Armenia faces domestic political chaos as the war for Nagorno-Karabakh fails

"File:Nikol Pashinyan 13 Apr 2018.jpg" by Yerevantsi is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

By | Rachel Brooks

November 1, 2020

This is post one of Velvet Noose: Pashinyan’s Armenian supremacism, a review of the domestic political issues that lead Armenia to aggress its neighbors. This article lists the discussion points that will be followed up over the course of the series. 

Above: “File:Nikol Pashinyan 13 Apr 2018.jpg” by Yerevantsi is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Armenia faces internal political chaos following the failure of the relaunched Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Perhaps it was a last-ditch effort to appease the public when Armenia made its advance into Nagorno-Karabakh. Yet, as Armenia slowly but surely proves to lose the war over the occupied region, the nation now faces domestic political chaos.

These dying throes of the Armenian advance into Nagorno-Karabakh have shown the extreme measures of Armenian forces to save the face of the failing warfront. This has included the bombing of civilian settlements in Ganja, Tartar, Goranboy, and Barda respectively. Of these, the highest civilian casualty counts were observed in Ganja and Barda. In Barda, civilians were targeted by Smerch cluster munitions. This was an effort by the Armenian forces to provoke Russian involvement on their behalf in the front. 

Armenia at war within itself 

Before the escalations along the Nagorno-Karabakh front, the first occurring in July and the second occurring in September, Armenia saw tense domestic politics. In May, Eurasianet reported that these tense politics lead even to physical altercations between elected officials. 

Contemporary to these events, anti-Pashinyan Facebook groups emerged on social media calling for a shift in Armenian political thought. 

The Velvet Revolution 

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was the leader of the Velvet Revolution in 2018. While he described this revolution as “non-violent”, the recent surge of domestically heated politics within the Pashinyan regime shows a shift in Armenia that is far from peaceful. The Nagorno-Karabakh region is a Holy Grail to the Armenian political regime. The need to possess Artsakh and graft its whole diaspora together as one Greater Armenia has loomed over Armenian politics since the era of bloody holocaustal rivalry with the Young Turks of the Ottoman era in 1915. 

Nikol Pashinyan’s Velvet Revolution had the effect of granting him power, but the aftermath is severe. In January 2020, it was already noted by the Eurasia Institutes that the Velvet Revolution had left a permanent change pattern between Armenian domestic change and foreign policy. The Eurasia Institutes noted with scientific interests how the “color revolutions” of the former Soviet Union impact Russian Foreign Policy. Eurasia Institute noted that Armenia was heavily dependent even into 2020 on the Russian Federation, and thus neglected strengthening its ties with the European Union. The article argued points of the “Russian Constraint” of the “post-Velvet” Armenia or Pashinyan’s Armenia. 

Dashnaks, extremism, and a regime shaped by a nationalist mythos 

The history of Armenian self-identifying and domestic political upheaval has been present for the whole of modern Armenian history. The trigger of modern Armenian supremacism has its roots in the early 20th century when Armenian domestic politics put the civilian population in the crosshairs of a massacre. Armenian nationalist leaders likewise, at the same time, engaged in acts of massacre against their border neighbors. This double massacre era was documented by The Jerusalem Post. 

Armenian nationalists, citing the background by The Jersualem Post, began nationalist campaigns across Turkic-controlled Armenia by as early as 1903, under the leadership of the Dashnaks. Greater Armenia made its pursuits in six of the provinces of what was then the Ottoman Empire.

In 1915, the Young Turks party of the Ottoman Empire was responsible for leading massacres against the Armenian people, incidents that were documented by the Library of Congress. 

The Armenian nationalist movement mobilzed largely in part behind the identity of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Church was directly targeted during the Ottoman massacres of Armenians, see Clark University. 

Armenia united with Bolsheviks under an agreement that prompted Armenia to declare itself a socialist republic, which furthered the reach of its nationalist movement. 

See the attempted Bolshevik control of Baku 1917-18, for reference as to the failures of this union. 

United as a nation in their hatred of Ottomans, the Armenian nationalist movement made it a spiritual mission to annihilate Turkic people. In 1917-1918 era, driven by the foisted nature of its previous nationalist movement, and spurred by the hatred caused by the Ottoman purging of Armenians, the Dashnaks conspired with the Transcaucasian Commiserat. They marched on the South Caucasus to clear the way for the Greater Armenia and launched an early 20th century ethnic cleanse of Azerbaijani. Massacres were launched into Elizavetpol and then-Irevan. Under the leadership of the Armenian Bolshevist Stepan Shaumian, an ethnic cleanse and massacre of 12,000 Azerbaijani was launched in the region which later became known as Stepanakert after its bloody leader. This was in 1918. A genocidal massacre had been paid in return for the Ottoman massacre in a mere three years. This is citing the backgrounder by The Jerusalem Post.

The series of massacres in 1918 of Azerbaijanis in the region, by both Armenians and Bolsheviks, was known as the March Days. Anadolu Agency stated that 50,000 Azerbaijani were massacred during the March Days. The forces were led by Shaumian and consisted of 6,000 Baku Soviet Bolshevists and 4,000 Dashnaks. These 10,000 led the slaughter.  

Anadlou noted that 16,000 people were butchered with particular cruelty in the Guba region during the March Days. This is sometimes known to students of the Jewish Holocaust as the first targeting of Jews for pogrom before Hitler’s death camps circa 25 years later. Many of the people living in the Guba region at the time of the massacre were Jews. Lezghis likewise were caught in the slaughter.

This anti-Turkic philosophy was described in the Journal of Europe and Asia Studies,which cites a post-1915 trauma as the policy shaper for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on all fronts. 

Azerbaijani, an ethnic mix of Turks and Persians who have occupied the territory north of Iran since the Mesolithic era, was a direct casualty of the politics of rage and hate that emerged from the multifaceted genocide of that day. This was confirmed by pages submitted to the U.S. Congressional Record in 1945. The documents were submitted under the headline John R. Flynn and Dashnags, Extension of Remarks of Hon. Frank E. Hook in the House of Representatives.  

The remarks, given on Friday, May 4, 1945, considered classifying Dashnags as a terrorist organization even then due to their extremist behaviors of the 1890s and the early 20th century. 

Armenian changing sentiments toward Dashnaks and supremacism  

The remarks refer to a time when the Armenian diaspora did not favor the Armenian nationalism movement, led by the Dashnaks who were classified as a terrorist organization in the mid-20th century. The Frank Hook remarks of 1945 noted that the Armenian supremacism had then identified with Nazism. Hook cited excerpts from Dashnak political commentary retrieved in 1936.

““The former Germany, defeated in the Great War, lacking popular unity, conducted
an uncertain, confused, day-by-day policy which got her nowhere.

And came Adolf Hitler, after Herculean struggles. He spoke to the racial heart string of the German, opened the fountain of his national genius, struck down the spirit of defeatism,” said Hook’s remarks. 

Through this statement, Hook drew a direct comparison between the Nazi party’s ability to appeal to the need for German national identity and the Dashnak philosophy of reclaiming Armenia after the bloody Ottoman clash.

“Armenians in America, while not gratified with Soviet rule, are content to see age-long massacres ended and Turkey, the dread Mohammedan enemy, held at bay.

A degree of religious tolerance has been granted to the Holy See of the Armenian Church in St. Etchmiadzin in the shadow of Mt. Ararat, enabling it to hold elections, appoint bishops, and keep alive the flame of Christianity “in the hope,” as expressed by Bishop Mazloumian of Greece, “that tomorrow may have something better in store for us.”

Since their ousting, exiled Dashnag leaders have entered into a web of intrigue with any the power which promised to place them in the saddle again. In 1933 Hitler lavishly promised everything to everybody, and looked with particular favor on any disgruntled clique which could pave the way for his drang nach osten policy of reaching the Caucasian oilfields. Early in 1933 Dashnags suddenly revived their cult of the tricolor—its red, orange, and blue party flag. In mass revivalist meetings, marked with wild religious frenzy, they worshipped the defunct flag of a defunct regime. On July 1, 1933, Archbishop Leon Tourian, Primate of the Armenian Church in North and South America, refused to speak at Armenian Day at the Chicago Fair unless the Dashnag tricolor was removed. He demanded that only the American flag appear; the audience voted overwhelmingly in his Favor.

 From then on the infuriated ARF press denounced the archbishop as a traitor and a Soviet agent. At an outing in August 1933, he was attacked by seven Dashnag hoodlums while blessing parishioners of the Worcester Church of Our Saviour. Hairenik began to print letters threatening his life. Four samples follow. “Archbishop Tourian will be punished sooner or later.

In 1934, Archbishop Tourian was reported by The New York Times to have been murdered by the Dashnaks. Sentiment toward Dashnaks changed as critics of the supremacist movement were systematically silenced. 

Dashnak simultaneous massacre of Azerbaijani led to the founding of Stepanakert 

 Under the Bolshevik’s influence, the Armenian Dashnak party marched into Azerbaijani territory, stirring an ensuing bloodbath among the Azerbaijani in the Nagorno-Karabakh. The Dashnak slaughter of Azerbaijani in this region led to the founding of Stepanakert, as was documented by The Jerusalem Post. Eventually, the Azerbaijani people seized back Baku and the Azerbaijani territory from Bolshevik control. The original Azerbaijani republic seized back from the Bolshevik occupation fell to the Stalinist movement and remained under Soviet control until the fall of the Soviet Union. 

 Over the decades since, Armenian forces, spurred by the extreme nationalism and the hatred for Turkic people, that was fueled by the Young Turk political party, massacres of Armenian citizens, has led Armenia to ethnically cleanse the region of Azerbaijani. This sentiment of hate was fueled in turn by the Azerbaijani countermeasures to take back its lands from the Bolsheviks and then later to establish self-governance at the fall of the Soviet Union. 

The Garabagh Nuremberg

The era of the Soviet Union led to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of 1988-1994. At the end of this conflict, Baku published what was called “The Garabagh Nuremberg” which described Armenia’s war crimes during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict of the 88-94 era. In the book Armenian Nazism: Two Interpretations, under the chapter “Garabagh Ram” The Corner of Nazism Without Variants the shaping of Armenian fascism during this conflicted era was described in detail. Armenian fascism was spurred by a revival of the Second World War fascism ideology, as Armenian nationals had identified with Nazism during Hitler’s Third Reich. These Nazi sympathetic tendencies reawoke the territorial claims of the 1988-1994 era. 

Armenia was described in this historical review as having identified with the Third Reich’s rhetoric that Germany did not have enough land to fulfill its divine purpose as the supreme race and nation. Armenia began to feel that the statehood it was granted after the fall of the Soviet Union was not enough land for the Armenian identity. Likewise, under the Stalinist maps, which were drawn to divide ethnic groups, the Soviet Union had given Armenians illicit claims to the Nagorno-Karabakh, even though Azerbaijani have occupied the area since the Mesolithic era.

Likewise, the Armenian rhetoric of this conflicted era borrowed from the Nazist theory that all Germans, no matter where in the world they were located, were citizens of a Vaterland mythos. That all Germans shared a “God’s elected nation” identity. Armenia adopted this theory. The Armenian diaspora likewise adopted it. This spurred extreme nationalist pride across the world. This nationalist pride was also fueled by the hatred caused by the Ottoman massacres.

It led to an extermination theory that all Turkic people should be purged from the lands of the Greater Armenia mythos. These lands included all territories to which Armenians made ancient claims. The lands to which Armenia claims ancient roots had been, before the forming of republics, equally or in greater parts occupied by Turkic tribes and ethnic Persians. Azerbaijani has the ethnic influence of both Turkic tribes and ethnic Persians. The ethnic amalgamation had equally shared the territory in peace. 

This hate and need for nationalistic territory acquisition led Armenian nationalists to betray all the regions it made alliances with for political purposes.

The Garabagh Nuremberg describes Armenia as playing a key role in the breakdown of the USSR, to further the Armenian nationalist agenda. 

Armenia, “destroyer of empires”

Armenian nationalism has existed in some capacity even before its revival by shared sentiments with Third Reich philosophy. The Garabagh Nuremberg describes how Armenia has helped lead the collapse of five empires for the agenda of forming and rebirthing the Armenian mythos. Armenia influenced the fall of Media by siding with the Persians, but then later betrayed the Persians in favor of Greeks. Armenia likewise, before the actions of the Young Turk party against their civilians, had politically betrayed the Ottoman Turkish government in support of Russia which led to the rise of the Bolsheviks. Finally, Armenia sided with the USA to topple the USSR. This places at least five empires dead at the feet of Armenian nationalism. 

The Garabagh Nuremberg credits the crushing of these empires that had former governance over Armenia to the Church. The Apostolic Armenian Church has long been politicized. According to the Garabagh Nuremberg document, Armenia bears the national identity of carrying Armenia with pride through the ages of occupation. The western world, to empathize with Armenia over the Armenian holocaust, fails to realize that the Apostolic identity was the grand architecture of Armenian expansionism. 

The “destroyer of empires” swallows its bitter pill 

Now, at the turn of 2020, Greater Armenia appears to have swallowed its bitter pill as a maker and destroyer of empires. Armenia is at war within its soul, tired of the failing institution of the Apostolic Church, and anemic with corruption. The need to claim the Nagorno-Karabakh, establish new blood in Artsakh, and transfer the spirits of the Armenian diaspora has never been greater. 

Brawls have ensued over coronavirus bailout requests. The Bright Armenian Party faction parliament’s scathing review of wealthy Armenians seeking bailout has led to all-out brawls in parliament. The incitement of violence appears to come directly from the opposition of Pashinyan’s cabinet, who have made themselves above the reproach of political criticism within the parliament.