BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
On August 31, 2012, the world watched silently—with the exception of Armenians and some restrained condemnations from international leaders—as Ramil Safarov was set free and returned to Azerbaijan where he received a hero’s welcome and was glorified by none other than Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.
Safarov was the Azeri soldier who on February 19, 2004 picked up an axe and murdered Armenian soldier Gourgen Margaryan while he was sleeping in his bunker in Budapest, Hungary while both were attending a training program as part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program.
The muted outrage at the time of the murder, coupled with the muffled condemnation of Hungary’s decision to extradite a man who was convicted and sentenced serves as a reminder that the international community, especially the West, which has proclaimed itself the arbiter of human rights, is nothing but a farce and an accomplice in the gross breach of justice.
The Margaryan family was joined by the entire Armenian nation in mourning and in shock of the gruesome crime and were forced to re-live that horror when Hungary decided to extradite Safarov and his subsequent glorification when he returned to Azerbaijan.
For all intents and purposes, Margaryan’s murder remains an unpunished crime and, save for the intermittent reminders by the Armenian people, an all but forgotten chapter in the 20 years of peace negotiations to resolve the Karabakh conflict.
If anything, Margaryan’s murder and Azerbaijan’s vilification of the victim should have demonstrated Azerbaijan’s inherent and continued anti-Armenian policy that has festered in Baku since its post-Soviet independence (not to mention its short history as a nation). Yet this abhorrent act and its subsequent “resolution” should have prompted the international community, especially the co-chairing countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, to take a hard look at one of the entities occupying a seat at the negotiating table.
Until today, the international community’s brazen disregard for Azerbaijan’s actions continues to embolden Azerbaijan to continue its policies of hatred and military threats without any recourse or consequence, adding to the long list of crimes committed by Azerbaijan and gone unpunished.
Successive US administrations have successfully turned public opinion against such leaders as Vladimir Putin of Russia, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and more recently Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine, vilifying them for gross abuses of human rights and oppression of their respective populations.
If we use the US litmus test for Russia, Syria and Ukraine on Azerbaijan it will be extremely clear that the Baku regime fails—miserably—on all aspects.
Quashing dissent: check. Violating speech and press freedoms: check. Advocating hatred and xenophobia: check. Violating internationally established guidelines: check. Pocketing the national wealth: check… And the list goes on, including the centerpiece of America’s campaign against Putin and Russia—its treatment of the LGBT community, which has gotten the most traction in the US.
One wonders whether systematic pogroms of Armenians in Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad, the reign of terror by Azeri forces against the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, an axe murder and subsequent glorification of its perpetrator and the continued violations of the cease-fire qualify for the US to take a hard look at its policies vis-à-vis Azerbaijan.
The 10th anniversary of Gourgen Margaryan’s death serves an opportunity to pose these questions, and once again, raise our voices for unconditional justice.
Indeed, if one were to do that litmus test on the country in question… But nobody cares. Hypocrisy is thy name, our dear, beloved international community.
Lawless dictatorial oil Sheikhdom Sultanate, provide free oil for their corrupted clients!!
Ask yourself,what has the US government done about it in a NATO organised event where the Armenian officer was axed to death.
They keep preaching and giving lessons to the world about moral values,democracy and so on,they have not lifted a finger for the sake of Azeri oil.They are totally morally bankrupt and should not be trusted or relied upon.
I agree with you Mihran. Most Armenians do not realize the true danger is the that US is funding literally thousands of NGOs and several “media” outlets in Armenia as well as employing Armenian politicians to do their dirty work. Here is an analysis I wrote for another article regarding the US. I’m talking more about America’s denial of the Armenian Genocide here, but it also applies to the Gurgen Margaryan killing as well:
“America is inherently anti-Armenian. The facts are abundantly clear that it is not just isolated cases of the US supporting Turkey and Azerbaijan, or refusing to recognize/reaffirm the Armenian Genocide, or refusing to recognize Artsakh’s hard-earned right to self-determination and sovereignty, or looking the other way as Georgia grossly violates the rights of Armenians in Javakhk. The American government and the American elite are simply anti-Armenian to the core.
For an eye-opening experience, read some of the WikiLeaks documents in which American diplomats and officials discuss Armenian issues. Keep in mind that WikiLeaks released documents which were supposed to be confidential and internal, not meant for public release. Yet even within these private communications, we see almost every single American official who discussed the Armenian Genocide referred to it as “Armenian claims of ‘genocide'”, or “the 1915 events” or “the so-called Armenian Genocide” or “the Armenian version of history”. Even in internal documents the Americans deny the Armenian Genocide, they are no better than their NATO brothers the Turks. And even American-government owned or connected media station which have offices in Armenia, which target Armenian audiences, and which broadcast news in both the English and Armenian languages never state “Armenian Genocide”, instead they always talk about “what Armenians claim was mass killings and deportations of up to a million Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915. Turkey says only several hundred thousand Armenians were killed after a bloody revolt and civil war when Armenians sided with invading Russians”. Those are direct quotes, anyone who does not believe me can look up articles on Azatutyun/Radio Liberty or Voice of America in Armenian.
The sad truth is that the USA has been among the most anti-Armenian governments in the world and is actively helping Turkey cover up the Armenian Genocide. In contrast Russia, NATO-member Greece, Muslim-majority Lebanon and even Canada and France have all recognized the Armenian Genocide, meanwhile the USA, Britain, Israel and Turkey are working together to deny and cover up the Armenian Genocide. And this has nothing to do with whoever is holding power in Yerevan: the US denied the Armenian Genocide from 1991-1998 when pro-Western President Levon Ter-Petrosyan was in power, and the US continued with the same pro-Turkish policies when Ter-Petrosyan was succeeded by Robert Kocharyan and then Serj Sargsyan.”
US soft power and western backed and financed NGO’S go hand in glove in order to pursue their dirty agenda in Armenia,Ukraine,and elsewhere by trying to fool the public in order to have them switch to their camp.
Sadly, we have now Armenian journalists and papers who are trying to get western grants and finance in the Diaspora in order to peddle their dirty agenda.
One of Mr. Khachatourian’s most insightful and important commentaries.
Unlucky Son Margaryan… his face can tell how honest dedicated he is…
Jealousy and hate can kill every soul…
that gene exist in Tatars-Saljuk-Azeri-Turks…should be treated by scientists…!!!
This criminal Azeri Person should know that Margaryan was serving the United Nation…
He belongs to United Nation and not Armenia…
He is serving every nation…!! but he is illiterate criminal…the honest nations must punish him…!!!
United nation should not accept any more Soldiers from Azerbaijan…before assessing their psychology and mental status…!!
RIP Gurgen. May God bless your soul and watch over your family…
Don’t count on anyone, the hypocritical US government and NATO in particular, to do anything about this because to these double-talkers the cheap OIL from the artificial state of Azergayjan is thicker than the blood of an innocent Armenian man killed in his sleep by a coward Azergayjani axe-murderer. They won’t risk souring relations with the draft-dodging coward chicken and donkey-in-chief Aliyev turned into a petrodollar hawk with no claws. Just like the corrupt Hungarian government officials, the US and NATO are also bribed by badly-needed and uninterrupted oil flow from the fabricated Azergayjani nation.
The responsibility to bring justice to the Margaryan’s family lies on our shoulder and the only way to accomplish this is to hunt down the axe-murderer Safarov, bring him to Stepanakert and decapitate him with the same axe he used to kill Margaryan. I volunteer to perform Safarov’s decapitation.
Very simple chaps. Armenian government should pass legislation and rout all NGO bodies in Armenia. Raus, out, speedy exit to all these NGO Trojan horses. The western bloc, EU, USA, Israel are inherently anti Armenian. Armenia stands in their way in their hegemonic drive to link the Caucasus with the Turkic tribes in Asia. Armenia should expect to be betrayed once again if the occasion presents itself. Were it not for the Russian army base presence in Armenia, the situation for the motherland would be quite grim.
Paranoia and authoritarianism at it’s finest: people who don’t think like me should be removed and deprived of the right to free expression and organization because you have deemed their opinions as dangerous. You, a single individual, have deemed what is “appropriate” to think and discuss, and now you and people like you are going to potentially use power to destroy everyone who doesn’t think like you. This will solve all of our problems.
No wonder people like you admire Putin so much; it takes a certain medieval mindset to say that a leader like Putin is good for anyone. Armenia does not need people with this mindset. I’m starting to wonder if you turn a gun on your fellow Armenians’ heads for the interests of another country. Our future is quite grim already because you fail to realize that people don’t want to live under authoritative, self-righteous and intrusive “anointed” types like the kinds of people who make statements like yours.
Hey look the “Armenian” wrote another mini-essay full of Russophobia and personal insults.
President Putin has saved Russia from oblivion, saved Syria and Syria’s Armenians from genocide, and has provided Armenia and Armenians with the means to defend themselves and have secure and prosperous state in the middle of the South Caucasus, surrounded by America’s NATO brothers turkey and NATO fanboys azerbaijan and georgia. Armenian nationalists are grateful for the opportunity, and wish Armenia could produce such powerful leaders.
Of course pseudo-“Armenians”, Jews, Turks, Americans, Globalists, Azeris, and Sunni Muslims around the world are infected with a vile hatred of Putin and Russia for ending nightmare scenario of an unchallenged global American dictatorship.
I agree, Armenia should expect to be betrayed once again if the occasion presents itself, but by all parties, including the US, EU, AND Russia. There is no moral exemption for Russia to the way the modern geopolitical game works and the way it plays it. Russia is not different from the US in any way.
You advise Armenians to view American and Russian interests regarding Armenia as being equal, then you claim both will betray us anyway, and then you implore Armenia follow America’s diktats anyway and spew forth the most rabid Russophia. That’s just not… kosher.
The only entities which will betray Armenia are America, Europe, Armenia’s domestic opposition, and Diasporan Armenian armchair generals preaching democracy and globalization. Again, thankfully even the dimmest Armenians are beginning to see through the west’s smoke and mirrors and seeing the cold, hard, reality of the dangers of western globalism and the US/NATO/turkey/azerbaijan axis.
You seem to enjoy our war veterans being humiliated by your Russian pimps you lying low life. You have no relation to Armenia or Artsakh.
Your the lying low life, not me. Your the same scum who claimed that the US government does not deny the Armenian Genocide and that the US government does not claim Artsakh belong to azerbaijan.
I have a connection to Armenia and Artsakh physically, culturally, spiritually and emotionally, on levels that trash such as yourself could never comprehend.
I will admit though that I am thoroughly enjoying exposing the pro-turkish, pro-azeri, pro-nato, pro-eu, pro-america, pro-chechen, pro-georgian, and pro-islamist cyberwarriors for the filth that they truly are. It seems I don’t even need to point out the existential importance for Armenia of strengthening the Russian-Armenian friendship and strategic alliance, as well as the mortal danger western militarism and globalism pose. I simply copy and paste the idiotic arguments and racist Russophobic and Armenophobic ravings that the agents of the west pepper their otherwise uninspired and illogical arguments with.
Now please, do us both a favor, and go read a book or two about geopoltics before you come back and leave comments containing character assissinations and personal assaults against me.
Russia is expelling a quarter million Armenians but beefing up their military in Armenia. Russia is selling billions of dollars of weaponry to Azerbaijan and abusing our war veterans and yet some “Armenians” like you are still supporting them and talking about geopolitics. Delusional clowns, you people have no relation to Armenia or Artsakh. Most of you live in the diaspora and support oppressors of Armenia because of your sick and baseless resentment of the US.
I’ll ask you the same question again when did the US ever deny the genocide? The only thing you’re exposing is your ignorance you puppet.
Are you seriously suggesting that Armenia should become an ally of the USA instead of Russia? Did Georgia benefit from being an ally of the USA?
We do not like the way Armenians are treated in Russia and we should protest against that, but did you ever heard of a word called realpolitik?
Do you seriously believe Armenia, a country of 2 million, could stand strong against Turkey and Azerbaijan on its own?
If you’re so concerned about Armenians being unfairly kept in prison, go protest about the imprisonment in America of Gourgen Yanikian from 1973 to his death in 1984. Or Hampig Sassounian who has been in jail since 1984. Yanikian killed two turkish diplomats, while Sassounian killed only one, unlike the criminal in Russia who was imprisoned for murdering eighteen civilians.
Try advocating them in “the land of the free” instead of spreading lies about Russia.
The fact that no one has bothered to correct your lies, and point out things like the 2007 letter signed by all eight living secretaries of state asking congress not to recognize the Armenian Genocide and the anti-Armenian speeches by Rice, Clinton and Kerry makes me think that I have vastly overestimated the actual size of Asbarez’s audience.
Are you really Armenian?
Nobody here thinks that Russia loves Armenia or Armenians. But to even suggest that our relationship to Russia equals that to the West is ridiculous. Turkey is a NATO-country. Russia is an ally of Armenia.
As you know it is RUSSIA that guards the Armenian borders with Turkey and even Iran. Russia needs Armenia, which is its major partner in Caucasia. And Armenia needs Russia even more.
Now, I take for granted that you realize that Armenia on its own could never stop Turkey from invading the country. Therefor, you have to ADMIT that Russia means a lot to Armenia.
Whether you like it or not… and whether you’re Armenian or not. 😉
have said time and time again that Armenia and Russia need each other, but the level of dominance Russia is achieving in Armenia as a result of our stupid politicians and idiot foreign policy moves is embarrassing and hurtful to the development of Armenia overall.
Not once have I ever argued that Armenia does not need Russia; quite the opposite, I’ve said the very words you said, which is Russia needs Armenia as much as Armenia needs Russia. Having said that, I don’t see how Russia’s acquiring 100% of Armenia’s gas and forbidding it to do business with other countries is going to keep Armenia “safe” or is somehow in our best interests when it’s very obviously not. This is against our interests. This isolates us for someone else, and prevents us from having a say in our own country’s affairs. I am not against partnership with Russia, I am against blind and irrational worship and adoration of an increasingly backwards country like Russia, and an authoritarian figure like Putin.
And yes, I am Armenian. I’ve spoken Armenian on here before, and I don’t need my background to be questioned by a bunch of “you’re either with me or against me” Russophiles who would put a gun to their own peoples’ head just to push their fanatic anti-everything-not-Russia agenda.
the turk that calls himself an ‘armenian’ is not around on this subject? i thought he may have some thought to share about his brothers.