Stalin, the leader of the Soviet peoples, died on March 3, 1953. Three years later, in 1956, Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, delivered his “Secret Speech” at the 20th Party Congress and talked about the ‘cult of personality’, linking all the shortcomings of the country to Stalin. Attributing the long list of human rights violations that had taken place in the Soviet Union over thirty years to the ‘cult of personality’, the Soviet leadership sought to show the world that democratic processes had started in the country and that Soviet/communist ideology was based on humane principles.
As in the case of the Great Repatriation, so too now, it was necessary to show just how attractive then Soviet Union had become after the implemented changes. Once again, the then authorities of Armenia proposed that another mass repatriation be organized. The idea was warmly received in the Kremlin.
The proposal of the Armenian authorities was based on several factors. First, those Armenians of Iran who had renounced their citizenship in the 1940s in order to repatriate, but hadn’t received permission to do so, were living in limbo. They couldn’t get a job, obtain property, and faced other obstacles due to their non-status.
The situation of Armenians living in Egypt had become progressively unbearable due to the nationalist policies of Gamal Nasser. Armenians, alongside other foreigners and non-Muslims, felt threatened. They couldn’t find work; both those having citizenship and those who didn’t. A majority of Armenians in Egypt were ready to leave the country. They had two routes to take – immigrate to Armenia or either move to Australia, Latin America, Canada, etc.
The Middle East, overall, was unstable politically. The frequent clashes between Israel and her Arab neighbors - Lebanon, Syria and Jordan – placed area Armenians in a quandary. They could either relocate to Armenia or to countries and continents further afield.
Despite these regional challenges, there was no mass repatriation to Armenia. In fact, those many who had relocated to Armenia earlier were now leaving the homeland. Those that did move to Armenia were mainly those with poor financial prospects awaiting them in the United States, Canada and Australia. Few were those who came to Armenia out of a deep-seated desire to actually live there.