Why is Nzhdeh cult so dangerous?

Mamikon Babayan, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Why is Nzhdeh cult so dangerous?

In 2020, the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory of the Soviet people over fascism will be celebrated. For the entire post-Soviet space, this is one of the most important dates in modern history. The war claimed lives of millions of Soviet citizens. Any attempts to silence those who speak about these events, distort them, rewrite history are immoral. Russia has always harshly suppressed attempts to rehabilitate the Nazis and their accomplices. However, today there's concern that some criminals are being elevated to the rank of heroes.

A vivid example of glorification of Nazi collaborators is the recently erected monument in the center of Yerevan to Garegin Ter-Harutyunyan, better known under pseudonym Nzhdeh. A large-scale cult of Nzhdeh has been created in Armenia, which is considered to be a close ally of Russia: there are postage stamps in his honor, feature films and documentaries are being made, celebratory events are held annually by representatives of Armenian diaspora with the aim to promote work of Garegin Nzhdeh. In 2017, a scandal broke out in Russia's Armavir around memorial plaque that featured the name of Garegin Ter-Harutyunyan, naturally, without mentioning his "merits" when he worked together with the Nazis. Modern Armenians are starting to forget that Nzhdeh was convicted by Soviet court as a war criminal. By the way, any attempts to promote the memory of ataman Petr Krasnov as a huge figure in the history of Cossacks were never allowed, since Russia is against the very fact of collaboration with Hitler and there's no way of rehabilitation.

Why, in one case, the memory of the war criminal is forgotten and attempts to revise it are not allowed, and in other the criminal and accomplice of the Nazis are not only rehabilitated, but also promoted as “freedom fighter”? The Nzhdeh cult is not propagated by the forces of some marginal political groups, but by the actions of leadership of the entire state, which basically betrays the memory and feat of the Armenian people. Armenian ideologists frantically search for new national symbols that are not related to the Soviet past, but the ideology of Garegin Ter-Harutyunyan and others like him is simple chauvinism; You can talk about Nzhdeh as much as you want, call him "patriot" and "defender" of the interests of Armenian people, but the fact is that he worked with the Nazis, his work contributed to deaths of Soviet soldiers, including Armenians.

The feat of Armenian people is inseparable from the feat of the Georgian, Azerbaijani, Russian, Ukrainian and other peoples. Promotion of Nzhdeh leads to trampling on memory of peoples who fought side by side and for whom Ter-Harutuyunyan is nothing more than a simple collaborator. Installation of commemorative signs in Armavir is simply unthinkable. Obviously, the image of Nzhdeh is deeply mythologized, and speculation in favor of theory that Nzhdeh helped Hitler in order to save Armenians in German captivity can be seen as a manifestation of naivety, and even that doesn't justify betrayal.