Has Russia Recognized the Genocide Committed against Armenians?

  • by Western Armenia, March 08, 2024 in Politics

Wester Armenia TV continues to study Armenian-Russian relations and Russia's position on the genocide against Armenians.

In fact, the question of Armenians being or not being in Russia's imperial interests did not exist at all. Neither empire cared at all about the fate of the Native Nations, whether they would have land or not, whether they would come out from under the yoke or not, whether they would be massacred or not.

It was the same situation  during the First World War. Although the empires hid their plans to divide the world under the name of saving the indigenous peoples, but like France and Great Britain, Russia was not interested at all in the fate of small nations.

(Just like now, Western powers are putting human rights in the middle in order to take over the resources of countries that are not under their control.)

But there are always intellectuals among the indigenous peoples who believe in the promises of empires and unwittingly make their people a tool in their hands, and when they find out that they were not only saved, but also were  used and left defenseless.

After the battle of Sarighamish in January 1915, when the Turkish army was defeated, the Russians did not move forward is also explained by the fact that it was a terribly cold winter (the cold also played a role in the defeat of the Turks, many Turkish soldiers were killed due to frostbite), and the Russians expected that the weather would warm up.

And the other question remains: later, when the Armenian self-defense forces emerged and entered Van, where they had defeated the Turkish army, why did they retreat a month later, in July, when there was no threat from  Turkish advance, as a result of which Van was emptied?

And such a "false retreat" was made once again a month later.

The dream of the Russian Empire was to take over the straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Although there was an agreement between the Allies States of the Entente that the straits would pass to Russia as a result of the war, the parties did not trust each other and had reasons for this.

England and France were at war with Turkey from the west (Operation Dardanelles), and if Russia advanced from the south and finally defeated the Turkish army, the Turks would not be able to resist England and France and would pass the straits to the allies states, and then it would be impossible for Russia to bring them back.

Russia, by not advancing and falsely retreating, gave the Turkish army the opportunity to reorganize and resist France and England, so that the straits did not pass into their hands.

In 1916, the Sykes-Picot treaty once again confirmed in writing that the straits were given to Russia.

But the Bolshevik revolution overturns the treaty. lenta.ru writes about the Dardanelles operation. "In St. Petersburg, at first, they were afraid of British activity in the Balkans, so that the British government even had to give secret guarantees that in any case the Straits would pass to Russia after the war."

It is possible that if England had captured the Dardanelles with so much bloodshed, she would not have given it to Russia.

Russophobes blame only Russia for retreating and not saving Armenians, but other allies states  have also pursued a similar policy. According to the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Kilikia was handed over to France. In January 1920, the Turkish army attacked the city of Marash, where about 30 thousand Armenians had taken refuge.

The actual authorities  have always sacrificed Armenia for their own interests.

According to several articles, the French army was positioned in the parts of the city where there were no Armenians, and 3,000 Armenians who remained defenseless were massacred, and  Armenians who fled to seek refuge with the French were shot by French soldiers, killing about 400 people.

Armenian communities in Kilikia created autonomy, even for one day in 1921. A week before the Treaty of Sèvres, one group declared Cilicia Armenia independent on August 3 and the other on August 4. However, the French army eventually left, and the Armenians emigrated.

The French betrayal in Kilikia and the second massacre of the Armenians of Kilikia by Mustafa Kemal's army are rarely discussed. (But Western Armenia TV will address that topic in a separate series).

Returning to Russia and Western Armenia, the following can be noted: among intellectuals there is also the belief that the cause of the Genocide against  Armenian was the Russian orientation of the Armenians and the resulting volunteer movement, as if the turks massacred the Armenians because they were fighting in the army of their enemy, Russia and agents of its influence.

Turkish semi-official and intellectual circles are also happy to spread this thesis that Armenians betrayed the Ottoman Empire and were punished.

This is another misunderstanding, the purpose of which is to justify Turkey and create an opportunity for friendship with it. The Armenians of the Ottoman Empire were mostly devoted to the government, they were conscripted into the army, more than 120 thousand Armenians were conscripted, all of whom were massacred, and only a part of the Armenian elite went to the side of the Russians.

The plans of the young turks included turkification of Western Armenia, turning all peoples into turks, and slaughtering those who did not obey.

To be continued…

Western Armenia TV journalist,  Ashkhen Virabyan

The editors of Western Armenia TV would like to thank Ashot Nersisyan, lecturer, historian, doctor of historical sciences, professor of the Department of Armenian History of YSU Faculty of History, for providing materials.