In Whose Interests? The Political Economy of Armenian-Turkish Relations

This mansion belongs to just one of many millionaire oligarchs in Armenia


The Turkey-Armenia Protocols ushered in an unprecedented wave of international outcry against the policies of the Armenian government.

Massive demonstrations took place in almost every major city of the Diaspora; 60,000 protestors took to the streets in Yerevan; leading Armenian academics and Genocide scholars forcefully spoke out against the Protocols; two former Foreign Ministers of Armenia came out against the measure; 14 political parties and dozens of organizations within Armenia signed a statement against ratification of the documents; and the sole opinion poll taken on the issue showed that 52.4%[1] of the population in Yerevan was against the signing.

Nevertheless, the Foreign Minister of Armenia traveled to Zurich on October 10 and signed the Protocols with his Turkish counterpart. Today, the Armenian government vehemently calls on Turkey to ratify the agreement, after which it promises to immediately follow suit.

Given the widespread opposition and detrimental effects the Protocols are deemed to have on such pan-Armenian interests as Genocide recognition, legal claims to the Armenian homeland, and the liberation of Artsakh, many people have been left to wonder why Yerevan has pushed forward with this controversial policy with such vigor.

Why would the Armenian government risk going against the will of the majority of its people and give up so much in return for mere Turkish promises of normal relations?

Who Gains, Who Loses

To find answers to this question, it’s essential to look beyond just technical issues about what the Protocols entail and the arguments of both its proponents and opponents. We must look, instead, at the core interests of those in Armenia who hold the levers of power. To put it more simply, in order to understand how policy is formed, it is important to understand those who form policy.

By now, it should be common knowledge that decision-making in Armenia is controlled by a small circle of elites, who dominate the country’s political and economic landscape. Whether we look at the President’s administration, the makeup of the National Assembly, or the heads and support-base of political parties in the coalition government, we find an easily distinguishable lineup of oligarchs that have woven their noose around Armenia’s institutions and its society. What’s unique about this social class is the magnitude of power they command, far surpassing the influence of any other segment of the general population. These oligarchs also share a common set of economic interests, living standards, values, and norms of behavior. They are, in fact, a distinct social class with tight links to one another, who operate on a political plane detached from the general public.

When looking into the business interests of this group of people, we find that a large number of them have made their wealth by dominating key commodity imports (e.g. gas, wheat, oil, butter, sugar, and so on). These business interests of the oligarchic class reflect the makeup of Armenia’s skewed economic landscape as a whole, with imports making up 40% of GDP, while exports only account for 10%.  Meanwhile,  70% of exports are comprised of raw materials, minerals, and stones. A large fraction of this class became rich through controlling the mining and exporting of Armenia’s diamonds, copper, and gold, to name a few. That virtually all of these individuals have also acquired large tracts of land and property throughout the country is no coincidence either, as 40% of Armenia’s annual growth is accredited to construction and real-estate. [2]  
As such, a considerable level of power is in the hands of these oligarchs whose monopoly over key sectors of the economy has significantly stymied the country’s economic development. 

The lifting of the Turkish blockade is anticipated to further enrich these dominant figures by allowing them to directly bring in products over the Turkish border, rather than the more costly route currently used through Georgia. In turn, opening the border is anticipated to provide new opportunities for those seeking to sell Armenia’s natural minerals in the international market. Property values and foreign investments are also expected to rise once relations are normalized with Turkey, placing many of those in Armenia’s oligarchic class who possess major real-estate and retail interests in a privileged position to reap profits.

The majority of Armenians, on the other hand, who struggle to make ends meet as farmers, wage laborers, or small businessmen are not likely to see much of the gains from opening the border. On the contrary, agricultural workers and local producers stand to suffer greatly under the weight of cheaper imports flooding in from Turkey, while laborers are likely to witness declining or stagnating wages under the pressure of foreign capital. Furthermore, rampant corruption and tax evasion ensure that whatever financial gains do accrue at the top will not be distributed down to the majority of the population.

The chairman of the Union of Domestic Manufacturers of Armenia, Vazgen Safarian, recently explained, “On the one hand, our consumers [and importers] will benefit from the cheap goods, but on the other hand, this will doom our local producers to having to shut down or to suspend operations.” Another Yerevan businessman, who actually imports fabrics from Turkey, stated “Then, many people will start importing goods, maybe the prices will go down. [T]his will hit everyone, [but] I think my business will suffer.”[3]  

Vardan Ayvazyan, the head of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Economic Issues has exploited his position to secure mining licenses for himself and his family.

Edgar Helgelyan, an expert with the Mitk Analytical Center, also weighed in on the issue. “We are seriously concerned that the opening of the border will considerably damage the Armenian economy. Imports from Turkey to Armenia account for about $178 million, while exports from Armenia to Turkey do not surpass $1.8 million,” he said during a press conference releasing a report submitted to the Armenian government on the subject.[4]

In other words, the much-touted “growth in GDP” or “improvement of the Armenian economy” that IMF technocrats and government apologists alike parrot as the silver bullet behind supporting the Protocols, is likely to provide a boom for the oligarchic elite but a bust for nearly everyone else. This might help to explain why many average citizens in Armenia are opposed to the Protocols on economic, in addition to national, grounds; they fear having to bare the economic costs of the agreement while the elite reap the benefits.

This reality also helps to explain why Armenia’s leading class has lent its unflinching support to the Protocols, with many being vocally in favor of the move, both in parliament and in business circles.

To give one of many examples, a leading proponent of the agreements in Armenia is Vardan Ayvazyan, the current head of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Economic Issues. Throughout his years in government, Mr. Ayvazyan has secured various mining licenses for himself and his family, including an ironstone mine in Hrazdan and two mines for his brother in Syunik and Lori provinces. It therefore comes as no surprise that he repeatedly boasts about the benefits of the protocols, claiming that, “Opening of the border can lead to 4 percent growth of GDP” or that the Protocols will “ensure a new economic path for our country.”

For individuals such as Ayvazyan, who have used Armenia’s legislative process towards their economic gains, opening the border provides new opportunities to capitalize on the exploitation of Armenia’s natural resources. [5] The mere fact that the agreement has advanced this far is itself a testimony to the backing the government—many of who themselves make up the oligarchic class—has received from Armenia’s wealthy elite.

Indeed, in a recent interview to an Armenian newspaper, President Serzh Sargsyan smugly stated, “I have not heard from any serious businessperson in Armenia that has doubts of the economic benefit of opening the border.”

Capitalism Over Nationalism

Significant profits are surely anticipated to be made in the upper echelons of Armenian society once the borders are opened. But at what cost are Armenia’s oligarchs willing to pursue their pocket books? Would they be willing to give in to Turkish conditions and renounce Armenia’s national rights for the sake of lifting the blockade? Unfortunately, for many of the Armenian elite, national interests such as Karabakh’s self determination, justice for the Armenian Genocide or legal claims to historic lands do not seem to be as much of a concern as they are for the general population.[6]

This was perhaps most famously demonstrated by the head of the Armenian Football Federation (AFF), well-known oligarch Ruben Hairapetyan.[7] In the run-up to the Turkish president’s visit to Armenia for the much-touted soccer match between the two nations, Hairapetyan suddenly removed the image of Ararat from the AFF’s official logo, sparking a major outcry within Armenia. Although he was later forced to reinstate the original logo with Ararat as the centerpiece, the inherent disregard for Armenia’s national rights and dignity was blatantly exposed by the scandal.

It should be pointed out that such a dismissive attitude towards pan-national interests is not a new phenomenon among the ruling class in Armenia. We saw similar sentiments expressed during the tenure of Armenia’s first president, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who was the chief architect of the system of autocracy and oligopoly we presently see in Armenia.[8] It was, thus, not surprising to see Ter-Petrosyan’s newly formed opposition immediately suspend their protest actions against the government in September 2008, when they learned that the Turkish president would be coming to town for a soccer match.[9] More recently, despite his earlier bitter denunciations of the government, Ter-Petrosyan has praised the Sargsyan regime’s policy on Turkish-Armenian relations and has even expressed his desire to establish cooperation with the ruling regime.[10]

Russia’s Backyard

In addition to the economic incentives and tendency to compromise national rights, there is an equally powerful factor to be considered when examining the ruling elite’s support for the Protocols: alignment with Russia.

Most of the prominent business and political elites in Armenia have direct personal ties to business and political interests in their former Soviet patron. We find that they either have major business ventures in Russia or serve as the overseers of Russian capital investments in Armenia. As one member of the ARF Western US Central Committee recently put it, “If Armenia is Russia’s backyard, then they [oligarchs] are the gardeners.”[11]

Indeed, Russia itself has a controlling stake in many of Armenia’s most strategic assets—gas, oil, nuclear power, electricity, telecommunications, rail, and finance, to name a few. It is estimated that Russia has over $2.5 billion of economic interests in the country. Given Armenia’s vulnerability to any instability Russia could potentially cause in these strategically important sectors, no major decision on the magnitude of the Protocols could be made without the blessing of the “Big Uncle.” The ruling elite in Armenia must pay special heed to the wishes of Moscow if they want to avoid any unwanted disruptions to the state and economy. Thus, it was no accident that President Sargsyan, during a state visit to Moscow in June 2008, extended an invitation to his Turkish counterpart to come to Armenia for the first soccer match.

For its part, Russia has openly expressed its support for the Protocols, with many analysts pointing out that it would be the main beneficiary of potential energy and transportation projects between Armenia and Turkey. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigori Karasin, was recently quoted as saying, “The Russian Inter RAO EES Company, which has energy facilities in Armenia, is exporting electricity to Turkey and the Russian Railway CJSC is ready to ensure uninterrupted rail communication between the two countries through the Dogukapy-Akhuryan checkpoint.”[12] Interestingly enough, two of the main initial projects expected to develop following the implementation of the Protocols are the sale of Armenian electricity to Turkey and the opening of joint railroad transportation–both of which are Armenian industries dominated by Russia.

The Path Forward

Of course, the West is also keen to see rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey. The heavy dependence Armenia has on Western loans and the desire to deflect attention away from the state’s crackdowns of March 1 is surely another motivation for Armenia’s pursuit of the Protocols.

Yet, blame for the Protocols cannot be laid at the door of foreign pressure (whether from Russia, Turkey, or the West). As Armenia’s Foreign Minister himself explained, “All states except for one or two supported the process and did not pressure us. It was Armenia’s initiative. We reached the agreement jointly with Turkey.”[13]

The responsibility, thus, lies with the ruling elite in Armenia. These elite hold the reigns of power in the country and have obvious motivations for seeing the Turkish blockade lifted despite its costs. In the end, the Protocols and the ensuing establishment of relations between Armenia and Turkey are a direct reflection of the interests of this tiny set of powerbrokers within Armenia.

The question, then, becomes how can the people act to prevent the ruling class from negotiating away Armenian national rights? The answer to this question lies partly in the international public opposition against the Protocols witnessed in recent months.

The unprecedented wave of mass demonstrations organized against the Armenian government pointed to a potential const
raint on government decision-making. Hence, the public awareness raised against the Protocols, the delay by Nalbandian during the signing ceremony in Zurich, and President Sargsyan’s televised public address hours before the signing were a direct consequence of people taking to the streets in Yerevan and capitals throughout the world.  
To date, these demonstrations have been the most serious disruption to the Armenian government’s plans for pushing through the Protocols. Indeed, the constant secrecy, media control, and deceptive statements issued by the government indicate their concern over the Armenian public’s negative reaction to their policies.

By putting into question the reality of the Armenian Genocide through a so-called historical commission, recognizing the existing illegitimate border that forfeits legal claims to the Armenian homeland, and compromising Armenia’s ability to defend the freedom of Artsakh, the Protocols pose a grave threat to the Armenian Cause–a cause considered to be paramount in the hearts and minds of Armenians around the world.

However, protests and negative opinion alone are likely not to be enough to stop the regime from ratifying the agreements. Public opposition must be translated into serious organization and concerted action in order to raise the costs high enough to be heeded by the administration in Yerevan. The system of centralized, elite power in Armenia must be checked by a vigilant and organized populace in order to restrain the wreckage of the self-interested schemes of the oligarchic elite.

The Diaspora has a special role to play in this battle. Through its relative freedom and more abundant resources, it has an important obligation to stand in support of those in Armenia who are genuinely struggling to create a more just and equitable future in the Homeland. As in the past, only by coming together collectively and reaching beyond artificial divisions will the Armenian people succeed in defending their pan-national interests.

Editor’s Note: This article is featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Haytoug, a quarterly publication by the Armenian Youth Federation. The upcoming issue is set for release in late January. It will be available, free, at community centers, schools and local Armenian book stores. You can also download it in PDF or sign up to receive a free copy in the mail at

[1] “Yerevan Survey Finds Majority Opposed to Protocols,” ArmInfo, September 29, 2009.
[2] Ara Nranyan, “Neoliberalism and Armenia: 18 Years of Integration with Capitalism,” presentation delivered at the 2009 Armenians and Progressive Politics conference in Glendale, CA
[3] Marianna Grigoryan, “Is Yerevan Caught in a Trade Trap?” Eurasianet, October 5, 2009. See also Hasmik Hambardzumian, “Armenians Wary of Turkish Trade,” Asia Times, September 29, 2009.
[4] “Opening of Border with Turkey Will Devastate Armenian Businesses,”, September 25, 2009. See also the thorough, 192-page study commissioned by the ARF Bureau on the economic impact of opening the border: Mher Dzadourian, Pavel Hovhannisan, and Albert Babayan, “Economic-Trade Issues Surrounding the Opening of the Armenia-Turkey Border,” June 2009, Yerevan.
[5] Gayane Abrahamyan, “Parliament Debates Diplomatic Normalization with Turkey,” Eurasianet, October 1, 2009. For a background on Ayvazyan’s interests in the mining industry, see Edik Baghdasaryan, “Vardan Ayvazyan’s Business Project,” Hetq, April 2, 2007.
[6] Despite the constant propaganda meted out to the contrary, people within Armenia consistently express their support for the cause of Genocide recognition and reparations from Turkey. See Serouj Aprahamian, “Armenia vs. Diaspora: The Myth of Diverging Interests Over the Genocide,” Haytoug, Spring 2009, 6-9. In the most recent opinion poll taken after the announcement of the Protocols, 52.4% of Yerevan residents rejected the terms of the agreements and 41% insisted that they want the Turkish-Armenian border to remain closed. “Poll Finds Turkey Deal Unpopular in Yerevan,” Asbarez, October 19, 2009.
[7] Hayrapetyan owns several businesses and is the Chairman of the Armtobacco Company. Most recently, he took ownership of the Bjni Mineral Water Factory in a controversial deal following the original owner’s (oligarch Khachatur Sukiasyan) fall out with the government over his support of Levon Ter-Petrosyan and his alleged role in the March 1st events. See Gayane Mkrtchyan, “The Politics of Table Water: ‘National Treasure’ Bjni Changes hands in Disputed Sale,” Armenia Now, September 2, 2009.
[8] See Ian Bremmer and Cory Welt, “Armenia’s New Autocrats,” Journal of Democracy, Vol. 8, 3, July 1997, 77-91.
[9] Marianna Grigoryan, “Armenia, Turkey Put Differences Aside for Soccer,” Eurasianet, September 5, 2008.
[10] “Armenian Opposition Leader Backs President on Turkey,” RFE/RL, November 12, 2009.
[11] Town Hall Meeting on Pan-Armenian Challenges. November 19, 2009. Encino, CA. Personal notes.
For a more historical perspective of this same phenomenon, we are reminded of the following quote from Armenian revolutionary hero, Aram Manukian: “That [exploitative] class is the capitalist class, which by descent is Armenian but in fact serves as the defender of foreign and Russian interests. They pretend to pose as the leaders of our people, but they consider Armenians to be only a pedestal under Russian tutelage for them to use to advance a more vibrant life. This class has turned into a threat to the Armenian people’s unity. They have become bait for our neighbors to use against us. They have become a ‘fishing hook’ in the hands of the Russians with which to ‘catch’ Armenians. Although they may possess Armenian names, this class is, in fact, our enemy.” Roupen Der-Minassian, Memoirs of an Armenian Revolutionary, Vol. 2.
[12] “Russia to Support Armenia-Turkey Ties With Economic Projects,” Asbarez, November 4, 2009.
[13] “Nalbandyan Does Not Feel ‘Embarrassed and Insulted’”,, October 30, 2009.

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  1. mika said:

    I have no personal opinion on whether the border should be opened or not.

    But this was a poor and unintelligent effort to discredit the proponents of border opening. The authors are not impartial. In fact they have a clear bias. They take cheap shots (President smugly stated, etc) – I still think Dashnaks are losing this battle on the intellectual front. They simply don’t have much if this is what they put out. Come on guys, you can do better than that.

    In my personal opinion (and I’m an economist by education) opening the border may paralyze production inside Armenia at first, but in my opinion it will make Armenian producers more competitive and will grant them much needed access to European markets. Gain some, lose some. The stronger producers will thrive. This is not to say that opening the borders is the right thing to do. But when it comes to math – the proponents win hands down.

    Again, a very cheap shot at a very important topic.

    • Dino Ajemian said:

      “The stronger producers will thrive”
      Produce what?
      Russians own the railways and energy production.
      The oligarchs building commodities; stone, cement etc.
      Over 50% of the population earns its living thru agriculture.
      Armenian agriculture is dismally inefficient. literally every piece of food will come from turkey in a short time. The barabarians will turn off and on the supply of food if they are displeased with Armenian policies either in Armenia or the diaspora.
      The rest of the rural Armenian population  will leave for turkey and russia and turks will take over industrial and commercial sites. This is a complete diasaster in the making. The protocols are a national security diasaster. Armenian traitors in league with sweet talking turks. Did not AAA seek help from barbarian lobby against Armenians who were anti protocols? What kind of an Armenian is one who seeks help from our eternal genocidal enemies? It’s time to draw the line in the sand as to who is an Armenian and who is an  Armenian traitor and deal with traitors as they should be treated.

      • rebecca said:

        Absolutely correct. All we need to do is look at Russia’s ILLEGAL invasion of Finland 70 years ago……….and the “staged” seizure of Georgia’s land. Then we can look closely at Turkey’s ONGOING genocide and persecution of the Kurdish population, and Turkey’s ILLEGAL invasion and Turk troops in Northern Cyprus. Never trust a KGB agent (territorial capatilists) and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER trust a Turk. They are manipulative savage liars and the worst offenders of human rights. Fight for the dignity of the millions of Armenians who were savagely and brutally butchered, raped, tortured and disposessed – mothers with young children, grandmothers, old people, who were forced to walk barefoot until they collapsed from starvation and beatings. A trail of misery, humiliation, tragedy and tears that have wounded the soul of Armenia forever. Demand restoration and demand restitution of ALL Armenian property, land, posessions that were STOLEN by these two faced Turks. Demand the apology that is LONG overdue. A nation who is incapable of admitting their crimes > will continue to perpetuate them, secretly and with the complicity of the kind of criminals that operate in Turkey’s “government”. My love and compassion, my solidarity with EVERY Armenian who continues their crusade against this barbaric injustice and cowardly scheme of Turkey.

  2. Aram Suren Hamparian (ANCA) said:

    Aprahamiam and Yekikan offer an insightful, well documented, and compelling analysis of the motives behind the support of influential individuals in the Armenian government for the Protocols.

    This article is the most recent addition to a broad-based body of argumentation – spanning many months and including scores of opinion pieces, interviews, and public speeches – making the case that the Protocols represent a clear danger to the interests, values, and aspirations of the Armenian people.

    Where is the intellectual case in support of the ratitification of the Protocols?  Why have the advocates of this policy failed to provide anything more than hollow sound-bites and recycled one-liners in defense of their views?

    Another question worth asking, and one that truly deserves an open answer:  Who, exactly, today is pushing for the Armenian Parliament to adopt this agreement, and what, specifically, are their arguments in support of this course of action?

    • Toros said:

      Ditto Mr. Hamparian’s sentiments. The “arguments” in support of the defeatist protocols are centered around self-interest and ignorance. Hence explaining the silence and lack of sound reasoning by its proponents for adopting such measures.
      Kudos to Aprahamian and Yekikian.

  3. Mego said:

    Next time an Armenian presidential candidate promisses to raise  the national income lets ask him how is he going to do it ? .

  4. Haro Mherian, Ph.D. Mathematics, UCLA said:

    This is a good article that exposes the truth behind the elites of the government of the third republic. It started with LTP, the real devil, during his time more than 70% of the wealth of the nation were sold for a few worthless rubles, thereby creating a non-national government elite group that has destroyed almost all of our national values, and now the last national value is the desecration of the victims of the Genocide and selling of our lands.

  5. John said:

    I have said this before. Since Armenia’s  birth as an independent country in the early 1990’s, the diaspora has only played a supportive role and pretty much let the political system alone. Those days must end. These purely self interest thugs are not true Armenians. They are not only stealing from fellow citizens in Armenia but from all of us in the diaspora as well. This task might not be easy as unhindered thieves generally don’t take too kindly to being hindered. Understand this: As the Turks are our enemies for murdering our grandparent and stealing our lands I view these so called Armenians as our enemies as well! They need to go before it’s too late and if anyone, including Mr. Hamparian from the ANCA, has any suggestions the diaspora is all ears.

  6. Mihran Keheyian said:

    The analysis by Aprahamiam and Yekikan is excellent.I have been advocating for over a year now for a more robust policy against this corrupt crooks,until such time don’t expect any tangible results from this treacherous government. They are paying lip service to the Armenian genocide issue and sooner or later Serzh will give back all the liberated lands in order to be allowed to stay in power by foreign interests.

    They must all  be  put on trial for treason and corruption as they are the kingpins of corruption.

  7. raffi said:

     i think it’s Time for a new uprising  and  new reforms in Armeinia    . Those mafia leaders should step down and stop  from leading Armenians according to their own  intrests .

  8. Nairian said:

    You are right John.  It is very unfortunate that these thugs as you justly put it in our Motherland have no interest whatsoever to protect our country much less to make our poor people in the Motherland to thrive.  They have in most respects pocketed at least some of Mr. Kirkorian’s money, and other wealthy and benevolent diasporans monies too.   Apparently these oligarchs that are the extension of the government, own lands and mines in Armenia and export diamonds and Armenia’s precious metals to Turkey, to have their suit’s bulging pockets yet more bulging.  It is disgraceful and much more – Sarkisian’s government and his entourage, the oligarch thugs have come up with the dangerous protocols to do business with the Turks, yet to make more and more money for themselves; and themselves alone.  The people of Armenia after having a grasp of what the protocols are all about; they are full heartedly against it, because the majority of the people will absolutely not benefit from it.  As a matter of fact, their  crops and businesses will go bankrupt, when the Turkish products come into our country, they will sell their products much cheaper to Armenians, while the Turkish business and businessmen will make great profits out of us, and our poor countrymen and businessmen will be poorer yet as their economy will greatly suffer from all this.

    We Armenians in the Diaspora and in the Motherland have to see that these oligarch thugs reigning our Republic today go down the ladder and be replaced by a govenment that do care.  I can only say that I know one party and one government that will do the job well done, and that is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.  Yes, they are idealistic yet their hearts and their vision are in tact.

  9. greg davidyan said:

    These Armenian oligarcs have a short memory. Wasn’t it a short while ago when the azeri-turks were destroying the entire Khatchkars and tomb stones of Armenians in Nakhichevan? If these oligarcs sell out Armenia there will be a day that the same barbarian turks will destroy the lavish grave tombs of the same oligarcs who want to be kissy-kissy with turks! Wake up people and get your house in order.

    • Nairian said:

      Dear Greg; these Armenian oligarchs have no shame, I tell you!!!  They are already taking their millions/billions to Dubai and to European Banks so that when one day they are taken down from their thrones, they will be able to run away and will be able to live lavishly…  as lavishly as they are living now and perhaps more.  They are basically thieves and selling out their Homeland to the enemy for pieces of silver; just like Judith did to our Jesus, the same way they are selling out our beloved little lands that we have to the enemy.  They must come down from their thrones and be replaced by better patriots of Armenia.

  10. Araxi said:

    Opening the border with turkey is a complete sell out by Serge Sargissyan and his oligarchy.

  11. Araxi said:

    I feel sick looking at the picture of the mansion in Yerevan. To think that there are so many destitude families in Armenia who need basic living conditions and food to survive, these oligarchs build palaces and lavish in their own vomit. These oligarchs are not Armenians. This is not the Armenian spirit, it is alien to the Armenian genes.

  12. Avetis said:

    Had Ankara been as convinced as the ARF is that open borders between Armenia and Turkey will ruin the Armenian republic it would have opened its borders with Armenia many-many years ago… Armenia has nothing to lose and much to gain with open borders with Turkey and Ankara realizes this all too well. This is a historic chance our republic has to break out of its economic/political stagnation, yet certain circles would be happy to keep Armenia a struggling third world nation – as long as it fits their twisted view of the world. And every nation, including the best in the West, are run by so-called “Oligarchs”. Its just that ” Oligarchs” in the West go under the names of – special interests, CFR, Jewish lobby, Wall Street executives, media executives, oil industry, mega corporations, defense industry, Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Warburgs, Duponts, etc… The lack of intellectual integrity within ARF circles these days is absolutely breath taking.
    PS: The mansion/castle pictured above does not belong to Mr. Tsarukian. Nevertheless, I wish more and more “Oligarchs”  built such magnificent structures in their homeland… A middle class is produced by essentially servicing the ruling financial elite. Thus, the more “Oligarchs” a nation has the bigger will its middle class be.

    • Haro Mherian, Ph.D. Mathematics, UCLA said:

      Who’s views are twisted the Armenian Nation’s or Avetis’s mind? I can only beg the question.
      Your question of why Turkey did not open borders with Armenia long time ago? The answer is simple, because Russia had warned her not to do so. If you remember what kind of answers the Russian gave to the Ozal’s era statements and the several test pilots that force landed in Armenian military airport.
      As of now, it’s not clear that Russians have given the Turks the carta-blanca, and that is why they are still playing the cart for Artsakh withdrawal. Once Turks get this freedom from Russians, they will indeed open all their borders with Armenia, because this carta-blanca means colonization of Armenia under Turkey. There is nothing better served for them than occupying a land without a single bullet. When it comes to a direct war, Turks are cowards, their historic Ottoman armies where served by Kurds and Yenicheries formed by our children. They don’t have a belly for fight, they rather have America, NATO and Russian Bolshevics help them to gain land.
      Obviously, if Russia gives a guarantee not to interfere, they will be more than glad to open their borders. It will be their best wish ever for the Pan-Turkism plan.

  13. Haro Mherian, Ph.D. Mathematics, UCLA said:

    As for the Oligarchs in Armenia, Mr. Avetis, it seems you have not been in Armenia to understand what’s going on their. To buy a Honda civic or even a new Lada, you need at least 10,000 dollars IN CASH. Now imagine when you see a $35,000 (or above) car passes by you in several increments in Yerevan. Where did they get that kind of money from, when the salary of a genius scientist in Armenian is $50 a month. So, it seems it’s quite healthy environment for Avetis to have the government kill all its intellectuals and scientist, while have some elite live lavishly in their Queen Victoria palaces.
    My friend, I don’t care whether  ARF or JUMENJUJU party is telling us the truth. The people need bread now…

  14. Avetis said:

    I would like to add another thing: Big talking Dashnaktsakan types need to finally wake up and realize that Armenia has no choice but to be “Russia’s backyard” and Armenia’s leaders its gardeners… Without Russian support for Armenia/Artsakh not even a million Dashnaks  can stop the Caucasus from turning into a Turkic Islamic cesspool… In many respects, since the days of David Bek, Armenia exists as a nation only due to a geopolitical climate made possible by a strong Russia presence in the Caucasus.  But I realize that many of you here are to engulfed in your “nationalism” to see reality…

  15. Avetis said:

    To Haro
    It’s a shame that for someone with a PHD in mathematics you can be so shallow… Firstly, my physical/emotional connection to my homeland goes very deep, much deeper than it will ever be for you. The ailments my homeland is going through is normal by international standards. All nations, including the best in the West, and the one that you were living in, were in worst shape during their formative years. As a matter of fact, until Washington got into the global pillaging business in the 20th century Americans had one of the lowest standards of living in the civilized world.  As a matter of fact, despite all the massive odds against it, Armenia today is doing better than all of its better-off neighbors.  I’m not attempting to make excuses for the bad things in the country, I’m just trying to help intellectually challenged diasporans to be more objective and rational when it comes to their homeland.  Armenia needs political evolution not a CIA funded revolution, nor does it need destructive criticism from those who would never elect to live there. So, I suggest you stop showing off your “PHD” and start seeking a little wisdom…

  16. Avetis said:

    Do you really believe you wrote regarding Russian-Armenian relations? Your lack of understanding of regional politics is amazing. You people here never cease to amaze me with your irrationality and utter ignorance of geopolitics. Seeing people like you reinforces the common notion that we Armenians may be brilliant scholars, artists, businessmen, sportsmen, etc. – but are total idiots when it comes to politics…

  17. manooshag said:

    Hye Avetis, critics are a dime a dozen… so what is your solution to our problems?  And, who would you choose to lead our Armenian nation out of it mire? Criticize, criticize… as, I said,
    critics are a dime a dozen.  Manooshag

    • Hopar said:

      Yes critics are a dime a dozen… and the “Avetis” types with their mafia-communist mentality are perhaps a penny a dozen. These people love to criticize the diaspora, yet they are the ones who abandoned the homeland and trying to “protect it” from the “evil dashnaks” from the US. What a joke.

  18. raffi said:

    It seems that Avetis has forgotten  that Armenia gained its own independence in 1918 while Russia was engaged in internal conflicts with the Bolsheviks and that many parts of Armenia were given to the Turks, Ezri’s and Georgina’s by the Russian’s themselves . Nobody is against Armenia’s relations with Russia unless these   relations were against the Armenians interests .

  19. Harout said:

    The bottom line is … Serj & his circle sold out Armenia and they can’t return their deposit back so its done…”No stopping to it”  Armenia is about to END  on schedule and thats final.
    “GENOCIDAL MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” Turkey should be congratulated for its bribery which also has State Department on payroll not to mention the Pentagon &…

  20. Avetis said:

    Raffi has forgotten that –
    Because Jewish Bolsheviks (with western funding) overthrew the Russian Empire from within, we Armenian lost Western Armenia (in 1916, after Turks lost about a hundred thousand dead at the hands of Imperial Russian forces at Sarikamish Russians and Armenians actually had control of the city of Van)… Raffi has forgotten that it was ultimately Stalin (a Georgian with perhaps Armenian heritage) and his Jewish henchmen that were responsible for giving away Armenian lands… Raffi has also forgotten that while there was no effective Russian presence in the Caucasus at the time we Armenians unintentionally ended up with thing we called the “First Republic” in 1918; which in actuality was a tiny, desolate land with no economy, no resources, no long term means to defend itself, full  of starving, diseased and impoverished people… Raffi has also forgotten that, ironically, had it not been for the Godless and bloodthirsty Bolsheviks we would have lost that First Republic to Turks as well…
    Face it folks, from the times of David Bek to the war of liberation in Artsakh our close relationship with Russians, and later with communists, made it possible to secure an Armenian nation in the Caucasus – in perhaps the most unforgiving and volatile place on earth. Had it not been for the Russian Empire we would not have had a revolutionary movement in the late 19th century, we would we have had a republic in the Caucasus, nor would we have had a modern metropolis called Yerevan… And had it not been for the modern Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Turkey would have destroyed Armenia/Artsakh a very-very long time ago… Big talking diasporans are not the reason why Turks and Azeris don’t cross the Armenian border with tanks – its Russians.  The bottom line is, the reason why we enjoy a secure republic in the Caucasus, despite all it internal and external problems, is because of its intimate relationship with Russia.
    I am astounded at how ignorant we Armenians have become. I really wish you folks here are not an accurate representation of my people…

  21. Vacheh said:

    In response to Avetis and people like him, where was the Russia in 1915-1916 period when Armenians of Van, Moosh, and Bitlis were waiting for Russian army to enter the city and rescue them. Instead, the Russians wanted the Western Armenia, but without its native people. Russian brigades stayed back and let the Ittihadists massacre the ordinary people, mostly women, children and elderly. Mr. Avetis please read our history books in more detail. While Armenia can use Russia’s support to stay alive, it is our collective failure that we never try to rely on our own forces to stand up and defend our national interests. Oligarchs loot our country and people like you drop the ball and go on with their daily business. As Manooshag rightly says, do you have any solution for our issues? I am glad to see comments from Manooshag and Raffi, as I feel that we still have a generation that cares about our homeland.

  22. Haro Mherian, Ph.D. Mathematics, UCLA said:

    Avetis jan, you cannot twist your arguments from one viewpoint to another. Your original comment was more inclined towards advocating that oligarchy as sound and healthy for Armenia when the economic situation is very grave there. Yes, Russian dominance is obviously what is holding the Turks back. But without strong Armenian people Russia would have been smaller than Belarus now. The same thing is true for Europe. Italy, Austria and all eastern Europe would have been Ottoman Empire by now if Armenia was not as strong as Spartans against the Mongol invasion. We have served Byzantine as a shield, whether we like it or not. We have also served the Russians as a shield from south, whether Russians like us or not. Even in the recent history, if Armenia was not strong, Chechnya would have been outside Russia’s borders now.
    Did you know that the first regiment that entered Berlin was Armenian? Did you know that for the idiotic plans of Stalin, we lost around 300,000 soldiers to save Russia from Hitler. Entire US lost around 250,000 In WWII, Britten lost around 270,000, while tiny Armenia lost more than 300,000 soldiers. So, please be wise and review the history yourself. Perhaps, Europe should be kind enough to accept the fact that Armenia served Europe as a shield even when it was close to its grave. That is the spirit of Sparta, and that is the spirit of Mamikonian. And do you know why Aram Khachaturian chose Spartacus to revenge Stalin’s oppression against Armenians and against his musical career? People like you only serve the dollars, you would never understand such spirit at all.

  23. Haro Mherian, Ph.D. Mathematics, UCLA said:

    Thanks Avetis, now I know who you are. It’s people like you that killed all the Armenian intellectuals and Scientists. As a matter of fact, I do know geopolitics, because it’s one of my specialties. And the PhD and Mathematics is not for show offs, it’s for a true and transparent identification. Unlike cowards like you who hide behind an unlinked “Avetis”, I am honest and do risk my career per my opinion. Moreover, every word I say, I can prove them mathematically unlike your baseless statements.
    But anyways, thanks, and I am out of this commentary…

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