Mikhail Remizov: "Armenia distances greatly from Russia in the field of the historical memory policy’’
The last weekend Armenia's senior management participated in an opening of the monument to Garegin Nzhdeh in Yerevan, one of the fascist executioners, whose separatist forces during World War II killed the Soviet citizens in Crimea, and who was convicted for 25 years in prison by the Soviet authorities. This is not the first step of Armenia in this direction. The Nzhdeh subway station and Nzhdeh Square already exist in the capital of Armenia. The president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, told to Vestnik Kavkaza about the consequences of a glorification of the Nazi war criminal for the Russian-Armenian relations.
-How far can Russia today rely on Armenia as an ally, while the official Yerevan is creating the national heroes of the Nazi criminals?
- Armenia has several positions in the field of the historical memory policy, for which it is substantially distances itself from Russia, its official history and its vision of its own history. Yerevan has several cherished national grievances. One of them is related to the role of the young Soviet republic in the loss of a substantial part of the territory of Armenia. The whole tradition of the Armenian nationalism that emerged in the early 20th century during the period of the collapse of the Russian Empire is not too loyal and sympathetic to the Russian historical project.
But this does not mean that the big politics will move in a line with the historical squabbles, simply because Armenia has a very limited freedom of the geopolitical and geo-economic maneuver. Now after the military aggravation in Karabakh a level of irritation of Moscow's position is very high in the Armenian society. This irritation, in my opinion, is unjust and ill-founded, because Russia has made serious diplomatic efforts to ensure that the conflict is swelled, and that a military solution to the Karabakh conflict would not become the main and inevitable solution. A preservation of the status quo in any way is more profitable for the Armenian side than for Azerbaijan.
With regard to the sale of weapons to Azerbaijan, this question does not play any role from a practical point of view, because everything that is purchased in Russia, may be purchased in other countries. And no restrictions in respect of the arms sales to Azerbaijan will be established and accepted by the international community. A supply on this market exceeds a demand. Therefore, it is also an insult rather than a political sense to link the military strengthening of Azerbaijan with Moscow’s position.
So now, of course, there is a very negative background for the relations between the countries. And such decisions in the field of the historical memory policy, of course, heat this problem further.
- In your opinion, what would be Moscow’s reaction to this demarche of Yerevan?
- It seems to me that Moscow must have the most pragmatic approach to the alliance on the former Soviet Union’s space, must not have any illusions about the brotherhood of the former Soviet republics. In this sense, a logic of the national egoism in the historical memory policy is just instructive for us. We should not wait, we should not believe in the category of friendship in the politics. It is necessary to be the most pragmatic to that perimeter of the alliance that we have there.
- What are the reasons for such Yerevan’s act, given the fact that the Nzhdeh monument was opened by the President of Armenia, except for the internal national interests?
- I think that the Armenian leadership is under pressure on the part of the public opinion in connection with the policy towards Moscow. There was an entry to the Eurasian Economic Union. From the point of view of the opposition-minded public, Yerevan does not actively defend its interests towards Moscow. It is a symbolic compensation, focused on the domestic audience. But this does not mean that the move will not be noticed outside. There are enough alarm bells for Moscow that allow to draw conclusions about the nature of this strategic partnership.