The Assistance Of The Armenian Diaspora To Soviet Armenia – Early 20th Century

With the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, the Dashnaks were forced to enter an agreement with the Communists. Even though the Dashnaks signed an agreement with the Bolsheviks on December 2, 1920, that there would be no persecution and repression, the latter would violate this agreement on December 6 with the approval of the Revolutionary Committee.

The military communism program ultimately led to the famous February Uprising on February 18, 1921. This uprising forced the Soviet government to change its views on the conduct of politics in Armenia.

A full-fledged government was approved in Armenia, headed by Alexander Myasnikyan. The new government realized that it could not by its own means pull the republic out of the crisis. Other Soviet republics could help in this matter but had no resources to assist with refugees and orphans. For this reason, the American and English assistance committee remained in the republic until the end of the 1920s.

On September 13, 1921, with the assistance of Myasnikyan, the Armenian Assistance Committee (Hayastani Ognutyan Komitet, HOK) was established. The committee appealed to the Armenian diaspora:

“When the fraternal republics provide assistance… When the American people continue to help us with great effort, you, the brothers expelled from their homeland and who want to return, remain indifferent? It is unthinkable!”

The HOK realized that the Armenians were politically divided and thus called for the removal of political lines in the name of the universal salvation of Armenia. The HOK did one very important thing in creating the image of the Soviet government – with its statement, the committee affirmed that Soviet Armenia is the Armenian homeland.

The Soviet government tried in this way to neutralize the discussions about the “real homeland” which had been spelled out in international agreements and which was considered as such by many Armenians in the diaspora. Hence the famous schism.

The AGBU recognized the Armenian SSR as an Armenian homeland as it was engaged in investing money in the country and providing assistance. The Ramkavars and Hnchaks did the same. However, the Dashnaks could not come to terms with this and considered the Armenian SSR an occupation. The breach of the agreement and the Revolutionary Committee policy did not allow the Dashnaks to be tolerant of the USSR.

But there was schism – Kajaznuni called for “political suicide”, for the dissolution of the party, and for the recognition of the Bolsheviks as their legal heirs. But not everyone supported this idea, among them Simon Vratsian.

In general, it is worth adding that this plot is avoided by the modern imperialist interpretation of those events. Any facts are completely left out except for those that show that the formation of Soviet Armenia was a result of the infinitely competent actions of the Bolsheviks. The contribution of the American & British committees and the Armenian diaspora in providing homes for refugees and orphans is not mentioned at all.

Arthur Hakobyan, Antitopor

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