin was viewed positively by them. The nationalist group in Hay expressed a desire for the expansion of the Armenian SSR's borders towards the west. It appears that they had already made preparations for this.


In 1947-1948, the authorities of the Armenian SSR brought Hays from diasporas all over the world to settle on Turkish lands. However, it should be noted that the USSR engaged in the mass deportation of native Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR to the Mtkvari-Arax lowlands of the Azerbaijan SSR to accommodate these settlers.


In the past, there were unfortunate events that led to the displacement of Azerbaijani population from the Armenian SSR. As a result, the Armenian SSR became a mono-ethnic entity. Today, it is important for Hay nationalists to recognize and accept that peaceful coexistence with Azerbaijan necessitates the unconditional right of these people and their descendants to return to their native lands. Azerbaijan has acknowledged the right of return of Karabakh Hayes.


However, it is worth considering what Azerbaijanis of Zangezur would find if they returned to their ancestral homeland. Monuments to Garegin Nzhdeh, a historical figure with a controversial legacy, have been erected in Armenia. However, his actions towards Azerbaijanis in Zangezur have been a source of tension between the two countries. Additionally, monuments to Monte Melkonyan and other individuals associated with violent acts have also been erected, which is a cause for concern. The use of Nazi ideology and language, such as 'miatsum' and 'great Armenia,' is also a matter of concern.


Armenia needs to address these issues through a process of denazification, to promote a more peaceful and inclusive society. The current Armenian authorities' statements regarding the 'territory of the Armenian SSR' may be perceived as a political ploy designed to put to sleep the vigilance of the states that may once again become victims of Hay aggression.


The likelihood of such aggression increases as it progresses. Armenia is actively arming its army with the help of France and India. Revanchism against Azerbaijan's Karabakh is not even hidden. Now the government of Nikol Pashinyan needs a break for arming the army and making revanchist preparations.  And for this purpose he is trying to lull Azerbaijan with hypocritical words that he is ready to limit his claims to the "territories of the Armenian SSR" without specifying the borders of this territory.


George Kvinitadze

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