28.6.14

From Russia with Mania

Vartan Matiossian

A certain "Arevagal" has been cluttering my inbox--and of many other people, probably--for the past three years. Instead of blocking him, I have preferred to use the "Delete" button without even reading most of the time. However, some of his Russomane rants have provided comic relief. 
His latest, "Russians Are Once Again Warning Armenia" (June 14, 2014), has also been a source of entertainment. As in some other cases (*), I thought it would be fair to acknowledge it.
Disclaimer 1: 
I cannot take seriously someone who happens to be, by own confession, "a Diasporan Armenian of Cilician heritage and one that does not speak any Russian," and, notwithstanding this, has set to teach lessons on the most intricate aspects of Russian politics.  
Disclaimer 2: I do not mind people who are pro- or philo- anything, as everyone is entitled to his or her own views, but I can hardly stand sycophants, be them of mother Russia or of any other object of idolatry. 


I will not dwell into his theories about how the West took advantage of the weakening of Russia in the early 1990s "by saturating Armenia with financial aid (i.e. palatable term for government bribes), large numbers of activists, mercenaries, subversive organizations popularly known as Non-Government-Organizations (NGOs) and Globalese - the English language, the catalyst upon which all the aforementioned travel upon." Of course, those are despicable actions that Russia would have never done, either in those years, or after starting its comeback in the late 1990s. Among many other things (he is an "expert" in politics, although he probably has never set a foot in a class of political science), he has the following to pontificate about Western (e.g. Anglo-American) culture and language, and its perils to Armenia:
"The English language has thus become a catalyst of corrosive change and a tool of manipulation and conditioning. When it comes to English, unbeknownst to the sheeple, alongside Shakespeare also comes the very toxic tenets of Globalism. Multiculturalism, interracialism, anti-nationalism, anti-Christianity, corporatization, consumerism, individualism and the promotion of sexual perversions, GMOs, junk foods, medications, violence, feminism and homosexuality travels very close behind the spread of the English language around the world."
But the "sheeple" knows what comes alongside the Russian language. They have actually learned it first hand for seventy years on their skin, not by sitting comfortably in a basement of Queens, New York and making claims such as "Knowing firsthand the destructive nature of Westernization, knowing firsthand the hostility the Western political establishment holds towards Armenia, knowing firsthand the political ignorance and self-destructive streak prevailing inside a good cross-section of Armenians today..." You cannot know "firsthand the destructive nature of Westernization," unless you moved to the West after living under a stone; you cannot know "firsthand the hostility the Western political establishment..." since you are not a member of that political establishment; you cannot know "firsthand the political ignorance..." because even if you spend your summer vacations in Armenia, you probably hang out with your own ilk, e.g. navel-gazers.
Our know-nothing, after rendering knee-jerk tribute to the latest views of Russian politicians and pundits about Western presence in Armenia, and rehashing the blatant xenophobia perceived in some circles of the big brother of the North and outpouring into similar circles in Armenia--whatever happens in Russia does not stay in Russia--adds the following remarks about Armenia and the Diaspora as good self-hating Armenian that he seems to be. One wishes that he could properly contextualize Saroyan's phrase, written in 1935, but you cannot ask that from people who feed their ignorance from words and phrases taken out of context:
"Armenia is a nation today that is suffering terribly from a deficit of farsighted officials, professionals, intellectuals and pragmatic nationalists. The reigns of power in the nation today are in the hands of illiterate peasants, greedy monopolists and Western mercenaries. There is a virtual absence of sober-minded and farsighted nationalism in Armenian society today. The modern Armenian is too spineless, too selfish, too ostentatious, too moneygrubbing, too clannish, too politically ignorant and too enthralled by Western fairytales to do things that are actually in the long-term interests of the Armenian homeland. In fact, for a few dollars - or a Green Card - the typical Armenian in Armenia today is fully capable, wittingly or unwittingly, of laying waste to his or her homeland. Sadly, the overall situation is even sadder in the once proud Armenian Diaspora. The typical Diasporan today, the vast majority perhaps, is too busy assimilating in their beloved lands where - 'when two of them meet... see if they will not create a New Armenia.' And for most of those small numbers of Diasporans who  have anything to do with the Armenian homeland, Armenia has unfortunately become something like an exotic zoo or a laboratory where to concoct their volatile sociopolitical experiments."
Of course, our neo-Commie (**) genius has issued a "call for all Western-funded organizations such as Civilitas, Pre-Parliament, Radio Liberty, Lragir, Hetq, and ArmeniaNow to be shutdown and their key staff members placed either under surveillance or simply expelled from the country as foreign agents." Nothing strange here, as he is not exactly a believer in that "con job" called democracy, which entails something called freedom of expression.  Programs that, supposedly, "propagate Russophobia, homosexuality, multiculturalism, feminism and Turkish-Armenian reconciliation" are far from being his cup of tea.  Armenian students who learn English to get acquainted with the rest of the world, instead of learning Russian as their parents were forced one way or another during the Soviet years, are just the usual suspects: foreign agents.(***)
You can love Russia as much as you want, or come back from Russia with love, but when you get to the point of mania, then there is something extremely wrong. Perhaps Arevagal has not yet moved to Moscow to be closer to his source of eternal knowledge because he wants to fight our beatific ignorance within the freedom that his despised West offers, where something called First Amendment protects democracy-haters like him, even if he prefers to hide behind a comic nickname: he signs his rants as Arevagal ("sunrise"), while the signature in his blog is Arevordi ("son of the sun"). Perhaps he lives in a alternate reality, where the sun rises from the north...
In any case, it would be unfair to clowns, who usually provide us with comic relief, if I called him "clown." There is a better category: sock puppet.

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(*) See "Just Doom and Gloom," Armeniaca, February 2, 2012; "Do Not Insult Our Intelligence Anymore," Armeniaca, February 24, 2013; "'Gasoline Revolution' in Yerevan?," Armeniaca, November 6, 2013.
(**) Is there another way to call an advocate for the return of Armenia to a reconstituted Soviet Union? ("Therefore, for its own long-term good, Armenia will be brought fully into the Russian orbit either willingly or by force. Needless to say, it's better we Armenians put aside our illusions of grandeur, sober-up and do this inevitable willingly and effectively, lest we risk getting raped by our wonderful neighbors once more.") Of course, a far-right winger like him could argue that he pleads for the restoration of the Russian Empire. But how different are a neo-Commie and a neo-Con(nie)? Former Communists turned into virulent conservatives are not a surprise for anyone who follows political developments in the former Soviet Union.
(***) Someone who regards "elements within the ARF (specifically those located in the Diaspora), elements throughout the American-Armenian community, those in Armenia living off Western grants, Western-funded NGOs, Western funded news organizations, Western-funded political parties like Raffi Hovanissian's Heritage party and of course Paruyr Hayrikian's zombies" as the "usual suspects" should look into getting a check from the FSB (Federal Security Service, the post-Soviet replacement of the KGB) as a token of appreciation for his services. Incidentally, he sounds like the postings of one "Harutik" who has shown once in a while in the online comments of The Armenian Weekly, "a disgusting ARF affiliated filth." Whoever runs into filth risks becoming filthy, doesn't he?

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