Armavir residents demand to remove memorial plaque to Nazi supporter

Armavir residents are demanding to remove the memorial plaque to a Nazi supporter.

The scandal around the memorial board to the leader of the Armenian national liberation movement of the late 19th - early 20th centuries Garegin Nzhdeh is unfolding. 

"How can it be so? They set a plaque to an Armenian leader, who cooperated with Nazis, next to the memorial plaques to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War."

Armavir residents are outraged with the fact. They found a memorial complex with the name of the one who supported fascists in the territory of a local temple. 

Before the Great Patriotic War Nzhdeh was an Armenian military and statesman, the  founder of a new national ideology. But in 1941 he took Germany's side, hoping that after the victory of the fascists in the war with the USSR, Armenia would regain its independence. Therefore, he joined the "Armenian National Council" created in Berlin in 1942 and called upon his fellow countrymen to fight against the Soviet Union. Nzhdeh was sentenced to 25 years for cooperation with the fascists. But the Armenian leader did not come out of prison and died of a serious illness in 1955.

And just 57 years later a memorial plaque to this man was set in Armavir (Nzhdeh has nothing to do with that city, simply his countrymen live here). It was set together with a memorial plaque to another leader of the Armenian national liberation movement, Russian army major-general Andranik Ozanyan. And a year later the names of two Soviet Union heroes - Ivan Bagramyaan and Amazasp Babajanyan appeared on the memorial plaque 

"I think that such a neighborhood of a traitor with real heroes is simply unacceptable," said Armavir resident, lawyer Ilya Khlopkov. "I visited the territory of the temple and saw this memorial. And when I found out when it was established, it turned out that it was built on the initiative of the youth committee at the Armavir branch of the Union of Armenians of Russia. Why was it necessary to place a person who voluntarily cooperatedwith the Third Reich on the same board? The organizers of this memorial were not even confused with the fact that Garegin Nzhdeh, convicted to 25 years in prison, was never rehabilitated. But the criterion for installing a memorial plaque to any person is based on the undoubted merit to the society, and all achievements must have official recognition and confirmation by appropriate documents.

Residents of Armavir planned to go to the prosecutor's office, so that the law enforcers could investigate this matter. But it turned out that they did not appeal to the church.

"It is the first time that I hear from you that someone does not like the memorial plaque to Garegin Nzhdeh installed on the territory of our church. Nobody came to us with complaints and demand to remove it," said the rector of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Archpriest Makar. "For us, Nzhdeh is a man who fought for the rights of Armenians, and we do not consider him a traitor!"

The Union of Armenians of Russia reported that the activists of the city every year demand to take down the memorial plaque to Nzhdeh.

"The FSB department of Armavir is dealing with this issue. They sent a request to the central archive in Moscow, but there was no confirmation that Garegin Nzhdeh really cooperated with the fascists. Actually, in general there is no answer from this structure. Although this issue has already been raised repeatedly in our city," said Grigory Karapetyan, chairman of the local branch of the Union of Armenians of Russia in Armavir. "And if Nzhdeh really committed crimes against the Russian people, we would have removed the plaque long ago. He did nothing against the USSR, he was against the Turks who committed 'genocide' against the Armenians. He is the hero of our nation, he fought for the independence of Armenia. By the way, we have put a plaque not only to Garegin Nzhdeh, but also to three more representatives of our people. These are outstanding people who have done a great deal not only for the Armenians, but also for the Soviet Union. At the time, the same Nzhdeh was an officer of the tsarist army, and faithfully served the ruler.


"The memorial is in a private territory, we did not open anything"

"The mayor's office has nothing to do with the installation of this memorial plaque, we did not open anything on the territory of the temple," sources in the Armavir administration told Komsomolskaya pravda - Kuban

 "We only submitted a request to the State Archive of the country - it was back in 2012. We asked them to give an official answer whether this person, whose name is to appear on the memorial plaque, collaborated with the fascists and is a criminal. But we still have not received an answer, though five years have passed. The very same memorial appeared in the private territory.


But historians think differently.

"First, the territory of the temple is not private. This is a public place visited by people. Secondly, yes, it is a nation who chooses its heroes. And while it is admissible in the territory of Armenia - last year a memorial to Garegin Nzhdeh was opened in Yerevan, I think in our country a memorial plaque to that person is unacceptable," says Cuban historian Sergey Novikov, "It is a propaganda of national-socialism! And the fact that such plaques open in our region without any historical or archaeological substantiation is certainly wrong, because no one has the right to perpetuate the name of any person without special permission. It is necessary to raise the issue of replacing the plaque in Armavir."


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