Attitudes towards Armenia and Armenians in Russia are changing - a response to the Russophobia of Armenian nationalists

13.04.23 17:00

It is no secret that in recent decades, people of Armenian origin have been a kind of "privileged nation" in the Russian Federation, both politically and at the domestic level. For example, the chauvinistic attitude of the authorities and law enforcement agencies in the Russian Federation towards all southerners and persons of "non-Slavic" appearance did not extend to Armenians.


On the contrary, compared to Russians, ethnic Armenians had many advantages in Russia. Everyone understood what a powerful diaspora stood behind the Armenian businessmen and criminal figures. It went so far as to say that blatant crimes and even murders of Russians were 'forgiven' to persons of Armenian nationality. This is not surprising given the influence of the Armenian lobby in Russia and the representation of ethnic Armenians in the vertical power structure.


Recently, it seems that the rabid Russophobia in the Republic of Armenia has reached its peak, leading to "reciprocity" in relations between Armenia and Armenians in Russia. And this is also logical: if in Yerevan at anti-Russian demonstrations they chant "forgive unwashed Russia", Russia too may have decided to appreciate the "gratitude" of Armenians. And really "say goodbye" to an "ally" and "outpost" in the South Caucasus, as well as to an "ancient cultural nation".


First of all, there has been a turnaround in geopolitics. While the Kremlin and near-Kremlin circles in the Russian Federation were previously absolutely dominated by a pro-Armenian position in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh, today they are gradually realising that friendship and cooperation with Azerbaijan and Turkey are in Russia's interests. Especially in light of the fact that these countries represent transit opportunities for Russia, which is under blockade and isolation because of its aggression against Ukraine. And the same Zangezur corridor, unlike the Armenian nationalists, many in Moscow are beginning to see it as a very profitable project for Russia. Not to mention that Moscow is irritated by openly pro-Western position of Pashinyan's government.


Therefore, some information resources close to the Kremlin, along with criticism of Pashinyan's pro-Western regime (which started long ago in Russia), have started to understand Azerbaijan's position. For example, regarding the recent aggravation of the situation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border Nabat telegram channel wrote the following:


"Baku accuses Yerevan of deliberate escalation on the border, and you know, this time I am rather ready to believe Aliyev.


The point is that if you look at the situation not through the eyes of Armenia's interests, but through the eyes of Pashinyan's interests, everything, literally everything he has been doing over the last couple of years is aimed solely at usurping power in any, and this is important - ANY, way.


Keeping Pashinyan in power benefits not only Pashinyan himself. It benefits the pro-Western elites of the country, it benefits the West itself, and not only the USA, but also the EU. And if Baku, for example, is in a position where Aliyev himself can determine the vector of its development, in Pashinyan's case he is more and more dependent on external players. Obviously, without external support, Nikol would not sit in his chair for such a long time. Putin had expected that after helping Armenia in the Karabakh crisis, when he actually saved Pashinian and his premiership, Nicol would pursue a Russian-oriented policy. But Pashinyan has gone the way of the ungrateful man and is trying to sit on several chairs at once.


By involving Western countries in the peace process, Pashinyan is compelled to constantly support the smoldering conflict. Armenia could have reached an agreement with Azerbaijan long ago and no one would have been hurt. But today, such a treaty would put an end to the authorities in Yerevan. They will be instantly reminded of their defeat in the war, their foolish position towards Russia, and the surrender of Armenians' national interests. And today Pashinyan cannot afford to make a choice in favour of peace or in favour of Russia, which is identical. So he chooses confrontation and the West, which is also identical. Except that confrontation for Yerevan can only be victorious as part of Russia. And Pashinyan will never agree to it. Consequently, Armenia should expect only bad news.


Moscow understands that the Pashinian regime is clearly betting on the West and playing along with the West in its intention to completely destroy Russian influence in the South Caucasus. And this will inevitably affect Russian-Armenian relations in the near future.


If Yerevan's boorish and hostile moves towards Moscow were unilateral (the arrest of the CSTO secretary general, its desire to break the CSTO from within, its intention to take part in NATO exercises), Yerevan may soon have to face "reciprocal courtesy".


Moreover, the coldness in Armenian-Russian relations is already starting to be felt by Armenians in Russia, who are used to their "privileged" status. Information about this is already leaking to the networks. In particular, it is reported by Ernest Vardanean (@ErnestV_2020):


...My subscriber from Russia sent this message. I am publishing it in edited and abridged form:


"Here's the thing in Ryazan. This is the second time in six days that riot police have stopped at construction markets, cafes and other places where there might be Armenians. Without explaining the reasons, they rudely load people into buses and take them to the police station. All Armenians are treated this way, without regard to their citizenship. Probably 99% of them are Russian citizens. When boarding the bus, their phones are taken away and they do not give them the opportunity to call their relatives or colleagues.


A couple of Uzbeks are also taken away for appearance, but they are released immediately upon arrival, while Armenians are held for about two hours. Each time they take their fingerprints and then release them without any explanation or presentation.


They work in conjunction with the traffic police. While the former are loading people into PAZs, the latter stop passing cars in search of Armenians, and if they find any, they also take them away.


An Azerbaijani told me the other day how they came to their café and asked if there were any Armenians there. After a negative answer, they left silently.


Today there was another incident. When checking documents, the Romani man immediately shouted to the riot policeman that he was not Armenian. In other words, everyone is already aware of this. Roma used to call themselves Armenians in order to get a job.


The worst thing is that women were not taken away before, but now it is no longer taboo for the police either. Even a man whose son has been at war for a year was taken away. A witness said that at the police station she demanded an explanation or to be given an official reason for the detention. She was told that they did not know the reason themselves - that was their order.


This affected hundreds of people. Now it turns out that this is happening, if not in the entire region, then certainly in the surrounding areas ...".


I am asking colleagues and subscribers from Russia to find out what is really going on there."


Understanding possible trends Ernest Vardanean, in his next post, writes:


"I'll add for myself: true or not, it's high time for Armenians to leave Russia. I've been writing since summer: pack your bags and leave! Otherwise you face mobilization or attacks and all kinds of problems, as it was with the Georgians in the second half of the 2000s.


Soon the borders of Russia will be slammed, keep in mind. And the Armenians will be the first to get hit."


This advice will make the Karabakh Armenians, who so far share separatist illusions, think hard. Many of them are somehow convinced that, as a last resort, they will be "welcomed with open arms" in Russia. 


However, when the term of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh expires, which, judging by the rapidly deteriorating Russian-Armenian relations, may happen before November 2024, it may turn out that no one is waiting for the Karabakh Armenians in Russia. Or they wait to send young men as "cannon fodder" to Ukraine. Therefore, the issue of integration into Azerbaijan and obtaining Azerbaijani citizenship should not be lost in time, so that it is not too late.



Varden Tsulukidze

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