Arutinov’s Letter to Stalin on the Reunification of Armenia

Arutinov’s Letter to Stalin

July 6, 1945. Joseph Vissarionovich! After the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs’ March publication on the denunciation of the December 17, 1925, agreement between Turkey and the USSR, there has been talk among the population that the Soviet Government, having terminated the agreement with Turkey, has plans to return to Armenia the territories that had been passed to Turkey.

Statements about the return of territories captured by Turkey show confidence that after the victory over Germany, the Soviet Government will defend the rights of the Armenian people.

These statements became more widespread after the publication of the declaration of the “Armenian National Council in America” which was sent to the delegates of the United Nations Conference in San Francisco. In the declaration is covered the question “about the accession of Armenian land to the existing state of free, independent Armenia and the return of all Armenians living abroad who wish to come back.”

Particularly lively conversations are taking place in the circles of the intelligentsia which began to openly claim that after the unification of the Ukrainian, Belarusian, and other peoples, the Soviet Government at a meeting of three leaders of the great powers will raise the question of the unification with the territory of Soviet Armenia of the territories that had been ceded to Turkey after World War I.

Most of the statements among the intelligentsia boil down to the fact that it is necessary to demand the restoration of the 1914 borders and the transfer of the former Armenian Kars Province and Surmalinsky Uyezd. The resettlement of Armenians living abroad is also associated with this.

Some representatives of the intelligentsia, visiting the leading Soviet and party bodies in Armenia, persistently seek an answer to this question – will the Government of the Soviet Union raise the question of restoring the 1914 borders during the negotiations with Turkey on the conclusion of a new treaty?

This insistence was expressed in the behavior of prominent Armenian poet Avetik Isahakyan and artist Martiros Saryan. Having been elected delegates to the Council of Etchmiadzin – with their own consent – they made a statement to the Armenian Church Council of the Council of People’s Commissars that they do not wish to attend the Council at which the Catholicos is to be elected.

At a meeting between deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Armenian SSR Comrade Karapetyan and Avetik Isahakyan with Martiros Saryan organized by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia to find out the reasons for their refusal, Saryan stated that they did not want to participate in the Council so as not to meet delegates from foreign Armenians since they would raise the question of Turkey’s accession Armenia to Soviet Armenia while being unaware of the views of the party and government on this issue.

Only after being explained the significance of the Council from the point of view of strengthening the authority of the Soviet state abroad and the interests of the unity of the Armenian people scattered around the world, A. Isahakyan and M. Saryan agreed to take part in the Council of the Armenian Church.

The main topic of conversation between the delegates and laymen who came to attend the Church Council from foreign countries and their relatives, friends, and prominent figures of culture, literature, and art was the question of the resettlement of foreign Armenians to their homeland and the territorial unification of Armenia.

At a reception at the Council of People’s Commissars of the Armenian SSR held at the insistence of delegates and laymen who arrived at the Cathedral, among whom were many leaders of foreign progressive organizations, the laymen stated that they had been instructed by the population of the Armenian colonies to pass to the Armenian government the request of resettling them to their homeland, to Soviet Armenia.

Speaking, they expressed the hope that the Soviet government would fulfill their aspirations for the territorial unification of Armenia. All this excited the mood of the working people of both cities and villages and reinforced the hopes for an upcoming resolution of the territorial issue of Armenia by the Government of the Soviet Union.

In all these cases, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia and the Council of People’s Commissars of the Armenian SSR adhered to the following line. On the issue of repatriation of foreign Armenians to their homeland, it was explained that the Armenian government, having a positive attitude towards the return of Armenian refugees to their homeland but realizing the complexity of the mass resettlement, is studying this issue to present it to the consideration of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Armenian SSR.

Regarding the reunification of the Armenian territories that had been ceded to Turkey in 1921, we explained that the question of borders with Turkey is related to the international interests of the Soviet state and that it, apparently, will be covered during the upcoming negotiations between the Soviet Union and Turkey on the conclusion of a new treaty.

Considering that the issues of the borders with Turkey and the resettlement of foreign Armenians to their homeland have become the focus of attention of the broad masses of the population, I regard it necessary to bring this to your attention.

Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia Arutinov, Central State Archives of the Republic of Armenia.




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