Turkish Genocide against the Armenians: Refugees--Russia

Figure 1.--Here Armenian refugee children are begging for food in Krasnodar, a city in southern Russia on the Kuban River just north of the Caucausus. The photograph was probably taken about 1919-20. Source: Library of Congress LC-A6195- 8970.

About half of the refugees escaped to Russia in the midst of World War I with few resources to spare. It was in Tsarist Russia that most Armenian refugees found salvation. and humanitarian aid. As onesource mentions, "'Russia' and 'humanitarianism' are rarely coupled in the historical literature on the 20th century." But Tsarist officials made a real eefort to save Armenians. The Caucasus was onevofvthe last mentioned theaters of the War. The Russians turned political and public reaction into real action. The Russian Imperial Government and non-governmental Russian organizations provided humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of desperate Armenian refugees. The Ottomans joined he War, in large part to get land lost to the Russians back. And the main Ottoman efforts was launched in the Caucasus. The commanders proved incompetent. The campaign was a disaster for the Ottomans. Turkish authorities blamed their failure on Armenian trechery. Turkish authorities targetted Armenian civliams (men, women, and children) as a 'strategic threat'. They justifyed their actions as militarily necessary massacring Armenians or driving them into the deserts of Mesopotamia and Syria. Those who did not perish became refugees on the Russian-Ottoman battlefront. Armenians had suffered untold hardships during all of the Russo-Turkish wars (18th and 19th centuries). World War I in contras was unprecedented in its impact for the Armenians. Never before was the machinery of the Ottoman state and army organized for such systematically and catastrophic killing. It was all covered bybthe fog of War in the least covered battlefikd of the War. Unlike Belgium whuch was rescued by an international consortium, only the Russians with limited resources were in a position to help the Armenians. The Germans locked in a fiere battle of their own with the Russians were silent. In the 19th century they had joined other European countries in championing Christian populations in the Empire. With the Armenians they were silent.



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Created: 12:31 PM 8/19/2019
Last updated: 12:02 AM 8/20/2019