16 December 2006
The following appeared in The Nebraska State Journal, June 15, 1899:
IS RUSSIA THE OFFENDER?
Just when the peace conference Is deliberating at The Hague on the invitation of Czar Nicholas, it must be somewhat embarrassing to the Russians to have the story put In general circulation that the czar was at the bottom of. the Armenian massacre that has so stirred up the indignation of the Christian powers against the bloody Turk.
The row was started by Armenian conspirators who were making an open effort to raise an insurrection in Armenia. Much has been said by European and American missionaries in Armenia about the colossal folly of these young conspirators who so uselessly excited the animosity and fanaticism of the Turks and brought destruction upon the innocent all through Asia Minor.
Now It Is charged that Russian agents hired these young men to head a bogus insurrection and at the same time, slyly aggravated the alarm of the Turks and egged them on to revenge and murder. The object of this wicked mischief-making, it is charged, was to get the Armenians killed off in the eastern part of Asia Minor so that when the czar has perfected his plans to annex this region he will not be bothered with a turbulent population.
These be very serious charges against the czar and he ought to set himself right if he can. It must be confessed that it is on all fours with Russian policy in other regions of the east to stir up insurrections and make thereby some sort of justification for Russian Interference to "protect Christians," and keep the peace of the world. Calculating ferocity has distinguished the policy of the Romanoff ever since it siezed [sic] imperial power In the east. Apparently, its civilization is stlll of the thinnest of veneering.
Let's see now;
1) Russia has been after control of the Dardanelles and access to warm waters for the longest time. [Check.]
2) Armenians were, pound for pound, arguably the most prosperous in Ottoman society; possessing an internal autonomy as granted in the millet system, they were completely free to practice their religion, language, culture. Not to say they were living in a utopia and had no problems — there is no utopia anywhere in the world — but they were generally content. (That is why they were called "The Loyal Millet.")
3) Armenians who started up the most powerful revolutionary societies, the Hunchaks and especially the Dashnaks, were foreigners, originating primarily from the Caucasus.
By golly, it's all beginning to make sense.
(Pretty interesting speculation there, that the Russians' underlying motive was to knock off the Armenians. How could that be possible? Didn't the Armenians regard the Russians as the Armenians' greatest friend?)
However, the West did not care about this "theory," despite its appearance in extremely rare articles, as the one you have read. The European powers were basically in on it together, using the Armenians as the tools to get a slice of the rich Ottoman pie.
The source site of this article gets revised often, as better information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, and the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows: