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Armenia: The Struggle For Survival.

Malikoff-Missen, Lynn. (1997) Armenia: The Struggle For Survival. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

The main purpose of this thesis is to present a study of the Armenian people in history and, from that study, to deduce exactly what lies behind their extraordinary story of survival. How and why have this ancient people managed to preserve a sense of national identity and cohesiveness when so many other civilisations have perished? I have also attempted to discuss, albeit briefly, whether the Armenian people, having reached this particular stage in their history, can build a truly sovereign and independent nation from the remnants of the ousted communist regime; in short, can they continue to survive? I believe that this latter theme undoubtedly deserves further research. After thorough investigation of both the geographical and historical elements, it was established that this sense of cultural uniqueness and national cohesiveness is probably the result of a number of factors and has been maintained despite many obstacles. Such obstacles have been surmounted in the face of Turkish, Russian and Persian interests and the countless wars and partitions that have taken place within and around Armenia’s borders. In conclusion, I have isolated what I believe to be the main factors which have contributed to this sense of nationhood and which have greatly aided the Armenian people in their struggle for survival. The Armenian sense of uniqueness has been enhanced by a diaspora which, although separated from its homeland because of the 1915 Genocide, still maintains an association between itself and that homeland. The early Gregorian Church’s rites and liturgy as well as its sacred literature have been the inspiration for the subsequent renaissance of the early modem era. In its turn, the Armenian form of Christianity has been reinforced by, and has, itself, reinforced the Armenian community and language. The invention of the Armenian alphabet in the early fifth century has created a new barrier to assimilation and a powerful weapon for religion, education and evangelical work. It is also possible that Armenian self-awareness has been strengthened by continual warfare in and around the Caucasian region. Armenian reliance for protection on outside forces, namely Russia, as well as cultural preservation based upon fear of the Turk and Islam may well have contributed, in part, to their longevity as a people. The concurrent policies of ‘Modernisation’ and ‘Nativisation’ initiated during the Stalinist era can also be said to have encouraged, in their way, nationalist sentiment which seethed just below the surface of the Armenian psyche; nationalist feeling which inspired and kept alive, for each Armenian, the dream of independence and a new homeland. The Armenians share a common sense of history, a collective name, a sense of solidarity and identity, family ties, a past involving exile, a certain pride and belief in themselves, all of which can be said to have contributed to their desire to survive and their success in doing so. Ultimately, I have concluded that this tenacious people have been bound together and separated from outsiders, by, for the most part, their distinctive traits of language and religion. I have also concluded that the Armenians can certainly move forward from this point in their history and achieve ‘true independence’ if a change in attitude and strategy towards their neighbours is initiated and built upon. Although centuries of reliance upon Russia for protection and a policy of self-preservation based upon fear of the Turk, and perpetuated by the diaspora and the political parties, may have helped to add to this sense of being and feeling Armenian, this sense of being a cohesive and somewhat unique ethnic unit, one fact remains: only when fear of annihilation by the Turk is eliminated from their psyche will the Armenians be able to rely on themselves for protection. Only then will they, free from outside manipulation, engaging in frequent cross-republic trade and forging new alliances with neighbours, be firmly on the road to genuine nationhood. There is undoubtedly a way forward and this is it.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Malikoff-Missen, Lynn.
Date : 1997
Additional Information : Thesis (M.Phil.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 1997.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 13:07
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 13:09
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855885

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