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Armenian Revolutionary Federation

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Title: Armenian Revolutionary Federation  
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Subject: Armenian fedayi, Armenian parliamentary election, 2012, Requests for arbitration/Armenia-Azerbaijan/Evidence, United Armenia, Yıldız assassination attempt
Collection: 1890 Establishments in Russia, Armenian Nationalism, Members of the Labour and Socialist International, Nationalist Parties, Political Parties Established in 1890, Political Parties in Nagorno-Karabakh, Political Parties in Qajar Iran, Political Parties in the Ottoman Empire, Political Parties in the Russian Empire, Political Parties of Minorities, Political Parties of the Russian Revolution, Rebel Groups in Turkey, Second International, Socialist International, Socialist Parties in Armenia, Transnational Political Parties
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Armenian Revolutionary Federation

Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութիւն
Chairman Hrant Markarian
Founders Christapor Mikaelian
Stepan Zorian
Simon Zavarian
Slogan "Free, Independent and United Armenia"[1]
Founded 1890
Headquarters 30 Hanrapetutyan Street, Yerevan, Armenia
Newspaper see Media
Youth wing Armenian Youth Federation
Paramilitary wing JCAG (1975–83)
ARA (1983–85)
Membership Armenia: 6,800 (2012)[2]
Ideology Armenian nationalism[3][4][5]
United Armenia[6][7]
Democratic socialism[8][9][10]
Parliamentary republicanism[11][12]
Anti-communism (1918–91)[13][14][15]
Political position Left-wing[10]
International affiliation Socialist International[16]
European affiliation Party of European Socialists (observer)[17]
Colors Red
National Assembly of Armenia
5 / 131
National Assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh
7 / 33
Parliament of Lebanon
2 / 128
Party flag
Politics of Armenia
Political parties

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) (Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian.[20] The party operates in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and in countries where the Armenian diaspora is present, notably in Lebanon, where the party is represented in the parliament[21][22] as part of the March 8 alliance.

The ARF has traditionally advocated Armenian nationalism.[25] The party campaigns for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the right to reparations. It also advocates the establishment of United Armenia, partially based on the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920.

The ARF became active within the Ottoman Empire in the early 1890s with the aim of unifying the various small groups in the empire that were advocating for reform and defending Armenian villages from massacres that were widespread in some of the Armenian-populated areas of the empire. ARF members formed fedayi groups that defended Armenian civilians through armed resistance. The Dashnaks also worked for the wider goal of creating a "free, independent and unified" Armenia, although they sometimes set aside this goal in favor of a more realistic approach, such as advocating autonomy.

In 1918, the party was instrumental in the creation of the First Republic of Armenia, which fell to the Soviet communists in 1920.[26] After its leadership was exiled by the communists, the ARF established itself within Armenian diaspora communities, where it helped Armenians preserve their cultural identity.[27] After the fall of the USSR, it returned to Armenia, where it now again has a significant presence as the leading opposition party in Armenia's parliament. Prior to Serzh Sargsyan's election as president of Armenia and for a short time thereafter, the ARF was a member of the governing coalition, even though it nominated its own candidate in the presidential elections.[28]


  • Early history 1
    • Russian Empire 1.1
    • Persian Empire 1.2
    • Ottoman Empire 1.3
      • Abdul Hamid Period (1894–1908) 1.3.1
      • Young Turk Revolution (1908–1914) 1.3.2
    • World War I and the Armenian Genocide 1.4
    • Republic of Armenia (1918–1920) 1.5
  • Exile 2
    • Lebanon 2.1
  • Independent Armenia 3
    • Electoral record 3.1
  • Nagorno-Karabakh 4
  • Ideology and goals 5
  • Affiliate organizations 6
    • US and Canada 6.1
    • Other countries 6.2
  • Media 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

Early history

ARF Founders left to right: Stepan Zorian, Christapor Mikaelian, Simon Zavarian

In the late 19th century, Eastern Europe and Russia became the hub of small groups advocating reform in Armenian-populated areas in the Ottoman Empire. In 1890, recognizing the need to unify these groups in order to be more efficient, Christapor Mikaelian, Simon Zavarian and Stepan Zorian created a new political party called the "Federation of Armenian Revolutionaries" (Հայ Յեղափոխականների Դաշնակցութիւն, Hay Heghapokhakanneri Dashnaktsutyun), which would eventually be called the "Armenian Revolutionary Federation" or "Dashnaktsutiun" in 1890.[29]

The Tiflis, Russian Empire, in 1892.[20][29] At that meeting, the party adopted a decentralized modus operandi according to which the chapters in different countries were allowed to plan and implement policies in tune with their local political atmosphere. The party set its goal of a society based on the democratic principles of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and agrarian reform.[20][29]

Russian Empire

The ARF gradually acquired significant strength and sympathy among Russian Armenians. Mainly because of the ARF's stance towards the Ottoman Empire, the party enjoyed the support of the central Russian administration, as tsarist and ARF foreign policy had the same alignment until 1903.[30] On June 12, 1903, the tsarist authorities passed an edict to bring all Armenian Church property under imperial control. This was faced by strong ARF opposition, because the ARF perceived the tsarist edict as a threat to the Armenian national existence. As a result, the ARF leadership decided to defend Armenian churches by dispatching militiamen who acted as guards and by holding mass demonstrations.[30][31]

In 1905–06, the

  • Official web site – Armenian Revolutionary Federation
  • Official English language site – Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Dashnaktsutyun (Armenian Socialist Party)
  • Armenian Revolutionary Federation Shant Student Association
  • Armenian Revolutionary Federation Archives Institute

External links

  • Papazian, Kapriel Serope (1934). Patriotism perverted: A discussion of the deeds and the misdeeds of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the so-called Dashnagtzoutune. Boston: author] Ramgavar [a critical publication on the party's history by a  
  • Tololyan, Minas (1962). The crusade against the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Boston: [a publication by the ARF]  
  • Кhudinian, Gevorg (1990). "Հ. Հ. Դաշնակցության գաղափարական ակունքները [High-principled sources оf Armenian revolutioiary parly Dashnaktsutjun]".  

Further reading

  1. ^ Verluise, Pierre (1995). Armenia in crisis: the 1988 earthquake. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 38.  
  2. ^ "Յուրաքանչյուր երկրորդ չափահաս հայաստանցին կուսակցակա՞ն [Every second Armenian a party member?]".  
  3. ^ "Armenian Nationalist Party Threatens President Over Turkey Protocols". Yerevan.  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Abbasov, Shahin (15 October 2010). "Azerbaijan: Baku Reaches Out to Armenian Hard-liners in Karabakh PR Bid". EurasiaNet (New York).  
  6. ^ "Armenia: Internal Instability Ahead" (PDF). Yerevan/Brussels:  
  7. ^ Harutyunyan, Arus (2009). Contesting National Identities in an Ethnically Homogeneous State: The Case of Armenian Democratization. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University. p. 89.  
  8. ^ a b "Դաշնակցության սոցիալիզմի մոդելը [The Socialist Model of Dashnaktsutyun]". (in Հայերեն). Armenian Revolutionary Federation faction in the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. 9 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Evaluation Report on Armenia on Transparency of party funding" (PDF). Strasbourg,:  
  10. ^ a b "Where is the Armenian LEFT, the true alternative?". Yerevan: Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IDHR). 10 December 2007. Archived from the original on 7 September 2014. Armenian Revolutionary Federation, ARF: An Armenian left-wing and socialist political power with its roots and background. 
  11. ^ Aslanian, Karlen; Movsisian, Hovannes (24 August 2015). "Constitutional Reform ‘Victory For Dashnaktsutyun’".  
  12. ^ Hayrumyan, Naira (8 November 2012). "Vote 2013: PAP for “technical” president to carry out constitutional reform".  
  13. ^  
  14. ^  
  15. ^ "Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide" (PDF). Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room,  
  16. ^ a b "ARF news 'Yerkir', Hrant Markarian Speech". Archived from the original on June 10, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  17. ^ "ARF Joins Party of European Socialists as Observer Member". Armenian Weekly. 16 June 2015. 
  18. ^ Geukjian, Ohannes (2007). "The Policy of Positive Neutrality of the Armenian Political Parties in Lebanon during the Civil War, 1975-90: A Critical Analysis".  
  19. ^ "Armenian Revolutionary Federation". Portal on Central Eastern and Balkan Europe. Bologna, Italy:  
  20. ^ a b c d "Armenian Revolutionary Federation Founded, Armenian history timeline". Retrieved 2006-12-25. 
  21. ^ "Tachnaq party holds 2 seats in Lebanese National Assembly." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 29, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  22. ^ "ARF among parties running in NKR elections". Archived from the original on October 3, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  23. ^ Armenian Revolutionary Federation Program (PDF). The Armenian Revolutionary Federation in its world outlook and traditions is essentially a socialist, democratic, and revolutionary party. 
  24. ^ In the Socialist International
  25. ^ a b c d e "U.S. Embassy releases study on Armenian-Americans". Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  26. ^ a b c d " Home". Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f "Goals of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation". Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  28. ^ a b """RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan's Speech at General Meeting of ARF "Dashnaktsutyun. Government of Armenia. May 21, 2008. Archived from the original on 25 June 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  29. ^ a b c Libaridian, Gerard J. (2004). Modern Armenia: People, Nation, State. Transaction Publishers. pp. 103, p. 106.  
  30. ^ a b Geifman, Anna. Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894–1917. pp. 21–22.  
  31. ^ Vratsian, Simon (2000). Tempest-Born DRO. Armenian Prelacy, New York, translated by Tamar Der-Ohannesian. pp. 13–22. 
  32. ^ A Critical Survey of Bolshevism" – Stalin""". Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  33. ^ a b Swietochowski, Tadeusz (1985). Russian Azerbaijan, 1905–1920. The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community. Cambridge University Press. pp. 41–42.  
  34. ^ Libaridian, Gerard J. Modern Armenia: People, Nation, State. p. 17.  
  35. ^ (Russian)«Всеподданейшая записка по управлению кавказским краем генерала адьютанта графа Воронцова-Дашкова», СПб.: Государственная Тип., 1907, с.12
  36. ^ Suny, Ronald (1996). Transcaucasia, Nationalism, and Social Change: Essays in the History of Armenia, 2nd edition. pp. 166–167.  
  37. ^ Abraham, Richard (1990). Alexander Kerensky: The First Love of the Revolution. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 53.  
  38. ^ Abraham. Alexander Kerensky, p. 54
  39. ^ a b c d Berberian, Houri (2001). Armenians and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905–1911. Westview Press. pp. 116–117.  
  40. ^ a b c Berberian, Houri (2001). Armenians and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905–1911. Westview Press. pp. 132–134.  
  41. ^ a b c d e Kurdoghlian, Mihran (1996). Hayots Badmoutioun (Armenian History) (in Հայերեն). Hradaragutiun Azkayin Oosoomnagan Khorhoortee, Athens Greece. pp. 42–48. 
  42. ^ Ministère des affaires étrangères, op. cit., no. 212. M. P. Cambon, Ambassadeur de la Republique française à Constantinople, ŕ M. Hanotaux, Ministre des affaires étrangères, p. 239; et no. 215 p. 240.
  43. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1997). The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 224–225.  
  44. ^ a b c d e Hovannisian, Richard G. (1997). The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 418.  
  45. ^ "Khanasor Expedition, Armenian history timeline". Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  46. ^ Karentz, Varoujan (2004). Mitchnapert the Citadel: A History of Armenians in Rhode Island. iUniverse. p. 166.  
  47. ^ Mesrobian, Arpena S. (2000). Like One Family: The Armenians of Syracuse.  
  48. ^ Pasdermadjian, Garegin (1918). Why Armenia Should be Free: Armenia's Rôle in the Present War (PDF). Hairenik Pub. Co. 
  49. ^ a b Kansu, Aykut (1997). The Revolution of 1908 in Turkey. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 78.  
  50. ^ a b Kurdoghlian, Mihran (1996). Hayots Badmoutioun (Armenian History) (in Հայերեն). Hradaragutiun Azkayin Oosoomnagan Khorhoortee, Athens Greece. pp. 52–53. 
  51. ^ "Eyewitness account of the start of the Armenian Genocide". Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  52. ^ a b Kurdoghlian, Mihran (1996). Hayots Badmoutioun (Armenian History) (in Հայերեն). Hradaragutiun Azkayin Oosoomnagan Khorhoortee, Athens Greece. pp. 92–93. 
  53. ^ Ussher, Clarence D (1917). An American Physician in Turkey. Boston. p. 244. 
  54. ^ "Punishment of the Executors of the Armenian Genocide". Archived from the original on 11 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  55. ^ Avakian, Lindy V. (1989). The Cross and the Crescent. USC Press.  
  56. ^ "Transcaucasian Federation". Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  57. ^ a b "The First Republic". Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  58. ^ "Genocide survivors recall victory at Sardarapat". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  59. ^
  60. ^,138/
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^ a b "Pre-Soviet history of Karabakh". Archived from the original on 18 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  64. ^ "Soviet background separates two Armenian churches in US". Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  65. ^ Atabaki & Mehendale, Touraj & Sanjyot (2005). Central Asia And The Caucasus: Transnationalism And Diaspora. Routledge (UK). p. 136.  
  66. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (1997). The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 416.  
  67. ^ Auron Yuri, The Banality of Denial, p. 238
  68. ^ Weinberg, Leonard. Political parties and terrorist groups. Routledge (UK). p. 19.  
  69. ^ a b Federal Research, Division (2004). Lebanon a Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 185.  
  70. ^ Verluise, Pierre (April 1995), Armenia in Crisis: The 1988 Earthquake,  
  71. ^ "Tashnag says offers of compromise were snubbed". Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  72. ^ "ARF Shant Student Association". Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  73. ^ "Treaty of Sèvres". Archived from the original on 6 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  74. ^ "Armenian Revolutionary Federation – Dashnaktsutiun". Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-03. 
  75. ^ a b "ARF newspaper banned". Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  76. ^ Interview in 2001 by Aram Abrahamyan on Horizon Armenian Programming.
  77. ^ "Davit Lokyan profile at Armenian Government website". Archived from the original on December 8, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  78. ^ "Levon Mkrtchian profile at Armenian Government website". Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  79. ^ "Aghvan Vardanian profile at Armenian Government website". Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  80. ^ "Norair Davidian profile at Armenian Government website". Archived from the original on October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  81. ^ "ARFD Nominates Vahan Hovhannissian." A1+. 30 November 2007. 18 December 2007.
  83. ^ "Dashnaks Skeptical About Sarkisian’s Dialogue With Ter-Petrosian". Azatutyun. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  84. ^ "CIA – The World Factbook – Armenia". Retrieved 2007-01-27. 
  85. ^ (Armenian) Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի Ինքնավար Մարզ (ԼՂԻՄ) (Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast) Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, Yerevan 1978 p. 576
  86. ^ de Waal, Thomas (2003). Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War. New York University Press.  
  87. ^ a b "Electioral history of Karabakh". Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  88. ^ Federal Research, Division (2004). Armenia a Country Study. Kessinger Publishing. p. 141.  
  89. ^ "Terror in Karabakh: Chechen Warlord Shamil Basayev's Tenure in Azerbaijan". The Armenian Weekly On-Line: AWOL. Archived from the original on 14 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  90. ^ "The principal founders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation were nationalist, The ARF’s involvement in each of these revolutions was largely a result of the organization’s pragmatic world-view arising from the close linkage between national liberation and socialism underpinning its ideology.". Archived from the original on January 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  91. ^ "ARF history". Archived from the original on January 2, 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-29. 
  92. ^ a b "ARF history (2)". Archived from the original on January 6, 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-29. 
  93. ^ Melkonian, Monte (1990). The Right to Struggle: Selected Writings of Monte Melkonian on the Armenian National Question. San Francisco, Sardarabad Collective. pp. 55–57.  
  94. ^ Vered Amit, Talai (1989). Armenians in London: the management of social boundaries. Manchester University Press. p. 23.  
  95. ^ a b "La F.R.A. Dachnaktsoutioun rejoint l'Internationale Socialiste" (in Français). Retrieved 2006-03-11. 
  96. ^ Kowalski, Werner (1985). Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 – 19. Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 335. 
  97. ^ "Spotlight: ANC of Rhode Island". Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  98. ^ Karentz, Varoujan (2004). Mitchnapert the Citadel: A History of Armenians in Rhode Island. iUniverse. p. 162.  
  99. ^ "Armenian National Committee of Canada". Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  100. ^ "ANC Chapters". Bay Area Armenian National Committee. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  1. ^ Reformed spelling: Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցություն; Eastern Armenian pronunciation: Hay Heghapokhagan Tashnagtsutiun; Western Armenian pronunciation: Hay Heghapokhagan Tashnagtsutiun. The abbreviation in both cases is written as ՀՅԴ which is pronounced as Ho-Yi-Da in Eastern and Ho-Hi-Ta in Western Armenian.
  2. ^ Eastern Armenian: Դաշնակցություն, Dashnaktsutyun; Western Armenian: Դաշնակցութիւն, Tashnagtsoutioun


See also

Name In Armenian Type Date established Location Language(s) Circulation Website
Yerkir Երկիր weekly newspaper 1991 Yerevan, Armenia Armenian .am.yerkirwww
Yerkir Media Երկիր Մեդիա television station 2003 Yerevan, Armenia Armenian
Aparaj Ապառաժ weekly newspaper Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian .am.nk.aparajwww
Radio YAN Ռատիո ԵԱՆ online radio station 2011 Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon Armenian
Alik Ալիք daily newspaper 1931 Tehran, Iran Armenian
Housaper Յուսաբեր daily newspaper 1913 Cairo, Egypt Armenian
Aztag Ազդակ daily newspaper 1927 Beirut, Lebanon Armenian .com.aztagdailywww
Voice of Van Վանայ Ձայն radio station 1927 Beirut, Lebanon Armenian
Asbarez Ասպարեզ daily newspaper 1908 Los Angeles, California, U.S. Armenian, English .com.asbarezwww
Hairenik Հայրենիք weekly newspaper 1899 Watertown, Massachusetts, U.S. Armenian .com.hairenikweeklywww
Armenian Weekly weekly newspaper 1934 Watertown, Massachusetts, U.S. English .com.armenianweeklywww
Haytoug Հայդուկ youth magazine (AYF WR-USA) 1978 Los Angeles, California, U.S. Armenian, English .org.haytougwww
Horizon TV online television CA, USA Armenian, English .com.horizonarmeniantvwww
Horizon Հորիզոն weekly newspaper 1979 Montreal, Canada Armenian, English, French .ca.horizonweeklywww
Nor Hai Horizon TV online television 1993 Toronto, Canada Armenian, English //.ca.horizontvwww
Ardziv Արծիւ youth magazine (AYF Canada) 1991 Toronto, Canada Armenian, English, French /
Artsakank Արձագնագ weekly newspaper Nicosia, Cyprus Armenian, English
Azat Or Ազատ Օր weekly newspaper Athens, Greece Armenian, Greek .gr.azatorwww
Azat Alik Ազատ Ալիք online radio station Greece Armenian
Kantsasar Գանձասար weekly newspaper 1978 Aleppo, Syria Armenian

ARF and its affiliate organizations worldwide publish 11 newspapers: 4 daily and 7 weekly. Also, there are two TV channels, including one online. Two radio stations are aired everyday, including one online.


Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, Syria, Uruguay subsequently have played a significant role in the campaign for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in their respective countries.[100]

Other countries


US and Canada

The ARF Shant Student Association and the ARF Armen Karo Student Association are organizations of college and university students on various campuses and are the only ARF organizations whose membership is exclusively from this group.

, which encourages the youth of the diaspora to join the political cause of the ARF and the Armenian people. Armenian Youth Federation It operates the [25] The ARF also works as an umbrella organ for the

[25] The ARF is considered the foremost organization in the

Affiliate organizations

A member of the ARF is called Dashnaktsakan (in Eastern Armenian) or Tashnagtsagan (in Western Armenian). Other than calling each other by name, members formally address one another as Comrade (Ընկեր or Unger for boys and men, Ընկերուհի or Ungerouhi for girls and women).[97]

[96] between 1923 and 1940.Labour and Socialist International The party was also a member of the [95] In 1907, the Dashnaktsutiun joined the

The ARF is often accused of having a present strategy that does not differ from the one used during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Its tactics are viewed as still being aimed at convincing Western governments and diplomatic circles to sponsor the party's demands.[93]

  • Creation of a free, independent, and united Armenia. The borders of United Armenia shall include all territories designated as Armenia by the Treaty of Sèvres as well as the regions of Artsakh, Javakhk, and Nakhichevan (See map).[27]
  • International condemnation of the Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians, return of the lands which are occupied, and just reparations to the Armenian nation[27]
  • The gathering of worldwide expatriate Armenians on the lands of United Armenia.[27]
  • Strengthening Armenia's statehood, institutionalization of democracy and the rule of law, securing the people's economic well being, and establishment of social justice, and a democratic and socialistic independent republic in Armenia[27]

Despite subsequent modifications, the above-mentioned principles and tendencies continue to characterize the ideological world of the Dashnaktsutiun, and its approach toward issues has remained unchanged. In recent decades, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation reasserted itself ideologically and reformulated the section of its program called "General Theory", adapting it to current concepts of socialism, democracy and rights of self-determination.[92] Its goals are:

The principal founders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation were nationalist,[90] socialists, and Marxist elements were omnipresent in the introductory section of the party's first program written by Rosdom, entitled "General Theory".[91] The ARF first set down its ideological and political goals during the Hamidian regime. It denounced the Ottoman regime and the unbearable conditions of life for its Armenians and advocated changing the regime in power and securing more rights through revolution and armed struggle. The ARF had and still has socialism within its political philosophy. Its program expresses the entire, multifaceted make-up of the Armenian revolutionary movement, including its national-liberation, political, and social-economic aspects.[92]

The modern concept of the United Armenia as used by the ARF.[27]

Ideology and goals

After the Soviet Union expanded into the South Caucasus, it established the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) within the Azerbaijan SSR in 1923.[84][85][86] In the final years of the Soviet Union, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation established a branch in Nagorno-Karabakh. In January 1991, the Dashnaktsutiun won the parliamentary election and governed as the ruling party during the entirety of the Nagorno-Karabakh war.[87] The Dashnaks actively supported the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh (or Artsakh as Armenians call it). It aided the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army by sending armed volunteers to the front lines and supplying the army with weapons, food, medicine and moral support.[88] Shamil Basayev, commander of the Chechen volunteer forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, claimed that he and his battalion had only lost once, and that defeat came in Karabakh in fighting against the "Dashnak battalion".[89] After deciding not to run in the second parliamentary elections, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation ran in the 1999 elections and won 9 of the 33 seats in the National Assembly of Nagorno Karabakh.[87] At the June 2005 elections, the Dashnaktsutiun was part of an electoral alliance with Movement 88 that won 3 out of 33 seats.

National Assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh
Constituency /total
Total seats
Seats /total
9 /33
3 /33
4 /17
2 /16
6 /33
4 /22
3 /11
7 /33


Electoral record

In 2007, the ARF announced that it would nominate its own candidate to run for president of Armenia in the February 2008 presidential election. In an innovation on November 24–25, 2007, the ARF conducted a non-binding Armenia-wide primary election. They invited the public to vote to advise the party which of two candidates, Vahan Hovhannisyan and Armen Rustamyan, they should formally nominate for president of Armenia in the subsequent official election. What characterized it as a primary instead of a standard opinion poll was that the public knew of the primary in advance, all eligible voters were invited, and the voting was by secret ballot. Nearly 300,000 people voted in makeshift tents and mobile ballot boxes. Vahan Hovhannisyan received the most votes and was subsequently nominated for the presidential election by the ARF Supreme Council in a secret ballot.[81] In the presidential election, Hovhannisyan placed fourth with 6.2% of the vote.[82] In 2008, ARF re-joined the ruling political coalition in Armenia[28] and supported strong police actions during the 2008 Armenian presidential election protests that led to ten deaths. It left the coalition and became an opposition party once again in 2009, but relations with other factions in the Armenian opposition have remained frosty.[83] In 2012 parliamentary election the ARF won 5 seats losing 11 parliamentary seats from 2007.

In addition to its parliamentary seats, the following governmental ministries are also headed by ARF members: Ministry of Agriculture, Davit Lokian;[77] Ministry of Education and Science, Levon Mkrtchian;[78] Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Aghvan Vardanian;[79] Ministry of Healthcare, Norair Davidian.[80] On July 13, 2007, the ARF History Museum was inaugurated in Yerevan, displaying the history of the party and of its notable members.

As of 2007, the ARF is not part of but has a cooperation agreement in place with the governing coalition, which consists of two parties in the government coalition, the Republican Party and Prosperous Armenia Party. The Country of Law party was also a member of the governing coalition until it pulled out in May 2006. With 16 of the 131 seats in the National Assembly of Armenia, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation is the major socialist party in Armenia and the third-largest party in parliament.

Gerard Libaridyan, an historian and close adviser of Ter-Petrosyan, collected and presented the evidence against the defendants. He later stated in an interview that he was unsure if the evidence was true, inviting the notion that the party was banned because of its increasing chances of winning seats in the July 1995 parliamentary elections.[76] Several months after the elections, most of the men were found not guilty with the exception of several defendants charged for engaging in corrupt business practices. The ban on the party was lifted, however, less than a week after Ter-Petrosyan fell from power in February 1998 and was replaced by Robert Kocharyan, who was backed by the Dashnaks.[26]

When independence was achieved in 1991, the ARF soon became one of the major and most active political parties, rivaled mainly by the Pan-Armenian National Movement. Subsequently, on December 28, 1994, President Levon Ter-Petrosyan in a famous television speech banned the ARF, which was the nation's leading opposition party, along with Yerkir, the country's largest daily newspaper.[75] Ter-Petrosyan introduced evidence that supposedly detailed a plot hatched by the ARF to engage in terrorism against his administration, endanger Armenia's national security and overthrow the government. Throughout the evening, government security forces arrested leading ARF figures, and police seized computers, fax machines, files and printing equipment from ARF offices. In addition to Yerkir, government forces also closed several literary, women's, cultural, and youth publications.[75] Thirty-one men, who would later be known as the "Dro Group" (named after the Dro Committee, the group that was allegedly behind the plot), were arrested.

However, because of tight communist control, the ARF could not operate in the Armenian SSR and the political party remained banned until 1991. [74] refers to the borders of Armenia recognized by United Armenia The term [72] The ARF has always maintained its ideological commitment to "a Free, Independent, and United Armenia".

The ARF Supreme Council in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan

Independent Armenia

The ARF Lebanon branch is headquartered in Bourj Hammoud in the Shaghzoian Centre, along with the ARF Lebanon Central Committee's Aztag Daily newspaper and "Voice Of Van" 24-hour radio station.[71]

Ethnic Armenians are allocated six seats in Lebanon's 128-member National Assembly. The Lebanese branch of the ARF has usually controlled a majority of the Armenian vote and won most of the ethnic Armenian seats in the National Assembly. A major change occurred in the parliamentary election of 2000. With a rift between ARF and the Mustaqbal (Future) party of Rafik Hariri and the ARF was left with only one parliamentary seat, its worst result in many decades. The ARF called for a boycott of the 2005 Beirut elections. Relations soured further when on August 5, 2007 by-election in the Metn district, which includes the predominantly Armenian area of Bourj Hammoud, ARF decided to support Camille Khoury, the candidate backed by opposition leader Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement against Phalangist leader Amine Gemayel and subsequently won the seat. In the 2009 Lebanese general elections, the ARF won 2 seats in parliament which it holds presently. In June 2011, a new Lebanese government was formed where ARF party members were appointed to two ministerial positions, including Ministry of Industry, as part of the March 8 alliance.

[70] Prior to the

From 1923 to 1958, conflicts erupted among Armenian political parties struggling to dominate and organize the diaspora. In 1926, a struggle between committees of the ARF and Hunchakian parties for control of the newly established shanty-town of Bourj Hammoud in Lebanon led to the assassination of ARF member Vahan Vartabedian. As retaliation for the murder, Hunchakian members Mihran Aghazarian and S. Dekhrouhi were assassinated in 1929 and 1931 respectively.[68] In 1956, when Bishop Zareh was consecrated Catholicos of Cilicia, the Catholicos of Echmiadzin refused to recognize his authority. This controversy polarized the Armenian community of Lebanon. As a result, in the context of the Lebanese civil strife of 1958, an armed conflict erupted between supporters (the ARF) and opponents (Hunchakians, Ramgavars) of Zareh.[44]

Year Mandates


Religious conflict was part of a greater conflict that raged between the two "camps" of the Armenian diaspora. The ARF still resented the fact that they were ousted from Armenia after the Red Army took control, and the ARF leaders supported the creation of a "Free, Independent, and United Armenia", free from both Soviet and Turkish hegemony. The Social Democrat Hunchakian Party and Ramgavar Party, the main rivals of the ARF, supported the newly established Soviet rule in Armenia.[44]

During the 1950s, tensions arose between the ARF and Armenian SSR. The death of Catholicos Garegin of the Holy See of Cilicia prompted a struggle for succession. The National Ecclesiastic Assembly, which was largely influenced by the ARF, elected Zareh of Aleppo. This decision was rejected by the Echmiadzin-based Catholicos of All Armenians, the anti-ARF coalition, and Soviet Armenian authorities. Zareh extended his administrative authority over a large part of the Armenian diaspora, furthering the rift that had already been created by his election.[44] This event split the large Armenian community of Lebanon, creating sporadic clashes between the supporters of Zareh and those who opposed his election.[44]

During World War II, some Berlin-based ARF members saw an opportunity to remove Soviet control from Armenia by supporting the Nazis. The Armenian Legion, composed largely of former Soviet Red Army POWs, was led by Drastamat Kanayan. It participated in the occupation of the Crimean Peninsula [67] but was later based in the Netherlands and France a result of Adolf Hitler's distrust of their loyalty.

With political and geographic division came religious division. One part of the Armenian Church claimed it wanted to be separate from the head, whose seat was in Echmiadzin, Armenian SSR. Some Armenians in the US thought Moscow tried to use the Armenian Church to promote Communists' ideas outside the country. The Armenian Church thus separated into two branches, Echmiadzin and Cilician, and started to operate separately. In the US, Echmiadzin branch churches of the Armenian Apostolic Church would not admit members of the ARF. This was one of the reasons why the ARF discouraged people from attending these churches and brought the representatives from a different wing of the church, the Armenian Catholicate of Cilicia, from Lebanon to the US.[64] In 1933, members of ARF were convicted in the assassination of Armenian archbishop Levon Tourian in New York City. Prior to his murder, the archbishop had been accused of being exclusively pro-Soviet by the ARF.[65] However, the ARF itself was legally exonerated from any direct complicity in the assassination.[66]

After the communists took over the short-lived First Republic of Armenia and ARF leaders were exiled, the Dashnaks moved their base of operations to where the Armenian diaspora had settled. With the large influx of Armenian refugees in the Levant, the ARF established a strong political structure in Lebanon and to a lesser extent, Syria. From 1921 to 1990, the Dashnaktsutiun established political structures in more than 200 states including the USA, where another large influx of Armenians settled.[25]


The DRA wanted to recover the country's economy, and create new rules and regulations, but the situation required it to focus on overcoming widespread hunger in the country. The situation was complicated externally, provoked by Turkish and Azeri Muslim riots. In 1920 the situation in the country became worse, with apparent rapprochement between Soviet Russia and Kemal's Turkey. When the Turkish-Armenian war started in autumn 1920, Armenia was isolated and abandoned by Western allies. The newly formed League of Nations did not provide any help. Soviet Russia intensified its pressure on Armenia. Losing the war, Armenia signed the Treaty of Alexandropol on December 2, 1920, which resulted in the recognition of large territorial losses to Turkey. The Armenia military-revolutionary committee formed in Soviet Azerbaijan. Despite their tight grip on power, the ARF ceded power to the Communist Red Army troops invading from the north, which culminated with a Soviet takeover.[26] The ARF was banned, its leaders exiled, and many of its members dispersed to other parts of the world.[26]

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation had a strong presence in the DRA government. Most of the important government posts, such as prime minister, defence minister and interior minister were controlled by its members.

The ARF, led by General Andranik, tried several times to seize Shusha (known as Shushi by Armenians), a city in Karabakh. Just before the Armistice of Mudros was signed, Andranik was on the way from Zangezur to Shusha, to control the main city of Karabakh. Andranik's forces got within 26 miles (42 km) of the city when the First World War ended, and Turkey, along with Germany and Austria-Hungary, surrendered to the Allies.[63] British forces ordered Andranik to stop all military advances, assuring him that the conflict would be solved with the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Andranik, not wanting to antagonize the British, retreated to Goris, Zangezur.[63]

During this period, in May 1918, this group committed a massacre in Guba in Azerbaïdjan killing 3 000 civilians[59] including Muslims, Mountain Jews[60][61] and Lezgians.[62]

With the collapse of the Transcaucasian Federation, the Armenians were left to fend for themselves as the Turkish army approached the capital of Yerevan. At first, fearing a major military defeat and massacre of the population of Armenia, the Dashnaks wanted to evacuate the city of Yerevan. Instead, the Military Council headed by Colonel Pirumian decided that they would not surrender and would confront the Turkish army.[57] The opposing armies met on May 28, 1918, near Sardarapat. The battle was a major military success for the Armenian army as it was able to halt the invading Turkish forces.[58] The Armenians also stood their ground at the Battle of Kara Killisse and at the Battle of Bash Abaran. The creation of the First Republic of Armenia was proclaimed on the same day of the Battle of Sardarapat, and the ARF became the ruling party. However, the new state was devastated, with a dislocated economy, hundreds of thousands of refugees, and a mostly starving population.[57]

Members of the second cabinet of the First Republic of Armenia, October 1, 1919.
Sitting: Avetik Sahakyan, Alexander Khatisyan, General Christophor Araratov. Standing: Nikol Aghbalian, A. Gulkandanian, S. Araradian.

[56] As a result of the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1917, the Armenian, Georgian, and

Republic of Armenia (1918–1920)

At the end of World War I, members of the Young Turks movement considered executors of the Armenian Genocide by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation were assassinated during Operation Nemesis.[54][55]

About 185,000 Armenians lived in Vaspurakan. In the city of Van itself, there were around 30,000 Armenians, but more Armenians from surrounding villages joined them during the Ottoman offensive. The battle started on April 20, 1915, with Aram Manukian as the leader of the resistance, and lasted for two months. In May, the Armenian battalions and Russian regulars entered the city and successfully drove the Ottoman army out of Van.[52] The Dashnaktsutiun was also involved in other less-successful resistance movements in Zeitun, Shabin-Karahisar, Urfa, and Musa Dagh. After the end of the Van resistance, ARF leader Aram Manukian became governor of the Administration for Western Armenia and worked to ease the sufferings of Armenians.

In 1915, Dashnak leaders were deported and killed alongside other Armenian intellectuals during a purge by Ottoman officials against the leaders of the empire's Armenian communities.[51] The ARF, maintaining its ideological commitment to a "Free, Independent, and United Armenia", led the defense of the Armenian people during the Armenian Genocide, becoming leaders of the successful Van Resistance. Jevdet Bey, the Ottoman administrator of Van, tried to suppress the resistance by killing two Armenian leaders (Ishkhan and Vramian) and trying to imprison Aram Manukian, who had risen to fame and gained the nickname "Aram of Van".[52] Moreover, on April 19, he issued an order to exterminate all Armenians, and threatened to kill all Muslims who helped them.[53]

Aram Manukian, one of the leaders of the Van Resistance

World War I and the Armenian Genocide

In 1908, Abdul Hamid II was overthrown during the Young Turk Revolution, which launched the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire. Armenians gained more seats in the 1908 parliament, but the reforms fell short of the greater autonomy that the ARF had hoped for. The Adana massacre in 1909 also created antipathy between Armenians and Turks, and the ARF cut relations with the Young Turks in 1912.[50]

Two of the largest revolutionary groups trying to overthrow Sultan Abdul Hamid II had been the ARF and the Committee of Union and Progress, a group of mostly European-educated Turks.[49] In a general assembly meeting in 1907, the ARF acknowledged that the Armenian and Turkish revolutionaries had the same goals. Although the Tanzimat reforms had given Armenians more rights and seats in the parliament, the ARF hoped to gain autonomy to govern Armenian populated areas of the Ottoman Empire as a "state within a state". The "Second congress of the Ottoman opposition" took place in Paris, France, in 1907. Opposition leaders including Ahmed Riza (liberal), Sabahheddin Bey, and ARF member Khachatur Maloumian attended. During the meeting, an alliance between the two parties was officially declared.[49][50] The ARF decided to cooperate with the Committee of Union and Progress, hoping that if the Young Turks came to power, autonomy would be granted to the Armenians.

Young Turk Revolution (1908–1914)

In 1905, members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation organized the Yıldız Attempt, an assassination attempt on Sultan Abdul Hamid II in the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople (modern day Istanbul).[41] The Yıldız Attempt failed to assassinate the Sultan because the timed bomb missed its target by a few minutes. The Dashnaksutiun also lost one of its founders, Kristapor Mikaelian, in an accidental explosion during the planning of the operation.

On March 30, 1904, the ARF played a major role in the Sasun Uprising. The ARF sent arms and fedayi to defend the region for the second time.[41] Among the 500 fedayees participating in the resistance were top figures such as Kevork Chavush, Sepasdatsi Murad and Hrayr Djoghk. They managed to hold off the Ottoman army for several months, despite their lack of fighters and firepower.[41]

The Khanasor Expedition was performed by the Armenian militia against the Kurdish Mazrik tribe on July 25, 1897. During the Defense of Van, the Mazrik tribe had ambushed a squad of Armenian defenders and massacred them. The Khanasor Expedition was the ARF's retaliation.[41][45] Some Armenians consider this their first victory over the Ottoman Empire and celebrate each year in its remembrance.[46][47]

To raise awareness of the massacres of 1895–96, members of the Dashnaktsutiun led by Papken Siuni, occupied the Ottoman Bank on August 26, 1896.[43] The purpose of the raid was to dictate the ARF's demands of reform in the Armenian populated areas of the Ottoman Empire and to attract European attention to their cause since the Europeans had many assets in the bank. The operation caught European attention but at the cost of more massacres by Sultan Abdul Hamid II.[44]

Fedayi group fighting under the ARF banner. Text in Armenian reads "Azatut'yun gam mah" (Liberty or Death).

The ARF became a major political force in Armenian life. It was especially active in the Ottoman Empire, where it organized or participated in many revolutionary activities. In 1894, the ARF took part in the Defense of Van in the province of Van, where Ottoman Hamidieh soldiers were to attack the city. The Armenakans, assisted by members of the Hunchakian and ARF parties, supplied all able-bodied men of Van with weapons. They rose to defend the civilians from the attack and subsequent massacre.[42]

Abdul Hamid Period (1894–1908)

Ottoman Empire

From 1907 to 1908, during the time when the Young Turks came to power in the Ottoman Empire, Armenians from the Caucasus, Western Armenia, and Iran started to collaborate with Iranian constitutionalists and revolutionaries.[39] Political parties, notably the Dashnaktsutiun, wanted to influence the direction of the revolution towards greater democracy and to safeguard gains already achieved. The Dashnak contribution to the fight was mostly military, as it sent some of its well known fedayees to Iran after the guerrilla campaign in the Ottoman Empire ended with the rise of the Young Turks.[39] A notable ARF member already in Iran was Yeprem Khan, who had established a branch of the party in the country. Yeprem Khan was highly instrumental in the Constitutional revolution of Iran. After the Persian national parliament was shelled by the Russian Colonel Vladimir Liakhov, Yeprem Khan rallied with Sattar Khan and other revolutionary leaders in the Constitutional Revolution of Iran against Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar.[40] Relations between Sattar Khan and the ARF oscillated between amity and resentment. Sometimes he was viewed as being ignorant, while at other times he was dubbed a great hero.[40] Nonetheless, the ARF came to collaborate with him and alongside Yeprem Khan posted many victories including the capture of Rasht in February 1909. At the end of June 1909, the fighters arrived in Tehran and after several battles, took over the Majles building and the Sepahsalar mosque. Yeprem Khan was then appointed chief of Tehran police. This caused tensions between the Dashnaks and Khan.[40] `

The Dashnaktsutiun held a meeting on April 26, 1907, dubbed the Fourth General Congress, at which ARF leaders such as Aram Manukian, Hamo Ohanjanyan and Stepan Stepanian discussed their engagement in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution.[39] They established that the movement was one that had political, ideological and economic components and was thus aimed at establishing law and order, human rights and the interests of all working people. They also felt that it would work for the benefit and interest of Armenian-Iranians. The final vote was 25 votes in favour and one absentia.[39]

Yeprem Khan was a revolutionary leader of Iran

Persian Empire

In January 1912, 159 ARF members, being lawyers, bankers, merchants and other intellectuals, were tried before the Russian senate for their participation in the party. They were defended by then-lawyer Alexander Kerensky, who challenged much of the evidence used against them as the "original investigators had been encouraged by the local administration to use any available means" to convict the men.[37] Kerensky succeeded in having the evidence reexamined for one of the defendants. He and several other lawyers "made openly contemptuous declarations" about this discrepancy to the Russian press, which was forbidden to attend the trials, and this in turn greatly embarrassed the senators. The Senate eventually opened an inquiry against the chief magistrate who had brought the charges against the Dashnak members and concluded that he was insane. Ninety-four of the accused were acquitted, while the rest were either imprisoned or exiled for varying periods, the most severe being six years.[38]

[36], as necessary for the achievement of political goals.terror During that period, the ARF regarded armed activity, including [33]

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