By Edmond Y. Azadian
Armenians have placed their bet on Russia, as a Christian nation, and most of the time, they have enjoyed positive results. Yet, there have been times, when some of the Russian leaders have not hesitated to formulate a more cynical policy regarding Armenia, stating that in essence, they need Armenia without Armenians.
Current Russian policy, albeit not verbalized, is no different. Armenia’s northern ally has set up offices in Yerevan offering jobs, homes, travel expenses and citizenship to lure desperate families to Russia’s Far East to populate depressed areas and to prevent a future takeover by Chinese or Muslim populations which are growing at alarming rates in Russia. Meanwhile, Armenia is being depopulated — ready for a further Russian bear hug.
Yet, Armenians intrinsically veer towards Russia. Even Eastern Armenia’s first novelist, Khachatour Abovian, wrote in his novel in 1828,Wounds of Armenia, “Blessed be the moment when Russia set foot on our land.”
Fiction apart, relations with Russia are a mixed bag. My wife zealously redraws the map of Armenia and the rest of the Caucasus, swapping territories with the neighbors. She generously seizes land from Georgia and Azerbaijan for Armenia. One day, a visiting academic, historian and map specialist, Papken Haroutunian asked, “why do you make those territorial changes?” My wife answered, “in order to access the Russian territory and become next-door neighbors.”