Margarita Simonyan vs Bakhmut - Armenian nationalists carry their war on Turkic toponyms even to Ukrainian lands

11.01.23 10:40

Currently, on the territory of the Republic of Armenia, where 60-odd years ago there were overwhelmingly Turkic names, now the toponyms of the former names are hard to find. Armenian "geographers" simply erased all reminders of the indigenous inhabitants of this land - the Turks - to the Azerbaijanis.


Where there was not enough imagination to invent Armenian names, the fighters against Turkic toponymy left "Soviet" and Communist names. For example, historically Azerbaijani Jalal-Ogli, from which the entire Azerbaijani population was expelled, continues to be called 'Stepanavan', after the Bolshevik-Dashnak executioner of Baku, Stepan Shaumyan. The Azerbaijani town of Khankendi is still called "Stepanakert" by Armenian nationalists in his honour.


However, as it turns out, it is not enough for Armenian nationalists to "eradicate" Turkic toponyms in the territory they control. The Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, to which the efforts of the Armenian lobby close to the Kremlin actually led, is also accompanied by a struggle against everything Turkic, including Turkic toponyms in Ukraine.


Ukraine has a great many Turkic toponyms and Turkic names for rivers, lakes, mountains, towns and villages. During the Soviet Union times their names were renamed - they were given names of communist leaders or changed for the Soviet way. As a result, "Krasnoarmeisky", "proletarsky", etc. appeared. The town of Bakhmut - the oldest in the Donbass - was also renamed "Artemivsk" after the Bolshevik figure Artem (Fedor Sergeyev).


Currently, bloody battles are raging for Bakhmut, and the Ukrainian army is still holding the town. In Russia and in the separatist DNR, Bakhmut continues to be called "Artemivskoye", just as in Soviet times. They make it clear that in the event of occupation, the city will be called by that name. In Russia itself, there is a debate about what to call the city (anti-communist Russians are against "Artemivsk"). And quite unexpectedly, the main Kremlin propagandist Margarita Simonyan intervened, publishing on her social media pages a post by another well-known propaganda blogger, Boris Rozhin, with the following content:


"According to the law of the DNR, the city is called Artemivsk. The city is now called Bakhmut according to Ukrainian laws adopted under Poroshenko.


As soon as the city is liberated, Artemovsk will appear on the map in accordance with the decree of the Head of the DNR dated March 12, 2022, which reverts all names of cities of the DNR within the borders of the former Donetsk region of Ukraine, as of May 11, 2014, when a referendum on the DNR secession from Ukraine was held.


All renaming by Ukraine on the occupied territories of DNR after May 11, 2014 is illegal and therefore will be cancelled. All Ukrainian soldiers who interfere with this process will be killed (although not only for that reason) as occupiers.


If the city's residents want Bakhmut instead of Artemivsk, they themselves can put such an initiative to a local referendum after the war. And if they want their city to be called Bakhmut instead of Artemivsk, they should be able to vote for it.


Until then it will be Artemovsk, no matter how much fuss someone makes over it on the Internet. The AFU soldiers dying in Artemivsk are dying just for Bakhmut. Our soldiers are liberating Artemivsk. How ironic (in Mikhalkov's voice)".


The real motive of Margarita Simonyan to defend "Artemivsk" so zealously and to fight with Bakhmut seems to have been guessed by a "separatist with experience" who has fought in Donbas since 2014, known as Alex Parker Live in the telegram. This separatist seems to have a similar attitude to Turkic toponyms as the Armenian nationalists:


"There Margo Symonikha has declared a crusade against the name "Bakhmut" in favour of Artemivsk. Personally, I'm for Artemivsk not because I like communists, but because it was the Khokhlyas who thought of renaming it back to Bakhmut, and secondly, all Turkic names piss me off purely phonetically. When I hear 'Bakhmut' or 'Aidar' I immediately want to take a machine gun and go to a mosque and shoot everyone there...".


Margarita Simonyan's hatred of the name Bakhmut is understandable. It is Turkish and, like any Turkish name, just pisses off the Armenian nationalists. But they will have to get used to such names. And not only in Ukraine, but also in the Republic of Armenia.


The census process of Azerbaijanis deported from the territory of what is now the Republic of Armenia (from historical Western Azerbaijan) in the last century has started. At the initial stage, the census covers those deported from these territories in 1988-1991 - this was recently officially announced by the press secretary of the Community of Western Azerbaijan, Ulviya Zulfugar.


According to her, most of those deported at the time are alive. They have identity documents (passports), as well as documents of education in the Armenian SSR and documents of property ownership on the territory of what is now the Republic of Armenia.


"Since the last deportation, in terms of chronology, was relatively recent (1988-1991), we began the process from that period so that our work can move forward more quickly. At present, the census of more than 150 out of 300 settlements inhabited by Azerbaijanis at that time has been completed and the work continues. At the same time, the registration of the deportees in 1905, 1918-1920, 1948-1953 is underway, but most attention is directed to 1988-1991. When this process is completed, full registration will be carried out for those who suffered in other years and their heirs," says Ulviyya Zulfugar.


Armenian nationalists will sooner or later have to come to terms with the fact that the native Azerbaijanis will be returning to their native land. And over time, the question of returning their hometowns and villages to their historical, Turkish names may arise.  And with the help of military force "to turn back the toponyms" in the same way as today the Russian aggressors want to "rename back" Bakhmut into "Artemovsk" is unlikely to succeed.



Grigol Giorgadze

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