The Armenian project can return to where it began: Etchmiadzin and the Diaspora

12.06.24 9:20

On Monday 10, 2024, the Council of the National Assembly (Parliament) of the Republic of Armenia respectfully declined the request of Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan and his ‘Tavush in the Name of Motherland’ movement to hold an extraordinary session, with the inclusion of the oppositionists' demand in the agenda.


On the previous day, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of the ‘Tavush in the Name of Motherland’ movement, called on the citizens of Armenia to gather for mass acts of disobedience on June 10 and to ensure that the authorities ‘fulfil the will of the people’ within 96 hours. He made his appeal at a rally held on June 9 in Yerevan's Republic Square.


"I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all factions of the Armenian parliament.

1. We have requested that the opposition deputies of the National Assembly initiate an extraordinary sitting of the parliament on June 11 at 18:30, with the agenda of dismissing the government and forming a new one.

2. Furthermore, on June 10, the Council of the National Assembly was obliged by the decision of the people to convene an extraordinary session.

3. In response to the people's demand, the Parliament, through its extraordinary sitting, has approved the decision on the resignation of the current government and the formation of a new government.” Galstanyan said.


In order to ‘back up his ultimatum with arguments’, Bagrat Galstanyan openly called for riots and resistance to the police. However, there were few people willing to follow the ‘Armenian Gapon’. Galstanyan and his friends tried to organise pickets and blockades by the authorities.


Having carefully considered the potential implications of the situation, the Armenian authorities decided to take a different approach this time around. Speaker of the National Assembly, Alen Simonyan, expressed that he believes there is no immediate need to discuss the possibility of the government's resignation during the session. He also highlighted that the government and the Prime Minister enjoy the trust of the people.


It seems that Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan's ‘first attack’ on Nikol Pashinyan's government has not been as effective as hoped. This raises the question of whether the conflict with Echmiadzin does not threaten Nikol Pashinian's power and whether there will be no new attempts to change power.


The action taken by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan can be considered a preliminary measure, or a 'trial balloon'. It seems unlikely that either Echmiadzin or those behind it were planning to overthrow Pashinyan at this precise moment. The reason for the overthrow, namely the liberation of four Azerbaijani villages by Armenia, against which Galstanyan protested, is not particularly significant.  Nevertheless, this does not preclude the possibility of a more substantial effort to alter the current government in a more assertive and revanchist direction by the forces of Echmiadzin in the near future. Echmiadzin is aware that a change of power and the ensuing war will have a detrimental impact on the Republic of Armenia as a state. Although it may be willing to go to this extent in order to regain the ‘historical’ role it originally played for the Armenian people.


It is a matter of historical record that the Armenian ethnos did not have a state of their own until 1918. All other accounts of the so-called "ancient Great Armenia" are nothing more than myths and fairy tales that lack any substantial basis in reality. Nevertheless, the institution that has been identified as the primary disseminator of these myths, which have subsequently been employed to justify Armenian nationalism and terrorism, is the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC). The AAC is a monophysite church with its headquarters in Echmiadzin.


It is beyond doubt that the Vatican (which, in fact, made Echmiadzin its satellite) and the special services of Western countries, primarily France, played a role in the formation of the so-called ‘Armenian project’. Nevertheless, the primary driving force behind the radical 'Armenian project' was the ecclesiastical organisation of Echmiadzin.


It is not coincidental that the 1903 attempt by the Russian government to confiscate the property of the Armenian Church and remove Armenian children from its subordination led to an upsurge of Armenian terrorism and forced the government to "backtrack." Echmiadzin is responsible for the tragedy of 1915, when, with its ‘blessing’, the Dashnaks initiated terror against the peaceful Muslim population of the Ottoman Empire and instigated mutinies among Turkish troops, compelling the Ottoman authorities to implement rather severe anti-terrorist measures.


Although Echmiadzin's role in the atheist USSR was initially overshadowed, in reality it continued to serve as the spiritual 'centre' of Armenian nationalism. It promoted intolerance of other nations and Turkophobia, even when the communists of the Armenian SSR were engaged in the 'friendship of nations' game.


In the period preceding the dissolution of the USSR, Echmiadzin played a pivotal role in the'miatsum' movement, which demanded the incorporation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of Azerbaijan into the Armenian SSR. However, the initial stages of the genocide and ethnic cleansing—the expulsion of the Azerbaijani population from Armenia and Karabakh, followed by the subsequent occupation of this territory by Armenian troops—were carried out by members of the so-called ‘Karabakh clan’, who were former members of the Komsomol members of the NKAO and employees of the special services.


The 'Karabakh clan', which gained power in the Republic of Armenia in October 1999 on the back of nationalism and a terrorist attack, subsequently discredited itself with extreme corruption and was removed from power in 2018. Following the defeat in the Karabakh war and the liquidation of the separatist 'Artsakh', the clan lost its 'bases'. Attempts to 'intercept the leadership' of the Armenian Nationalist Project by 'businessmen'—swindlers s such as Ruben Vardanyan—also failed. Consequently, Echmiadzin began to emerge from the shadows as a force leading the Armenian nationalist project. This emergence from the shadows is notable for its competence. First, Echmiadzin provided an opportunity to completely 'bankrupt' the revanchists from the Karabakh clan. Subsequently, it awaited the complete dissolution of the Artsakh entity, which was destined for failure following the 44-day conflict. It then awaited a lull in hostilities and the commencement of border demarcation and delimitation. Upon discerning that all other revanchists and terrorists had agreed to become a proxy for Bagrat Galstanyan, it initiated its nationalist actions. At the same time, without crossing certain ‘lines’ and letting the same Pashinyan understand that it is possible to ‘negotiate’.


One can even predict when Echmiadzin will go on a new ‘offensive’. It will be on the eve of signing peace agreements and opening the Zangezur corridor, if it comes to that. Given that the most notorious terrorists and murderers have joined the same movement as Bagrat Galstanyan, it is possible that deliberate provocations will be carried out in order to make Armenia the epicentre of a new regional war.


In this war, Armenia will be doomed to defeat, no matter what revanchist ideas inspire it. The Republic of Armenia as a state may disappear, and Armenians may scatter to diaspora 'centres' around the world. Naturally, the role of Republic of Armenia politicians among the diaspora will then be reduced to zero, just as the role of separatist leaders (even those still at large among 'Artsakh' Armenians) has been reduced to zero.  The religious influence of Echmiadzin in the diaspora and Armenian communities will not be threatened by this state of affairs. In some respects, the situation will return to the state in which Armenians lived before the creation of their own state, when there was an Armenian Church and communities and diasporas scattered in different countries. That's to say, there will be an 'Armenian project', but again without a national state, but only with myths about it and'missed opportunities'. But it will already be in the realities of the new world. Given the positions ethnic Armenians occupy in states such as the Russian Federation, it will be a serious force.


Echmiadzin-led Armenian communities will always be in demand as 'agents' of global players, including the Vatican. The Armenians will be much more effective in dismantling nation-states without their own than if the Republic of Armenia continued to exist and develop peacefully. In fact, they want to force the Armenian ethnos to perform the same functions that were assigned to them by the world behind the scenes more than 110 years ago, when the task was to 'dismantle empires', for example, the Ottoman Empire.


Varden Tsulukidze

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