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State

Capital

Armenia

Yerevan

Hayastan

Currency unit

Dram

Connections

Azerbaijan

Borders

Central Asia

Kurds & Armenians

Turkey

USSR

War
 

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

History

An ancient Christian people formerly within the Soviet Union, now independent.

The Armenians have lived in the area of Asia Minor since recorded history began. They were early converted to Christianity and as an independent kingdom were allies of the Byzantine Empire.

But they were conquered by other powers and became a buffer zone between the Ottoman Empire and the Persians.

There were several massacres of Armenians under Turkish administration in 1895-6, 1909 and in 1914-5.

In 1915 the Turkish government, involved as an ally of Germany in the first world war, decided to deport 1.75 million Armenians from their homes in eastern Anatolia to the deserts of Syria and Iraq (then called Mesopotamia). It is estimated that 600,000 died. Was it a deliberate massacre? There is evidence in a telegram that the Interior Minister ordered the elimination of all Armenians in the Empire. It was the kind of event afterwards ordered by Stalin in the Soviet Union. Hitler used the incident as a justification for his policy of killing all Jews: "Who remembers the Armenians now?" he asked. It could be considered an example of what the Serbs call ethnic cleansing. Many of the surviving Armenians emigrated to Lebanon and the United States.

Following the massacre the main concentration of Armenians was in the area now occupied by the Armenian Republic of the former USSR. The 1919 Peace Conference proposed in the Treaty of Sevres an independent Armenia but on the revival of Turkey the project was dropped, along with Kurdistan.

In August 1991 the government refused to sign the Union Treaty intended to reconstitute the Soviet Union and became independent. However, independence is dangerous, if for no other reason than that they are a small vulnerable nation in a violent area. The Armenians, like the Georgians, joined Russia voluntarily to protect them from the surrounding Muslims, and especially the Turks. This reason remains important. Independence was declared in September 1991.

An important cause of conflict is the region of Nagorno Karabakh (North Karabakh) which is an enclave within the neighboring republic of Azerbaijan. It was inhabited mainly by Armenians but was transferred by Stalin to Azerbaijani administration. Armenians want it to become part of Armenia. There has been a full scale war with Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh is an example of a territory with rival nationalisms. Perhaps because Armenians remember their terrible history they are protective of isolated Armenians surrounded by Turks. There is a realistic fear that Turkey will give military help to Azerbaijan, and there are already signs of Turkish aid to the newly independent republic. By May 1992 the Armenians had conquered, probably with Russian help, a land corridor connecting Armenia with the territory and other parts of Azerbaijan.

Armenian exiles talk of recovering their former territory, now part of modern Turkey (and overlapping with land claimed as a potential Kurdistan). This is almost certainly unrealistic as Turkey is the strongest regional power.

Russian troops have bases within the territory and a treaty was signed in August 2010 to maintain them until 2044.

Languages

Armenian (Indo-European)

Russian

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

Politics

The government was elected but as in other post-Soviet states the opposition was suppressed until it rose and overthrew the president in February 1998.

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

Economics

Armenians are reputed to have good business sense, and along with Georgians might have had a role in reviving the Soviet economy to a more conventional condition. The same business ability may help them establish an independent economy, even though almost all their trade was with Russia.

Since the conflict with Azerbaijan revived, the normal rail routes into Russia have been blocked so that great hardship exists. The serious earthquake damage has not been repaired.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

Green/Ecology

An earthquake zone with a nuclear power station, fortunately not in use during the most recent devastating quake.

Soviet designed (like Chernobyl) nuclear station restarted against all western advice, November 1995.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

Human Rights

Political prisoners, no free press.

Last revised 2/08/12


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