One hundred years ago - on 24 April 1915, the leadership of the Ottoman Empire issued a decree ordering the elimination of Armenian secret organizations that were openly engaged in subversive and terrorist activities. As many as 2,345 Armenian committee members were arrested. The reason for such an action was another uprising in the province of Van, where the Armenian terrorists, killing all Muslims that lived in and around the city, took the side of Russia which fought against Turkey. The fact that now this date is celebrated as the anniversary of "Armenian genocide" can surely be called the greatest trick of world historiography, as the absurdity and paradoxicality of this phenomenon is evident. This year, there is a special hysteria of the Armenians worldwide because of a good round figure. The process of "recognizing" the events of 1915 has seemingly involved everybody - from porn star Kim Kardashian to Pope Francis I.
The recognition of "genocide" by Turkey may well result, according to a notorious theory, in territorial and financial contributions for Armenians. But there is the other side of the story. For example, can the Armenians really get the territories of six "Ottoman vilayets" where they lived until 1915? Will an Armenian, who has comfortably settled somewhere on the Pacific coast of the United States, be willing to move to live in the Hakkari Mountains, where there is no peace and stability today even without newcomers? Are there many Armenians who have voluntarily settled in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan after a ceasefire agreement? Of course not! Even Armenian refugees from Syria did not wish to stay there, whereas the return of Armenians to Anatolia is absolutely out of the question. The prospects of levying financial contribution from Turkey are extremely uncertain, either. Then why are the Armenians so zealous in trying to make everybody recognize what has never existed in history?! Or is it just necessary to continually maintain this topic relevant and hot?
Several years ago, a video was posted on the Internet showing a young representative of the Armenian diaspora in the United States talking to US Vice President Joe Biden. On the video, answering the young man's question "what he should tell the Armenian community on the issue of recognition," Biden replied: "Tell them that it was the Armenian president who called us and said that we should not force this issue" (the process of recognition of "genocide". - Ed.).
So why doesn't Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan wish to force the recognition of "Armenian genocide"? After all, logically speaking, he is the one who should be interested in this step more than anyone else. Isn't this the goal of all Armenians worldwide who strive to achieve it, as they themselves say, for the sake of "historical justice"? Apparently, the real situation is somewhat different.
To date, of 10.5 million Armenians living on the globe, more than eight million live outside the Republic of Armenia and constitute the global Armenian diaspora, referred to as "Spyurk" in Armenian. The idea of "Armenian genocide" and the pursuit of its recognition at all possible levels is the only factor cementing the cohesion of the Armenian diaspora. Hatred towards the neighbouring Turks and masochism, with which leaders of the Armenian diaspora seek to prove the tragedy of falsified century-old historical events to their rank-and-file members and the world in general, have a single objective - to join the chain links within the diaspora, as well as between the diaspora and Armenia. However, there is a much more important reason for playing the card of "genocide", and that is a financial reason. Every year, almost all more or less important structures of the Armenian diaspora carry out activities among its members, which result in banal extortion and collection of donations for the "great Armenian course".
How does it happen?
Let us assume that there is an Armenian diaspora organization in one of the European or US cities. It is important to mention that the core of such organizations is often constituted by members of the Dashnaktsutyun Party - the most powerful and infamous organization among the Armenians that specializes in the "Armenian issue". So, this Armenian diaspora organization gathers citizens of Armenian descent for various events several times a year. Event participants can typically be divided into four groups: (a) wealthy elderly pensioners who have long received the citizenship of the country of residence and primarily wish to participate in public affairs late in their lives. They also serve as "living witnesses of that horror" for other participants in the action; (b) local officials, prominent personalities or celebrities - to enhance the effect and create the impression that the "West is with us"; (c) a crowd of extras represented by local Armenian youths or students from Armenia; and finally, (d) rich Armenian businessmen and relatively successful persons of Armenian origin. The latter are perhaps the main victims of such events because any programme has an unoriginal finale, where everybody is asked to "donate as much as they can for achieving the 'great Armenian idea'." The reasons for extortion can vary - from attempting to bribe legislators of different levels to recognize the "genocide" to constructing a school in an Armenian village in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, creating conditions for Armenian refugees from Syria, etc.
It is possible to decline the request for donation, of course, but the consequences may be hard to predict. Suffice it to mention the historical practice of Dashnaks to punish rich Armenians who did not share their wealth for the sake of "common cause". On the other hand, donations can to a certain extent benefit rich Armenians too, but we shall dwell on this later. Thus, the event has been held and the money has been collected, but its destination is known to a very limited number of people.
Where do the donations end up?
There are hundreds of different Armenian sociopolitical, youth and cultural organizations functioning inside the Armenian diaspora. Taking a closer look at the activity of some organization or other, one can learn how the schemes of making profit on Armenian donations work. One of the main links of a large chain is the "Hayastan" All-Armenian Fund. Its web-site says that the Fund was established by a decree of the President of Armenia in 1992 as the only organization of its kind, designed to unite Armenians in Armenia and abroad. Twenty-five branches operating in 22 countries around the world actively participate in and contribute to the activity of the Fund. According to its Charter, the Fund is managed by a Board of Trustees headed by the incumbent president of Armenia. The Board also includes senior Armenian clergymen of various churches, representatives of the leadership of the Republic of Armenia and the separatist regime of Nagornyy Karabakh, and members of political parties.
The Fund has implemented projects worth a total of more than 251m dollars. Meanwhile, many representatives of the Armenian diaspora have now begun to publish incriminating facts about the Fund. "The money that we donate blindfold to the "Hayastan" All-Armenian Fund has failed to prevent mass immigration over the past 22 years. Instead, it has contributed to the enrichment of the successful fund management," a Facebook page named "Diaspora Armenians Support The People's Movement" says. In their address, they refer to the report of well-known investigative journalist Ara Manoogian called "To Donate or Not to Donate?" in which he revealed gray and criminal schemes of donated money laundering.
Misuse of donations is demonstrated especially clearly by the activity of Marushak Petrosyan, the first president of the Fund, who was supported by the former head of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Over the six years of her reign, she managed to build luxury villas for herself and members of the Board of Trustees, erect a mansion near the parliament building in downtown Yerevan, purchase bars and shoe shops. Almost all of the Fund's construction projects in Armenia were implemented by construction companies owned by high-ranking officials or their close associates. There have also been numerous cases where historical buildings constructed or renovated by the Fund were then privatized by senior officials or members of their families.
As reported by the Armenian press, in 2007 alone, the "Hayastan" All-Armenian Fund allocated about 1m dollars from the diaspora donations to build a yachting and entertainment club within the Kaputak Sevan hotel complex owned by Bella Kocharyan, the wife of the second president of Armenia. To what extent this decision was influenced by Robert Kocharyan, who was known for his passion for windsurfing, is an open question.
Between 2006 and 2007, more than 9m dollars was invested by the Fund in the development of infrastructure of Tsakhkadzor resorts which accommodate the leisure facilities owned by Armenian oligarchs. Thus, Robert Kocharyan and his friends have saved tens of millions of dollars of their own funds earmarked for business development. In October 2013, it was found that Albert Boyajian, a businessman from Los Angeles and a member of the Board of Trustees of the "Hayastan" Fund, transferred a multimillion dollar amount to the account of the Chairman of the Armenian Control Chamber for the construction of a mansion.
Raffi Hovannisian, one of the former leaders of the "Hayastan" Fund and now the leader of the Heritage opposition party, openly called this structure an "organization carrying out put-up jobs ordered by politicians and thieves". It is no coincidence that the transparency of the Fund's expenses is controlled by oligarch and Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan, who is one of the most corrupt officials in Armenia.
According to experts, the participants in charity telethons and campaigns conducted "in the name of national ideas" are also motivated by the possibility to dodge taxes. Thus, being issued a document certifying the making of a contribution that is severalfold greater than the actual size of the donation, a participant is enabled to conceal a lot of money from tax assessment.
Speaking about financial fraud and personal enrichment of Armenian leaders on a "common woe", one cannot but mention the Armenian Church, an institution that historically used the "suffering of the Armenian people" to satisfy their financial appetite.
Last summer, priests from around the world sent a letter to the Zham.am site complaining about the activities of Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II. Despite the fact that the Holy Echmiadzin is famous for its unprecedented wealth, as stated in the letter, officials of the New York Armenian Diocese have got tired of the visits of Garegin II's tax collectors who demand tens of thousands for the needs of the church. According to one of the drafters of the letter, Father Akop, "no one is any longer surprised by unexpected calls telling about the forthcoming visit of the Catholicos. We understand that Garegin II has once again decided to have as much as he pleases, without the required consent of the Trustees. And should that be not enough, the Catholicos would ask, without a hint of embarrassment, for 100,000 [dollars] and return to his homeland. Such "scenarios" of self-invited visits have become frequent in France, Switzerland, China and Hong Kong, where there are rich Armenians with known and unknown bank accounts from which the money migrates to the Catholicos's accounts without any reporting, filling the coffers of Garegin II which dwarf Ali Baba's treasure. Will there be an end to these shameful acts any time soon? Is there at least one brave man among the Armenians who could stop this gang?" a co-author of this letter asks.
The separatist regime of Nagornyy Karabakh cannot refrain from plundering donations, either. Of the many examples, suffice it to give probably the most banal one: at the end of 2013, the "Hayastan" All-Armenian Fund organized a charity telethon to raise funds for the construction of roads in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. As a result, no roads were built, though the so-called government of the "Nagornyy Karabakh Republic" allocated 250,000 dollars for the purchase of expensive cars for officials. It should be noted that Permanent Representative of the "NKR" to the USA Robert Avetisyan is a great expert and specialist in the disbursement of donated money.
All of the above is only a tiny fraction of the machinations by which the Armenian bigwigs, using simple schemes, misappropriate donations of the Armenian diaspora made for the "implementation of national ideas" including the recognition of "Armenian genocide", "assistance to refugees", "support to Nagornyy Karabakh", etc. In order to "blag" diaspora representatives, one needs a lot of sad "historical legends" and "modern horrors" such as a story about the attack of Islamists on the Syrian city of Kesap inhabited by Armenians. The greater is the horror and mysticism, the more money can be extorted. So, who is the real enemy of the Armenian people? The neighbouring Turks, who lived with the Armenians in peace and harmony for centuries, or opportunistic nationalists, whose greed has become unbearable even overseas?