Genocide as Part of the National and International Agenda, Part II

The Anatomy of the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide


The process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is perceived in the public consciousness as an integral part and result of the existence of the Republic of Armenia.


However, this notion is deceptive. The process started before the independence of Armenia, and in the first years of the Republic of Armenia, supporting the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide was not declared a foreign policy priority of Armenia.


The Conspiracy of Silence


In the post-genocide period, when the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia was established, the topic of the Armenian Genocide was kept under wraps as Soviet leaders did not want to aggravate the already tenuous relationship with Turkey. Moreover, memories of the Genocide were associated with connections to Yerkir (Էրկիր), or Western Armenia. This was something that was beyond Soviet ideological control. The homeland or historical Armenia aroused national and nationalist sentiments, which went against Moscow’s policy of leveling and aligning pathways. National sentiments were permissible as long as they didn’t directly oppose the idea of the Soviet man, or Homo Sovieticus. Under these conditions, in the 1920s and 1930s, many Genocide survivors were forced to destroy relics brought from the homeland such as pictures, letters, and written memoirs, because during the repression era they could have been used as proof of having connections with the bourgeoise and nationalist forces, in particular with the Dashnaktsutyun (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) Party.


However, it should not be assumed that only Soviet-Armenian society was affected by this conspiracy of silence.


The world had forgotten the tragedy of the Armenians and the promises made to them by the Allied Powers during the First World War. It was as though people around the world wanted to forget the sufferings of the war and Armenians were too few, too scattered, and too consumed with concerns of daily survival.


Hundreds of thousands of Western Armenians who survived the Genocide were forced to leav