Co-author of the draft law on criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide explained in a conversation with PanARMENIAN.Net the reason behind submitting the bill to the parliament against the backdrop of tense relations between Moscow and Ankara.
“It is a well-known fact that the Armenian Genocide was much discussed in the centennial commemoration year,” Deputy Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Nikolay Levichev said. “On the eve of 2015, the party Fair Russia organized a large international conference on the Genocide. In April, 2015, the lower House of the Russian Parliament adopted a declaration, expressing solidarity with the brotherly Armenian people and calling on the international community to resolve conflicts through dialogue, without use of force. Besides, a State Duma delegation participated in April’s commemoration ceremonies in Yerevan.”
For this reason, Levichev said, the draft bill on the criminalization of Genocide denial was a continuation of this year’s events, serving, first of all, as a reminder of the need to restore historical justice.
The vice-speaker said, however, that the international situation has certainly influenced the submission of the legislative initiative. The actions of the Islamic State group much resemble genocide: massacres are perpetrated, Christian holy sites are destroyed.
“If we don’t pay due attention to the facts of the past to defend the historical truth, we are doomed to repeat the bloody events,” he said.
It is already clear, Levichev added, that the discussions on the bill will lead to debates outside the parliament, some of the colleagues from other parliamentary factions having already expressed the view that criminalization of Genocide denial is “an excessive measure.”