26 January this year in the Ukrainian village Bereznuvivka (Dnipropetrovsk region) buried a young native of the village. His name was Sergey Nigoyan. Sergei died on January 23 in Kiev, during the time of the famous clashes on Grushevskogo street. On the "euromaidan" Nigoyan was from December 8 to the day of his death. First, as a sympathizer, then as an activist of self-defense. A young Armenian went to Kiev at the call of his heart. He naively hoped that the protests would help Ukraine to throw off the vertical of Yanukovich hateful to the people and Ukraine would become a free and prosperous country.
Later, people who had come out on Nigoyan’s blood into power would include his name in the lists of the "heavenly hundred." Still later, Petro Poroshenko will establish a special order in honor of the "heavenly hundred". It is planned that this order will be awarded for special merits in the butchers' operations on the territory of Novorossia. But it is not about that now.
I remember that little-known twenty-year-old Armenian from Bereznuvivka in January became the object of special attention. The fact is that in January the press service of the still not “lustrated” Kiev "Berkut" said: Nigoyan turns out to be an activist of the organization ASALA - the combat wing of the Armenian revolutionary federation "Dashnaktsutyun". Founded in 1890 in Tiflis, Dashnaktsutyun continues to exist to this day. Behind the Dashnaks (members of the organization) are participation in the socialist movement in Tsarist Russia, undercover work in the Ottoman Empire, a brief and unsuccessful alliance with the Young Turks. During the First World War - the fighting on the side of Russia as part of the Armenian battalions recruited from among the Armenians - immigrants from Turkey. After the collapse of the Russian Empire, Dashnaks created the bourgeois-nationalist Republic of Armenia in the former Yerevan province. In the 20s of the 20th century, when Armenia became part of the USSR, outlawed Dashnaks dispersed throughout the world. Much of them settled in Los Angeles, America, where they created the Armenian National Congress of America (ANCA). Since the dawn of its existence, ANCA is the core of the Armenian lobby in the US Congress and an active tool of the American special services in the South Caucasus and the entire post-Soviet space. Almost simultaneously with the ANCA, the military wing of the Pan-Armenian Congress, ASALA, was created - an abbreviation of the English Armenian secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia).
As historians of the Soviet special services say, the engagement of ANCA and Dashnaktsutyun by the West was actively manifested during the collapse of the USSR. A number of sources testify: the main shocks to the deliberate collapse of the Soviet country went through purely “Armenian” channels. In this regard, it is interesting to note the "fifth point" of many petrels "of the Yeltsin era." The maiden name of Elena Bonner - Alikhanyan. Sakharov’s widow did not hide her sympathy for the idea of “Great Armenia” and the Dashnaktsutyun party. Some Armenian sources claim that Galina Starovoitova also had Armenian roots. These sources emphasize that Galina V. in 80-x actively worked in the Armenian national committees "Karabakh" and "Krunk". (For an ethnically Russian native of Chelyabinsk, which was Starovoitova on the passport, this fact is really unusual).
As for ASALA, the KGB of the USSR stepped up its "maintenance" after the events of January 19 1977 in Moscow. On that day, the serene capital of the USSR was shaken by three terrorist attacks. The first, on the metro station Pervomayskaya - Izmailovsky Park, claimed the lives of seven people. Two more explosions thundered on 25 October Street and in a store on Dzerzhinsky Square. Led by Andropov personally, the investigation was directed at the terrorists. They turned out to be residents of Yerevan Zatikyan and Baghdasaryan, Armenian nationalists, who advocated the creation of "Greater Armenia".
Since then, the words ASALA, "Dashnaktsutyun" among the workers of the Soviet special services in the first place, with the Moscow terrorist attacks of 1977 year. The victim of this reflex was also the activist of the “euromaidan” Sergey Nigoyan. After the statements of the Berkut press service about Nigoyan’s belonging to ASALA, some Russian experts came to the conclusion that the Dashnaktsutyun military structure could be behind the chaos in Ukraine, and that, in turn, could be used by the US special services. This version, in particular, was presented to the author by a friend of his from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies - the leading analytical center of the Russian Presidential Administration. Given that, officially, ASALA from 1991 is considered to be dissolved.
Is it worth the attention of such a stunning version based on the release from Kiev "Berkut"? Norat Ter-Grigoryants, a Soviet general, a veteran of the Afghan war, spoke about this with the author of the material, at the beginning of 90, one of the founders of the Armed Forces of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic Army (Nagorno-Karabakh).
The version of Nigoyan’s involvement in ASALA Ter-Grigoryants considered not worth attention. Nigoyan, in his opinion, is an ordinary ideological guy who was killed by the will of the ruling Ukrainian fascist junta. Soviet general offered to tell readers "Tomorrow" history ASALA movement.
"TOMORROW". Norat Grigoryevich, how did the "Liberation Army of Armenia" begin, who was at its source?
Norat TER-GRIGORYANTS. The forerunner of ASALA was an organization called Nemesis, named for the ancient Greek goddess of vengeance. At the beginning of the 20th century, "Nemesis" was created by Hagop Ter-Akopyan, a native of the Ottoman Empire, an Armenian patriot. On the basis of "Nemesis" ASALA will be born later. Why did the Armenians need their own military organization? During the period of the First World War, the Turks, taking the opportunity, started the expulsion and extermination of the Armenian population of Anatolia. Historically, Anatolia is Western Armenia, Armenian land. Sultan Abdul-Hamid began the extermination of the Anatolian Armenians in 1876. But during the Young Turks, the genocide took place on a massive scale. Here is an example: they called Armenians into the Turkish army, then they were disarmed and all were destroyed. First of all, the Young Turks destroyed the color of the nation: writers, poets, artists, architects, and lawyers. Then they set about remaining: old men, children, women. Young Turks did not destroy Armenians alone. Their inspirations were foreign military advisers from among German officers, the assistants were Kurdish gamidian thugs. Only a few Armenians managed to escape by a miracle. I am a descendant of former Ottoman Turkish citizens. My parents and relatives lived in Western Armenia. Having escaped from the genocide, our people reached Vladikavkaz, Armavir, Grozny, Alexandropol (now Gyumri, former Leninakan).
So, several Armenian patriots gathered and decided to avenge the death of loved ones, for the grief of the Armenian people. They created the organization "Nemesis" - a tool of Armenian revenge for the organizers of the genocide of our people. From 600, the names of the main organizers of the genocide were compiled of a “black list” of 200 animals in human form, which were to be destroyed immediately, wherever they were. It was agreed: having committed the act of liquidating the Turkish executioner, the Armenian avenger had no right to hide from the authorities of the country where he committed the act of revenge. For example, the avenger kills the enemy of his people on the streets of Berlin or Rome, and then goes to the local police to surrender. Watching the trials of the Armenian avengers, the world learned about the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and the ethnic cleansing in Kemalist Turkey.
"TOMORROW". Which of the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide was eliminated? And really, these Turks did not think to hide? As we remember, in Kemalist Turkey they were convicted in absentia and sentenced to death.
Norat TER-GRIGORYANTS. The executioners quietly walked around Baku, Tiflis, Berlin, Rome. Not only were they not afraid of anything, but, being in emigration, they continued to make plans for the further extermination of Armenians. The correspondence process that took place in 1919 in Turkey did not change anything. Moreover, the wife of the executioner of the Armenian people, Talaat (Minister of the Interior in the government of the Young Turks), until the end of her days received monetary assistance from the Turkish state.
The first to be killed was the chief executioner of my people, the Minister of the Interior of the Ottoman Empire, Talaat. He owns the words: “The purpose of the deportation of Armenians is non-existence”. 15 March 1921 in Berlin, this cannibal eliminated Simon Teyleryan. Teyleryan court fully acquitted. The head of the special deportation commission, Shakir Bey, was sent following Talaat to hell on April 17 on 1922. The avenger Aram Yerkanyan was acquitted by a Berlin court.
5 December of the same year, Said Hadim Pasha, the former first minister of Turkey, was destroyed in Rome. The avenger Arshavir Shirikyan was released from prison. 18 July 1921 in Constantinople was shot Beibut Javanshir Khan - former Minister of Mousafat Azerbaijan, the organizer of the massacre of Armenians in Baku. The avenger, Misak Torlakyan, was fully acquitted. Gasikbekov, Sarafov and Iskander Khan-Khoysky, the executioners of Karabakh and the Armenians of Baku, were liquidated by a group led by Aram Yerkanyan. In April 1922, Aram Yerkanyan also killed Jamal Azimi, a member of the Ittihad Party, a pathological Armenian phobia. Azimi was hiding in Berlin. Jemal Pasha is a member of the ruling triumvirate of Turkey, the minister of maritimes, the main culprit in the destruction of the Armenians of Syria and Mesopotamia. Stepan Tsakhikyan and Petros Ter - Poghosyan destroyed this monster on July 25 on the way from Tbilisi to Ankara.
Revenge overtook Enver Pasha, the Minister of War of Turkey, the son-in-law of the Sultan, the main ideologist of the genocide. Enver was not killed abroad by an avenger shot. He was riddled with a machine-gun burst during a battle with the Red Army in Bukhara, in August 1922. The security officer Hakob Merkumov, an Armenian, shot at Enver. Merkumov, though he was not a member of the Nemesis, knew whom he was directing the machine gun to. The Avengers also executed those Armenians who, during the genocide, handed over the people who had taken refuge from the extermination to the Turkish authorities, served the Turks and, to one degree or another, condoned the genocide over their fellows.
"TOMORROW". And how was ASALA born?
Norat TER-GRIGORYANTS. She was born in 1975 year. Gurgen Yanikyan, who shot two Turkish diplomats in 1973, is considered the ideological father of ASALA. Yanikyan hoped to draw attention to the issue of denial of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey by his act of despair. ASALA also acted under other names: “Organization of October 3”, “Organization of June 9”, “Organization of Orly” and others. The reasons for the creation of ASALA are explained in the organization’s manifest of the year 1975. The document, addressed to the world community, governments and the media, said: “Our decision to resort to violence is the result of the Turkish government and its patrons defying the just and peaceful demands of the Armenian people by the Turkish government (...) more and more convince us that a fair trial can only be achieved by armed struggle (...) Let international public opinion call us criminals and terrorists. All this has no values. We know our business and we know how to do it in the future. " ASALA’s actions were directed against Turkish diplomats, government officials, embassies, consulates, as well as those foreign organizations that provided material and military assistance to Turkey. The organization has established close ties with the Kurdish and Arab democratic and revolutionary movements.
"TOMORROW". ASALA admitted that she was engaged in terror against Turkey. What terrorist actions of ASALA would you specifically mention?
Norat TER-GRIGORYANTS. The first action of ASALA was an explosion in the Lebanese office of the World Council of Churches. It happened on January 20 1975. There were no victims, only the institution suffered. The explosion thundered because the World Council of Churches historically contributed to the emigration of Armenians from Armenia and prevented the return to the Armenians of their historic homeland - Western Armenia. On October 22 of the same year, the Turkish Ambassador to Austria was killed, and the Turkish Ambassador to France was taken through 2 of the day. A few days later, an unknown person called France Press and called the unknown name of the organization that claimed responsibility for the incident. So the world learned about ASALA. For the Turkish officials began a terrible period.
In 1975-82, ASALA fighters carried out 136 military operations in various countries, killing more than 50 Turkish ambassadors and consuls, not counting employees of lower diplomatic rank. For more than 5 years, the organization acted under conditions of super-secrecy, to the extent that in some political circles there were doubts about the Armenian origin of ASALA members. Only in 1980, Alek Yenigomshyan and Suzy Maserjian were arrested while setting up an explosive device in Switzerland.
15 July 1983 at the Paris Orly Airport, a bomb exploded in the passenger check-out section of a Turkish airline, killing 7 and injuring 56 people. This incident was a turning point in the history of ASALA. 50 members of the organization were arrested, and there was a sharp controversy in its leadership over the expediency of continuing the struggle with such tough methods.
"TOMORROW". Armenian Christians are closer to the West than the Turks. In addition, in the West during the genocide, a cult of Armenian martyrdom developed. Couldn't the West understand why Armenians started shooting?
Norat TER-GRIGORYANTS. In fairness, we note: the shots and explosions were not then a wonder for Europeans. When ASALA started, many people fired: the Basque ETA, the Irish Republican Army, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Italian Red Brigades. Kurds, Lebanese Shiites, Afghans, Sikhs, Tamils shot ... And it’s not surprising that Armenians also started shooting. But then it became surprising for a European that in this troubled company there were law-abiding and peaceful Armenians whom he used to sympathize with. And the Europeans, who at first saw in ASALA desperate knights, began to get nervous. The Western press picked up the Armenian theme and began, as they say now, to unwind. In a year or two this press wrote about Armenians more than in previous 50 years.
The enemy also did not sleep. The Turks launched a large-scale anti-Armenian propaganda campaign, organized a number of custom articles by foreign historians, tried to introduce their agents into the ASALA ranks. Of these Turkish countermeasures, the most effective was cooperation with the Israeli Mossad. As a result, the former knightly halo of ASALA in the European press gradually acquired gloomy tones. Europeans began to incline to the fact that today's Turks are not responsible for the bloody crimes of their grandfather. Approximately in this vein, a letter was written to the US Congress, dated 19 March 1985. It was signed by 69 scientists. Meanwhile, only 4 of them were represented by serious research centers: Jacob Gurevich and Bernard Lewis (Princeton), Andreas Bodroglighetti and Stanford Shaw (California). Among the rest were Turks, science retirees, assistants, and administration representatives.
In the days when this letter was drafted, the Congress discussed the issue of recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and the authors intended to clarify to Congressmen that there was no genocide as such. It was not quite clear why Turkey, which does not recognize itself as the successor of the Ottoman Empire, does not want to recognize a crime to which it does not seem to be related. Moreover, why did the Young Turk leaders who organized the genocide today be the object of worship in the Republic of Turkey? After all, the same Turkish court in 1919 year sentenced them to death. One way or another, the US Congress did not recognize the Armenian Genocide, and clouds were gathering over ASALA’s head. Her ties with Palestinian groups, whose activities were unambiguously qualified as criminal in the world, began to be exaggerated. Nevertheless, despite all the efforts of Turkey, and subsequently Azerbaijan, ASALA has not been included in the official list of terrorist organizations in the United States, Britain or Russia.
"TOMORROW". Despite the obvious signs from ASALA, the West was in no hurry to resolve the sick Armenian issue. How did this affect the secret Armenian army?
Norat TER-GRIGORYANTS. Over time, there were contradictions in the ASALA leadership related to the polemic about the appropriateness of further armed struggle. In addition, more than 30 avengers died, dozens were arrested. Failures undermined the authority of the leaders of ASALA, primarily Hakob Hakobyan (according to another version, Harutyun Tabushyan), also known as “Mujahideen” and “Fighter of Justice.” In 1983, ASALA was divided into two wings. The American Armenian Monte Melkonyan and his associates felt that the methods of terror had exhausted themselves and created the ASALA-MR organization (Movement revolutionaries, “Revolutionary Movement”). Monte considered the protection of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), which he considered as an integral part of the Armenian issue, as a priority. Together with several like-minded people, Melkonyan came to Armenia in 1990, since 1991. took part in the defense of Artsakh, became one of the most beloved heroes of the national liberation movement. His death on June 12, 1993 near the village of Marzili (Agdam region) mourned the whole of Artsakh. Monte died from fragments of a shell fired from an Armenian tank into the wall behind which the machine gunners of the enemy were hiding. Monte was awarded the title Hero of Artsakh, his name was given to one of the army divisions of the Republic of Armenia, the highest officer school. There is a Monte charity foundation.
The fate of another ASALA leader, Hakob Hakobian, was different. Hakobyan was born in Iraq in 1951, at the young age he joined the Palestine Liberation Organization. He has great merits in the revival of the Armenian issue. At the same time, the harsh nature and sometimes excessive severity towards the comrades played a role in the future of Hakobyan. In 1988, Hakob, according to some reports, already expelled from ASALA, was killed under mysterious circumstances on the threshold of his house in Athens. However, the accuracy of this information is disputed.
The last anti-Turkish terrorist attack by ASALA was the assassination of a Turkish diplomat in Budapest 19 December 1991. Since then, no action has been taken. From time to time, various statements are distributed on behalf of ASALA. Who is behind them - hard to say. In general, in the history of ASALA there are a lot of white spots and riddles. Among them are the unsolved killings of members of the organization David Davidian, Abram Khamisyan, Helen Sandrik and others who settled in Armenia. Time, let's hope, will answer all questions and determine the place of ASALA in the history of the Armenian national liberation movement.
Finally, I must say the following. After the proclamation of independence of Armenia in 1991 year, the renewed ASALA statute formulated the basic principle: with independence, Armenia should refrain from steps that could damage the national interests, the sovereignty of the country. Therefore, it is necessary to engage in state-building, not terrorist attacks. Armenian avengers left the political arena. Their task has already been completed.