Armenian Survival

"True, the area of Russian Armenia is small, but it is larger than the state of Massachusetts, and Massachusetts was at one stage the cradle of the American government. True, the population is not great, but it is somewhat more than 1,000,000, including a blend of 500,000 refugees from the border provinces of Turkey, with a third 500,000 already living in Russian regions not far away. True, the little country is not independent; if it were it probably would be wiped off the map. The Armenian people now have the nucleus of their own national homeland. Volumes of statistics include Armenian as one of the several languages officially recognized by the government at Moscow. They have their own officials chosen for, by, and of the people. Human welfare depends very much on the officials who administer government as well as on the laws spread upon the statute books. They also have their own schools and university; their own historic culture and hopes of gradual solution of differences and economic development; their family life and ancestral churches, though the prevailing attitude of officials in Moscow and among Russian citizens generally is anti-ecclesiastic, if not definitely anti-religious. True, Russian authority encircles and includes the little republic, and conformity is required in all the essentials. True, collectivism from the angle of the Slav is in control, but that means in this location work for every worker and food for every eater without capitalism or capitalists.

The Promising Land, as Armenians now regard it, is about the size of Holland or Belgium, but each of these countries furnishes a home for several million inhabitants. The soil of the Leninakhan Valleys is of famed fertility if given water, and as already remarked, old irrigation projects are in process of renewal and extension. Considerable electric power is already in use. Cereals and other food, including fruits, are already fairly abundant. The production of cotton has been increased, and with their Armenian ability as industrialists, their mills are already weaving to supply Russian needs beyond Armenian boundaries. Not only locally, but in the city of Tiflis and the national capital at Moscow, Armenians are found in government positions. Small minorities of Turks and Kurds in the country we are glimpsing, with their own schools and folk-ways, are said to be quite satisfied among their old neighbors. Russian Armenia does not reach the sea, and it has no separate port; but Batoum is the open and adequate port for all trans-Caucasia, and under the Russian system, there are no trade barriers between the different provinces. Erivan is on almost the same latitude as Philadelphia."

[From: George E. White's "Adventuring With Anatolia College", p. 178/9 (Herald-Register Publishing Company, Grinnell, Iowa, March 1940)]

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