Post by Bastian Kubis Post by Gerard
It depends on: is "Armenian" an nationality, and if so: since when?
Probably his nationality was 'Russian'.
Post by Spence...
Why is someone born in Tblisi not a Georgian? You don't explain.
Probably it differs from country to country.
But in many countries (national laws) the place of birth does not define
someone's nationality. The nationality of the parents is decisive.
Further I suppose (I think it is possible) that when Khatchaturian was born the
Georgian nationality was not existant.
I think that in the former Soviet Union, there was an entry "ethnicity"
in your passport (which could be even further differentiated than what
we know now as independent nations/states formerly part of the SU); I
know this type of entry still exists now at least in one of the
There is actually a Wikipedia article about this:
From the article:
"The passports recorded the following information: surname, first name
and patronymic, date and place of birth, ethnicity, family status,
propiska, and record of military service. Sometimes the passport also
had special notes, for example blood group.
As mentioned, the internal passports identified every bearer by
ethnicity (национальность, natsional’nost’), e.g., Russian, Ukrainian,
Uzbek, Estonian, Jew. This was on the so-called "fifth record" (пятая
графа, pyataya grafa) of the passport. When an individual applied for
his passport at age 16, his ethnicity would automatically be that of
his parents if they were of the same ethnicity as one another
(verified by the recorded ethnicity of the parents on the applicant's
birth certificate). If they differed in ethnicity (again, based on the
parents' ethnicity on the child's birth certificate), then the
applicant would have to choose between the two ethnicities. In this
way an individual's passport ethnicity was fixed for life at age 16."
Note that the Russian word for "ethnicity" is "natsionalnost". Another
Wikipedia article about the term "nation" says:
"A nation is a body of people who share a real or imagined common
history, culture, language or ethnic origin, who typically inhabit a
particular country or territory...
Though "nation" is also commonly used in informal discourse as a
synonym for state or country, a nation is not identical to a state.
Countries where the social concept of "nation" coincides with the
political concept of "state" are called nation states."
I think that sums up the complexity and shifting usage of terms such
as "ethnicity", "nation" or "nation state" pretty well.
Of course, what makes the whole subject even more complex is that the
concept of a "nation state" is still fairly young and political
borders have shifted countless times, so in areas where many different
"ethnicities" live (or lived) close to each other or amongst each
other, you often find that those borders have shifted in ways which
sometimes make the situation quite complex. Bartók was also mentioned
- he was basically of Hungarian "ethnicity" (his mother was of German
"ethnicity" though) and born in an area in which at the time of his
birth was politically in Hungary and inhabited by Hungarians,
Romanians and Germans and which after WWI went to Romania...That also
illustrates the complexity of this subject.
Post by Bastian Kubis
In that sense, I guess there were identifiable
Georgians or Armenians also in the time when Georgia and Armenia were
not independent. So if you want a formal criterion why Khachaturian was
Armenian, not Georgian, other than that his family was of such descent,
maybe it can be found there. [Of course I have never seen
Khachaturian's passport. ;-) ]