YEREVAN (Arka)—Armenia’s education and science minister Armen Ashotyan proposed onFriday that the official name of the country – the Republic of Armenia – be changed to the Republic of Eastern Armenia.
Historically, Armenia has been divided into Eastern and Western Armenia, Eastern Armenia being part of the Persian Empire until the beginning of the 19th century, before it became part of the Russian Empire. Part of Eastern Armenia later became the First Republic for two short years before it was seized by the Bolsheviks to become the Soviet Armenian Republic. In 1991, it was proclaimed as the independent Republic of Armenia.
Western Armenia is now part of Turkey. Its population was annihilated by the government of Turkey in 1915-1923 in the first genocide of the last century. Ashotyan’s argument for his proposed name change is to convey the reality of the Armenian nation: that Armenia is not whole without Western Armenia.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s Political Affairs Director Giro Manoyan responded to Ashotyan’s suggestion in an open letter. In his response, Manoyan made a suggestion of his own, saying, “If Mr. Ashotyan would like to pursue ‘justice and self-determination’ for the Armenian nation, then – before turning to the constitution and the Republic’s declaration of independence – Mr. Ashotyan and the Republican Party can start by rescinding the Armenian government’s ratification of the Armenian-Turkish protocols, by defining the official border between Armenia and Turkey to be the true border set by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, and by adopting the realization of that border as a government responsibility, among other tangible, more effective measures.”
Ashotyan, who is deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, first came out with this proposal in 2005.