Ara Sanjian and Dennis Marburger


Ara Sanjian, Associate Professor in Armenian and Middle Eastern History, discusses the Armenian demonstrations that are somewhat inspired by Egypt et al, but are of a different character; discontent about lack of political reform and economic opportunity; conflicts arising from border disputes with Azerbaijan; how the Soviet dissolution left the Armenian economy in the hands of oligarchs; and the few bright spots: an educated populace and affordable internet access and mobile phones.

MP3 here. (15:35)

Ara Sanjian is Associate Professor in Armenian and Middle Eastern History at the University of Michigan – Dearborn.

Dennis Marburger is a friend of Antiwar Radio.

11 thoughts on “Ara Sanjian and Dennis Marburger”

  1. Wait a minute. The Armenian army chose to invade Karabakh in 1991 prior to any military action by Azerbaijan. Karabakh is now almost absent of Azeris because of Armenian immigration into the region – not all that dissimilar from what happened in Kosova. Thousands of Azeris fled in fear and are now refugees. I'm not sure what the fairest and most viable solution to this conflict is, but I do know that misrepresenting the facts does not help.

    1. There was no invasion by the Armenian army. It was Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh (75-80% of the population) organizing their own army and gaining military control of the region (aside from a number of Azeri settlements in the east and north) by default when the Soviets lost interest. They had been arming themselves since 1989.

      The real issue is that Karabakh Armenians not only repelled attempts by Azerbaijan to regain control, but drove the governmental forces from large areas adjacent to the region. This created a huge number of Azeri refugees who are not permitted by the Armenians to return.

      The solution in my opinion could be pretty straightforward. A "land for peace" type of deal that has Karabakh Armenians withdraw from the areas other than the old autonomous region and the Lachin Corridor in return for Azeri recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as independent and with the right to join Armenia.

      1. No land concessions. Let the Avars and other minorities that Aliyev is trying to "Azerbaijanize" come to the "adjacent areas", as you call them, to form a buffer between Armenia and the Azeri Turks. The Turks, for their part, have already taken the homes and possessions of the Baku and Sumgait Armenians whom they murdered in 1988, and are now gearing up to the same to their other minorities. As for "land for peace": there is no peace, and there must be no "land for peace", either.

  2. Good to read these comments… has been very difficult to find 'impartial' accounts of this history. As I understand it, tho, the Soviets did back up the Armenian forces against the Azeris. Many of the latter have told me that it was actually the Russians who committed the real atrocities against civilians in Karabakh. If anyone has a source that would clarify that either way, I would certainly appreciate it. My view re: a settlement is in line with what hotc suggests, i.e. the people now living in Nagorno-Karabakh should have the right o decide their own future. Can't turn back the clock, no matter how many more people are killed.

    1. You probably have it confused with Black Saturday. What happened was that after the pogroms of Armenians in Baku, Gorbachev ordered in the Soviet Army. The action resulted in over 100 Azeri deaths. But this was in Baku not in Karabakh.

  3. The entire Karabakh (Artsakh) episode might be better understood when one considers the multi-century persecution of the Armenians by the Turks. This dramatically culminated in the Turkish Genocide of The Armenians occurring from 1915-1922. While this phase of 'hatred unto death' was particularly gruesome, it was not a sudden, unexpected phenomenon. Rather, it was preceeded by a series of massacres and discriminations including, but not limited to, the disarming of the people, punitive extraordinary rates of taxation as well as religious and language restrictions.

    Following the the establishment of the Soviet Union, the surviving remnants of the Armenian nation
    joined together in the Soviet Armenian Republic. Artsakh – and Nakechivan – were eventually separated from the republic by Stalin and made autonomous regions of Azerbaijan in order to pay off the Turkish government for passage through the Dardenelles. The latter region was effectively depopulated and the people of Artsakh were treated in a very heavy-handed manner by the Soviet Azerbaijan Republic. The millions murdered, the vast territories stolen and the vulnerability of the people to continued Turkish and Azeri (a Turkic people) military and economic / trade strangulation attempts all play a major role in the Armenian wariness towards their historic antagonists.

    As suggested above, and consistent with the editorial viewpoint of, the U.S. gov't. should not be engaged in this dispute (though Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan are current recipients of American taxpayer dollars). Individual, voluntary contributions to one's favorite causes, at home or abroad, are a different – and rightfully permissible – matter. there a a number of voluntary fund-raising efforts to aid those affected by this and to allow the threatened Armenian people to develop their schools, infrastructure and defensive capabilities. The folks there tend to be very pro-active and self-reliant.

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