Two Waves of Voluntary Repatriation of Armenians – Fateful July

Two Waves of Voluntary Repatriation of ArmeniansOn July 9, 1936, the first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) Aghasi Khanjian was killed in Tbilisi. He was only 36 years old.

Khanjian did his best to promote the economic and cultural development of Armenia. Thanks to his efforts began the first wave of voluntary repatriation of Armenians to their homeland, and ties between Armenia and the Diaspora began to strengthen.

People associate the death of their favorite leader with Lavrentiy Beria, one of the most trusted subordinates of Stalin. History claims that he was the one who shot Aghasi Khanjian in his office. However, the ends of the crime were so deeply hidden that the absolute truth is still not known.

At the same time, it is also absolutely likely. The bloodthirsty and perfidious Lavrenty Pavlovich was capable of much, and he has never hidden any of these traits from society.

On July 2, 1946. the second, main stage of the mass return of Armenians to Soviet Armenia began. Within three years, about 90 thousand Armenians returned to their historic homeland.

The Soviet propaganda machine worked extremely efficiently and was able to convince them of real golden mountains and serene happiness under the Armenian Bolshevik sun. The truth of life turned out to be different, however. As a result, the repatriates were very disappointed. The repatriation was ambiguously perceived both in the diaspora and in Armenia.

So it was during the first stage of repatriation in 1921-1936 as well. Bolshevism and Stalinism which frightened the leaders of the diaspora turned out not to be empty words. Many repatriates were repressed as spies and Dashnaks. The misfortunes of the people who had moved from civilized countries and cities into barracks and semi-desert wastelands were very noticeable.

The situation was aggravated by the serious psychological rejection of the repatriates by local residents who had been intimidated for a lifetime by the constant repression and Soviet propaganda. The offensive nickname “akhpar” (Western Armenian: brother) has forever stuck to the repatriates.

Repatriation had some positives as well. Thanks to it, new thoughts and ideas, new morals, new connections, and new art flowed into the Armenian life. Most of the repatriates in the end settled in their homeland and lived until the victory of democracy. But then, many would give up.

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