“Russia needs Armenia without Armenians,” wrote at the time Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky, a well-known minister of foreign affairs and a diplomat of the Russian Empire. These words, in essence, express the sentiments that prevailed in the Russian government circles and society.
An exhaustive Russian point of view on the “Armenian question” was presented by General Oganovsky whose words were quoted at the Pan-Armenian Congress in Tiflis in February 1915.
“We (i.e. Russia),” stated General Oganovsky, “pursue the following goal: at the end of the war, we seek to have an opportunity to immediately and quickly disarm the Armenians because there are concerns that they may rebel during the peace conference, and the peace conference may be forced to consider this fact, which will contradict Russia’s vital interests.
The Russian government has not forgotten its historical policy and mission in the East (i.e., the seizure of “straits” and domination in Asia Minor): it pursues the interests of the Russian state, not the cherished dreams and desires of the Armenians about autonomous Armenia.
For the Russian government, it is desirable that the Armenians make up a smaller percentage in Turkish Armenia. Armenians must change their thinking and outlook.
They should publicly state and prove in practice that they are fighting not for the sake of autonomous Armenia but as citizens of the Russian empire, otherwise, the Armenians will pay dearly for their aspirations and will not stand in the ranks of the subjects of the empire in the eyes of the state.”