The policy of Russification entered the Caucasus in the form of systematically organized violent repressions against the Armenians.
Being aware that Saint Petersburg was quite interested in the existence of an Armenian sedition, the Russian administration in Armenia added fuel to the fire and aggravated the Russian government against the Armenians with frequent and bloated reports. The Governor of Transcaucasia Prince Grigory Golitsyn played a key role in this tragedy along with officious provokers like the late Velichko.
Golistyn systematically fueled the enmity between the local peoples. First of all, the expansive propaganda in the local media carried out under the evident preference of the imperial court was aimed at setting the Armenians against the Georgians.
In the late 1890s, the proclamations of Sultan Abdul Hamid and the discovery of a major Muslim conspiracy uncovered the Pan-Islamist movement for Golitsyn. Instead of realizing the whole threat of this discovery, Golitsyn viewed the Pan-Islamist movement as a future weapon against the Armenians. Soon, it was called into play.
The phrase of Lobanov-Rostovski “we don’t wish for a second Bulgaria” became the motto of the Russian policy towards the Armenians. Additionally, Abdul Hamid professed an “Armenia without Armenians.”
The Russian diplomacy thereby gave the Sultan carte blanche. As for Russia, it evidently undermined its positions in the region. Preventing the European countries from carrying out their commitments, Russia killed all the trust towards its mission in the Near East and also caused a negative public opinion.
Any attempt of Russia to expand at the expense of Asia Minor will be perceived by Europe as a feeble effort of a rude seizure of territories and will be collectively prevented. At one time, Europe seemingly preferred the Russians to the Turks in Asia Minor, but the inept and shameless Russian diplomacy left those views in the past.
Alexander Amfiteatrov, “The Armenian Question”, Saint Petersburg, 1906