Armenian national movement

Armenian national movement

Armenian national movement, also known as the "Armenian revolutionary movement" and Armenian national liberation movement was the Armenian national effort of Armenian People to re-establish an Armenian state in the historic Armenian homelands of eastern Asia Minor and the Transcaucasus. The Armenian national movement developed long after the Greek movement with the rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire; however the factors contributing to the emergence made the movement far more similar to that of the Greeks than those of other ethnic groups of the region. [The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics By Richard G. Hovannisian p.129] There were individual heroes who sacrificed their life but the movement was an organised activity involving three organizations: Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, Ramgavar Party (known as the Armenakan) and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), of which the ARF was the largest and most influential extending to the 21century. The involvement of the European powers to Armenian Question had a powerful effect on hitherto suppressed interest in a national movement among the Armenians, leading to the development of a national liberation ideology and the transformation of Armenian national identityArman J. Kirakossian, "British Diplomacy and the Armenian Question, from the 1830s to 1914", page 58, ISBN 1-884630-07-3] .

National awakening

Enlightenment among Armenians, sometimes called as renaissance of the Armenian people, came from two sources; First one was the Armenian monks belonging to the Mekhitarist Order. Second one was the socio-political developments of the 19th century, mainly the French Revolution and establishment of "Russian revolutionary thought." In Russian Armenia, Mekhitar emphasized importance of the teaching of Armenian history and language. Nersesian College in Tiflis (1823) and Lazarian College in the Moscow-Lazarevski Institute (1816) were the foremost educational institutions in developing national awareness. Among the pioneers Mikayel Nalbantian, Khachadour Abovian and Stepan Nazarian are to be counted. They championed the Armenian cause, and fought for its recognition. In the Ottoman Empire the conditions of Armenians improved owing to the "Tanzimat reforms" and better transport Edmund Herzig "Armenians Past And Present In The Making Of National Identity A Handbook" page.76] .

Armenian National Constitution defined the condition of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, but also it had regulations defining the authority of the Patriarch. The constitution of Armenian National Assembly seen as a milestone by progressive Armenians. Besides these improvements a second development was the introduction by Protestant missionaries of elementary education, colleges and other institutions of learning. Communications improved with the starting of Armenian newspapers. Books about Amenian history enebled a comparison of the past with current conditions and expanded readers' horizons. . This was part of an evolution in Armenian political consciousness from purely cultural romanticism to a programme for action. .

During the 19th century, along with the other national movements, a nascent Armenian intelligentsia promoted the use of new concepts in society with a particularly Armenian import. These concepts were developed by an intelligentsia which had studied in the Western Europe under the influence of the legacy of the French Revolution of 1789. They were highly educated (doctors, academics, etc) who espoused a democratic-liberal ideology and the concept of the rights of man. The second wave come with the emergence of Russian revolutionary thought. At the end of 19th century a movement was based on a socialist ideology, specifically in its Marxist variant, see Armenian Revolutionary Federation [cite book |first = Gerard J. | last = Libaridian | title = Modern Armenia: People, Nation, State | publisher = Transaction Publishers | pages = p. 106 | year = 2004 | id = ISBN 0765802058] [cite web | url=| title=Armenian Revolutionary Federation Founded, Armenian history timeline|accessdate=2006-12-25] . There was a major problem, in that materialism and class struggle did not directly apply to the realities (Socioeconomics) of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as much as to those in the Russian Armenia.

Organizing into groups, 1880s

In 1885, the Armenakan (Ramgavar Party) was established in Van by Mëkërtich Portukalian, who later went into exile in Marseilles but kept in touch with local leaders, and published a journal of political and social enlightenment, "L'Armenie". The Armenians of Van continued to develop the political principles behind Armenian nationalism, in secret. The party's aim soon become to 'win for the Armenians the right to rule themselves, through revolution'. Their view on how to liberate Armenia from the Ottoman Empire was that it should be through the press, national awakening and unarmed resistence.

In 1885, Armenian Patriotic Society of Europe was established in Chesilton Road, Fulham, with its headquarters there. Its goal was that the Armenian Diaspora should help those in their native land, both financially and raise Armenian political consciousness about its subject condition.

In 1887, the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (Hentchak, was the first Socialist party in the Ottoman Empire and in Persia by Avetis Nazarbekian, Mariam Vardanian, Gevorg Gharadjian, Ruben Khan-Azat, Christopher Ohanian, Gabriel Kafian and Manuel Manuelian, a group of college students who met in Geneva, Switzerland, with the goal to gain Armenia's independence from the Ottoman Empire. Hunchak means "Bell" in English, and was taken by party members to represent "awakening, enlightenment, and freedom."

In 1889 the Young Armenia Society was founded by Kristapor Mikayelian in Tbilisi. [Nalbandian, Armenian Revolutionary Movement, pp. 145–7.] The Young Armenia Society organised Fedayee campaigns into Ottoman territory. The Russian Empire attacked Ottoman Armenia in Gugunian Expedition. Its aims were the carrying out reprisals against Kurds believed to be guilty of persecuting Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The society believed that that the Russians would assist in the creation of an autonomous Armenian province under Russian rule.

In 1890 Armenian Revolutionary Federation was founded in Tiflis.cite web | url=| title=Armenian Revolutionary Federation Founded, Armenian history timeline|accessdate=2006-12-25] Its members armed themselves into fedayee groups to defend Armenian villages from widespread oppression, attacks and persecution of the Armenians, it's initial aim was to guarantee reforms in the Armenian provinces and to gain eventual autonomy, it being seen as the only solution to save the people from Ottoman oppression and massacres. [Note the picture [
] that shows fedayees operating under the ARF flag that read "Liberty or Death"
] .

Significant European and American movements began with the Armenian diaspora in France and in the U.S. as early as in the 1890s. The previous migrations were minor or and had not been statistically significant. Various political parties and benevolent unions, such as branches for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF or Dashnaktsutiun), the Social-Democrat Henchagian party (Hunchak), and the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) which was initially founded in Constantinople, were established wherever there was a considerable number of Armenians.

Major involvements

Ru: Edict on Armenian church property 1903 - 1904

The tsar's Russification programme reached its peak with the decree of June 12 1903 confiscating the property of the Armenian Church. Mkrtich Khrimian (Catholicos of Armenia) revolted against the tsar. When the tsar refused to back down the Armenians turned to the Dashnaks. The Armenian clergy had previously been very wary of the Dashnaks, condemning their socialism as anti-clerical. However, ARF acquired significant support and sympathy in Russian administration. Mainly because of the ARF's attitude to 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. cite book | last = Geifman | first = Anna | title = Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894-1917 | pages = p. 21-22 | id = ISBN 0-691-02549-5] The edict on Armenian church property was faced by strong ARF opposition, because it perceived a tsarist threat to Armenian national existence. In 1904, the Dashnak congress specifically extended their programme to support the rights of Armenians in the Russian Empire as well as Ottoman Turkey.

As a result, the ARF leadership decided to actively defend Armenian churches. cite book | last = Geifman | first = Anna | title = Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894-1917 | pages = p. 21-22 | id = ISBN 0-691-02549-5] . The ARF formed a Central Committee for Self-Defence in the Caucasus and organised a series of protests. At Gandzak the Russian army responded by firing into the crowd, killing ten, and further demonstrations were met with more bloodshed. The Dashnaks and Hunchaks began a campaign of assassination against tsarist officials in Transcaucasia and they succeeded in wounding Prince Golitsin. The events convinced Tsar Nicholas that he must reverse his policies. He replaced Golitsin with the Armenophile governor Count Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov and returned the property of the Armenian Church. Gradually order was restored and the Armenian bourgeoisie once more began to distance itself from the revolutionary nationalists. [Ternon. "Les Arméniens", pp. 159-62]

Ru: Armenian-Azeri massacres 1904 - 1905

Unrest in Transcaucasia, which also included major strikes, reached a climax with the widespread uprisings throughout the Russian Empire known as the 1905 Revolution. 1905 saw a wave of mutinies, strikes and peasant uprisings across imperial Russia and events in Transcaucasia were particularly violent. In Baku, the centre of the Russian oil industry, class tensions mixed with ethnic rivalries. The city was almost wholly composed of Azeris and Armenians, but the Armenian middle-class tended to have a greater share in the ownership of the oil companies and Armenian workers generally had better salaries and working conditions than the Azeris. In December 1904, after a major strike was declared in Baku, the two communities began fighting each other on the streets and the violence spread to the countryside.

Per: Constitutional Revolution, 1905-1911

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 a military one, as it sent some of its well known fedayees to Iran after the guerrilla campaign in the Ottoman Empire stopped with the rise of the Young Turks.cite book |first = Houri | last = Berberian | title = Armenians and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1911 | publisher = Westview Press | pages = p. 116-117 | year = 2001 | id=ISBN 0813338174 ] 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.

Ott: Young Turk Revolution, 1908

The Armenians supported the Young Turk Revolution, as it was just natural that these concepts (tendencies, attitudes and feelings) were present in varying proportions among Armenians with the turn of 20th century [Der Minassian, Anahide, "Nationalisme et socialisme dans le Mouvement Revolutionnaire Armenien", in "LA QUESTION ARMENIENNE", Paris, 1983, pp. 73-111.] ARF, in the early 20th century was socialists, and marxist which can be seen from the party's first program [Documents for the history of the ARF, II, 2nd Edition, Beirut, 1985, pp. 11-14] After the revolution, the Ottoman Empire in the second Constitutional Era (Ottoman Empire) was struggling to keep its territories and promoting the Ottomanism among its citizens. During the same time the Armenian Revolutionary Federation was moving out of this context and developing, what was just a normal extension of its national freedom concept, the concept of the "Independent Armenian State". With this national transformation Armenian Revolutionary Federation's activities become a national cause. [Dasnabedian, Hratch, "The ideological creed" and "The evolution of objectives" in "A BALANCE-SHEET OF THE NINETY YEARS", Beirut, 1985, pp. 73-103]

Ru: Tribune of People, 1912

In January 1912, a total of 159 Armenians were charged with membership of an anti-"Revolutionary" organisation. During the revolution Armenian revolutionaries were split into "Old Dashnaks", allied with the Kadets and "Young Dashnaks" aligned with the SRs. To determine the position of Armenians all forms of Armenian national movement put into trial. The entire Armenian intelligentsia, including writers, physicians, lawyers, bankers, and even merchants" on trialAbraham, Richard (1990). Alexander Kerensky: The First Love of the Revolution. New York: Columbia University Press, pg. 53,54] . When the tribune finished its work, 64 charges were dropped and the rest were either imprisoned or exiled for varying periods.

World War One

biggest achievement is the Armenian governing of the Administration for Western Armenia with the Aram of Van and keeping the Ottomans out with the Armenian volunteer units within the Russian Caucasus Army, as well as Armenian militia. French-Armenian Agreement (1916) October 27, 1916, was the political and military accord regarding the support of the Armenian Resistance against Ottoman authorities during the Armenian Genocide.

First Republic

The first national republic was achieved by the Armenians under the Russian control which devised a national congress at October 1917. The convention in Tiflis was concluded in September 1917 with delegates from former Romanov realm (203), which 103 belonged to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. When the first Republic of Armenia (Democratic Republic of Armenia) was proclaimed in 1918, the ARF became the ruling party.

However, despite their tight grip on power (Drastamat Kanayan (Ministry of Defense) and Aram Manougian (Ministry of Interior)), the ARF was unable to stop the impending Communist invasion from the north, which culminated with a Soviet takeover in 1920, although there was also a large movement of Armenian communists who aided the Soviet control. The ARF was banned, its leaders exiled and many of its members dispersed to other parts of the world.

oviet Armenia

Soviet period cultivated consolidation of Armenian culture and identity through promotion of the Armenian language. Also a number of cultural institutions were established. However, the development of the national identity over ethnic definition was suppressed. Armenian Apostolic church was also lost some grounds (not promoted).

1980, Renewal and forward

Beginning with the glasnost the unhappiness of the populations began to be expressed as national identity and liberation desires. 1988 earthquake was a turning point for the national identity development.

The maturation of national identity occurred with the independence of the Armenia in 1991. Armenians organized a massive nationalist movement focused on recovering Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia. This movement grew into a popular democratic organization, the Armenian National Movement (ANM).

ee also

*List of Armenian national heroes
*Armenian Rebellions
*Armenian Revolutionary Federation
*Social Democrat Hunchakian Party


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