1357) “Genocide” Discussion At The Soviet Polit-Bureau

“These subjects never were on our agenda in Lenin times”

In the meeting of 21 Feb. 1985 of the Politbureau under the presidency of Gorbachov, the genocide charges were discussed. However, since there was not a similar example in history, and it would damage the relations with Turkey to the benefit of USA, the proposition to announce April 24 as Genocide Day, was rejected.

It has been discovered that during the meeting of the Soviet Union Communist Party’s Polit Bureau held on Feb.21,1985, the subject of genocide was discussed. An Azerbaijan congressman and scholar Prof.Dr. Cemil Hasanli, during his research studies in the USA National Security Archives, found the minutes relative to this meeting which were brought from Russian state archives. The subject was discussed in the meeting, under the heading of “Matters to be done, in connection with the 70th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide” of the meeting agenda and was brought in the agenda by Gorbachov.

K. Demircian, first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party, had sent a letter to the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party; the subject was talked over in the Central Committee and later transferred to the agenda of the meeting of the Polit Bureau.

Those present in the meeting, were M.S. Gorbachov, H.A.Aliyev, V.I.Vorotnikov, V.V.Grisin, A.A. Gromiko, G.V. Romanov, M.S. Solomontsev, N. Tihonov, P.N. Demircev, V.I. Dolgih, V.V. Kuznetsov, B.N. Ponomaryov, V.M. Cebrikov, M.M. Zimyanin, I.V. Kapitonov, Y.K. Ligacev and N.I. Rijkov. Despite the serious efforts of Gorbachov and Demircian, the Politbureau did not approve to announce April 24th, as the Memorial Day of Genocide victims. Experienced members of the Poliutbureau such as N. Tihonov, A. Gromiko, V. Grisin, stood against this attempt.

We are releasing for the first time an explicit summary of this meeting statement, stamped “Top Secret”. Translation of the contents from Russian, has been made by Dr. Mayis Alizade. (Note: This translation into English is made from the article in Turkish and hence any probable unintended differences should be excused. SSA)

21st February 1985

GORBACHOV: This subject has been discussed in the Secretariat of the Central Committee. As you are aware, there were no activities in our country relating to the 50th anniversary of the genocide. Some time ago, the subject of the 60th year of genocide was discussed with Leonid Ilic Brejnev and Mihail Andreyevic Suslov. At that time it was decided to take some actions which were approved. And now in the year 1985, in the 70th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide which was organized by Sultan’s Turkey h,as been put on our agenda for additional action. According to the organs of the Armenian Party, these suggestions are brought to ell iminate the accusations of the of the enemies of the people, to secure the position of the people classes of the Soviet Union relative to this issue and drop them from the agenda. There is a large fanfare in the bourgeoisie press. The USA Congress has taken a decision acknowledging 24th April, as a “Day of Inhumanity and Armenian Genocide”. In France and other countries, the surroundings of administrative parties, are working actively. The Armenian Communist Party Central Committee, based on their experience in the 60th anniversary, requests that that the 24th April is acknowledged by the Soviet Socialist Congress Board as “Remembrance day of genocide victims” and that the Armenian Communist Party First Secretary makes a speech on the radio and TV and that these texts are released in the Armenian press.

To be more open, the Secretariat and ourselves, have decided to put this matter on the agenda for discussion in the Politbureau, in order to see the plusses and minuses to be created by such a decision of the Armenian Parliament

CIA Heats up this Matter

DEMIRCIAN: It has been spoken here that the 70th anniversary of genocide is being strongly heated up by CIA and other harming organizations. There is a large campaign to distort history, conferences are being arranged (also at international level), books and magazines are being printed and TV programs are aired. Some of them, approve that the Turks which had passed on the side of Russia, have been also suppressed. The Dashnaks are strengthening their own position against the Soviet. The information contained in several channels, show that these present new dangers and that the ideological situation may deteriorate more. Therefore, we are asked to take the necessary counter measures, inclusive of the “Genocide memorial day”.

I wish to underline again, that our suggestions, are connected to the large campaigns carried overseas. With instructions of USA information organizations and to spread the anti-Soviet animosity, they are trying to accuse our country and republic for remaining uninterested in the 1915 incidents. These ideas are spread around, through the students being educated in our country and Armenians placed in our country who infiltrate into Armenia. But I trust that you will support our suggestions so that we are perfectly organized not to permit usage of the 70th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide for purposes against the Soviets.

“Wouldn’t this increase animosity?”

TIHONOV: What is your opinion, wouldn’t the TV and radio speeches increase the animosity between Turks and Armenians?

DEMIRCIAN: In this speech we generally speak of the success of the Soviet Armenia and that the genocide was organized by the powers in the administration of, Turkey of the Sultans.

GRISIN: On this subject, we have concluded 70 years, without need of a decision of the Armenian Republic High Committee. Now, we are asked to take a decision. Why is this necessary?

GROMIKO: We have to discuss this matter objectively, without sentiments. Of course this was an arrogant murder of Sultan’s Turkey and Tsarist Russia. But as you know, during the period of Lenin who presided oure state for six years, these subjects were never brought on the agenda.

POMAROV: But at that time, a revolution had taken place in Turkey.

“Tasnak’s tunes, cannot be taken as a basis for us”

GROMIKO: That was a bourgeois revolution. Therefore we are faced with such a question: Is it necessary for us to make such an accusation for Turkey? To my opinion, Tashnaks hate the Soviet Rule, more than they hate the Turks. Hence, they and their tunes cannot be taken an as a basis by us. And all this, is being done out of our borders, during the race of winning votes of the Armenians. Therefore, it does not look convincing to me, to depend on all types of actions such as this, in other countries. Yet, of course we should find a way out for expression of feelings of the people. But is it necessary to do this with the decision of the Armenian Parliament? As you know, we do not have any ceremonies even on the date of death of Lenin. Therefore, I am much hesitant on the subject of the decision to be taken by the Armenian Parliament.

In the report of the Central Committee of the Armenian Communist Party they suggest that articles are printed in the Soviet Press relating to genocide. To my opinion, it is necessary that we do not involve our “heavy cannons” in this matter. Something must be done in Armenia and the speech of the first secretary of the Central Committee can be printed as well, but it is not possible that we approve the rest. If Turks were to build nuclear rockets in their country, this will form a larger threat. At the end of my comments, I want to underline the following: Suggestions that have been made, should be reconsidered, and additional steps to be taken by us should be reduced to the minimum, after evaluating how dire they are for us.

“The decision, will form a document of animosity against Turkey”

ZIMYANIN: Such ceremonies, must be made at the level of civilian organizations, and not the State. It is clear for me that the decision of the Armenian Parliament will be a document of animosity against Turkey. This, undoubtedly will strain the Turkish-Russian relations. We will profit nothing from this. Therefore, Comrade Demircian and Armenian Communist Party Central Committee should take the initiative and act according to the classification position of the people. And all ceremonies must be carried in Armenia, at civilian level, without any type of attack on Turkey. In general, relating to the 70th anniversary of the genocide, I support the opinion of activities at civilian-historical level.

“Americans will profit from this”

TIHONOV: I am not kidding. When reading the suggestions of the Armenian Communist party, I am stressed. We are just beginning to put our relations with Turkey in order. During my visit to this country, Turkish leaders have named the Soviet Union as a friendly country and assured that they will not permit installation of rockets in their country pointed to us. It is clear that the decision of the Armenian Parliament, will strain the Turkish-Russian relations and will pull Moscow into the matter, whether we want it or not. I am asking, who will profit from this ? It is clear that the Americans will profit.

During my last visit to Turkey, the President and Prime Minister of Turkey, gave examples of the speeches of Armenian authorities, and complained for 40 minutes for the Turkish antagonism in this country. We should not permit this. In general sense, we should always remember that Turkey holds Istanbul and Canakkale straits, and according to a suitable article of the Montreux treaty, they can always lock the passages.

On this subject, I read the article printed in “Pravda” in 1975. In that article, there are only five lines about the genocide. And this is correct because our country has lived through much greater calamities. For example, in White Russia, the fascists have killed one of every four persons.

Our putting relations into order with the Finns, Greeks and Turks, causes extreme anger of the Americans, and they want to harm our relations with neighboring countries, using this genocide anniversary. It would be desirable that in Armenia, the workers would tirelessly cooperate with party organization at all groups without tiring, and the matter of international conduct is organized and controlled better. Therefore, we should think deeper on this subject and find a solution at lower levels, without effecting the international relations.

“For 70 years, we did not take such a decision, and we shouldn’t:

GRISIN: We understand the feelings of our Armenian comrades and their initiative for genocide anniversary. But I also think that the international situation , dictates us to act with extreme prudence. This is because, all decisions taken by American Congress, do not suit the interests of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Armenia. Therefore, we should not depend on those decisions. In a general sense, I have serious doubts regarding the necessity of the Armenian Parliament’s taking a decision about the genocide day. For 70 years, such a decision has not be taken and we should not take this decision. May be we can print some articles in the central press, and breakdown the ambitions of the imperialist powers to foment nationalistic ambitions. There is one clear matter. We have to unite the Soviet citizens better, and mobilize the Armenian party organization to inspire them with an international spirit.

CEBRIKOV: Of course. We have to preserve our previous actions, without hampering our relations with Turkey. We cannot give up the ceremonies to which the people is used to.

TIHONOV: But, we never had any such thing at the time of Lenin!

GORBACOV: If we did not have hesitations, the Secretariat would not have had it included in the agenda of the Politbureau of the Central Committee. In principle, we should not permit new activities.

KUZNETSOZ: This is correct.

GORBACOV: We could have permitted only an article in “Pravda” reminding the genocide. As regards the ceremonies in Armenia, in principle, we should maintaoin our people’s class position and keep their success in the Soviet Armenia, above the duties, which must be executed by the communists in Armenia.

Particularly, we as the Communist Party Central Committee, have a plan for the future development of Erivan, May be such a decision can be taken on this subject prior to the genocide anniversary.

MEMBERS of the POLITBUREAU: This is correct.

Decision taken and approved.


M.S. Gorbachov: 1980 -Elected to Politbureau ; 1985- became Party’s General Secretary when Cermenko died

He became President of the State in 1988

K. Demircian – First Secretary of Armenian Communist Party

N.A. Tihonov: Prime Minister at that time

V.V. Grisin : Soviet Communist Party First Secretary, 1967-1985, member of Politbureau since 1971

A.A. Gromiko : Elected to Politburea in 1973. Minister of Foreign Affairs period of 1957 – 1985

B.N. Ponomaryov: Soviet Communist Party Secretary

M.V. Zimyanin: Pravda Newspaper editor in chief

V.M. Cebrikov : Head of KGB

Kindly Translated by Sukru Server Aya from Turkish “AYDINLIK” weekly, dt. 7.01.07 No.2016


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