Tatyana Krupa: "Yerevan has destroyed the Erivan Khanate's legacy"
Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with the archaeologist, restorer, historian at the Karazin Kharkiv National University, Tatyana Krupa, about her observations of the architectural appearance of Yerevan showing signs of the Erivan Khanate historical monuments’ systematic destruction by the authorities of modern Armenia.
- Please tell us, what have you found out during your visits to Yerevan?
- First of all, I want to note that I grew up with Armenian godfathers in Kharkiv, my aunt was married to an Azeri from Baku, that is, I have no hatred for either of the nation. On the contrary, I respect them both and have a desire to work with them. I have been in Yerevan for several times, studied the monuments. A reception there was the most cordial, but there was something embarrassing: I was walking around the city, but did not see the Erivan Khanate architecture, though it had been a long historic period. I am engaged in the protection of the cultural heritage, which is why a question emerged: why do I see the Armenian churches, modern architecture of a beautiful city, but do not see any remains of the Erivan khanate palaces, at least, archaeological ones? I saw only the so-called Persian mosque - but where is the rest? This region is famous for its ancient stone buildings, Erebuni Fortress, Teishebaini have been preserved, but where are the remains of the khan's palaces?
They could not have disappeared as a result of wars: there were no large-scale military actions neither during World War I, nor during World War II. Yerevan was not bombed, there were no earthquakes of the same scale as in Spitak. At the same time, the 19th-century palace complexes and mosques have not been preserved, although the usual buildings of that time have remained, and it is possible to recognize them. Meanwhile, there should be numerous mosques in the capital of the Erivan Khanate. For example, there were 17 mosques in occupied Shusha, and there could not be less of them in Yerevan. So why have they disappeared? Unfortunately, the only conclusion is that they were deliberately destroyed by the Armenian authorities with a specific purpose. And it is clear what this goal was, considering the confrontation with the Ottoman Turkey and the Safavid Iran. The historical sources indicate clearly the existence of these sites, in particular, the photographs of Azerbaijanis, residents of Yerevan at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as paintings, for example, the picture of the Erivan Palace in the Tbilisi Art Museum. But the buildings themselves have been destroyed, which means that the political myths about the past of Yerevan have nothing to do with history.
None of the scientific historians will argue that Yerevan is a territory of large Azerbaijan. It happened so that today the Republic of Armenia is located on this territory. We wish the country development and prosperity - but where have gone the cultural heritage of the 17-19th centuries? The palace complexes of the khanate capital, it is worth saying the khanate had been rich and independent, were wiped off the face of the earth in the framework of the doctrine of the heritage destruction and the levelling of historical memory.
- How do you assess these attempts to destroy a whole historical layer of the region?
- In the 8-10th centuries, there was the Khazar Khaganate on the territory of Ukraine- therefore, the Ukrainian language has many Turkic words - but nobody tries to hide these historical pages from us. If I begin to deny the existence of this period, to demolish its remains and not mention it in my works, I will seize to be a historian, and become a madwoman. Moreover, if I destroy the historical monuments, I will simply become a criminal. Armenians have preserved many last names like Mirzoyan, Amirkhanyan, and Bekirian that are of the Turkic origin, and this is a part of the heritage of the Armenian people, as, for example, the Urartian period is a legacy of the contemporary Azerbaijani and Georgian peoples. One can not claim that during millennia, since the Paleolithic times, one people remains unchanged - the ancient Urartians can not be compared to modern Armenians, because other nations came to these lands, got married, gave birth to children.
Once again, an example from the history of Ukraine - some of our nationalists believe that the Trypillia culture represents ancient Ukrainians. But it was a different people, people from the territory of Anatolia, whose protocenter was located on the territory of modern Turkey. Yes, the Trypillia culture participated in the ethnogenesis of modern Ukrainians, but it is not equal to Ukrainians, because later, the Saltovo-Mayakis, nomads, Turks, Pechenegs of the Old Kipchak clan and Cumans came. The ethnogenesis of the Armenian people took place in a similar vein.
- This year Armenia celebrates the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan, the city is proclaimed even more ancient than Rome by the Armenian scientific community. Is this scientifically reasonable? Has the cultural heritage of the period before the Khanate been preserved?
- Of course, dates are also the part of the political myths. Another Ukrainian analogue - In Kharkov, there are both the Golden Horde layers and monuments of the early Iron Age era of the 5th century BC, but the documented date of Kharkiv’s foundation is 1654. This year Kharkov was first mentioned as a city. The settlement existed before was not Kharkiv. I have to admit that I do not know about any documents, in which Yerevan was mentioned under this or that name 3 thousand years ago. On the territory of Yerevan, there is an ancient settlement of the Urartian period dating back to 10-8th century BC, but this is Erebuni and Teishebainii, the city of Yerevan itself has nothing to do with it. A city’s age can be determined by its first mention in documents, and not by monuments of other eras. Unfortunately, now, it is common practice, for example, to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of Balaklava, a settlement near Sevastopol. It does not matter that two thousand years ago nobody mentioned it, the main thing is to declare, mark, cut down the budget and mock the people.
- What do you think about the words of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that Azerbaijanis should return to their historical lands?
- First of all, I am perfectly aware that Azerbaijan does not have claims to the territorial integrity of Armenia as a modern state since Azerbaijan speaks about this at all possible international stages. But it is quite appropriate for the President to recall that the Erivan Khanate is a part of the general history of the Caucasus, especially from the point of view of the struggle for the return of the territories that were seized from Azerbaijan 30 years ago. I should note that Azerbaijan is definitely the owner of Karabakh, it was its territory during the formation of the Azerbaijani Republic, not speaking about the occupied areas around the Karabakh autonomy - and all these lands should be returned to Azerbaijan.
Therefore, there is no sense in accusing the President of Azerbaijan of declaring war and seizing Armenia, this is absurd from the point of view of the international law. The situation is so that today, Azerbaijan is stronger in the military terms after the military reform and many other reforms that allowed to strengthen the army - but, on the other hand, the issue of returning the Azerbaijani territories has not been resolved yet.