Russia concerned Armenia may go the way of Ukraine
Russia is concerned by the signing of the Agreement on Cooperation between Armenia and the European Union. The document has already been initialed and the signing is due to take place at the summit of the Eastern Partnership on 24 November in Brussels.
During a live broadcast of Zvezda, the official TV channel of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Veronika Krasheninnikova, a member of the Supreme Council of United Russia, criticized Armenia for its intention to sign an agreement with the European Union.
She stated that Armenia, a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Treaty Security Organization and also the main ally of Russia in the South Caucasus, is going the way of Ukraine.
She also criticized the ruling Republican Party of Armenia which is responsible for the foreign policy direction of the country. She also said that the emblem of the party is similar to that of fascist Germany. Moreover, she also called the state and military figure Garegin Nzhde, whose views are at the base of the ideology of the party, a follower of fascism:
“The Association Agreement is not the only thing that Armenia is doing like Ukraine. It’s hard to believe but Yerevan has made heroes out of fascists. In May of 2016, a monument to Garegin Nzhde was erected. In 1942, Nzhde appealed to the Third Reich for help, and offered to turn it into a German colony. The monument to Nzhde is an insult to the entire Armenian nation, which heroically fought during the Great Patriotic War [Ed. WWII]. One-hundred-and-six Armenians became Heroes of the Soviet Union but Nzhde is a hero of the ruling Republican Party.”
Representatives of the Republican Party of Armenia noted that this situation is not surprising for them, because Russia has made such statements since the day the statue was erected, including calls to have it demolished.
The spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakaharova, stated after the unveiling of the monument that ‘Moscow is surprised by the installation in Yerevan of a monument to one of the creators of the Wehrmacht ‘Armenian legion’, Garegin Nzhde’. Zakaharova recalled Russia’s relationship to the Great Patriotic War, nazism, neo-nazism and extremism:
“This attitude is fixed in international documents. For us it is not clear why this monument was erected, because we all know about the heroic deeds of the Armenian people, it is the immortal feat of the Armenian people from the times of the Great Patriotic War, World War II.”
Recently, a group of MPs from the Duma, members of the Public Chamber of Russia, as well as experts and lawyers released a statement claiming they would make an appeal to the UN International Court with a request to ban monuments to fascists in post-Soviet countries.
“Is the perpetuation of the memory of Garegin Nzhde not a heroicization of the puppets of fascism?” commented one of the initiators of the project, Director of the Institute for Political Studies Sergei Markov.
In response to the attacks from Russia, the Head of the Republican Faction of the Parliament of Armenia, Vagram Bagdasaryan, stated that Armenia did not hide anything and when it entered into the Eurasian Economic Union, there was no condition set before it not to cooperate with the European Union.
“We warned [them] what our politics would be like, both Russia and the EU. We cooperate with both the EAU and the EU, and we will continue to cooperate with those countries with whom we will find points of contact,” noted Bagdasaryan.
Another member of the Republican Party of Armenia, Vazgen Karakhanyan, said that the symbolism of the RPA has nothing in common with fascism:
“If they mean the swastika, then I’ll say that it has an ancient history. There was no fascist Germany when [this] symbol of eternity and struggle between light an dark was around. The words of this anchor have no connection to reality, this is manipulation.”
He also says that such conversations will not change the approach of the party. Regarding the emblem of the RPA and the fact that there is also an eagle on it as there was on the emblem of fascist Germany, Karakhanyan says: “The eagle is the king of the birds, this symbol speaks of the love of freedom of the Armenian people, it symbolizes flight and freedom, and all attempts to destroy this have been unsuccessful.”