MOSCOW (PanARMENIAN.Net) — Nikolai Levichev, vice-speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, co-author of the bill criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide spoke this week to the Haqqin.az Azeri news agency and brought up the Armenian Genocide.
“I’d like to cite the Pope, who said that the Armenian massacres constituted the first genocide of the 20th century,” said. “Throughout the year, various events were held to mark the centennial of the tragedy. Russian and French Presidents Vladimir Putin and Francois Hollande visited Yerevan in April to participate in the commemoration ceremonies. In the same month, the Russian parliamentary delegation led by myself took part in the global forum Against the Crime of Genocide,” the MP stated.
Levichev told the agency that the Just Russia party held an international conference titled “Genocide in the historical memory of the peoples and in information wars of modern times.” Also, the European Parliament adopted on April 15 an Armenian Genocide resolution, calling on Turkey to acknowledge the crime.
“Our initiative of outlawing the Genocide denial, therefore, serves as a logical conclusion of 2015,” Levichev noted.
In response to a remark suggesting that Turkic peoples of the Russian Federation don’t recognize the Genocide either, Levichev said: “For the first time I hear that Bashkortostan and Tatarstan do not recognize the Genocide. Moreover, the Russian State Duma adopted a decision in 1995 to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
“Azeris who happen to be Russian citizens have to live by Russia’s laws. If this bill is adopted, it is binding on all Russian citizens, regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation. Besides, Azerbaijani citizens, traveling to Russia to work or study, will also be obliged to adhere to the laws of the host country and recognize the Armenian Genocide,” Levichev stated.