Simon Vratsian about the First Republic of Armenia – 1918

Simon Vratsian about the First Republic

How was the First Republic of Armenia’s independence proclaimed in May 1918? About this wrote the last prime minister of the First Republic of Armenia Simon Vratsian.

“The republic was not accepted with glee, the Armenian people did not accept (the independence) with joy in their hearts as it came in the most adverse conditions. The Armenian people were not ready to have their own state organization.

If I said that everyone was pleased with the creation of the Republic of Armenia, I would not tell the whole truth because there was a share of the people who could not be pleased. For example, the rich people of Tiflis, the so to speak quality part of the Tiflis intelligentsia.

It seemed that there was no way out. But then, it would turn out that there indeed was a way out.”

Vratsian also described the situation of December 2, 1920, when the Bolsheviks gained control over Armenia as a result of a joint Russian-Turkish campaign. He noted with disappointment that this fact did not leave much impact on society.

“Only Turkish Armenians who bitterly lamented the loss of independence were very upset. For the provinces, in view of the difficulty of communicating, this was for the most part unexpected, but there wasn’t too much regret there.

Some were even glad that the Russians would finally come and save us, that we would also be saved from the Turks, and we would have food, oil, and life would become more pleasant. That was the general mood,” told Vratsian.

The psychological state of our people that prevailed at that time was well described by Garegin Nzhdeh.

“My sick and poor people that until now had two truths – blame external causes of all their misfortunes and seek salvation only from external forces.

Here lies the reason for our strange faith and joy when strangers give promises and equal disappointment and despondency when they break their promises.

The disastrous self-denial psychologically devalued us so much that we don’t even want to admit the certain share of our guilt in the misfortune that has fallen upon us.”

One century has passed, will we finally become a nation carrying the idea of statehood?

Ruben Shukhyan

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