By Edmond Y. Azadian
The republic of Armenia is 20 years old. It seems that there is nothing unusual about this anniversary, but seen through the perspective of our turbulent past, the anniversary becomes very significant with historic ramifications.
At the turn of the 20th century, a historic opportunity was created for an independent republic, squeezed on a tiny portion of historic Armenia. The republic was short-lived, but it was a rare opportunity for self-rule after 600 years of foreign domination.
Political and historic events limited the life of the republic to only two years, after which Armenia was absorbed into the totalitarian structure of the emerging Soviet Empire.
Although ham-strung with constricted sovereignty and subject to authoritative harsh rule, Armenia survived — indeed thrived — in its second incarnation, with tremendous achievements in science, technology, education and the arts.
The third republic emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union, at a most trying time, as a border war was raging with Azerbaijan and an earthquake had devastated one-third of the country.