Category Archives: CORNERSTONES

RICHARD G. HOVANNISIAN (NOVEMBER 9, 1932 – JULY 9, 2023) – 2023-3

An essay in tribute and in attempt to sketch his life and work

Rubina B. Peroomian (Los Angeles)

These and still many more were the accolades inundating social media, mourning the loss of the man who had just relinquished life, leaving behind a monumental legacy in the field of Armenian Studies. And none of these words were exaggerations but in fact a roadmap or even a challenge for me to try to accomplish the impossible task to construe and present, within the limits of this
journal article, the life and work of someone who had been my mentor, my role model, my inspiration, my colleague, my friend. I will do my best, holding in my heart the pride of having been a part of a minuscule portion of his activities, and cherishing the honor of having been trusted to write this article for Vem, a reputable academic journal in Armenia.

THE APPLICATION OF HEURISTIC METHODS As a Means of Overcoming the Problems of the Ecology of Education – 2023-2

Mariam M. Karapetyan

The article analyzes the experience of the “Narrative Journalism” course at the Faculty of Journalism of Yerevan State University. The chosen teaching method is interpreted as an example of applying the principles of heuristics. The article first discusses some problems of the ecology of education in Armenia, in particular, the difficulties of teaching and mastering modern humanities, then suggests the use of heuristics as an expedient educational strategy in the context of existing problems.

TITLE AND EPIGRAPH OF A FICTION TEXT – 2023-1

As typological elements of intertextuality

Hripsime A. Zakaryan

The potential and ability to clearly convey to the reader the internal logic of speech, psychological or mental features, content-conceptual information in a fiction text is due to a number of circumstances and forms that are determined not only by the content and semantic system of the text. The semantic system of a fiction text is a comprehensive self-developing complex system, the structure of which involves the interconnection of certain text elements, through which unique semantic connections are formed. Among these elements, the most important function is performed
by the title of the text and the epigraph to it, which, in addition to being key textual elements, are also independent semantic-informational units, typological elements of intertextuality.

 

PEACE AS A NARRATIVE AND FACT – 2022-4

Davit R. Mosinyan

Peace and security have long been one of the most important standards of
modern life. Among universal values, they are primary. Nevertheless, the number
of deaths due to war worldwide has decreased in recent decades, and war
operations in general have decreased, their intensity not only has not weakened, but
also their involvement has expanded, including even civilians on various platforms.

PROBLEMS OF TEACHING THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE TOPIC IN ARMENIA – 2022-3

Summary

In the context of value orientations

Harutyun T. Marutyan

The memory of the Armenian Genocide is one of the pillars of Armenian identity and, as such, has an important role in the Armenians’ value system. More than this, it is also one of the important tools for building the given value system through education.

One of the important ways of keeping that memory alive is teaching the subject of genocide in schools. The teaching of the subject of the
Armenian Genocide within the curricula in schools in Armenia is mainly included in “Armenian History” classes in the 8th and 11th grades and, as such, mainly provides cognitive information.

Cognitive knowledge is, as a rule, formed by providing information about the period, stages, developments and course of events characterizing
the phenomenon and is directed at the past. In other words, the information to be provided is knowledge about the past. However, this path is not
effective, in today’s reality, in terms of confronting the student with moral and other dilemmas in his/her life.

Several topics are put forward in the article and, by emphasizing them, it is possible to endow teenagers and young adults with positive value orientations and an identity based on the revered memory of the genocide. Those that stand out are (1) the self-defense battles fought by Armenians during the World War I and the Armenian Genocide; (2) humanitarian resistance, when the cause of Armenian salvation became, for the Armenians who took refuge in or near the places of exile, the spur to stimulate their organizational activities as well as those of already existing Armenian communities. As a result, effective rescue mechanisms were
formed (“One Armenian for one gold coin”); (3) manifestations of different forms of non-violent resistance: self-sacrificing strong internal family bonds, selfless mutual assistance between relatives and friends, acquaintances and strangers and reaching out to one another, sharing last pieces of bread and various things that testify to high moral values; (4) highlighting the role of organized Armenian self-help, Armenian organizations, benefactors of the Armenian nation, the Armenian press, Armenian teachers and ordinary Armenian people in the work of saving Armenians; (5) using accepted practical international standards to rate the Turkish “salvation” of Armenians; (6) the resurrection of the role of the great internal force of resistance that the survivors of the Armenian Genocide have established within the powerful Armenian diaspora that numbers many millions; (7) including the reading and analysis of stories and memoirs concerning the human destinies of victims, those who resisted and survivors within the school education system and creating a digital database of victims and survivors; 8) considering the Armenian Genocide to be the result of the inhuman ideology, which has a lot in common with similar ideology during the Second World War; (9) knowledge of the main episodes of the history of other genocides, which will enable teenage Armenian boys and girls to strengthen their awareness of the need to fight against them, allow them to observe the Armenian Genocide in a wider context and to realize its patterns and characteristics in the context of the world history.

The article justifies the early resolution of the issue of creating a course “Basic issues of the Armenian Genocide” and teaching it in public schools and centers of higher education.

THE TELLING ABOUT SCIENCE – 2022-2

Summary

As a social and humanitarian mediation

Mariam M. Karapetyan
In discussions about the role of science in Armenia and the ways of its development, the arrow of criticism and expectations is primarily directed at the state, expecting a significant increase in funding for the field of science. However, in addition to the main addressee and its functions, we can see other possible participants in the development of the field, often with less obvious and less specific functions. The given article discusses scientific journalism. Its role as a socio-humanitarian mediator between science and society is investigated. The coverage of natural sciences in the media is discussed as a social and humanitarian practice, its means and possible obligations are considered.

The discussed approach to socio-humanitarian mediation not only states that expectations from natural sciences in Armenian society are often unfounded, since real needs are of a socio-humanitarian nature, but also allows us to look for practical starting points for creating their relationship. The proposed approaches may lead to qualitatively new questions. For example, the realization that scientific journalism makes scientific practices public through social and humanitarian mediation raises the question of what kind of connection we want to create between society and scientific knowledge in each specific case of coverage. What stories turn scientific knowledge into unscientific? Who talks about science and how?

From the viewpoint of this issue, the analysis of direct and indirect knowledge transfer can be considered one of the important points of the article. The discussion of the problem can be summarized as follows: indirect knowledge transfer is the practice of considering and creating social contexts of knowledge and science, a practice capable of articulating the connections between the relations of different fields.

The practical directions of journalistic activity mentioned in the article, with the help of the theoretical questions presented, can become the basis for the development of conscious journalistic obligations. In particular, the promotion of the institutionalization of the fields of science and the promotion of scientific knowledge to the public may seem to be two important, yet opposite directions, but as a journalistic activity they can be quite comparable precisely because of the functions of journalism.

THE SUNSET OF RUSSIAN CIVILIZATION – 2022-1

Gevorg S. Khoudinyan
The current deadly battle between Russia and Ukraine – the sons of Ruthenia founded by chieftain Rurik of the Scandinavian Rus (Ros) tribe in 862, is a clash of centuries-old archetypes that will pave the way for the clarification of the eastern borders of Western civilization.

Though Francis Fukuyama, recently inspired by the events in Ukraine, tried to find a modern value system in the causes of this bloodshed and described what was happening as a qualitatively new milestone in the triumph of the idea of freedom, we stick to the viewpoint expressed by “Vem” still at the beginning of 2014 – in the days of the Russian-Ukrainian first war, that the well-known London plan was launched to bring the “birth of the Cossack tribe” free Russians – Ukrainians, against Russia so as to put the latter, considered to be invincible, in a hopeless situation thanks to the persistent efforts of the Jewish-Turkish lobby deeply rooted within Russia.

The article presents the main stages of the implementation of that program and the levers and mechanisms of its key players to influence the Russian political leadership.

According to the author, since the 18th century, the Russian Empire had become stronger and had entered the arena of European and world politics through successive cycles of its rationalization, that is, Russia has developed and flourished as a European power. That is why the doctrine of Eurasianism, re-nominated in the 1990s by London’s prompt in the age of technological society and information, is in fact a vulgar Asianism that undermines the civilizational foundations of its own state.

Therefore, the prospect of the USSR restoration based on such a concept could not have stalled, even after the first “successful joint operation” in 2020 – after the 44-day war in Karabakh, since subsequent events showed that Russia sacrificed its ally for it not only economically, but is not militarily ready for further development of events.

The author considers that in such conditions the Ukrainian political nation is currently trying to become the Europe-directed face of the Russian double-headed eagle, whose Slavonic-Varyag nucleus persistently strives for Europe. Therefore, Ukraine, as a country of free Russians, is waging a life-and-death struggle against Tatar-Slavic Moscow, formed on the basis of the Finno-Ugric substratum.

Whereas, for Russia, to conquer Ukraine means to win itself politically and culturally, that is, in terms of civilization. Therefore, such persistence manifested in the arena of “defeating itself” opens the way of Russia’s suicide.

THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF DIASPORA – 2021-4

In contemporary diasporological theories

Summary

Hratsin V. Vardanyan

Since the end of the 1980s, and especially since the 1990s, the interest of academics towards diasporas has grown dramatically in a number of countries around the world. Large-scale theoretical and empirical studies have been conducted. If in the 1990s many of the theoretical studies on the diaspora started from the idea that the diaspora has not been properly examined by science, today, in fact, one can summarize, analyze the theoretical generalizations made over three decades, аlthough researchers have different approaches and scientific debates continue on a number of issues. It is noticeable that the interest towards diasporas is conditioned by the growth of the significant economic, political, social and cultural influence that diasporas have in the modern world.

Theoretical discussions about diaspora are not only somewhat different from each other, but are sometimes at different poles. These theories reflect the expansion of the semantic domain of the term diaspora over time, as well as changes in social processes, in particular, under the influence of globalization and transnationalism. Taking into account the chronological developments of the definition and the description of the main features of the diaspora, different theoretical directions were distinguished: from classical to constructivist and postmodern.

Only the old diasporas are taken as a starting point for the classical theory of the diaspora; an attempt is made to give a clear definition to the term diaspora, to determine its basic characteristics.

Constructivist studies use the ideas of nation, nationalism, the process of diaspora formation, issues of identity, in particular the changing nature of identity. Constructivist studies analyze the transition and processes, in the presence of which it can be said that people settled outside the homeland move from the status of an ethnic group to the status of the diaspora.

According to the post-modern theory, the diaspora is characterized by a number of opposite phenomena: centralization, globalization, radicalization, resettlement, variability, stability, and paradoxical combination. It is seen as a link between the past and present, the country of origin and the host country.

Among the issues discussed at the theoretical level on the diaspora, the issues of identity are basic. Like other issues related to the Diaspora, theorists have different approaches to issues of identity; the existence of wide scientific discussions is due to the fact that identity, as a social-psychological phenomenon, is complex in itself; it has different layers. In the case of the diaspora, it is based first on the formation of ethnic self-consciousness, and then on the formation of a typical diaspora self-consciousness. Diaspora identity is not always homogeneous, it can be characterized by heterogeneity, diversity, as well as hybridization.

THE 1921 KARS TREATY IN THE FATE OF ARMENIAN PEOPLE – 2021-3

A critical view from a centennial distance

Summary

Ararat M. Hakobyan
The period of 1920-1921 appeared to be fateful for Armenia and the Armenians. During these two years, the Republic of Armenia suffered a defeat from Kemalist Turkey and lost its independence. One part of the republic was occupied by Turkey and the Soviet power was established in another part. It was in this period that the Armenian-Turkish border-territorial issues appeared under consideration and were later stipulated in the Treaty of Alexandropol on December 3, 1920, in the Treaty of Moscow on March 16 (18), 1921, and in the Treaty of Kars on October 13 of the same year. Though the mentioned treaties are viewed as a whole, as far as their legal succession and contents are concerned, the Treaties of Moscow and Kars are quite similar.

The Treaty of Alexandropol appeared to be the outcome of Armenia’s severe defeat and the aggression carried out by Kemalist Turks. The Treaty of Moscow was the result of the Soviet-Turkish rapprochement and the Treaty of Kars actually was the repetition of the Treaty of Moscow, signed by the delegations of three Transcaucasian Republics on the directive issued by the Central Bolshevist authorities.

Since the Armenian-Turkish Treaty of Alexandropol was not legally valid from the stand-point of the international law, it could not impose any legal obligations on the government of Soviet Armenia (Armenian Revolutionary Committee) and was not implemented for the following reasons: 1. At the moment when the treaty was signed, a change of power had taken place in Armenia. 2. The treaty was ratified neither by Armenia, nor by Turkey.

On March 16, 1921, without Armenia’s knowledge and involvement, Soviet Russia and Turkey signed a treaty in Moscow which in its territorial-border terms actually repeated the Treaty of Alexandropol. On October 13 of the same year, the Soviet Armenian delegation was compelled to sign a treaty in Kars, which ratified and legalized the terms of the Treaty of Moscow. Thus, the Treaties of Moscow and Kars secured the Turkish claims regarding their intrusion into Armenian territory, as it was claimed by their “National Oath” in January 1920. Furthermore, Russia ceded Surmalu District to Turkey, which had never been under the Ottoman Empire before and had not been claimed by the “National Oath”.

The Treaties of Moscow and Kars led Armenia to lose more than a half of its genuine eastern Armenian territories. In consequence of the mentioned treaties, Turkey incorporated Kars Province with its 17,250 square kilometers, and Surmalu District covering 3,450 sq. km, making 20,700 sq. km of the Eastern Armenian lands, in total. Besides, Turkey demanded that the region of Nakhichevan covering 5,500 sq. km should be placed under the protection of its kin Azerbaijan. If we consider, that Mountainous Karabakh, which covers 4,160 sq. km also had to be annexed to
Azerbaijan on the resolution by the Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of Russian Communist (Bolshevik) Party made on July 5, 1921, then almost 10,000 sq. km of Armenian territories had been granted to Azerbaijan. To sum up, one can conclude that in 1920-1921, Armenia was deprived of more than the half of its actual territory (20,700+9,660=30,360 sq. km). As we can see, this area is even larger than that of Soviet Armenia and its legal successor Republic of Armenia.

The main clue to the Soviet Russian Government making such allowances for Turkey should not be sought in the susceptibility of the Soviet state of those times, but in the essence of its Eastern policy. As far as the Bolshevik Government considered Turkey to be the centre of world revolution in the East, and tried to implement this futile plan, it urged and encouraged the Kemalists by all possible means, including gold allotments, arms and ammunitions supply, as well as meeting their territorial claims. Unfortunately, the territories had been ceded to Turkey mostly to the detriment of Armenia and vital interests of the Armenian people. At the same time, Soviet Russia made advances to Turkey for it not to join the Entente. However, we are of opinion, that Soviet Russia had not nurtured any deliberate anti-Armenian policy. Armenia just appeared to be at the crossroads of big political game and trying to preserve independence in the environment, where there was no room for independence, it had to suffer huge losses.

On the other hand, the Treaty of Moscow reasonably marked a deal. From the stand-point of the international law, the Treaty of Moscow in its part that concerns Armenia, abuses the law, as Moscow had met the territorial claims of the Kemalists at the expense of the Armenian territories in order to prevent them from joining the Entente. Besides, both parties had resolved the issues of the Armenian borders without the knowledge and participation of the Armenian representatives.

Thus, Turkey that had lost World War I and had committed one of the most severe crimes against humanity – the Armenian Genocide, by taking advantage of the discrepancies among the powerful states and pretending to be both revolutionary and comrade of the Bolshevist Russia, instead of being liable before the International Court, got away with the crime it had committed. Not only did it not return Armenia the Western Armenian provinces stipulated by the Treaty of Sèvres but, thanks to the Treaty of Moscow, Turkey also received a significant part of Eastern Armenian territories as a reward.

The policy of false amiability with Russia, conducted by Kemalists, led the Western states consider that they should recognize “New Turkey” and settle their relations with it. That is what actually took place at the Lausanne Conference in 1922-1923.

And as far as the principles and norms of international law are concerned, the Treaty of Moscow and its successor Treaty of Kars, in their parts that concern Armenia are predatory, illegal and not compulsory, and thus they can be regarded as invalid. The boundary delimitations, specified in the mentioned treaties and their appendices are disputable and unacceptable.

The treaties are not eternal. They exist as long as the conditions that bore them do.

At present, the Republic of Armenia and the whole Armenian nation possess sufficient historical, political and legal proofs and arguments to discuss the issue at the state offices, and to take the matter of the legitimacy of the Treaty of Moscow and its successor Treaty of Kars, as far as Armenia is concerned, to the international courts in order to undermine their legitimacy and to denounce them, as well as to restore violated rights and annexed territories.

PERSPECTIVES OF THE HISTORIFICATION OF WAR – 2021-2

And ways to overcome the victim complex

Davit R. Mosinyan

The wars turn from local to more comprehensive regional, gaining a broad geopolitical character. The wars on the border do not only concern the neighboring countries, but also necessarily involve certain political units, or, on the contrary, some interests of the political superpowers give rise to private wars. Therefore, taking care of one’s own war presupposes references to civilized dimensions. The appropriation of war, that is to say, the maintenance of sovereignty in geopolitical relations, among other factors, requires the historification of war. The historification of war means to get rid of the myths that compel certain behaviors related to it and to think of that in the course of time, bringing together the personal, military, cultural, geopolitical levels in the perspective of the future. The post-war period is in danger of remaining like that, of not turning into peace, as long as there is no initiative to make it an internal phenomenon.