Are Nazi criminals glorified in Russia?

​Less than two months is left before the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi regime. And on January 27, the world marked the 70th anniversary of liberation of Polish town of Auschwitz by the Soviet Army , where one of the worst Nazi death camps - Auschwitz-Birkenau was located. In this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again emphasized the inadmissibility of rewriting history:  «These crimes can not have any period of limitation, they will not be forgiven, they will not be forgotten.

Any attempt to silence these events, to distort, to rewrite history are unacceptable and immoral»

Russia has always strictly opposed attempts to justify the Nazis and their accomplices. However, the big concern is the fact that today Russian media and cultural space of our country can become channels presenting criminals as heroes. Recalling an interview with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Russia Oleg Yesayan, published in "Literature newspaper," December 17, 2014 would be enough. Therein, he stated the following: «Prominent son of our nation Karekin Nzhdeh believed that "the supreme rule of life is to fight as a means of self-identity, identity of society and the state. This struggle is reflected in the steady pursuit of progress of the country and the people».  And before that, in 2013, there was a presentation ceremony of a film about this very Nzhdeh in Moscow.


Incpetion of bloody history

Most probably for the majority of the readers the name of Karekin Nzdeh mentioned by the Armenian ambassador will not say anything. Therefore, we should reveal some pages from his bibliography. Garegin Ter-Harutyunyan, known as Karekin Nzhdeh, was born in January 1886 in Nakhichevan. Participated in the activities of the "revolutionary", and according to many people,  the Armenian terrorist groups. After the 1917 revolution Njdeh engaged in the formation of the "Armenian National Army" immediately organizing the war with Azerbaijan. What was done against them by Njdeh and his supporters in Vedibasar, Eastern Anatolia and Nakhichevan, might well be called the bloody ethnic cleansing.

In 1921, after the "Sovietization" of Armenia Njdeh moved to Europe. In 1933, he attepmted to kill the Turkish ambassador in Washington. After Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany Njdeh began to create organization of pro-Hitler "Tseghakron" in the Armenian diaspora - probably a cross between a political party, a terrorist organization and a religious sect. In 1942, he personally went to Berlin to pay his respects to the Fuehrer, and then proceeded to create the Armenian legion in the Wehrmacht. Drastamat Kanayan, better known as General Dro helped him with this. As pointed out in the writings of Austrian historian Eric Feigl, in December 1942 Dro visited Himmler. "Dro had practice and experience to kill without feeling any remorse - Himmler was very impressed with this - says Eric Feigl. - Nor Dro neither Himmler cared that they themselves sent people to death. About 30 thousand armenians responded to Dro’s call and joined the Nazis.  

Thus, the 809th Armenian infantry battalion was transferred to Ukraine and Poland, where it took part in anti-partisan operations.Here, the battalion won praise from the commander of the Wehrmacht in Ukraine - Gittsinger and the commander of the eastern parts - Major-General Ilgen. Noteworthy attention deserve the activities of the Sonderkommando "Dromedar" which was named after General Dro. In April 1943, it has been organizing reconnaissance and sabotage activities in the rear of the troops of the North Caucasus Front. In April 1943, she it  been organizing reconnaissance and sabotage activities in the rear of the troops of the North Caucasus Front. There is a document in the Central Archives of the Russian FSS has a document stating that «During the occupation of Rostov-on-Don in August 1942,  a group of Armenian nationalists led by General Dro arrived. The Group had the authority on the formation of voluntary legion of Caucasian nationalities to fight against the Soviets, who had to libarate Armenia from the Bolsheviks at the time of the entry of German troops to the Caucasus.  The group of up to 100 people was formed during the stay of Dro in Rostov-on-Don». In the book of Azerbaijani historian Rovshan Mustafayev "Tango of Death" many facts of complicity of the Armenian forces in the genocide of Jews are provided. and in particular, the report of the very Sonderkommando "Dromedar" about the operation in Western Crimea. "From 16 November to 15 December 1941 i17,645 Jews, 2504 Karaite , 824 gypsy and 212 partisans were shot. Simferopol, Evpatoria, Alushta, Karasubazar, Kerch and Feodosiya, as well as other areas of Western Crimea are cleared of Jews "- stated Rovshan Mustafayev.

Nazism arises

Drastamat Kanayan managed to evade responsibility for the crimes: after capitulation of Germany, he moved to the US and ended his days in Boston. The fate of the Nzhdeh, however, turned out differently. In 1944 he moved back to Bulgaria, hoping that he would be “covered” for his past activities. But Hitler's accomplice was arrested and handed over to the Soviet command. Nzhdeh was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his cleansing conducted in 1920 and 1921 and died in Vladimir Central in 1955. Nevertheless, today in Armenia, being considered a close ally of Russia, a large-scale cult for Dro and Nzhdeh is created. In their honor commemorative coins are mint, films and documentaries are shot, and a square in Yerevan is named after Garegin Nzhdeh. It should be emphasized that, the cult is not carried out by marginal political groups – the state itself stands behind all these actions.  So much so, that after the establishment of the Armenian Academy of CSTO,  Institute for National Strategic Studies after Drastamat Kanayan of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia expressed its willingness to cooperate with newly established body. Armenian Diaspora activists organize regular pilgrimages to the prison cemetery in Vladimir Central, where Njdeh was buried, preferring not to mention, the reason why he was imprisoned there. There are even thoughts about building a monument after Nzheh. The question arises: Is it true that Russia categorically rejects attempts to rehabilitate Nazism? If so, why there is no response to the cult Drastamat Kanayan and Nzhdeh in Armenia, and now in Russia?

Veterans Against Fascism.

Does not this mean that, from view point of Moscow it is not acceptable to  turn Hitler’s accomplices into prominent heroes in Ukraine and other Baltic States, whereas it is now acceptable for Armenia – a close ally of Russia. What is it - "double standards" or a simple "inattentiveness"? 

Armenia's attempts to create national heroes from Dro and Nzhdeh already attracted attention of World War II veterans who applied to Vladimir Putin for this occasion with a letter.

"Unfortunately we watch the Republic of Armenia being subject to distortion of historical truth and indefatigable praise of collaborators – write the veterans to the Russian President. The paradox is, organizers of a presentation of a book about Nzhdeh in Armenia, hold the view that Nzdeh’s ideas are more topical today more than ever, and should be promoted in the modern society. Moreover, a film is demonstrated in Moscow with participation of Russian film stars presenting Nszdeh as a hero.  Thus, the Russian theater and film makers need to be more vigilant when choosing one or another role, so as not to fall into such troubles.

We are disappointed by the fact that in a country being a successor of the Soviet Union, praised the fascist traitors are being praised, in spite of the fact that has always actively opposed the rewriting of history and distortion of realities of World War II.Today traitors are presented as "patriots", "ideological fighters" against communism and "Stalin's regime." But these fascist lackeys who rampaged, raped and killed civilians, have no excuse... Of course, a special relationship exists between Russia and Armenia. The two countries have close political, economic, cultural and historical connections. And it is a common history, in which the representatives of the two nations stood shoulder to shoulder in the battle against fascism, offends the memory of the fallen by making heroes from war criminals. And specially outraging is the fact that this happens in the year of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory "