“There is no trust between Armenia and the Armenian diaspora at the moment. The Second Karabakh War has shown that the gap is wider than ever, and now the threads of trust have been severed. Until now, the connection between Armenia and the diaspora was based on two things: tourism and humanitarian aid. We can also mention investments. Unfortunately, this is a problem not only of the present, but also of the previous governments. The thing is that the Armenian diaspora was against Armenia becoming independent, because it was afraid that by losing Russia’s guarantee, the country would depend on Turkey,” French-Armenian political scientist and orientalist Tigran Yegavian said in an interview with the Hetq newspaper.
According to him, diaspora Armenians are people without a political will, who have an abstract idea about Armenia, nation, and statehood.
“They cannot understand what it means to have a state. The war proved that we are a nation without a state culture. We do not distinguish between the concepts of nation and state. Even the current government, which has an office of the Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs, could not develop relations based on interests.
“The main mistake of the authorities was that they could not draw the potential of diaspora Armenians to Armenia. For the diaspora, Armenia is an abstract thing, for them, the main topic is the ‘genocide’,” he says.
Yegavian also points out that the Armenians who came to France after 1991 could not find their place in the traditional structures of the French-Armenian community.
“French-Armenians are not interested in the social and political issues of Armenia. They neither follow nor understand the complexities of political life there. We can also notice a conflict between the old diaspora in France and Armenians coming from Armenia recently. They have different approaches to identity. In contrast to the classic diaspora, which is focused on the Armenian Cause, the newly arrived are more interested in the everyday life and social life of Armenia. We are now facing a new problem of how to repair structures in the diaspora, which have been outdated for a long time,” the political scientist stresses.
Speaking about Armenia’s current problems, Yegavian said that the country is in a difficult situation right now.
“Armenia can no longer control its fate. Put crudely, there are two options on the table. One is that Armenia becomes a province of Russia or enters some type of unified federation with Russia, for which there is no other similar example to compare. The second option is the diasporization of Armenia. In a post-Soviet country like Armenia, most structures that existed in Soviet times have been preserved. For example, we don’t have two legislative bodies. Why don’t we have a senate, with diaspora Armenians, who would be elected indirectly, would have few powers, but would have a role in the country’s life?” Yegavian concludes.