Pan-Armenian Ideology (PAI) is an all-Armenian ideology that reflects the aspirations of the global Armenian nation, in its efforts to recover Western Armenian lands currently under occupation, and ultimately establish a united Armenian homeland. PAI is focused on empowering the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, as well as the global Armenian nation through the strengthening of sociopolitical, economic, and cultural foundations. PAI endeavors to unite the Armenian people of the homeland and diaspora by leveraging their prolific and shared history and heritage, in addition to experiences and lessons learned from previous eras. PAI’s goal is to present the mutually advantageous potential and benefits inherent in its creation for our compatriots in the homeland and diaspora. PAI is developed as a guideline comprised of eight fundamental points with commensurate recommendations and suggestions.
PAI EIGHT POINT PROGRAM
- Stable Statehood
- Defense of the Homeland
- Strengthening Relations with Neighboring Countries
- Fostering and Preserving Cultural Values
- Defining Armenian Self-Identity
- Homeland and Diaspora Unit
Note: This project was undertaken by the Armenian Rights Council of America (ARCA) as a major project on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Working under the jurisdiction of the ADLP Western District Committee, ARCA pursues matters related to the fundamental human rights of Armenian-Americans locally, statewide, and nationally.
The basic objective of the Pan-Armenian Ideology (PAI) is to facilitate and contribute towards the Armenian nation-building process by shaping the necessary foundations for a national and united homeland (hereon, the de facto Republic of Artsakh, in addition to the Republic of Armenia, shall be inferred as part of “the homeland”), focused on the development and prosperity of all Armenians. The ideology is based upon Armenia’s treasured history and national experiences of past eras. Lessons from the distant and recent past have been studied carefully, in order to craft the PAI of the present century. The main tenets of PAI are predicated upon creating a patriotic and spiritual bond between all Armenians living in the Republic of Armenia and throughout the Armenian diaspora. PAI also aims at uniting all Armenian organizations worldwide under one umbrella, in addition to enhancing the Armenian language, culture, traditions, and national ideals. Finally, PAI strives to become the motivational force to attract younger generations of Armenians to its ideals and to the Armenian Cause in general.
The underlying objective of the Pan-Armenian Ideology is to provide a basis for developing, defining, and protecting Armenian national interests, as well as to prevent Armenians from being susceptible to foreign ideologies promoted by other nations or non-state entities.
The importance and urgency of implementing the main tenets of this ideology is galvanized by the present condition of the third Armenian Republic, established after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Presently, the Republic of Armenia is experiencing the trials, tribulations, and difficulties of a new nation-building process, including the challenges of mass migration, rampant poverty levels, and blockaded borders by neighboring countries straddling Armenia’s eastern and western borders. If we add to these predicaments the precarious conditions of some communities in the Armenian diaspora, where civil wars and political upheavals necessitate the resettlement of populations, we realize that serious efforts by a united Armenian polity are necessary to prevent the contemporary Armenian experience from becoming a failure. In the wake of over 600 years of subjugation by various empires, history has granted Armenians a welcome yet narrow window of opportunity, in order to persevere, develop, and succeed as a modern nation-state.
Considering the aforementioned factors, we have developed an eight point program, which forms the basis of implementing the PAI. It is of paramount importance to attain the commitment and cooperation of the government of the Republic of Armenia, as well as major Armenian organizations throughout the diaspora, in order to realize the successful implementation of this program.
The main text of this report provides an outline and discussion of major topics to be considered and implemented. There is also a section entitled “Commentary” where further clarifications are provided with respect to main topics of the text.
The eight main topics that we present are as follows: Stable Statehood; Defense of the Homeland; Strengthening Relations with Neighboring Countries; Repatriation; Education; Fostering and Preserving Cultural Values; Defining Armenian Self-Identity; and, Homeland and Diaspora Unity.
- STABLE STATEHOOD
The following statements summarize the PAI’s objectives regarding Armenian Statehood:
1. To protect the independence and sovereignty of the Armenian homeland.
- To reestablish sovereignty over western Armenian lands presently under
the occupation of the Turkish government.
- To pursue the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the international community,
as well as restitution for property rights, and financial compensation from the Turkish
government for monetary losses.
- To establish a system of governance based on democratic principles, and respect for
the fundamental rights of people to own property and practice free enterprise.
- To work for the improvement of Armenia’s economy, democratic institutions, political system, and the socioeconomic status of her people.
- To create favorable conditions for repatriation to the homeland.
- To endeavor to unite all political, national, and democratic forces around Armenia’s supreme national interests and objectives.
- To work towards the mitigation of poverty in Armenia, by creating a secure safety net, effective social programs, and viable employment opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed.
In conjunction with the aforementioned objectives and considering the new nation-building efforts in the homeland, it is mandatory that the Armenian government be responsive to the needs of its citizens, and deploy the motto “of the people and for the people.” Further, elected officials should follow through on their commitment of service to their constituents by applying the law equally to all citizens, and by conducting a foreign policy that meets the national interests of the homeland.
In order to reinvigorate the Armenian economy, the government should pass laws that encourage and support the initiation of small and medium-sized businesses, which manufacture products for both local consumption and export purposes. By producing items locally instead of importing similar goods from neighboring countries, many new manufacturing and service-oriented jobs could be created, thus providing employment for citizens who might otherwise immigrate to foreign countries in search of stable jobs. Another benefit of this strategy would be the creation of a larger and active middle class, which would become the backbone of the new economy.
Foreign investment in the Armenian economy should be encouraged as long as investments provide benefits to the host country, and refrain from violating environmental and labor laws. In turn, the Armenian government must provide assurances and respect laws, in order to protect investments by diaspora-based Armenians, who tend to invest in the homeland not simply for the sake of making a profit, but rather due to patriotic duty. Further, the Armenian government should facilitate and encourage diaspora-based Armenians to become citizens of the Republic of Armenia. The main obstacle potentially quashing the realization of the aforementioned initiatives is rampant corruption at all levels of the Armenian government, as well as within various enterprises connected to or controlled by government officials. As part of government policy, and in line with efforts to increase the size of the Armenian population, new laws should be enacted, in order to incentivize young couples to have large families.
An integral part of the Armenian government’s foreign policy should continue to be its focus on the Armenian Cause. The Arbitrary Award recommended by then United States President Woodrow Wilson, which marked the borders of the Republic of Armenia (more than 160,000 sq. km), is still binding and valid as an internationally approved document. According to this document, the Republic of Armenia was specifically allowed to have access to the Black Sea, as well as a modicum of territory that would be sufficient for the peaceful and prosperous development of a portion of the historically Armenian homeland. The Award was also made by President Wilson and the victorious Allies, as a form of restitution for the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and for the dispossession of Armenia’s three millennia-old heritage, perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
2. DEFENSE OF THE HOMELAND
In order to achieve the objectives of PAI, it is necessary to maintain a peaceful environment in the Republic of Armenia, and craft government policies that will provide security to the homeland. The supreme guarantor of both internal and external security for the homeland is a strong national army. Such a force would also act as a deterrent lest enemy states plan acts of aggression against the homeland. What are the requirements and necessary steps to provide security and maintain a strong national army?
- Compulsory military service, for the duration of two years, must be instituted for both males and females.
- Patriotic education coupled with high quality training must be an integral part of military service, and must be aimed at enabling a strong army to maintain a military edge over potential adversaries.
- Guerrilla tactics, as well as fighting in unfamiliar territory, extreme environmental conditions, and mountainous terrain, should be part of basic training.
- The government should procure and provide the latest advanced missiles and armaments to the army. To ensure the continuous supply of arms and ammunition during a potential confrontation, locally manufactured supplies should also be available.
- The government should establish military industrial complexes, and maintain research and development facilities for advanced weaponry, including unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. drones).
- The national army, as well as the government, should have reliable and superior intelligence, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism services at their disposal, each with modern, high tech equipment and instruments.
- In addition to active military personnel, veteran servicemen should have special social and health-care benefits as a reward for serving the homeland.
- To augment defense capabilities, civil defense training must be introduced, thus creating a powerful force of reserves. All military personnel who have completed their active service should automatically be part of a reserve force.
- Both the government and the military should be experienced in conducting psychological warfare, and should use both social and mass media effectively for this purpose.
Contributions of the Armenian diaspora, in defense of the homeland, should be provided in several areas. One option would involve volunteering one’s services to the Armenian national army. Providing technical support or supplying high tech equipment are additional options. Other means of contribution include lobbying various world governments in support of issues impacting the security of the Armenian homeland. Presently, the two main issues at the forefront of Armenia’s security concerns include Azerbaijan’s incessantly bellicose political and military policies, and Turkey’s blatant denial of the Armenian Genocide. With its tendency to engage in psychological warfare, brazenly purchase billions of dollars worth of armaments and weapons systems from Russia, Israel, and Ukraine, among other sources, and with its penchant for keeping border areas in a state of undeclared war, Azerbaijan is in gross violation of the 1994 ceasefire agreement, and is overtly challenging the tenuous status quo. Not to be outdone, with its refusal to acknowledge and remit restitution for the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government continues to pursue its century-old yet deliberately veiled Pan-Turanic plan aimed at creating a new empire consisting of Turkic nations, and commensurately neutralizing or eliminating the present-day Republic of Armenia, in order to remove the main barrier to Ankara’s expansionist policies.
Considering the current turmoil throughout the Middle East, across North Africa, and in Ukraine, and each conflict zone’s potential impact on the Republic of Armenia’s national security and territorial integrity, the creation of an emergency plan addressing both projected and unforeseen situations is critical. At the same time, Armenia must be ready to deal with situations whereby the status of occupied western Armenian lands could be discussed without Armenia having a seat at the negotiating table. For example, the Turkish government and leaders of its Kurdish minority could forge an agreement on the future status of present-day predominantly Kurdish-speaking areas of western Armenia without the participation of Armenians.
3. STRENGTHEN RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES
An important aspect of the PAI program is to create a peaceful and secure environment within the Republic of Armenia, as well as productive relations with neighboring countries. To achieve these goals within Armenia itself, the government must plan, promote, and pass legislation that will facilitate the creation of new employment opportunities, and provide financial and tax incentives for the establishment of small and medium-sized businesses. Bilateral relations with neighboring countries should be conducted on the basis that commerce, trade, and cultural exchanges stand to benefit all trading partners, in addition to meeting their respective national interests. Ideally, an uptick in the volume of commerce and trade should strengthen relations between Armenia and neighboring countries, and simultaneously provide stability for the greater region. Nevertheless, as observers, we continue to bear witness to the fact that existing conditions are far from ideal, and present many challenges to the government of the Republic of Armenia, especially from the perspective of providing defense and economic security to its citizens. In general, Armenia’s foreign and domestic policies should be based on self-reliance, serve its national interests, and prevent from potentially becoming subservient to the whims and interests of other nations. Unfortunately, as a landlocked country, the Republic of Armenia does not have a direct maritime outlet, and, therefore, must depend upon its neighbors for access to the sea, in order to conduct commerce and transfer goods and services. It was precisely for the aforementioned reasons that United States President Woodrow Wilson allocated sufficient land, as well as an outlet to the sea, in order to ensure that Armenia survives, protects its independence, and precludes potential aggression from her neighbors. In light of the abovementioned concerns, PAI advocates for the continued pursuit of the Armenian Cause, and concomitant justice for the Armenian people.
In light of the present-day tense security concerns at and near the Republic of Armenia’s borders, and upon examination of the efficacy of Armenia’s potential in strengthening relations with neighboring countries, it is fair to deduce the following conclusions:
- Normal, good-neighborly relations continue to be carried out by the Republic of Armenia with the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as with the Republic of Georgia.
- On the eastern side of Armenia and Artsakh’s borders, there are daily provocations and violations of the ceasefire treaty signed by Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1994. The unrest is primarily instigated by Azerbaijani snipers and saboteurs.
- Azerbaijan’s purchase of massive amounts of military armaments, ammunition, and weapons systems from Russia, Israel, Ukraine, and other sources, is in gross violation of the 1994 ceasefire treaty, and tests the integrity of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, as well as other European conventions on armaments.
- Azerbaijan’s propaganda machine threatens Armenia’s national security on a daily basis, promotes hatred towards Armenians on a global scale, and blatantly falsifies widely accepted historical facts and figures.
- With respect to Turkey’s relations with the Republic of Armenia, there are no direct relations between the neighbors, due to Turkey’s policy of blockading Armenia’s borders, in common cause with Azerbaijan, and Ankara’s preconditions stipulating a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations.
- The Turkish government continues its policy of denial vis-a-vis the Armenian Genocide, and foments hatred towards Armenians.
- Due to the production and distribution of oil and natural gas in Azerbaijan’s littoral waters of the Caspian Sea, both western powers and Russia have devalued the earned independence and right to self-determination of the Republic of Artsakh.
Considering the past two decades of crude-driven, one-sided decisions by the international community in favor of Azerbaijan, and due to existing conditions on the ground, PAI fully supports the Republic of Artsakh’s independence and democratic form of government, as well as Artsakh’s jurisdiction over all liberated lands. Moreover, Artsakh must maintain its independence at all costs. Under no circumstances should Artsakh be transferred back to Azerbaijan’s brutal jurisdiction, especially in light of the latter’s tendency to consistently renege on assurances that it is interested in a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
One of the main problems facing the homeland is the high rate of emigration from the Republic of Armenia, which poses challenges to the country’s security and defense capabilities. In order to implement the PAI ideology, the hemorrhaging trend of migration from Armenia must be stopped first. The main factor precipitating emigration from Armenia is the scarcity of gainful employment opportunities for a skilled work force. It is difficult to seriously discuss, let alone plan for repatriation, without the Armenian government’s efforts to initially remove major legal, customs, and monopolistic obstacles preventing the creation of sufficient new jobs, especially in the manufacturing, information technology, and service sectors. Comprehensive plans for repatriation to Armenia, akin to the successful repatriation efforts to Soviet Armenia after World War II, must be implemented, in tandem with fundamental and binding changes in economic policies by the Armenian government. The benefits of repatriation include the potential addition of skilled and well-educated professional cadres, the introduction of technological advances in different spheres of the economy, possible new investments, and additional human and technological resources dedicated to the defense of the Republic of Armenia. The United States of America is a prime example of the aforementioned concept, whereby an influx of post-WWII skilled immigrants, professionals, and scientists from throughout the globe, in conjunction with America’s liberal democratic policies, have made the country a superpower.
Since repatriation is a complex undertaking, the first step must be taken by the Armenian government, with the goal of developing a comprehensive policy for repatriation. The plan should include methods of financing the costs of transportation, housing, employment, and other humanitarian needs of repatriates. Further, previous repatriation experiences and best practices should be utilized in developing Armenia’s new repatriation policy. Moreover, the creation of a repatriation endowment fund should be considered for emergency situations, in order to properly address the plight of Armenian refugees forcibly displaced from their hearths throughout the unstable Middle East region. Contributions to this fund could be made from a combination of the Republic of Armenia’s state budget, Armenian philanthropists and oligarchs, and rank-and-file diaspora-based Armenians participating in a telethon. Essentially, the Armenian government should facilitate the repatriation of any Armenian, who wishes to relocate to Armenia. Most importantly, special financial incentives promoting repatriation should be provided to families with three or more young children.
Another category of repatriates, who should be offered financial and educational incentives to return to their homeland, are current and former citizens of the Republic of Armenia presently living in Russia, Europe, North America, and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Ideally, the Republic of Armenia should serve as a safe haven for any Armenian, residing throughout the globe, who wishes to relocate to the homeland, but may not have the means to do so.
In the future, if and when the Turkish government accepts the crime of genocide committed by its Ottoman-era ancestors against its Armenian minority, and provides financial compensation to the descendents of the victims of the genocide, potential restitutory funds could also be used to repatriate large numbers of Armenians to the homeland. Finally, there are humanitarian funds available specifically for refugees via the United Nations.
Another component of the PAI is the necessity to properly educate current and future generations of Armenians. The educational foundations of the Republic of Armenia should be based on a value system, which emphasizes patriotism, hard work, civic responsibility, and respect for the rule of law. It would be incumbent upon the Armenian government to initiate a major educational program, which incorporates basic responsibilities and duties expected of its citizens, thus instilling young Armenians with a sense of patriotism and pride for their heritage. With respect to higher education, universities should be equipped with the latest computers, handheld devices and gadgets, as well as technical instruments and equipment necessary for conducting research and keeping pace with recent technological innovations. Taking into account Armenia’s dearth of natural resources compared to some of its neighbors, it is imperative that Armenia’s higher educational, technical, and research-based institutions develop new and pioneering technologies and capabilities in the engineering, IT, and scientific fields for utilization both within Armenia, and as potential export commodities. University students in scientific and engineering fields should be encouraged to major in disciplines, for which there could be skilled employment opportunities in Armenia, such as computer science, electrical and chemical engineering, biotechnology, military technology, and various medical specialties. Further, in order to be able to communicate with research and scientific institutions of other countries, it is important to develop basic language skills in Russian and English. Moreover, in order to prepare future leaders of Armenia’s public, diplomatic, and military services, special partnership and training programs should continue to be developed between Armenian and foreign higher educational institutions.
Another important medical discipline that is becoming an integral part of modern society is the field of psychology. Psychological expertise is highly in demand in various tangential disciplines, including by military and political institutions for the purpose of conducting psychological warfare, by organizations and companies that are interested in motivating its work force, and by the mass media, which transmits messages and influences its audience using widely accepted psychological techniques. In the case of the PAI, new national and collective psychological characteristics should be developed and incorporated into the educational field, in order to prepare future generations of Armenians to be freethinking, disciplined, patriotic, and responsible citizens of the homeland.
- FOSTERING AND PRESERVING CULTURAL VALUES
Fostering and preserving Armenian cultural values and traditions are an integral part of PAI, as well as an important factor for uniting Armenians throughout the world. Based on historical records, Armenian civilization dates back to nearly five millennia. Over the centuries, it has created and developed an active, modern, and sophisticated civilization at the junction of east and west. Significant features of Armenian culture are reflected in its prehistoric and early Christian Era monuments, cross-stones, needlework, carvings, and manuscript designs. The adoption of Christianity as Armenia’s state religion in 301 A.D., and the invention of the Armenian alphabet in 405 A.D., helped preserve unique Armenian cultural traditions. Armenian architecture, for example, is considered to be a major component of world culture, especially ecclesiastical architecture. Today, as a matter of policy, the Republic of Armenia rightly promotes tourism by welcoming potential pilgrims to visit Armenia and experience life in an open-air cultural museum. In addition to the Republic of Armenia, other samples of Armenian architecture are readily found throughout modern-day Turkey, the Republic of Georgia, and Azerbaijan (specifically Nakhichevan). Unfortunately, despite surviving earthquakes and erosion throughout the centuries, historically Armenian churches, monasteries, and cemeteries are today often subjected to planned and systematic destruction or disorientation by successive governments of the aforementioned countries, in order to eliminate all historical traces of Armenians’ presence and culture in the greater region.
Modern architectural monuments are found throughout the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh. In Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, notable architectural accomplishments include Republic Square, the Matenadaran or repository of delicate Armenian books, the State Opera House, the Hamalir sports complex, the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum, and other monuments. Examples of Armenian art include miniature paintings, sculptures, frescoes, mosaic and ceramic art, metal works, and engravings. Of course, Armenian cuisine is well-known throughout the world, while literature has always played a vital role in Armenians’ cultural and national identity. The Armenian Church’s liturgical music, distinctive melodies performed by folk music ensembles using traditional instruments, as well as world-renowned Armenian composers like Sayat Nova, Father Komitas, and Aram Khachaturian have all contributed to the awareness and rise of Armenian national music.
The Armenian Apostolic Church has contributed substantially towards the preservation of Armenian culture, literature, and music. In addition to liturgical music, Armenian language and literature were able to survive and flourish throughout the centuries, despite being susceptible to successive and suppressive foreign empires, including Byzantine, Persian, Arab, Seljuk, Mameluke, Ottoman, Safavid, Tsarist Russian, and Soviet empires, mainly due to the sacrifices made by Armenian monks and clergymen.
Other Armenian cultural traditions passed from generation to generation include staunch religious beliefs, strong family values and structures, the sanctity of marriage, the honoring of elders, and readiness to help the underprivileged, in addition to natural hospitality and generosity. PAI strongly supports all efforts to preserve and perpetuate our culturally rich Armenian milieus, and transfer our heritage to future generations. In the present environment, our challenge is to prevent all foreign cultural and religious influences from negatively affecting the behavior of future generations of Armenians.
- DEFINING ARMENIAN SELF-IDENTITY
Since PAI is applicable to the Armenian nation spread throughout the world, clarification becomes necessary as to who could consider oneself an Armenian. By factoring historical migrations and assimilation, in addition to atrocities and massacres endured by Armenians, a more general definition could be adopted, which takes the aforementioned factors into consideration. Thus, in accordance with PAI’s definition, an Armenian is a person, who regards himself or herself to be part of the Armenian nation, and works towards the success of Pan-Armenian national goals. Therefore, with this description, many types of Armenians could be brought under one large umbrella.
With the aforementioned general description regarding self-identity, members of the following groupings should be considered Armenian: the three main Armenian religious denominations, including adherents of the Apostolic, Roman Catholic, and Protestant faiths. In addition, citizens of Armenia, immigrants who moved from Armenia to other countries, the handful of survivors of the Armenian Genocide and their descendants, and offspring of mixed marriages whose family surnames denote their Armenian origin. Further, Islamized or secret Armenians, such as the people of Hemshin, ought to be considered members of the Armenian diaspora. The last grouping could number in the millions, and members of this grouping should be encouraged to return to their roots, and openly declare their identity as “Armenian” at their discretion.
A more specific definition of those who qualify as an Armenian is provided by Dr. Armen Ayvazyan, as follows:
- A person who accepts that his/her motherland is Armenia. In this definition, the motherland of Armenians includes the area of the present-day Republic of Armenia, as well as the occupied lands of western Armenia.
- Personally he/she shares responsibility for the destiny of Armenia, and is willing to make commitments to protect the country.
- He/she has a strong spiritual attachment to the country, as well as its culture and language.
- As a diaspora Armenian, he/she is seriously thinking and planning to immigrate to and become a citizen of the Republic of Armenia.
- He/she already uses or endeavors to learn the Armenian language and culture. In addition, he/she strives to educate their children and future generations about the Armenian language and culture.
According to Dr. Ayvazyan’s definition, individuals who are born to Armenian parents but are not involved or interested in any of the aforementioned indicators, are simply Armenian by name.
- HOMELAND AND DIASPORA UNITY
Homeland and Diaspora Unity is also an important aspect of PAI. Benefits of such unity include the political and cultural strengthening of Armenian communities throughout the world, and of the Republic of Armenia. In order to achieve such unity, the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora should strive to resolve all outstanding issues, amid an atmosphere of cooperative spirit, mutual patience and understanding, and political maturity. Some of the present challenges facing both the homeland and diaspora include addressing the blockades of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh by Turkey and Azerbaijan, two decades of continuous emigration from Armenia, the disturbingly quick assimilation of Armenian immigrants within their respective host countries, and rampant corruption and poverty in the Republic of Armenia. If some of the aforementioned problems are not resolved in the immediate future, they will eventually affect the very existence of Armenia’s statehood.
Although diaspora Armenian communities have some cultural differences, as well as variations in their outlooks and traditions, a number of unifying factors, including the primacy of the Armenian language, common cultural values and aspirations, and common historical experiences outweigh the brunt of the differences. The application of the PAI to the subject of unity requires a special approach, due to the fact that each Armenian community in the diaspora has unique conditions and realities, which should be taken into consideration. Hence, Armenian communities throughout the world should be separately studied through various statistical and empirical analyses. PAI, therefore, advocates flexibility by taking into account different realities and specifications particular to each and every diaspora Armenian community.
Certain elements that act as potential barriers to unity, or threaten divisiveness within the global Armenian polity should also be carefully examined. For example, our precious language should be a unifying factor for Armenians. Similarly, emphasis should be placed throughout the diaspora that Armenia is the homeland and ancestral birthplace of all Armenians.
The Republic of Armenia should also focus on eliminating psychological and emotional barriers that are prone to divide Armenians. PAI endeavors to assist in the removal of obstacles, strengthen Armenian cultural and educational institutions in Armenia and throughout the diaspora, and introduce special programs that will foster Armenian unity. In addition, the Internet, as well as social and mass media should be utilized effectively to emphasize the importance of Armenian unity.
Fostering programs that are geared towards preserving the Armenian identity among members of the diaspora should be initiated. This effort directly correlates to creating stronger and active ties between members of the diaspora, especially among its youth, and their counterparts in the homeland. Diaspora Armenians should be encouraged to forge closer ties with the homeland by visiting and volunteering there as often as possible, and ultimately considering repatriation, which is the only effective way to fight assimilation.
The main PAI objectives regarding Armenian statehood are listed in Section 1 of this report. In this commentary section, three subjects will be discussed to clarify the intent of PAI. The subjects include:
1.) The effects of corruption.
2.) The effects of monopolies.
3.) The importance of pursuing the Armenian Cause.
Corruption at all levels of Armenian society, and within the government structure of the Republic of Armenia, is a roadblock that prevents the normal growth of the Armenian economy, distorts the true value of goods and services, and solely benefits criminal elements within society. Monopolistic tendencies are similarly damaging to Armenia’s long-term economic growth. Whenever the price of products are decided by a few individuals or by a single enterprise, devoid of the rigors of free and fair competition in the marketplace, the system ends up arbitrarily rewarding a handful of individuals, who control their respective markets without checks and balances. In turn, those who control monopolies tend to either display their financial gains through their lavish lifestyle, or hide their windfall by transferring profits to offshore banks, as opposed to investing in and creating new jobs for the citizens of Armenia. In order for a genuinely democratic form of government and market economy to come to fruition, it is essential to have checks and balances at all levels of the decision-making process and business transactions. Further, it is imperative to create a transparent and accountable commercial environment, thus spurring the manufacturing or procurement of the best quality of products at competitive prices. In this case, the Armenian government has the power to protect and enforce applicable laws, and enact business-friendly legislation to encourage new investments in the economy.
With respect to the pursuit of the Armenian Cause, the Armenian government should consider it as part of its national policy, in order to proactively pursue justice for the Armenian people both in the Homeland and diaspora, as well as provide for the security of the Republic of Armenia. By denying the Armenian Genocide, the present-day Turkish government is becoming an accessory to the crime. It is the PAI’s intention to pursue the Armenian Cause to its satisfactory conclusion for the benefit of the Armenian nation.
Defense of the Homeland
The PAI advocates the maintenance and buttressing of a strong national army, capable of defending Armenia’s borders. The Armenian national army should always be ready and able to respond decisively to hostile actions by either neighboring countries or non-state terrorist groups. On the Republic of Armenia’s western border with Turkey, a Russian military force currently guards the border, and acts as a deterrent against Turkey’s aggressive rhetoric and behavior. Of equal importance if the necessity of the Armenian government to maintain a high level of readiness and positive morale among members of the military, and prevent potential negative factors from affecting a soldier’s fighting ability. Some of these factors are as follows:
- Foreign religious sects advocating against the two-year compulsory service in the Armenian national army.
- Potential lack of moral and popular support for the army.
- Potential lack of proper support by the government for military veterans, and especially for veterans who defended the people of the Republics of Artsakh and Armenia, in the face of Azerbaijani aggression and bombardment in the early 1990s.
- Potential corruption in the ranks of the military, and unexplained deaths of soldiers unrelated to combat duty.
- Psychological warfare conducted by enemy countries.
- Potentially irresponsible and selfish actions of Armenian oligarchs.
In addition, the Armenian government must plan for the protection of strategic sites, such as the Medzamor Nuclear Power Plant, and hydroelectric and thermal power plants, lest there be a targeted attack, or one involving chemical or biological weapons, by those who wish to harm Armenia. It is imperative that the Armenian military must possess technologically advanced offensive and defensive weapons, and have access to real-time human and signals intelligence revealing potential adversaries’ intentions. With respect to a potential propaganda and media war, the Armenian government must take advantage of the national aspirations of minorities within Turkey, including those of the Kurds, Alevis, Zazas, Circassians, and the Laz, as well as minorities within Azerbaijan including the Talysh, Lezgins, Tats, Avars, and Kurds, by promoting their unique cultures and identities, empowering each minority with platforms advocating self-determination, and by regularly broadcasting radio and television programming in the aforementioned minorities’ respective languages.
Strengthen Relations with Neighboring Countries
PAI advocates an Armenian foreign policy towards neighboring countries based on mutual respect for the sovereignty and self-determination of nations in the region, in addition to constructive dialogue without preconditions, which is paramount for the peaceful resolution of existing problems. Further, the development of bilateral ties based on mutually beneficial relations in the spheres of commerce, trade, transportation, energy, environment, and culture are goals which the Republic of Armenia and its neighbors can meet, if the political will to do so exists on both sides.
Unfortunately, to date, the Republic of Armenia’s genuine willingness to forge bilateral relations without preconditions with Turkey, and to a lesser extent with Azerbaijan, have been fruitless. By leveraging its substantial hydrocarbon revenues, Azerbaijan continues to brazenly acquire large quantities of modern weaponry for potential usage in a new war against the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh. Turkey, on the other hand, continues to unabashedly deny the genocide of its Armenian minority in 1915, perpetrated by its predecessor Ottoman Turkish government. On the contrary, Ankara is adept at and continues making unreasonable demands and preconditions prior to the potential opening of the Armeno-Turkish border. On occasion, Turkish leaders also make irresponsible threats against the security of the Republic of Armenia. Considering the aforementioned factors, it is imperative that Armenia maintains a strong national army and develops additional deterrents, in order to discourage the resumption of hostilities on its borders.
With respect to repatriation, the PAI’s objective is to initiate a special program, whereby thousands of diaspora Armenians would be afforded an opportunity to settle in the Republics of Armenia or Artsakh. Presently, as we witness the uprooting of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Yazidis, Kurds, and other displaced minorities throughout Syria and Iraq, it is clear that the lives of those who have remained in both countries are in grave danger. The PAI advises Armenians, who are planning to immigrate to a relatively safer country from Syria or Iraq, consider the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh as their first choice. Unfortunately, the Armenian government’s current capacity to accept large numbers of immigrants is limited. More importantly, there is a growing need at the government level to generate a comprehensive immigration policy, in order to eventually accommodate large numbers of Armenian repatriates.
Towards the end of World War II, an opportunity was created to liberate western Armenian lands. Even during the turbulent war years and its immediate aftermath, the leadership of then-Soviet Armenia planned and organized initiatives aimed at the repatriation of all refugee status and displaced Armenians, with the ultimate goal of eventually settling the repatriates on liberated western Armenian lands. Due to United State President Harry Truman’s policies in favor of Turkey, however, the potential repatriation of Armenians to western Armenia failed to materialize.
In accordance with recent polling conducted in Armenia, 40% of participants have indicated a desire to emigrate from Armenia. Moreover, their justification for emigration included the following factors: lack of meaningful employment; dissatisfaction over the functioning of the government; uncertainty about their children’s future in Armenia; and prospects of higher salaries and better living conditions in other countries.
To put things in proper perspective, it is imperative to examine the challenges that consecutive Armenian governments have had to face since 1988, and refrain from taking knee-jerk reactions centering blame upon successive Armenian governments. The first real challenge was the 1988 Spitak Earthquake, which was soon followed by the war of liberation in Artsakh, and a tenuous ceasefire in 1994. Of course, the two decade-old blockade of Armenia, essentially an act of war initiated by Azerbaijan and Turkey, continues to this very day. In order to avert its neighbors’ aggressive actions and to protect its national security, a large and active army was created in the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, which, to date, maintains a modicum of stability on Armenia’s and Artsakh’s borders with Azerbaijan, yet requires large resources to maintain. Other internal and external difficulties include large-scale corruption, monopolies, and a crony capitalistic system of governance, coupled with a diaspora that is unable or unwilling to muster a massive repatriation program. The aforementioned difficulties and challenges could be overcome by following the clearly defined platform of the PAI.
Based on the PAI’s educational program, through their actions and performances all government officials of the Republic of Armenia should act as examples of a new spirit of service to the people of Armenia. By using mass media resources, the government should conduct special educational programs aimed at discouraging corruption in all phases of government transactions, as well as in the conduct of private commerce. The government should also introduce special laws to prohibit corruption, and impose fines and/or jail terms for violators. Such a law should also apply to illegal offshore bank accounts, potentially held by government officials, in foreign countries. It is imperative that profits earned in Armenia through monopolies or corporate conglomerates should be invested in Armenia, in order to start new businesses and create more jobs.
For the education of younger generations, Armenia’s Education Ministry should embark on a new program that emphasizes patriotic and spiritual values versus material rewards. The program should be galvanized using new textbooks, interactive media, video documentaries, and modern means of communication, in order to emphasize Armenians’ pride in traditional characteristics, such as honesty, hard work, quality workmanship, initiative and drive, patriotism, honor, and military and civil service for the security and betterment of the homeland. The end goal of the program should be to motivate citizens to help shape Armenia as a strong, responsible, and modern nation. In addition, encouraging younger generations to stay and work in Armenia, while simultaneously forming large families, will ultimately help Armenia become relatively more self-sufficient with respect to providing security and prosperity to its citizens.
Fostering and Preserving Cultural Values
PAI advocates the introduction of certain refinements to Armenian cultural traditions, in order to make them more compatible with the global environment of the 21st century. In addition, increasing attention should be focused upon younger generations of Armenians, in order to protect them from potentially negative influences of foreign cultures. Specifically, closer attention should be turned to politically impressionable youth, who could be used as tools by nefarious foreign elements to degrade the security and stability of Armenia.
Starting with the First World War and continuing in the wake of the Armenian Genocide, both Ottoman and Kemalist Turkish governments adopted, as state policy, the removal of all indicators of an Armenian presence in western Armenia. The implementation of this policy included the demolition and looting of thousands of churches and monasteries, the conversion of some religious edifices to mosques or barns, and the removal of Armenian inscriptions. In addition, Armenian-owned and built educational structures, private residences, multi-story buildings, shops and farms, were illegally transferred to Turkish government use, as well as to private individuals. Today, only a handful of the thousands of Armenian-owned spiritual and secular structures remain standing. In order to address and raise awareness of the aforementioned reality on the ground in present-day Turkey, the United States Congress initiated and approved legislation stipulating that the Turkish government transfer all remaining confiscated and previously non-Turkish owned religious properties to their rightful Christian owners of Armenian, Hellenic, or Assyrian descent. Not surprisingly, a similar policy of wanton degradation and annihilation has been used by Azerbaijan to destroy traces of the nascent Armenian cultural heritage, including cross-stones and religious structures in Nakhichevan, as well as by fanatical members of the Georgian Orthodox Church hell-bent on erasing or “Georgianizing” similar indicators of the Armenian heritage throughout the Republic of Georgia.
PAI’s definition for an Armenian is fairly general, and intended to accept as many individuals who consider themselves Armenian to be identified as Armenian. In recent memory, some Islamized (or secret) Armenians – the Hemshin people included – are openly declaring their Armenian roots and heritage, as well as their desire to be considered Armenian. It is important to note that such secret Armenians, who were forced to renounce their Christian faith and ethnic background, are the original inhabitants of lands in western Armenia upon which they reside. Therefore, they have inherent rights to request the return of these lands to their rightful owners: the Armenian nation. Considering the aforementioned facts, the government of the Republic of Armenia should develop a special policy towards these secret Armenians.
Turning to an issue impacting the Armenian diaspora, assimilation has been and continues to be of growing concern in the overall struggle to maintain one’s Armenian identity. Indeed, assimilation is a reality on the ground, which PAI has taken into serious consideration in formulating its objectives. Traditional methods that have been used to help maintain an individual’s Armenian identity include: Enrollment in Armenian day or Saturday schools from an early age; Armenian Church attendance and participation in Sunday school; the use of the Armenian language at home; and the perpetuation of the Armenian cultural heritage through dramatic, artistic, scouting and athletic programs. In general, established Armenian communities have fared relatively better in delaying assimilation. Unfortunately, the recent wave of emigration from Armenia has subjected many immigrants, especially those residing away from established Armenian strongholds, to greater and faster assimilation.
Homeland and Diaspora Unity
By following PAI’s action plan, emigration from Armenia can be controlled. An improved economic and security situation in Armenia will also improve homeland-diaspora relations and lead to greater unity in purpose. In order to strengthen homeland-diaspora unity, PAI envisions the creation of an ad-hoc committee comprised of experts in various fields, including politics, military sciences, economics, psychology, and other disciplines, who would be tasked to list and delineate all outstanding issues between the homeland and the diaspora, and propose commensurate solutions. Additionally, PAI envisages the formation of a more centralized structure for Armenian diaspora communities, in addition to incorporating representatives of the diaspora within Armenian governmental structures. Of course, the aforementioned idea has been considered and addressed in the past. For example, in 1970 there were efforts to create a Pan-Armenian central structure in the diaspora, which would have a political status, in addition to being recognized as an authority to represent diaspora Armenians at the United Nations. During that era, naturally, Armenia was part of the Soviet Union, and Armenians could not represent themselves at the United Nations. The Reverend James Krnouzian was the sponsor and promoter of the aforementioned idea. Similarly, in the more distant past, there have been proposals to issue “Nansen” identity cards to all Armenian refugees under the sponsorship of a “Congress of Exiled Armenians,” with concomitant rights to address the confiscation of their properties by successive Turkish governments within international judicial fora. The main initiator of this idea was the Lebanese-Armenian attorney, Kaspar Derderian.
The Pan-Armenian Ideology (PAI), as well as the implementation of its objectives, has been presented and discussed in this report. In this section, some concluding remarks will be made, with the hope of contributing to the overall improvement of conditions in the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, and in the diaspora, as we continue our progress in nation-building.
In order to better serve the needs of the Armenian people, improve the political and economic environment in the country, and create a more citizen-friendly and transparent government, the authorities of the Republic of Armenia should strive to remove all sources of corruption, monopolies, and special privileges. In addition, a system of selective justice must be replaced by providing due process and equal justice for all.
It is critical to continue maintaining a strong national army capable of providing the necessary security for the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh, as well as the defense of their respective borders. In this vein, it is advisable to maintain an active civil defense force, as well as an active military reserve force. Under the present conditions on the eastern borders of the Republic of Artsakh, it is also advisable to develop deterrent tactics, in order to discourage, disrupt and degrade instances of enemy aggression. Moreover, all necessary measures must be taken, in order to protect Armenian citizens from the destructive actions of non-state terrorists, and shield them from neighboring countries’ threats of using chemical or biological weapons.
As long as dialogue and negotiations with neighbors benefit the Republic of Armenia politically and economically, and serve the country’s national interests, the Armenian government should always be ready to conduct such negotiations, even with aggressive neighbors such as Azerbaijan and Turkey. A more liberal yet cautious attitude might be warranted when dealing with the Russian Federation, especially in light of its recent sale of armaments and weapons systems, amounting in the billions of dollars, to Azerbaijan.
As a matter of state policy, the Armenian government should incorporate a comprehensive repatriation program. Such a policy should include provisions that would allow any diaspora Armenian to settle in the homeland, if he or she desires to do so. Further, this policy should include provisions for serious repatriation programs aimed at addressing the latest wave of Armenian and Yazidi refugees displaced throughout the Middle East.
In order to better prepare the educational foundation of future generations of Armenians, today’s authorities must initiate a transformational education program, whereby Armenian youth would be taught to act as responsible, law-abiding, and patriotic citizens, proud of their rich cultural heritage, ready to defend their homeland at all cost, and prepared to face potential hardships and sacrifices for the greater good of a unified homeland.
The strong bonds and patriotic feelings created between individuals of Armenian heritage are key ingredients, which, in the past, have united Armenians throughout the globe. Indeed, the intrinsic and moral values of the Armenian culture heritage, language, and traditions should be transferred to younger generations of Armenians both in Armenia and the diaspora. Such are the characteristics that will ensure the continuity of the Armenian nation.
In order to ensure the preservation and perpetuation of the Armenian identity throughout the global diaspora and combat increasing assimilation, innovative new projects must be formulated and implemented with the assistance of the government of the Republic of Armenia. Short of repatriation to Armenia, diaspora communities will inevitably lose their Armenian identity unless a concerted effort is made to address and forestall assimilation.
In order to improve homeland and diaspora unity, a special and impartial ad-hoc committee must be formed. This committee should include representatives from the Armenian government, as well as from diaspora communities. The committee’s tasks would involve the identification and investigation of all possible problem areas disrupting efforts at homeland-diaspora unity, a scientific study of the committee’s findings, and proposals with concrete solutions. Due to relatively improved relations, spanning the past two decades, between both parties, greater assistance from the diaspora could be provided to the homeland in such sectors as higher education, information technology, finance and accounting, energy and the environment, and sustainable agriculture, to name a few. The aforementioned committee could also study and recommend ways to better organize the diaspora to lobby more effectively in their respective countries, in support of pro-Armenian issues and candidates running for public office, and as a counterweight to xenophobic Turkish and Azerbaijani anti-Armenian propaganda and falsehoods.
In the course of time, the implementation of the objectives of the Pan-Armenian Ideology will require a serious master plan with, at least, two components. The first plan should address issues related to the present state of the Republic of Armenia and the diaspora. The second and more long-term plan should address the future of the Republic of Armenia, as well as pathways towards the resolution of the Armenian Cause. Both projects ought to be undertaken by a special task force, comprised of experts from the Republic of Armenia and the diaspora.
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