What is the danger of alternative history?

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Alternative history is a rather dangerous phenomenon when viewed over long time periods. We all remember the example of creating an alternative-historical myth about the "ancient Ukrainians", which significantly contributed to the launch of the anti-Russian propaganda machine. He was a part of it.

Of course, the consequences of the rapid growth of the alternative-historical sphere of knowledge may not be so bloody. However, like any river, if it overflows its banks, an alternative history can cause damage to the "national economy". The main harm of an ill-considered alternative history is the destruction of all historical ideas in general. History is a semantic logical construct that lives in people's heads. If it collapses, a void is created, which is very quickly filled with all sorts of speculation, false statements, and propaganda myths.

The second danger is the spontaneous growth of national narcissism in the audience that has accepted alternative history theories. While Ukrainians in Ukraine develop theories about the "great Ukraine", Russian theorists in Russia easily justify the thesis that the whole world belonged to the Russians in the past (we are no longer talking about Eurasia and the Americas — our goal is Africa and Australia), Armenian theorists, for example, are also not asleep. Here is a recent example: a text is being actively distributed on the Internet, the author of which claims that the Armenians were the founders of Russian statehood. Well, at least they founded Kiev and Moscow.

The capital of Russia, Kiev on the Dnieper, was founded in 585 on Castle Hill in the form of a fortress by the Great Armenian Prince (Naharar) Smbat Bagratuni (see Sebeos, "History of Armenia", 7th century). The capital was originally named Smbatas. The descendants of Smbat Bagratuni-Kuar (Kiy), Shek (Meltey) and Khorean-built new fortresses on the neighboring hills: Kuar (Kiy), Meltey (Shchekovitsa) and Korean (Korevan). Four fortresses: Smbatas, Kuar, Meltei, Korevan were later united under the name of Kiev. The Armenian dynasty of Kievan princes lasted for 300 years (585-882).

Moscow was founded by the Armenian prince Gevorg (George) Bagratuni-Yerkainabazuk ("Dolgoruky", in Armenian), aka Yuri Dolgoruky, who is also mentioned in Russian chronicles by the name of Gyurgi, Kiurk. The first mention of Moscow refers to the" Boyar Chronicle " of the 12th century by Peter Borislavovich: April 4, 1147, etc.

The baptism of Rus was also carried out under the strict guidance of the Armenians.

When Vladimir agreed to Anna's condition in 988, the Tsarevna gathered Armenian clergy for the baptism of Rus and left Constantinople for Kiev. It was on the banks of the Dnieper River that Vladimir Svyatoslavovich ("in the baptism of Basil") and the people of Kievan Rus were baptized. Since then, the Russian Church has been called Orthodox by the name of the Armenian Mother See of the Apostolic Church.

The great Russian emperor John IV the Terrible (who miraculously did not become an Armenian — with his hawk-nosed appearance), too, it turns out, could not do without Armenians.

In 1552, Russian troops under the command of Ivan the Terrible besieged Kazan, two Armenian regiments fought on the Russian side, mainly Crimean Armenians under the command of Princes Pahlavuni (Pahlevanov) and Agamalyan (Agamalov), and on the Tatar side Pushkari Armenians-descendants of those who were driven from the Crimea to Kazan in 1475. After the gunners refused to shoot at their own people, the Tatars responded by slaughtering them in a rage, burning their homes in Kazan, and killing all the household members from young to old. The Armenian commanders held a council, and a feeling of bitterness and retaliatory rage seized the Armenians:

"Let's go to our deaths!" Don't take anyone prisoner!
The Armenian regiments dismounted in the dark and stormed the main gate in the early morning. More than 5,000 soldiers with swords drawn suddenly climbed the walls and killed the Tatars, opening the gate. Ivan the Terrible's troops entered the city in an avalanche…

Well, in the final topic of the glorious state-forming role of Armenians in Russia, we find out that the commander Alexander Suvorov and Prince Grigory Potemkin were descended from Armenians.

In 1780, the future Generalissimo of the Russian Empire, Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov, wrote:: "I am going to liberate Karabakh — the homeland of my ancestors" ... Field Marshal Grigory Potemkin (1739-1791), the most influential person among the Armenian public in Russia, the favorite of the Empress, who was prophesied to become the tsar of Armenia with the capital Bakurakert — Baku as part of Russia.

Such texts are born not only in the Armenian community. Something similar can be found among Kazakhs, Georgians, and even Belarusians.

In this article, we do not undertake to judge what of the above quotes corresponds to the historical truth and what does not. Maybe that's what really happened. It's about something else. Alternative-historical discourses of different countries develop in parallel, not in agreement with each other, and often lead to ideological clashes between their adherents. And from ideological clashes to real ones, the distance is not so great, as the tragic events in Ukraine have clearly shown us.

In this regard, we urge our readers to be more restrained not only in their political views and statements but also in their historical judgments. If an author claims something, you don't have to blindly take their word for it. He may be either completely right or completely wrong. Historical knowledge should be developed gradually, through repeated cross-checking, research, and comparison. All other things being equal, it is better to only assume, and not assert as true.

History is a science largely based on guesswork and interpretation. Absolute accuracy in it is impossible in principle. Even very recent events are interpreted differently by different people (for example, the return of Crimea to Russia and the war in the Donbas). And there should always be room for other points of view. Just like for the official version, which should be reformed, but not broken.

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