chapter  4
The Armenians: Conflicting Identities and the Politics of Division
ByRazmik Panossian
Pages 24

The essential division within the Armenian nation, and within each major Armenian community, has been defined by the question of how to relate to Armenia. This chapter examines the political history of this division and its contemporary manifestations. It focuses on the "external" diaspora rather than on the "internal" diaspora of ethnic Armenians in the other post-Soviet republics. The chapter looks at the historical dimensions of the Armenian diaspora and then examines the relationship between Soviet Armenia and the diaspora up to 1988. It concentrates on homeland-diaspora relations after 1988 before describing the challenges of contested identities. There was, however, a brief "honeymoon" period between the homeland and the diaspora. If financial aid is one element of the diaspora's contribution to the homeland, the other is lobbying and related political activities in relation to the kin-state. A stable pattern of coexistence between Armenia and the diaspora was the norm in the 1970s and 1980s.