Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, visited Armenia on December 2, 2013. His visit inspired a rancorous response in some circles.
Below is a translation (mine) of a status posted on Facebook by Sedrak Mkrtchyan in response to a photograph of a nightgown hanging from a highway overpass. The nightgown symbolized the outrage over Russian treatment of Artsakh war veteran Hrachya Harutyunyan who was dressed in a woman’s nightgown to appear in court after being involved in a vehicular accident where several people died in Russia.
The succinct text below by Mkrtchyan lends a perspective to the protests that seems to be absent from the discourse about Armenia’s closeness to Russia. It might be surmised but I’ll state clearly that I agree with the ideas presented here.
Whatever is found in brackets are either my notes or my elucidations of something implied in the Armenian-language text from which this is translated.
Mkrtchyan is a journalist from Armenia.
By: Sedrak Mkrtchyan
What’s the objective? What’s the point? I don’t understand…
Taking into consideration those who do not want Armenia to associate with Russia, let me propose the following scenario:
1) Russia announces that it is against Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union and the path toward association with the European Union is open,
2) Russia removes its armed forces from Armenia,
3) Armenia is forced to defend its borders with Turkey and Iran with solely its own armed forces, necessitating an increase in the size of the military by at least 30%, which is impossible for Armenia to do because of a lack of resources,
4) The price of natural gas rises,
5) The price of purchasing guns and artillery from Russia rises,
6) In the case of war started by Azerbaijan, there is no help from Russia nor from the Collective Treaty Security Organization (CSTO). The number of people and amount of land lost in Artsakh and Armenia in the ensuing meat grinder is anyone’s guess,
7) A potential Turkish military expansion, the extent of which is impossible to predict.
How might the European Union help with all of this [if Armenia “chose” Europe at the expense of Russia]?
1) Military assistance by the EU is excluded. They have one little problem with Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus and they are unable to do anything about getting it back for an official member of the European Union [Cyprus],
2) Any member country of NATO is excluded [from helping Armenia] so long as Turkey, Europe’s largest and strongest armed forces, has shared interests with Azerbaijan [note: Turkey indeed has the largest military in Europe but the strongest is likely the United Kingdom]; they could swallow Armenia up and not pay it a second thought,
3) Exports to the EU increase, some business grow, some businesses are enriched. Armenia’s long-term economic situation is improved.
It’s being curiously presented these days that if Armenia signs the EU Association Agreement, people in Armenia will become beautiful, tall, and their hair color will get a little lighter; fashionistas from the pages of monthly magazines will be walking on Armenia’s streets, red double-decker buses will be making the rounds, and the names of all cities and villages might see the addition of the word “New” before them.
I cannot stand Russians – and the more I immerse myself in the study of history, the more that is the case. But before hanging a nightgown [in protest], it’s imperative to look at the issue a bit more [deeply], beyond the most basic level.
[end text by Mkrtchyan]
We might benefit from Mr. Mkrtchyan’s advice to think more deeply about this issue. Other issues even. Who knows, it might even help with freeing Armenia from Russia’s yoke.