As most Armenian last names are recognizable for their yan (ian) ending, some – I should say many – Armenians have always changed their last in all around the world to avoid discrimination in other countries.

This is how Andre Agassian became Andre Agassi, Vaghinak Aznavourian became Charles Aznavour, Mark Giragosian became Mark Giragos, Yelena Pogosyan became Yelena Abramova. If all these mentioned could have arguably changed their last names for career purposes, the same cannot be said for 19-year-old Yelena, who, Transitions Online reports, changed her last to stop being singled out as Armenian in Russia.

According to the new report, "Yelena’s story is becoming typical as more Armenians, born both in Kuban and abroad, seek to change their names. Like Yelena, most say they are tired of being singled out as foreign."

The article says that not all Armenians change their last names in Russia, but many think it is the way out of growing xenophobia from the culturally diverse country.

For a person who lives in America, I don't have the right to blame these Armenians for changing their last names. I walked the Moscow streets humiliated and dehumanized, because any time a skinhead could stop and do whatever he wanted to me while the police would watch ignorantly. Maybe it was an overfeeling, but at least the climate had forced me to feel that way, although people say I don't look typical Armenian (which offends me).

But why would Armenians change their last names in America? Why would their change it all around the world? Is anti-Armenianism so omnipresent in this world?

I don't mind that Armenians have non-Armenian last names because of having a non-Armenian father with a non-Armenian name, but to change last name is losing one's identity.

I guess the big question I have in my mind is the following: where have all the Armenians gone? I am referring to those who emigrated from Armenia starting the 11th century and before the 1890s? Where are the powerful Armenians of Romania who once built entire cities in that country? Are there any descendants of those powerful Armenians of Romania? Do we know ONE person who says that he is a descendant of Armenian immigrants that left Armenia before 1800s. The Armenians of Iran? Of course. But they are a phenomenon who need to be studied. Seriously. They were forced out of Armenia in 1604 and most of them speak better Armenian than first generation Russian Armenians. Actually I have a Russian born Armenian friend who speaks perfect Armenian, but neither of her ancestors were born in Armenia after 1604. But her parents were born in Iran. So will her children be as Armenian as she is? Maybe because Iranians don't destroy the Armenian culture (and in fact restored an Armenian church there recently)? Maybe because we consider Iranians inferior and therefore kept our "better" identity? Why isn't the same happening to the Armenians of Syria? Why is the Armenian youth there becoming more and more Syrian?

These are not questions to attack anybody. But I would like to see viewpoints and thoughts on this, because I really can't understand what happened to Romania's Armenian community. Maybe I am fearful that today's Glendale will have no single person who speaks Armenian in 100 years (if there is no more emigration from Armenian). Maybe I am fearful that in fact my race will disappear some day from the face of the Earth?

So why is the Armenian last name so undesirable. Ask this question to my Italian-American friend Andy Turpin and he will have a surprising answer for you. Andy has added Sukiasyan to the end of his last name to honor the name of the host family that he lived with in Armenia for three months. Do you know what is Andy's dream? To live in Armenia. The guy has no single Armenian blood in him, but he is a "better" Armenian, according to my responsibility theory, than average Armenians.

And there are some Armenians who will never change their last names, no matter how ironic they are. I met a 25-year-old lawyer for the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. this fall, whose last name is Gavoor. Yes, gavoor means infidel in Turkish, and this was the name that his Armenian family was referred by. And they decided to adopt it. And I bet this gavoor guy will be a big guy in the world one day, and then he will tell what his last name means.

Turkish Armenians, who have been literally forced by their government to change their last names in the last decades in Turkey, are exempt from this critique. Be who you are, and show what gavoors can do in this world.