Armenia Total(itar)is is: Understanding Stalinism and Its Consequences for Armenia
Armenia Totalitar(is)is is a joint Initiative of DVV International and NGO “Hazarashen” Armenian Center for Ethnologi¬cal Studies. Launched in 2012, the project strived to understand Stalinism in Armenia through combining oral history and archive study as main research tools. Encouraging public debate around the issue was another key aspect of the project. Between 2012-2017, more than 100 oral history interviews with the families of repressed were conducted across Armenia. Diaries and memoirs, archival documents, photographs and testimonies collected from family and national archives are presented on the project website, www.armeniatotalitaris.am.
In 2015, the project team has organized training on “Soviet Repression Research Methods” for young researchers from Armenia, followed by an international summer school on the same topic with participants, trainers, presenters from Armenia, Georgia and Russia. Under the guidance of Hazarashen experts, trained students worked closely with the National Archives of Armenia to create a database on all victims of Stalin-era political repressions in Armenia. The part of the database containing personal data of 12,433 people exiled from Armenia to Siberia in 1949 was put online in June 2017 and is currently available at http://www.armeniatotalitaris.ru/
“Stalin Era Repressions in Armenia: History, Memory, Everyday Life” publication is one of the major products created under the project, which is largely based on family narratives and memoirs of the repression victims, as well as the scarce archival material and the printed press of the period. The book examines Stalin era political repressions in Soviet Armenia, including their vectors, social strata targeting, impact on everyday life, public perception and assessment of the causes of repressions and the problem of culpability, as well as the issues related to memorialization of perpetrators and the victims.
“The Unfamiliar People”, a documentary largely based on the oral history interviews was directed by Sarik Hovsepyan and Nika Shek and produced in 2013, followed by screenings in Yerevan, Gyumri and Kapan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1fuXvuiSnE&feature=share
“Oh Fatherland, Cold and Sweet” is another documentary on this topic, which was produced by NGO with “Factum” (“Versus” Studio) financial support from DVV International in Armenia. A 64-minute long documentary is a series of interviews with 51 people (42 victims, 5 family members and 4 experts) filmed in Armenia, USA, France and Russia.
Yerevan Terror Topography map is another essential product developed under the project. It maps around 40 administrative and religious buildings, monuments and apartment blocks affected by terror, while over 110 well-known victims of terror, including writers, scientists, statesmen, military and clergy men have been identified and put on the map. The exile of 1949 is presented with data on 100 streets of Yerevan, each pictured with a car indicating number of people and families exiled from that street.
On September 22, 2017, NGO Hazarashen in cooperation with the National Archive of Armenia and National Library of Armenia opened an exhibition dedicated to 80th Anniversary of Great Terror in Armenia (1937-2017) featuring numerous achieve material’s that were opened and publicized as part of the project.
To increase public awareness and motivate public debate around the Stalin era repressions in Armenia, several public discussions, book presentation and film screenings were held throughout project implementation.