The Assimilation Process of Armenians in Russia
Cover photo: pinterest.com
// The history of Armenians in Russia dates back more than ten centuries. However, the biggest influx of population that constitutes the backbone of the current community comes on after the collapse of the Soviet Union: 1990-2000. By and large they were the economic emigrants who left Armenia in search of a better life.
// Armenians who moved to Russia during this period were mainly engaged in finding ways to feed their families: they were looking for jobs, building up businesses, investing money in businesses. The tendency that comes from the 1990s still persists: traditionally the Russian Armenians prioritize the personal and family welfare, businesses, but not the preservation of national identity.
// There is no integral Armenian community on the vast territory of Russia; there are unions in different regions, cities that most often do not co-opt even the tenth of the active Armenian population. Consequently, the reason for assimilation is in its integrated nature.
// Armenia remains in the minds of Russian Armenians as an unsuccessful country. The Armenians have willingly switched into the Russian language and integrated into the Russian society and the decision of those rare Russian Armenians to return to their homeland is perceived with utmost bewilderment by their Armenian relatives and friends.
// It's not without reason that Russia is called «the country of the Third Rome», and it is worth to draw parallels of Armenians in Russia with the Armenians in the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium): the orthodox culture soaked up the Armenians, by gradually erasing their self-identity of Armenians and making them Byzantines, which actually denoted a representative of Greek people.
// The insecurity of «a small country (people)» is actively fuelled by the Russian society that refer to Armenians either as «Caucasus natives» or «coreligionists». Consequently one of the ways to adapt in the society, where the Armenians live, is ascribing themselves to the «micro societies» of Caucasians and Christians, and no wonder that the amount of intermarriages grows at an exponential rate. In such families as a rule the priority is given to the Russian as a language of interethnic communication and a local lifestyle.
// The Armenian population in the southern regions of Russia (Northern Caucasus Republics, Krasnodar and Stavropol regions, Rostov region and etc.) despite its close territorial disposition to Armenia, distances itself from Armenia more and more. For example, the Armenians living by the Black Sea in Krasnodar Region affiliate themselves to the Russian Orthodox Church and live as per its canons. So, Armenia celebrates holidays one day and the Armenians in the South of Russia celebrate them a different day. Also the youth has a very weak knowledge of literary Armenian language which means that people cannot read in their native language and follow the Armenian mass media.
// The cultural life of Russian Armenians can hardly be called vibrant and competitive. There are a huge number of events and concerts held, however the most popular and major ones are the performances of Armenian show business singers. The intelligent sector of the society despises and refuses this low quality music.
// The image of Armenians formed on the territory of Russia also exerts resentment of a large stratum, that are tired of stereotype jokes about barbeques and funny accents. It turns out that the amount of Armenians in the mass media does not reflect upon the quality of presenting the Armenians.
// There are dozens of Armenian organizations in Russia. They are either headed by businessmen of Soviet generation (e.g. Union of Armenians of Russia) that hold the position for many years or by the group of students (e.g. Association of Armenian Youth of Moscow), who has to implement activities on free-will principles, without funding. Very often these organizations do not unite anyone but their founders and their relatives and friends.
What do you think, is it possible to struggle against the assimilation or it is inevitable? Please, leave your comments and vote:
Green finger – It is possible
Red finger – It is inevitable