ARF Decries Plans for Controversial Statue

Soviet leaders Joseph Stalin (center), Anastas Mikoyan (left) and Sergo Orjonikidze pose for a photograph in Tbilisi in 1925


YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) has added its voice to condemnations of government plans to erect a monument in Yerevan to Anastas Mikoyan, an Armenian-born Soviet leader who played a part in Joseph Stalin’s massive purges.

In a statement released late on Tuesday, the leadership of the opposition party’s Yerevan chapter described as “blasphemy” the municipal administration’s recent decision to authorize the placement of Mikoyan’s statue in the city center.

The decision sparked an uproar from civil society members and social media users. They argue that Mikoyan personally oversaw mass arrests and executions of thousands of people in Soviet Armenia that began in 1937. They say his statue would be an affront to the memory of Armenians killed in Stalin’s Great Purge.

Many of those victims were branded “Dashnaks” by Stalin’s regime. Bolshevik Russia had banned Dashnaktsutyun and forced its leadership into exile after invading and annexing in 1920 an independent Armenian republic governed by Dashnaktsutyun.

The Dashnaktsutyun statement cited Mikoyan’s “major role” in the summary executions and “the destruction of the First Armenian Republic.” It complained that the municipal authorities did not consult with the public before announcing plans to put a statue which the party believes would seriously harm Armenia’s international reputation.

Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian insisted on May 9 that the authorities have not yet made a final decision on the statue. He said it is up to the central government to five the final green light to the controversial project. A spokesman for the Mayor’s Office likewise said on Wednesday that “the issue is now beyond our jurisdiction.”

However, Gagik Stepanian, a sculptor working for the government, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that a Yerevan foundry has already prepared a mold for the bronze statue and will cast it very soon. He said he is personally overseeing the casting process.

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12 Comments

  1. GB said:

    I like Armenian history and Mikoyan is part of Armenia’s history. Statue can be raised and words should be written, that he was an Armenian Bolshevik murderer!

  2. Hratch said:

    They should indeed have a statue of him along side Talaat and Enver…..in the city center’s public toilet!

  3. Hagop D said:

    Why not also erect a statue of Sultan Abdul Hamid, I hear he has some Armenian blood.

    Maybe also re-erect the statue of Lenin – the man who supplied Turkey with weapons so the Turks can continue the Genocide and take all Armenian western provinces. Boy that “Soviet” influence was “awesome” wasn’t it?

  4. Armenian said:

    While the entire Soviet space is looking to make changes for their independent futures, we are the only country from all of the CIS to lose as much of our sovereignty as we have AND we’re the only ones who long for the Soviet era as much as — if not more than — the Russians. Such a pathetic state Armenia has fallen into thanks to its poor excuse for “leaders” since independence. While others build, we openly discuss and call for ways to run into the Russians’ lap and abolish anything resembling an independent state.

    This statue is just another manifestation of how we always have been, and probably always will be, on the wrong side of history because we refuse to address the fundamental problems that have brought us into this mess in the first place.

    • Hratch said:

      Perhaps it’s the intellectual evolution process that has brought us into this mess in the first place.

  5. ohannes boghossian said:

    i think it is time we should put Sultan Hamid Stalin and Alive statue in Yerevan too
    after all they love killing and genocide Armenians watt the hall wrong with Taron Markarian
    my bee hes grand mother was lover of one of those Armenian butchers you never know this
    days Mikoyan statue should be in Azerbaijan not in Armenia he give Nachshavan and Nogorno Karapak
    to Azaries

  6. George Vartanian said:

    Just what is the reason anyone would want to erect a statue of Mikoyan? If we are trying to endear ourselves to the Russians by doing this we should think about what we are doing. Playing politics at the expense of out morality and ethics is a poor signal at best.

    It’s like erecting a statue of Hitler or Goebbels, or any other despot.

    FOR SHAME!

  7. Armenian said:

    Armenia: snap out of your Soviet malaise! Stop moving backwards in the wrong direction and look to the future for once. Nobody is going to take care of you, GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD.

  8. ammacm said:

    I would suggest that whoever wrote this article and those who commented on it, actually do themselves a favor and go study who Anastas Mikoyan was. For those who are ignorant and illiterate politically need to know one thing foremost about Anastas Mikoyan was one of very few if not the only person in the communist ranks that outlasted everyone and reason behind it was that he was not a butcher whatsoever.

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