|Flag||Coat of Arms|
|Language||Armenian language (official)|
|Prime minister||Hovik Abrahamyan|
|Area||11,506 sq mi|
|GDP per capita||$4,270 (2005)|
Armenia is a small, rugged, mountainous, landlocked nation in the Caucasus, the crossroads of Europe and Asia, which gained its independence in the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989. Although it is in Asia geographically (located on the Asian side of the Caucasus, the Border between Europe and Asia), it is considered European because of its strong and ancient links with Europe. Present-day Armenia comprises Eastern Armenia, only half the historic homeland. The Armenians in Western Armenia, with its iconic Mount Ararat, were driven out and mostly killed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 in a genocide that to this day chills relations between Armenia and Turkey. In addition, many Armenians live in other countries, in the "Armenian Diaspora." Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion in AD 301.
- 1 Cities
- 2 People
- 3 History
- 4 Ottoman control of Western Armenia
- 5 Russian control of Eastern Armenia
- 6 Culture
- 7 Further reading
- 8 References
Yerevan (pop. 1,100,000 in 2006), founded in the eighth century BC, is the capital and has always been the chief city. Gyumri, or Kumayri (called Leninakan from 1924 to 1992), with a population of 120,000 in 1989, was the second largest city until it was devastated by an earthquake in December 1988; it has now recovered with a population of 148,000. Vanadzor (formerly Kirovakan) is third with a population of 106,000.
Birth rates are low, at 11.7 births per 1000 population and a total fertility rate (births per childbearing woman) of only 1.33
The Armenian diaspora over many centuries has created Armenian settlements in many parts of Russia, Poland and the Balkans, as well as in the cities of the former Ottoman Empire and in the United States.
After decades of eclipse, religion has become an increasingly important part of life, and many religious groups have emerged.
Except perhaps for the Soviet era (1920-1989), religion was central to Armenian identity. Since the rise of Islam in 700 AD, Armenia has seen itself as the Christian outpost in the sea of Islam. The traditions of Eastern Christianity, as opposed to those of both Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christianity, have been preserved in virtual isolation and account for the survival of the Armenian people between their loss of independence in 1375 and the emergence of Armenian nationalism in the 19th century. Christianity has caused the Armenians to look toward Europe for cultural inspiration, especially—since the 18th century—to Italy, then France, then Russia (an indirect route for Western ideas), and finally to the United States.
In Armenia itself 98% of the population is ethnic Armenian. The link between Armenian ethnicity and the Armenian Orthodox Church is strong. An estimated 90% of citizens nominally belong to the Armenian Church, one of six ancient autocephalous Eastern churches with its spiritual center (Mother See) located at the Etchmiadzin cathedral and monastery near the capital of Yerevan.
There are small communities of other religious groups, which constitute less than 5% of the population and include Roman Catholics, Armenian Uniate (Mekhitarist) Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Armenian Evangelical Christians, Molokans, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, various groups of charismatic Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Yezidis (non-Muslim Kurds who practice Yezidism), Jews, Sunni Muslim Kurds, Shi'ite Muslims, Baha'is, and others.
Yezidis are concentrated primarily in agricultural areas around Mount Aragats, northwest of Yerevan. Armenian Catholics live mainly in the north, while most Jews, Mormons, Baha'is, and Orthodox Christians reside in Yerevan, along with a small community of mostly Shi'ite Muslims, including Iranians, and temporary residents from the Middle East.
Although the law prohibits foreign funding of foreign-based denominations, the Government did not enforce the ban. Indeed, the Government generally does not enforce existing legal restrictions on religious freedom.
Armenia was traditionally a border state that was kept independent by the Roman Empire against frequent Parthian and later Persian invasions. It served as a buffer state between the empires. Armenia was the first nation to convert to Christianity, in 301 before Christianity was even legal in Rome. Armenia then flourished and its capital Ani was called the "city of a thousand and one churches."
Armenia was converted to Christianity by Saint Gregory the Illuminator, traditionally in 314 AD. Armenia thus became the first nation to embrace Christianity as its state religion. Always an autonomous church, the Armenian Apostolic Church was in communion with the rest of the Christian Church until 555 AD. After that it was communion only with the Monophysite churches, such as the Coptic Church of Egypt, the Ethiopic Church, and the Syrian Jacobite Church.
The Armenian Apostolic Church is headed by the catholicos of all Armenians, whose see has been at the monastery of Echmiadzin, near Yerevan, since 1441. Under his primacy the church is divided into four autonomous jurisdictions: the catholicosate of Echmiadzin; the catholicosate of Cilicia, at Sis (now Kozan, Turkey) from 1293 to 1930 and at Antelias, Lebanon, since 1930; the patriarchate of Jerusalem, created in 1311; and the patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul), created in the 16th century.
By 1200 AD some Armenians came to accept the authority of the Roman Catholic pope. In 1742 they formed the Armenian Catholic Church, with a patriarch residing at Beirut, Lebanon. Armenian Protestantism began with the arrival of American Congregationalist missionaries from Boston in 1830.
Ottoman control of Western Armenia
Following victory over Persia at the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514, the Ottoman Empire extended its rule over western Armenia. In 1555 Armenia was divided between the Shahs of Persia and the Sultans of Turkey.
In traditional Ottoman society the Armenians were defined, as were other Christians and the Jews, as a "dhimmi millet", a non-Muslim religious community of the empire. Their actual treatment by the state varied to some extent with the military fortunes of the empire, the religious passions of its elites, and the encroachment upon their land by Muslim refugees from the Balkans and the Caucasus as well as by Kurdish pastoralists. Normally dhimmis were free to practice their religion, but they were distinctively inferior to Muslims in status. In the nineteenth century the Armenians challenged the traditional hierarchy of Ottoman society as they became better educated, wealthier, and more urban. In response—despite attempts at reforms—the empire became more repressive toward Armenians, who more than any other Christian minority bore the brunt of persecution
Conflict with Ottoman Empire
Conflict between Turks and Armenians resulted from dissimilar cultural elements and social organization. By the end of the 19th century, the Ottoman authorities justified their attacks on Armenians by accusing them of being "revolutionaries, terrorists, and troublemakers acting on behalf of Russia or other foreign powers." Even with the demise of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, the conflict between Turks and Armenians remained unresolved, resulting in contemporary Armenian terrorist attacks on Turkish targets.
The Armenians expected outside assistance in their efforts to break away from Ottoman rule and were led to carry out a number of rash terror actions, including bombing and assassinations. The Russians therefore discouraged the Armenian liberation movement from establishing an independent Armenia on the southern borders of Russia. But the Russian government also took active steps to prevent the massacres of Armenians by Sultan Abdul Hamid.
When Sultan Abdul Hamid II came to power in 1876, he steered a course of political and social repression and technological modernization. But the Empire was the "sick man of Europe" and nationalist revolts among Christian minorities led to the loss of Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania and large parts of Bulgaria, which comprised 40% of the territory. Some 400,000 Muslim refugees were expelled; the Empire became more Muslim and hatred of Christians intensified. The old program of using Christian minorities to speed the modernization process had failed. The Empire was bankrupt and the Christians wanted autonomy, not participation.
In August and September 1894, a series of massacres occurred in the vicinity of Sassun as a result of an uprising that was put down with ferocity by Kurdish irregular cavalry (Hamidieh regiments). The massacres soon spread, and in October and November 1895 there were pogroms at Trabzon, Erzurum, Bitlis, Kurun, Maras, and elsewhere. The essential cause of the massacres lay in the failure of the European powers to secure the reforms envisaged by the Treaty of Berlin for the Asian provinces of the Ottoman Empire. In August 1896 after an attack on the Ottoman Bank in Constantinople a massacre of Armenians occurred in the Ottoman capital; 4,000 to 6,000 Armenians were killed. By the end of 1896 over 80,000 Armenians lad dead in the eastern provinces.
With the advent of World War I the situation became much worse. As Christians in an Empire of Muslims that was now at war with Christian nations, especially Russia, the Armenians were viewed by the Ottoman government as a threat and potential subversive allies of the Russians. The Ottomans first disarmed the Armenian population, and then sought to destroy them starting in 1915. A massive genocide occurred, consisting of the deaths of 600,000 or more Armenian men, women and children. Most died by starvation in the desert. Turkey has never admitted the deaths were a premeditated genocide, and the topic is generally not discussed in Turkey.
Russian control of Eastern Armenia
The Armenians, divided under the rule of the Ottoman Empire and Persia and ravaged by the fighting between them, turned for military assistance and political protection in the 18th and 19th centuries to Russia. The Russian advance along the Caspian and the expansion into Georgia encouraged requests for help. When a 70,000 strong Persian army entered Transcaucasia in 1804, the Russian general Tsitsianov began his advance on Erevan. Many Armenians joined the Russians captured in 1808. In 1810 the Turks and Persians invaded the area, but the Russian commander M. I. Kutuzov routed the Ottoman army on the Danube. Turkey recognized Russian rule in Transcaucasia in the Treaty of Bucharest in 1812. Resounding defeats imposed on the Persians forced the shah to agree in 1813 to the incorporation of a large part of Transcaucasia into the Russian Empire. Russian victories over renewed war with Persia led to the unification of Transcaucasia with Russia, 1829.
After 1828 many Armenians remained in Persia but 45,000 were allowed to migrate to Eastern Armenia on condition they leave behind their houses, property and wares. Following the 1828-29 Russo-Turkish War, about 100,000 Armenians migrated from Turkey to Transcaucasia.
Under Russia, the number of Armenians in the area now represented by present-day Armenia increased from 46,000 in 1827 to 511,000 in 1897. Thus by joining Russia, Eastern Armenia became the home of the national survival of the Armenian people. Despite tsarist restrictions and oppression, the Armenians developed a cultural renaissance and a national awareness which surpassed that of their co-nationals in the Ottoman and Persian empires. During the 19th century the Eastern Armenians (those in Russia) strove for regional autonomy and for the repartition of Transcaucasia into distinct ethnic provinces as well as for personal and collective security. They did not seek national independence but identified with oppositional Russia in an attempt to effect internal reforms.
Being part of Russia opened up new market opportunities and allowed the emergence of capitalism, which brought about socioeconomic changes in almost all the regions of Eastern Armenia, including Zangezur and Kazakh. By the end of the 19th century both Zangezur and Kazakh had become major grain producers, and while Zangezur was also engaged in sericulture, an important occupation in Kazakh was hog raising. The rising class of Armenian businessmen and bankers were centered not so much in Yerevan but in Baku and Tiflis (Tbilisi, Georgia), and sent younger sons to set up business connections in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, Russians occupied the six Armenian vilayets, and Armenian nationalism was stimulated. In 1880, a revolutionary organization known as the Defenders of the Fatherland was organized in Erzurum. A few years later, in 1885, the Armenakan society was organized, and in 1887 the Hunchagian Party appeared. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktzutun) was formed in 1890. The Dashnaks were socialists who sought to overthrow the Tsarist system and create an independent state. They also wanted to acquire the Armenian areas in the Ottoman Empire by force.
Amidst the chaos of Russia in 1918, period the Armenian National Council, with German help, declared the establishment of the Republic of Armenia (May 1918) on the territory of Russian Armenia. While most Armenians desired a democracy in their first chance at independence in 1918-20, for practical reasons they settled for a benevolent dictatorship instead. The government sought a mandate status with Armenia under the control of the United States, but the U.S. Senate rejected the idea, and Armenia was taken over by Soviet Russia in December 1920. Several hundred thousand Armenian refugees at the end of the war were scattered, and most emigrated to California.
The most serious problem between the short-lived Transcaucasian republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan was over the control of a mountainous region called Nagorno-Karabakh, located inside Azerbaijan but with a 75% Armenian population. Britain, which occupied Transcaucasia after World War I, decided in favor of Azerbaijan in the summer of 1919. The settlement remained in force after the Red army took over both republics in 1920, but the Soviets were never able to resolve the dispute, which exploded into war as soon as both nations became independent.
Armenia regained its independence with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1989. Communism was overthrown but there were tensions with neighboring Georgia and a war broke out with the Muslim nation of Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh War was fought over the Nagorno-Karabakh. It is a small region inside Azerbaijan, but the population was three-fourths Armenian and they refused to be ruled by Azerbaijan. The war lasted from February 1988 to May 1994, with the heaviest fighting occurring in the spring of 1992. Some 17,000 people were killed in the conflict. The region, now 95% Armenian, is controlled by Armenia and has a population of 140,000.
Relations with Turkey (a NATO member) remain tense, primarily because Armenia demands, and Turkey refuses, to admit that Turkey was guilty of genocide in 1915. (Turkey says it was not genocide and that the Ottoman Empire was in charge.) As a candidate, President Obama said he would acknowledge the genocide. However, he visited Turkey in 2009 without using the word, which would offend Turkey, an important American ally. The White House released a statement on Armenian Remembrance Day in April that paid tribute to those who died but did not explicitly use the word "genocide".
Cultural trends in Western Armenia (Ottoman)
Armenian names followed traditional formulas. During the 5th-15th centuries the clergy, being traditionalists, used names of two components: Christian and birthplace (George Garnetsi, meaning George of Garni). The nobility could have names of several components: individual's, father's, family's, birthplace, title, and profession. The humbler classes used three-component names: individual's, father's, and family's, like those in Armenia today. The usual surname ending -ian was replaced by -ov or -ev in Russia, by -oghlou or -chi in Western Armenia, and by -ovitch in Poland. Other suffixes denoting surname were -iants, -ents, -onts, and -ounts.
Lives of saints and martyrologies were prevalent Armenian literary genres. Initially martyrology had three components: conflict between the Christian and his heathen torturer; interrogation between judge and defendant; and martyrdom. As political conditions changed, historical truth replaced idealization, superhuman saints became humanized, and visions and miracles gave way to stories of hardships suffered by ordinary individuals as under the Turks.
Of the many 17th century Armenian poets, the best known was Nerses Mokats'i (d. 1625), who studied at the Amrdolu monastery in Bitlis and the Mets Anapat in Siunik'; later he founded a monastic order on the island of Lim in Lake Van. Many works focused on the exile forced on many Armenians and the destruction wrought in Armenia by foreign forces, comparing this with the fate of Jerusalem. The destruction of the Armenian city of T'okhat' in 1602 by the Jalalis was lamented by Step'anos and Hakob T'okhat'ts'i. Simeon Lehats'i (1584-1637) criticized the educational level of the clergy in his historical poem Vipasanut'iun Nikolakan [Nikolian epic]. Many works eulogized cities and monasteries. Others were historical, such as the History of the Ottoman Kings and odes to John III Sobieski and Louis XIV by Eremia Ch'elepi K'eomiurchyan (1637–95).
The religious meditational poem Matyan Oghbergut'yan [Book of lamentations] by the medieval Armenian cleric Grigor Narekats'i (951-1003) was published widely in the 18th century and inspired contemporary poets such as Petros Nakhijevants'i (d. 1784) and Movses Jughayets'i.
The writer, poet, and critic from western Armenia Artashes Harut'iunyan (1874-1915) belonged to the "provincial" school, which took its inspiration directly from the people. In his view the Armenian writing of Constantinople was derivative, being inspired by French romanticism. He corresponded with French and Belgian writers, translated works by Maxim Gorky and Leo Tolstoy, and wrote articles for the French press. His novels portray Armenian village life, one of the best being Zghjume [The regret]. Together with other Armenian intellectuals, he was arrested in April 1915 and murdered.
Cultural trends in Eastern Armenia (Russia)
The making of a modern Armenian nation was an intellectual event that took place largely outside the Armenian heartland in the Armenian communities of Western Turkey, Russia, India, and Europe. It was here that the first generation of patriotic intellectuals emerged. By the 18th century the Armenian language had fragmented into numerous mutually incomprehensible dialects, while any knowledge of Armenian history had been effectively wiped out except among a small group of monks, who copied and recopied the ancient texts. The first modern generation of Armenian patriots undertook a revival of Armenian letters and spread the new nationalism to the next generation of patriotic intellectuals from Western Anatolia and the Armenian colonies of the Russian Empire.
The new literature of the Eastern Armenians which emerged in the mid-19th century resulted in a shift from the antiquated church language, which had dominated the literature of both parts of the country, to the currently used vernacular. The eastern center of its development was finally Yerevan, whose dialect became the adopted literary language of the east. The literature ranged from a romantic to a realist approach.
Despite his short and difficult life, Armenian poet Petros Durian (1851–72) left a rich literary legacy: plays, poetry, and journalistic articles. His historical plays are the first examples of the romantic drama in Armenian literature, and express a deeply democratic mood of the writer; his journalistic writings show that Durian was concerned about contemporary social issues. But his poetry was his greatest contribution, rejecting classicism and descriptiveness, and full of deep feelings. Durian's lyrical hero, with few exceptions, is the poet himself, but his poems express mankind's thoughts and aspirations, and possess great social meaning.
Alexander Yeritsian (1841-1902) was a major Armenian public and literary figure who wrote on historical, archaeological, ethnic, and socioeconomic matters from a national-conservative viewpoint. Yeritsian was well read in European economics, and his views, as expressed in the economic weekly Vacharakan, which started publication in Tiflis in 1866, cover commerce, speculative finance, silver and gold currency, paper money, rise and fall in the value of money, free trade, competition, supply and demand, industry and savings, and other aspects of the world economy of his day.
The Armenian journalist Grigor Artsruni (1845–92) published the first European-style Armenian magazine, Mshak in Tbilisi. As editor and proprietor from 1872 to 1892, he published views on a wide range of contemporary national and international issues: the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, the rise of the Eastern Question, and the Congress of Berlin in 1878, especially as they affected the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire. The newspaper has played an important role in Armenian social and intellectual life, consistently promoting solidarity among Armenians, Russians, and the people of the Caucasus, and promoting economic and cultural ties. During the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78, convinced that the liberation of the Armenian people was possible only with Russia's help, Mshak supported the western Armenians' liberation movement. Encouraging the development of Armenian literature, the newspaper championed critical realism. It broadened the world view of the Armenian press by covering all major events and cultural phenomena. Many Armenian intellectuals contributed to Mshak; the most prominent was the novelist Raffi (pseud. for Hakob Melik` Hakobyan, 1835–88). .
A. Araskhanian (1857-1912), editor of the Armenian monthly Moorch published in Tiflis, 1889-1907, resolved to foster literary cultural progress through the press. Philologists, literary critics, and intellectuals wrote on the history and theory of literature for Moorch and encouraged young writers and initiators of the literature of village life. Moorch enhanced understanding between writers in Eastern Armenia (in Russia) and Western Armenia (in the Ottoman Empire), emphasized the interaction between life and literature, and consistently observed progressive principles in literary criticism.
Gevorg Bashinjaghian (1857-1925) was a leading Armenian landscape painter. Educated at the Petersburg Academy of Art, Bashinjaghian was acquainted with European, Russian, Oriental, and classical Greek and Roman art. His 1883 exhibition in Tiflis of 16 landscapes of Armenia and the Caucasus established Armenian realistic landscape painting as a distinct genre of art. In Italy in 1884, he admired Renaissance art, and in Paris, 1899-1901, he participated in exhibitions with contemporary European artists. He painted several views of Ararat, Lake Sevan, and other Armenian landscapes combining peacefulness, simplicity, and majesty.
Hakob Kochoyan (1883-1959), was a prominent Armenian painter, professor, and lecturer in the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts, famed as an innovator in his style of drawing. Receiving his artistic education and living in Europe before settling in Yerevan in 1922, he expressed the artistic traditions of East and West. His work represents a rich variety of style, theme, genre, and technique in oil, watercolor, gouache, engravings, pencil drawings, and sketches on canvas, stamps, crystal, and china. His paintings and illustrations in books and periodicals deal with Armenian history, natural scenery, folklore, and contemporary life. They express the nation's vitality and durability. His paintings have been exhibited internationally.
Music and song
Valuable poetry and songs were written by Bishop Petros Berdoumian Nakhichevantsi, (d. 1784) erudite theologian and poet. He represents the revival and renovation of 18th century national religious songs, which were meant to combat the weakening in traditional Armenian piety and morals due to the plans of the sultans to assimilate subject nations. Nakhichevantsi witnessed the siege of Nakhichevan in 1740 by the tyrant Tahmaz, and his Elegy expressed the nation's sufferings and the misery of the church. His message to the people is to struggle against tyranny and live a meaningful life.
Armenian folk songs emerged when minstrels transmitted mythological and epic songs orally from generation to generation. Later folk songs reflected every aspect of life: love, religion, humor, patriotism, aspiration for freedom, emigrants' nostalgia, wedding songs, lullabies, dances, and festivities. In 1891 Komitas (1869-1935) started collecting and setting them to music, a program that folklorists have continued. After World War I, floklorists traveled across Europe to systematically collect, set to music, and save thousands of folk songs from permanent loss.
Spiridon Melikian (1880-1933) a student of Komitas, composer, conductor and lecturer, devoted his life to Armenian music. While studying music in Berlin (1905–08) he had his copy of Komitas's collection of Armenian folk songs, which he published in 1931. His expeditions into Armenian villages yielded more than 1,000 folk songs which he set to music. In Tiflis (1909–21) and Erevan Conservatory (1923–33) he conducted choirs, taught theory, trained musicians, and prepared textbooks for music teachers. Apart from his compositions, he published Analysis of Komitas's Work, Scales of Armenian Folk-songs, and Outline of Armenian Music. Two volumes of his folk songs were published posthumously (1949, 1952).
The classical musician Genari Korganov (1858–90) was known as a pianist, composer, and critic. He was the music critic for the Tiflis (Tbilisi) Kavkaz (Caucasus) newspaper, his principal interest being operatic and symphonic works, and gave a number of recitals from 1884 to his sudden death in 1890. The Russian composer Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) dedicated his Armenian Rhapsody to him.
A leading musician of the 20th century was Armen Tigranian (1879-1950) of Yerevan. In 1912 he composed his opera "Anush", based on Hovhannes Toumanian's dramatic ballad reflecting Armenian village life. Reedited in its final form in 1939, Anush has been popular with Armenians everywhere. Tigranian's second opera, "Davit-Bek" (started during World War II and finished in 1949) was inspired by an 18th century national freedom fighter. Tigranian's music is melodious, lyric, and closely linked with traditional Armenian secular and church songs, truly the music of the people, composed with inspiration, talent, and technical skill.
The most important Armenian composer was Aram Khachaturian (1903–78). Born in Tiflis, he moved to Moscow in 1924 and built his careeer there. he was an enthusiastic Communist until his music was condemned by the Party in 1948.
In the Armenian diaspora, important cultural leaders have included writers Michael Arlen (1895-1956) in Britain, Arthur Adamov (1911–70) and Henri Troyat in France, and William Saroyan (1908-1981) in California. The prolific composer Alan Hovhannes (1908-2000), based in Boston and New York, drew upon Armenian church music to produce major classical compositions.
Stepan Malkhassiants (1857-1947) was a philologist, lexicographer, prolific author on Armenology, and founding member of the Armenian Academy of Sciences. His philological works and translations from ancient to modern Armenian made national classics accessible to the masses. His Armenian Explanatory Dictionary, explaining all words of ancient, middle, and modern Armenian in all dialects as well as loan words, is a model work of its kind.
Garo Sassouni (1889-1977), intellectual, author, journalist, educator, and public figure, was born in western Armenia. He received a law degree from the University of Constantinople. He became a member of the parliament of the Independent Republic of Armenia and a provincial governor. After the fall of the republic he went abroad and became a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Committee. He wrote a large number of Armenian-language historical and cultural studies.
The historian Ashot Hovhannisyan (1887-1972) studied in Germany where he received his doctorate in 1913. In 1920 he was a member of the Soviet Russian delegation sent to negotiate with the government of Armenia. Subsequently, he held a number of educational and political posts. Arrested in 1937, he resumed his historical studies in 1954 and was appointed director of the Historical Section of the Armenian Academy of Sciences in 1961. During this period he published several important works, the principal one being his Drvagner Hay Azatagrakan Mtk'i Patmut'yan [Episodes in the history of the concept of Armenian liberation].
Under the totalitarian Soviet regime, historiographical policy was laid down by the Party authorities and imposed through the Academy of Sciences. As a consequence, 19th-20th century Armenian history could not be analyzed critically. The events of 1917-21 had to be discussed purely from a class point of view, suppressing national aspects. In medieval studies, Armenian history of the 12th and 13th centuries could not be based on primary evidence; the religious T'ondrakian movement had to be presented purely as a social phenomenon. Nevertheless, many good studies were published, especially on the ancient and medieval periods. There were also some positive aspects of Soviet policy, such as the establishment of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 1943.
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