Category Archives: REVIEWS

Taner Akçam, The Young Turks՚ Crime Against Humanity – 2022-2

Summary

The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic cleansing in the Ottoman Empire

Armen C. Marukyan
The value of Akçam’s work lies in the fact that a large number of Ottoman archival documents, which are difficult to access for non-Turkish professionals, corroborate information known from other sources and adding additional details. However, it should be noted, that the Turkish historian does not always interpret impartially, analyzing the Ottoman archival documents circulated by him, moreover, his judgments sometimes directly contradict the information in the documents quoted by him.

Criticizing the historians who promote the Turkish official version, Akçam tries to present himself as an impartial historian, but his adoption of a conventional stance on fundamental issues of the history of the Armenian Genocide shows that in practice he is acting as a secret suspect of the crime against the Armenian people. Akçam’s approach differs from the official Turkish denial historiography in that, instead of so-called “hard denial”, he promotes “cautious suspicion” or “unnoticed denial”. Using the term “Armenian Genocide” and condemning the crime, the Turkish historian casts doubt on the motives of the Armenian Genocide, noting that the policy was not racist or nationalistic, that the “state interest” of the empire was the basis of the Armenian Genocide.

Akçam tends to see Armenians as a “threat” to the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, to eliminate which the Young Turks resorted to so-called “social engineering”, which means elements of a policy of genocide against Armenians: extermination, forced deportation, Islamization and assimilation. Thereby, Akçam in fact repeats the approaches of the official Turkish historiography that denies and falsifies the Armenian Genocide, which justifies the criminal policy towards the Armenian people based on the nationalist ideology of pan-Turkism.

Akçam’s various judgments on the motives of the Turkish authorities for committing the Armenian Genocide suggest that either he has not yet made a final decision or in this way he tries to hide the real motives, at the same time raising doubts about the criminal intention to commit the Armenian Genocide, which is the main component of qualifying that crime. Is it a coincidence that Akçam concludes his work with the assumption that, regardless of how we qualify the extermination of Armenians from a legal point of view, it is first and foremost a moral recognition that it was not an unjust act worthy of moral reproach? The Turkish historian is thus trying to transfer the issue of the Turkish state’s responsibility for the Armenian Genocide to a purely moral field, as the discussion of this issue in the legal or political spheres will inevitably lead to processes of responsibility and compensation that are absolutely unacceptable for the Turkish state.

Assessing the works of T. Akçam published in different languages on some issues of the history of the Armenian Genocide, as well as his introduction into scientific circulation of unpublished Ottoman archival documents, nevertheless, we believe that Armenian specialists should have taken part in the process of translating and republishing these books in Armenia . Otherwise, it turns out that we share the biased judgments of the Turkish historian on fundamental-conceptual issues, as well as the approaches and conclusions that are almost identical with the views of the official Turkish historiography denying the given crime.

AGAIN IN MAKARYAN’S “FIELDS OF LITERARY CRITICISM – 2022-1

Knarik A. Abrahamyan
The article is dedicated to the analysis of Albert Makaryan’s collection “In the fields of literary criticism”. The author has classified t􀴣 ree main thematic directions such as the teaching problems (Khachatur Abovyan, Derenik Demirchyan), the questions of the writers that mainly cover the new period (Ghevond Alishan, Khoren Ghalfayan, Petros Duryan and others) and feedback on literary thought (Hrant Tamrazyan, Suren Danielyan).

Along with the problems of teaching in a methodological perspective (what to teach, how to teach and what to pay attention to) Albert Makaryan also presents remarkable literary observations. On the one hand they are related to Khachatur Abovyan’s novel “Wounds of Armenia”, on the other hand to Derenik
Demirchyan’s short story “The Redundant”. We have also noticed that these reflections on the teaching problems are not unique. Let us remember his articles devoted to Petros Duryan, Aksel Bakunts, Gurgen Mahari in scientific periodicals.

In pure literary articles we notice the preference given to Western Armenian writers. It should not be forgotten that in the publications of the books of Taguhi Shishmanyan and Zabel Yesayan, Albert Makaryan has a significant role in terms of both composition and donation of analytical pages.

And here in the assessment-reviews dedicated to literary critics Hrant Tamrazyan and Suren Danielyan interesting experience on conducting professional dialogues is presented.

The conclusion is that in all cases Albert Makaryan has shown his scientific and philological discipline.

Based on the analysis, the conclusion was drawn: in all cases, Albert Makaryan showed scientific and philological disciplinary literacy.

A VALUABLE MONOGRAPH – 2021-4

Seyran Grigoryan, Vahagn Davtyan’s Poems, Yerevan, Armav Publishing House, 2021, 458 pages

Summary

Zhenya A. Kalantaryan
The review analyzes and evaluates the peculiarities, principles and criteria of
the method used by S. Grigoryan–the author of the mentioned book. It is observed
that Grigoryan necessarily takes into account both the time of writing the poem and
the time the poem covers, trying to uncover the linkаgе between the past and the
present. One of the important merits of the monograph is the search for the bases of
the structural and lexical layers of the poems in historical and folklore sources.
According to the literary critic, Davtyan builds his poems mostly on a folklore
basis, as a result of which poems reflect the folk worldview.

The article comments on the comparisons made by the author of the book with
the historical and folklore sources of the poems, as well as similar works by
previous poets. It is noticed that some cases of stylization, imitation, repetition
revealed by the literary critic, according to his own observation, Davtyan used for
his own interpretation of the material, thus bringing his personality onto the
material.

The critique assesses S. Grigoryan’s comprehensive approach in revealing
both inter- and intra-genre features of the poems. The author of the monograph
examines the poems and comes to convincing conclusion comprehensively
drawing from all the branches of philology, including the history of literary history,
literary theory, literary criticism, textualism, etc. The monograph is deemed to be a
noticeable contribution to modern Armenian literature.

THE CHILDREN’S LITERATURE OF THE GIFTED SATIRIST – 2021-4

Albert Makaryan, Astghik Soghoyan, Hakob Paronyan as a children’s writer, Yerevan, “Armav”, 2021, 188 pages

Summary

Nvard Kh. Vardanyan

Armenian literary criticism is enriched with a valuable study. Most recently,
a remarkable monograph entitled “Hakob Paronyan as a children’s writer” was
published. The authors of the book are well-deserved scientists – Albert Makaryan,
the author of several monographs dedicated to the examination of H.Paronyan’s
works and Astghik Soghoyan.

The monograph is the first complete attempt to present the great Armenian
satirist Hakob Paronyan as a children’s writer. For the first time, the children’s
periodical founded by Paronyan, that is, the illustrated bi-weekly magazine
“Theater: Friend to Children” and the children’s literature published in its pages are
studied.

In the four chapters of the book the history of the publication of the
periodical is examined, the genres of children’s literature are studied. The study
clarifies that all the materials published in the periodical are entirely Paronyan’s
creations though they are signed by different pen-names. They were mainly
intended to admonish and instruct the children, so the themes are of cognitive,
morally philosophical, educational, instructive and pastime nature.

It is obvious that as children’s writer Paronyan prefered realistic genres
(realistic tale, tale-story, story, instructive stories and etc.) wishing to present to the
little reader the real notion of life and not to decive them by false stories and unreal
miracles. This principal is seen in elaborations of two fairy tales. For instance, the
tale “Red Varduk” has no happy end, which mostly underlines its instructive
nature. The authors of the study have also turned to the unique approaches to
education conditioned by gender.

The monograph is a new and fresh word in the field of Paronyans’ study: it
will surely be useful for th specialists in literature, literary theorists and for the
broad range of the readers interested in philology and children’s literature.

THE FIRST DOCUMENTALIST OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE. SHAVARSH MISAKIAN – 2021-3

Ed. by Ye. Pampukian

Armen Ts. Marukyan
In 2017 in Antilias (Beirut), edited, with a foreword and noted by Honored Historian Yervand Pambukyan, the work of a member of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Central Committee of Constantinople – a well-known publicist Shavarsh Misakyan was published, which is a collection of letters, articles and memoirs of the author. Based on the information obtained from the letters and articles of Misakian at the moment of the crime, the successive stages of the genocide policy pursued by the Turkish authorities in relation to the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire are revealed.

The indisputable value of Misakian’s work lies in the fact that in the fateful period of history for the Armenian people, the operational and reliable information sent by him from the Ottoman Empire informed the international community about what was really happening with the Armenian population, despite the misinformation about the mass extermination of the Armenian population spread by the Turkish state and its allies. In his letters and articles, he provided such information that at that time it was simply impossible to obtain from other sources, which was later confirmed and supplemented by documents and materials published later.

It can be stated with confidence that from the point of view of objective documentation of the history of the Armenian Genocide, Sh. Misakian’s work is a valuable source, the materials of which, when compared with other sources, will allow compiling an objective history of that crucial period for the Armenian people in a clear chronology.

 

“COLLECTION OF LETTERS” OF NIKOL DUMAN – 2021-2

Gevorg S. Khoudinyan

At the beginning of the current year, a collection of documents summarizing the letters and writings of the most prominent representative of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun’s first generation, Armenian famous hajduk leader Nikol Duman, was published in the “Vem series” edited and annotated by Yervand Pambukyan.

It includes Nikol Duman’s letters, his booklet entitled “Project of People’s Self-Defense” and small but valuable writings, photographs and other relics.

The documents included in this collection, which summarize the rich chronicle of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun’s military-revolutionary activity, not only have a narrow sourceological value, but also open a wide field of learning the experience and skills of the past for the current generation concerned with the defense of the Homeland.

The most interesting part of the reviewed collection is the letters and military instructions written by Duman from Yerevan during the bloody Armenian-Tatar battles in Transcaucasia during the years of the First Russian Revolution of 1905- 1907.

His activities in Yerevan in 1905 are taken as important by the fact that Duman was able to make a breakthrough in the extremely dangerous situation in the entire province of Yerevan after the brutal massacre of the Armenians of Nakhichevan. And if it were not for the extraordinary steps taken by Nikol Duman, a considerable part of the Armenians of the Ararat Valley would also have met the fate of Nakhijevan. Duman’s letters in those days show that he was able to properly analyze the causes of the Nakhijevan disaster and, through skillful steps, build a system of self-defense that allowed him to neutralize the quantitative and, in some parts, qualitative advantages of the enemy in much of the Ararat Valley.

The unique legacy left by the indomitable commander from Artsakh in the field of organizing ARF combat groups, which is a specific insight of the military-political content of the Armenian liberation war of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from a distance of a millennium is presented to us as a timeless and lasting experience whose necessity is felt again by the new generation of defenders of the Homeland, who are really concerned about having a national army.

A HIGH-VALUE STUDY – 2021-1

On the Treaty of Sèvres and the Arbitral Award of US President W. Wilson

Suren T. Sargsyan

At the end of 2020, a collective work for readers interested in the Armenian Question and the Armenian Cause – “The Treaty of Sèvres and the Arbitral Award of US President W. Wilson: A critical look from a 100-year distance” authored by historians representing various scientific and educational institutions of the republic was published.

The authors, both by means of examining their prehistory and history and by elucidating the efforts made to implement these documents over the past centenary,
have comprehensively observed and analyzed the Treaty of Sèvres and the Arbitral Award of US President W. Wilson, which are landmarks for Armenia and the Armenians from a distance of 100 years. Moreover, guided by the best traditions of investigative historiography, they have taken a fresh look at 100-year-old events to reveal the deep connection and reciprocity between the past and the present.

Referring to the political content of the Treaty of Sèvres and noting that it concluded a long series of reciprocal treaties between the countries that won and lost in World War I, the authors emphasize that Articles 89-93 of the Treaty restored the timeless right of the Armenian people to Western Armenia. It is emphasized that the de jure recognition of the Republic of Armenia was no less important not only by the allies who won World War I, but also by the defeated Ottoman Empire. It legally stated that the Republic of Armenia was the United Armenia, which united the two parts of Armenia.

The authors substantiately deny the falsity of the alleged replacement of the Treaty of Sèvres by the Treaty of Lausanne and present in detail the real content of the Sèvres-Lausanne passing. It is emphasized that from the point of view of international law, the Armenian rights were not only annulled by the Treaty of Lausanne, but in fact they were reaffirmed by Article 16 of the Treaty. At the same time, the Treaty of Lausanne did not recognize Turkish sovereignty over the territories allotted to Armenia by W. Wilson’s Arbitral Award. The legitimacy of W. Wilson’s Arbitral Award and the fact that it is legally timeless and inalienable are substantiated by an examination of declassified US archival documents.

“The Treaty of Sèvres and the Arbitral Award of US President W. Wilson: A critical look from a 100-year distance” collective work, despite the large number of its authors, has a rather solid structure, fresh and rich speech about “old” general issues, and quite realistic conclusions.

“ARMENIAN NATIONAL STRATEGY” BY VARAND PAPAZYAN – 2020-3

About a forgotten booklet and its unforgettable author

Summary

Gevorg S. Khoudinyan
A well-known figure of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Varand Papazyan, an intellectual and a critically thinking person, has passed away. The Armenian community did not pay due attention to a small but very interesting booklet by V. Papazyan entitled “Armenian National Strategy”, which was published in 1993.

V. Papazyan’s study is not a monograph, but rather a concise synopsis, each title of which can be presented as a separate monograph. Such laconicism and conciseness of the text is characteristic of the intellectual sincerity of thinker V. Papazyan.

In the first title “National Crisis” V. Papazyan studied the process of the collapse of the USSR and its geopolitical consequences for the South Caucasus. According to the author, this process left open the question of our region’s belonging to a certain zone of influence, but so far it has retained the dominant influence of the legal successor of the USSR – Russia.

V. Papazyan in his research also touched upon the internal political processes of the early 1990s in Armenia. Presenting his vision of the history of the national liberation struggle of the Armenian people, the author moved on to the main parts of his work – “Political Strategy” and “Armenian National Strategy”. Here V. Papazyan formulated his idea of the unity of the Armenian political nation. V.
Papazyan was a principled opponent of the so-called diaspora identity of Armenians. For him, the homeland of the Armenians is United Armenia, and the first phase of its restoration is the struggle of Artsakh for reunification with the Republic of Armenia.

A VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION IN SHANT STUDIES – 2020-1

Summary

Ashkhen Ed. Jrbashyan-Candidate of Philological Sciences
The review addresses the main issues related to the new edition of the National Armenian Educational and Cultural Fund “Levon Shant. The Man and the Work”, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the outstanding writer. The article gives a clear idea of the content, topics and structure of this publication. The members of the editorial board (Vachagan Grigoryan, Serzh Srapionyan and Vartan Petrosyan) placed in this book the memories of the people of different generations about Levon Shant; the authors give original, noteworthy assessments of his political and pedagogical activity. In addition, the publication contains valuable excerpts from outstanding literary works dedicated to Shant, which characterize and generalize the literary heritage of the great writer and playwright.

Particularly important are those articles and materials that are published in Armenia for the first time. The reader gets a fairly complete picture of Levon Shant as a writer, politician and educator.

The most valuable material, published in this book, is the autobiographical exposition of Levon Shant, recorded by Vardges Aharonyan in the USA from the lips of an already elderly writer. The reader gets informed about Shant’s childhood and youth, about the years of his studies in Etchmiadzin, about the periods of his stay in the Caucasus and Europe, about well-known political events and about some significant episodes of his life related to his formation as a writer. Many of these facts are well known, but the assessments of L. Shant himself, his worldview and experiences give great value to the autobiographical narrative. The reader makes sense about the environment of Constantinople, Tiflis and its cultural atmosphere, the life of large and small European cities and, finally, the years of the First Republic, which became crucial for the formation of Shant as a person and politician.

We can insist that this publication is a valuable contribution to the Shant studies.

Yeremia Tevkants (Ter-Sargsyants), Family Chronicle, book 8 (1868-1872), With the diligence of H. Gh. Muradyan, NAS RA Institute of History, Yerevan, 2018, 440 p. – 2020-2

Summary

Karolina M. Sahakyan
In the given review we refer to the eighth volume of the “Family Chronicle” by Yeremia Tevkants (Ter-Sargsyants), published by the Institute of History of the NAS RA in 2018, with the elaboration of senior researcher Hakob Muradyan. This is one of the best examples of the genre of memoirs and includes the 1868-1872 history of a long period of Armenian history, written by one of the most literate and knowledgeable theologians of the time, who was the witness and participant of the events and happenings described.

This work consists of an introduction, 71 chapters, a vocabulary and an index of personal names and toponyms. In each of the chapters, the author discusses his travels and activities, providing exclusive information about the places he visited, the people he met and the people he worked with.

The exact chronology of the events is preserved in the work, as well as the sources used, in which correspondence, such as letters, telegrams, etc., is of particular value.

The most valuable part of the reviewed work, perhaps, can be considered the “Bulletin of Provincial Oppressions”, which was prepared by the “Commission of Inquiry into the Oppressions of Armenia” in 1892 and submitted to the Sublime Porte. It was the first time that the National Assembly of Constantinople exercised its constitutional right to formally apply to the government to end the illegalities and atrocities committed in Western Armenia. This document, prepared on the factual basis of numerous petitions received from the cantons by the Patriarchate for about 20 years, formulated the issue of the Western Armenians, which became the Armenian Question and after the 1877-1878 Russian-Turkish war, it entered the phase of internationalization, becoming the subject of diplomatic relations and discussions.

“Family Chronicle” by Yeremia Tevkants put into scientific circulation by the efforts of Hakob Muradyan, besides being of great historical value is also an important source of demographics, ethnography, everyday life, religious, intrachurch and inter-church relations, as well as from the perspective of the study of the history of separate dioceses.