The incident with the Moscow screening of the film glorifying Garegin Nzhdeh, a Nazi collaborator from Armenia, is striking. Both the Union of Armenians of Russia and the Armenian Embassy in Russia are aware what this country thinks about this man. And not only him, by the way. Similarly, there have been and probably still are people in Russia itself who see Gustaf Mannerheim as a positive figure in Russian history: a military man, a spy, a geographer. But his and his native Finland’s, participation in the German aggression against the USSR, in the blockade of Leningrad, in the extermination of the peaceful Soviet population, undid whatever good things he had done. It was the same with Nzhdeh. If Armenian citizens in Armenia and even some Armenians in Russia think of him fondly, it is up to them. Just keep it to yourself, respect the historical memory of your host country (I mean the embassy) or the majority of citizens of your own country. For Russian citizens, Nzhdeh’s pandering to the Nazis and his service to Hitler are well-known, irrefutable facts.
Especially bizarre, I should emphasize, is the fact that the Armenian Embassy in Moscow defended the glorification of Nazi Nzhdeh. Not only does it support the organizers of the provocative screening, but it also tries to put pressure on the Russian media, declaring some of their actions “unacceptable”.
We—and certainly not the Armenian embassy in Russia—will be the judges of what is and what is not acceptable in our country. The question of whether the information about Garegin Nzhdeh being disseminated in Russia is false or true, whether the Union of Armenians of Russia glorified the Nazi henchman or not will now, as we understand it, be decided by court. The prosecutor’s office has already taken a stand on this question thanks to the appeal of All-Russian public movement “Veterans of Russia” and informed the organizers of the screening that their actions would qualify as a crime under Article 354.1 “Rehabilitation of Nazism”. And yet, despite the prosecutor’s warning, the Union of Armenians of Russia brags that the film about the Nazi collaborator has been screened after all.
Proponents of Nzhdeh’s glorification often argue that he received awards of the Russian Empire. Yes, he did. But Nzhdeh could not receive these awards as a “fighter for Armenia’s independence”, as the embassy insists: there was no such thing as Armenia in the Russian Empire, which consisted of governorates. Armenia could not expect to gain independence if Hitler’s invasion into the USSR succeeded either: even Estonians, whom the Nazis considered the most “ethnically close” to themselves, didn’t get it. So, Nzhdeh “defended the independence” of Armenia from the Soviet power. Meanwhile, the Soviet period was an era of outstanding prosperity for the Armenian people. Armenians lived much better in the USSR than in the Russian Empire.
As we know from the protocols of his interrogations and his letters from prison, including his letter to Stalin, Nzhdeh admitted at the end of his life that his fight against the USSR had done nothing but harm, that Armenians in the Soviet Union were guaranteed not only their survival but also their all-round development. Then again, this is obvious. Anyone who lived in the Armenian SSR and lives in Armenia today or follows the events in Armenia from Russia or other foreign countries admits it.
Anti-Sovietism backfired on the organizers of the provocative screening. They timed it to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Armenian army, but for a nation that produced such prominent military figures as Marshals Bagramyan, Khudyakov (Khanferiants), Babadzhanian, Aganov, and navy admiral Isakov (Ter-Isaakyan), it looks at the very least strange. Especially if we recall that during our common Great Patriotic War against those whom Garegin Nzhdeh chose to serve, the Armenian people gave 77 generals, 12 rear admirals and vice admirals, 127 Heroes of the Soviet Union, 28 holders of the order of Glory of three degrees. Nearly 300,000 sons and daughters of the Armenian people lost their lives in that war, 175,000 of them were from Armenia. And to throw all this under the feet of someone who voluntarily became a Nazi?
If the Armenian embassy in Moscow and the Union of Armenians of Russia wanted to do something to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Armenian army, they should have dusted off the project of construction of the memorial chapel of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Moscow’s Victory Park. This project has been “ongoing” since 2007 but the site allocated by the city authorities for this purpose then is now a disgraceful sight both for the park and for the Armenians.
In conclusion, once again about the Armenian embassy’s statement defending the glorification of the Nazi Nzhdeh. The embassy mentions some “circles interested in damaging Armenian-Russian brotherly relations”. In my opinion, it was the Union of Armenians of Russia and the embassy supporting it that damaged our relations with these actions. As for the quality, neither Russia, as the successor of the Soviet Union, nor our people can have brotherly relations with those trying to make heroes out of Nazi collaborators and refusing to respect our historical memory, the cornerstone of which is the victory won in 1945 over the masterminds of the genocide of the peoples of the USSR.
Translated from IA REGNUM