Author Archives: SimonVratsian


In Soviet secret documents of the 1920s


Avag A. Harutyunyan
For the Communist Party of Armenia ARF Dashnaktsutyun was an ideological-political opponent, and the struggle against it during the years of Soviet rule was of a multifaceted and widespread nature. The Communist Party of Armenia, with almost all its party decisions (especially: congress, plenum, bureau), regularly discussed the ARF issues of struggle.

Most of such documents covering the years of the 1920s were compiled and published in time by Professor V. Ghazakhetsyan. The current publication presents the documents that were left out of the mentioned collection.

Minutes of the Chairmanship of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, the Presidency of the Caucasus Bureau of the Communist Party of Russia and the Transcaucasian Regional Committee are published. Special folders with the code “Top Secret” are used separately from the documents after named “Special Case”.

The documents are kept in the Fund of the Communist Party of Armenia of the National Archives of Armenia.

All documents are published from Russian translation, in chronological order, with appropriate footnotes if necessary.


Military operations on the Caucasus Front from July 1914 to April 26, 1916.
Notebook 11: from March 13 to April 


Ruben O. Sahakyan
We consider the publication of the 11th notebook of Tovmas Nazarbekyan’s memoirs to be the completion of the printing of a valuable memoir work presenting the military operations on the Caucasus Front of the First World War from July 1914 to April 1916. The section covering the general’s memoirs from November 1917 to July 1918 was in its time published in Russian original text in the magazine “Bulletin of Armenian Archives” (1992, N 3, pp. 34-153), edited by Academician Hrant Avetisyan. Therefore, only the part covering from April 1916 to November 1917 remained unpublished, which we did not manage to find in the National Archives of Armenia.

The 11th notebook of General T. Nazarbekyan mainly mentions the hostilities on the Caucasus Front in March 1916, when the 2nd Rifle Division led by him had serious clashes with the Turkish 5th Infantry Division and Kurdish armed formations moved from Western Gallipoli to Western Armenia. The commander states with regret that the commander of the 4th Army Corps, General V. de Witt did not take into account the specifics of the mountainous terrain, the low combat readiness of the reservists, the insecurity of the rear and the almost lack of supply in planning these operations. Meanwhile, starting from mid-March 1916, the enemy had concentrated all its forces in the direction of Bitlis, aiming to capture the city.

After analyzing the received reports, General T. Nazarbekyan asked the commander of the 4th Army Corps to send him to the 5th and 6th Rifle Regiments in the reserve, but he did not receive any response. Meanwhile, the intelligence was alerting that the enemy was continuing to accumulate additional forces, especially the Kurds acted actively. By the order of the general, punitive actions were organized against the latter, but they did not give any significant results. After the Russians left, the Kurds each time resumed their attacks.

Therefore, General T. Nazarbekyan again appealed to the corps commander for help, but was clearly refused. After some time, it turned out that V. de Witt wanted to encircle the Turkish-Kurdish forces in the Bitlis region, thereby he did not send reinforcements and pushed the enemy to continue advancing, not realizing that in such a case he posed a serious threat to the forces defending Bitlis. But the corps commander did not even inform T. Nazarbekyan of his dubious idea.

In the current situation, T. Nazarbekyan had to send his last reserve force, three rifle battalions, to Bitlis for help, weakening Mush’s defense. Fortunately, all the enemy’s attention was focused on Bitlis and he did not take any action to retake Mush. The battalions sent by the general were decisive and the Turkish-Kurdish forces were defeated and thrown back to the starting positions.

The Armenian translation of General Tovmas Nazarbekyan’s memoirs is being published for the first time without reductions. Our interventions are presented in straight brackets. The original is preserved in the National Archives of Armenia.


Ed. by Ye. Pampukian

Armen Ts. Marukyan
In 2017 in Antilias (Beirut), edited, with a foreword and noted by Honored Historian Yervand Pambukyan, the work of a member of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Central Committee of Constantinople – a well-known publicist Shavarsh Misakyan was published, which is a collection of letters, articles and memoirs of the author. Based on the information obtained from the letters and articles of Misakian at the moment of the crime, the successive stages of the genocide policy pursued by the Turkish authorities in relation to the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire are revealed.

The indisputable value of Misakian’s work lies in the fact that in the fateful period of history for the Armenian people, the operational and reliable information sent by him from the Ottoman Empire informed the international community about what was really happening with the Armenian population, despite the misinformation about the mass extermination of the Armenian population spread by the Turkish state and its allies. In his letters and articles, he provided such information that at that time it was simply impossible to obtain from other sources, which was later confirmed and supplemented by documents and materials published later.

It can be stated with confidence that from the point of view of objective documentation of the history of the Armenian Genocide, Sh. Misakian’s work is a valuable source, the materials of which, when compared with other sources, will allow compiling an objective history of that crucial period for the Armenian people in a clear chronology.



As a player in the political development and modernization of the Republic of Armenia


Mariam M. Margaryan, Gevorg M. Ghukasyan
The results of the democratic transition in the post-Soviet space clearly show that vectorism (linear liberalization) led to crises of political development.

Due to the neglect of ethno-cultural peculiarities in the political process, almost all countries have faced crises of political development. The existence of such crises is explained by the fact that in the process of political modernization the measure of civilization has not been used as a basis for strategic management.

The civilizational dimension of political modernization makes it possible to consider the strategic management as a key mechanism for renouncing mechanical Westernization and implementing modernization based on its own civilizational identity.

As a result, there was a disappointment of expectations in the post-Soviet countries, which pushed citizens to alienate themselves from their own state, to replenish or to create their own ethnic communities in different countries. In case of continuous increase of the political role of the Diasporas, the citizens alienated from their own state have the opportunity to rediscover their own identity and to defend it in the current era of multiculturalism.

Summarizing the revolutionary changes taking place in the post-Soviet countries, it can be stated that overcoming the crises of political development presupposes a system of theoretical approaches and practical experience, which will allow completing the cultural, social-psychological institutional peculiarities when analyzing the political development and modernization in the Republic of Armenia. In this context, this article proposes to assess the impact of other actors in the political process on political modernization, in particular the institution of ethnic lobbying.


As a primary source of historical geography of Armenia


Gegham M. Badalyan
The kondaks of the monastic dioceses are remarkable sources of the historical geography and demography of Armenia. Despite the fact that we have received similar documents with sporadic examples, even in that case they contain such rare and important information that is missing in the works of Armenian chroniclers. Such a primary source is the 1475 kondak of famous Khlbash St. Karapet Monastery of Keghi (Khordzyan), which is housed in the Middle East Fund of the Campus Research Library of the USA University of California, along with thousands of printed books, manuscripts and archival documents in various languages donated by Dr. Karo Owen Minasyan, a well-known Isfahan philanthropist.

The monastery was located about 5 km north of Keghi or Kghi (historical Koghoberd) borough – the center of Khordzyan, on the left bank of the Gaylget tributary of Aratsani, near the former fortress town of Apar (Arapar) by whose name it was called Getahayatz St. Nshan or Hangstuni St. Karapet). As early as the Late Middle Ages, the province was divided into about two dozen cantons or village groups. At that, in the middle of the 15th century, as indirectly suggested by the facts recorded in the kondak, the territory under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of St. Karapet Monastery of Khlbash (Apar or Arapar) was limited from the northern Okhu (Hokhu) canton of Balahovit province of Tsopk to the Aryutsnakhaz mountain range including the main central and western regions (Kotchak with Hartiv-Hertev, Keghi and Khaser (including Tarman region) cantons).

Later, when the northwestern Handerdz canton (“the land of Handerdz”) of Khordzyan also passed to St. Karapet, through which the diocesan borders reached from the Aryutsnakhaz to the Gaylakhazut or Pakhr mountains, it became necessary to introduce new changes from a “legal” point of view which was recorded in the 1475 kondak. The latter also contains information about the boundaries of the diocesan territory of St. Karapet Monastery, which, however, are recorded in a “hidden” form. This explains some of the confusion in the document, including the outdated signature of Catholicos of All Armenians Aristakes II (1465-1469). The document mentions Keghi and Apar – the main centers of Khordzyan, as well as 40 villages, only 2 of which were located in the neighboring Paghnatun canton.

By the way, the document also contains the consequences of the tragic events of 1453, which were related with the destructive invasion of Sultan Jahan Shah of the Kara-Koyunlus, when the historical territory of Khordzyan was looted and deserted. That was the reason that the number of settlements mentioned in the document is three times less than the number of main villages and non-permanent agricultural settlements (“mezre” or “gom” (barn)) found in the same area at the beginning of the 20th century.

The kondak of St. Karapet of Khlbash is important for specialists in the historical geography and demographics of Armenia, as it provides some information about the settlement of the Armenian population in the historical Khordzyan area (which in the 15th century was divided between Keghi and Kotchak cantons). Attached are two appendices that give some idea of the ethnic image of historical Khordzyan up to 1915.


Modern culture of the khachkars of Artsakh based on the works of sculptor Robert Askaryan


Anush Safaryan
Khachkar is one of the unique symbols of Armenian identity. Khachkars were erected throughout the territory of historical Armenia, including Artsakh and Utik, as well as in Armenian colonies around the world. The figurative relief of the khachkars of Artsakh, which is represented by a combination of plant-geometric composition and human scenes and images, is one of the unique manifestations of the khachkar culture in general. The article is devoted to the modern culture of the khachkars of Artsakh on the example of the works of the artist and sculptor R. Askaryan, in whose works traditional images are clearly presented, but in a peculiar manner and interpretation. This primarily concerns the iconography of angels, which is devoted a separate paragraph in the article.

Based on a thorough analysis, we can conclude that the master in his works widely used the themes and images of classical khachkars, tombstones and carpets of Artsakh. However, if the structure of the composition of classical khachkars, tombstones and carpets is more complete and suggests that organizing the composition: the central image, the scene, “Ornament” or tree – have clear canons for the placement of constituent elements (for example, land animals should be located at the bottom, and birds and stars at the top), then the characters of the master’s works, individual motifs are freely placed throughout the structure of the composition. The master, according to certain logic, fills the space free of intertwined patterns. It is not always possible to find a mutual connection between these characters, which makes Askaryan’s works especially dramatic.

As an artist, R. Askaryan undoubtedly left his mark on the modern art of the khachkars of Artsakh, his “handwriting” is recognizable in all his works, at the same time being a distinctive stamp among other traditional and modern khachkars.


In the modern international legal system


Armine H. Tigranyan
In the course of its false quest to build a national identity and prove its territorial affiliation, Azerbaijan /since its inception/ has pursued a sharply anti- Armenian state policy based on the continuous destruction of Armenian identity and rich cultural heritage during both – the pseudo “peace” and the war. During all the wars in Artsakh, Azerbaijan continuously damages and destroys Armenian cultural values, thus violating a number of international provisions. The recent war has confirmed that Azerbaijan’s “territorial aspirations” are not an end in itself; they are based on the alienation and destruction of Armenian identity and heritage.

This article presents the international legal principles for protection of the cultural heritage (hereinafter referred to as CH) in the occupied territories from the point of view of cases of destruction, appropriation, desecration and vandalism of Armenian cultural property in the territories occupied by Azerbaijan after the Second Artsakh War (November 9, 2020).

The article begins with a historical overview, presents the gradual formation and development of the international legal field for protection of CH in the occupied territories after the war, as well as a number of conventional provisions from Hague Convention, Geneva Convention, UNESCO, the Council of Europe from the point of view of international human rights documents, norms of international humanitarian law and the laws that are customary for protection of cultural values in the occupied territories. This expertise also refers to the analysis of a clear program of the state policy of Azerbaijan on deliberate destruction of the Armenian identity and cultural heritage and summarizes the investigation of specific cases of destruction of Armenian cultural values, appropriations of heritage and desecrations by Azerbaijan after the war.

And since the protection of cultural values in the occupied territories is an internationally recognized norm, which is mandatory for all states, however Azerbaijan continues to violate and damage the Armenian cultural values. Azerbaijan continues to perceive the heritage from its own socio-cultural point of view and what is outside of their “value system” is considered as a subject for destruction. Along with values of great historical significance, the values created not long ago are also being destroyed in the territories of Artsakh occupied by Azerbaijan, the loss of which is equal to the destruction of historical ones.

The cultural heritage of the Armenians of Artsakh, as the materialized (and nonmaterialized) expression of exclusive creative thoughts of a given community, as well as a collective manifestation of the identity, has the full right to be preserved and passed on to future generations. This right is enshrined by UNESCO, UN and by the international humanitarian law and is considered as a fundamental right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, however along with all this, it still continues to be destroyed, both physically and by the loss or alienation of the bearing communities.

And in fact, the study of this article shows that the most important factor in protecting the cultural heritage of Artsakh /along with numerous conventions on protection of cultural values in occupied territories/, is the right to protect the cultural heritage of Artsakh as such, being a fundamental human right enshrined in a number of international treaties, especially in international humanitarian law. And within this context, even if Azerbaijan cannot find any values in order not to destroy the heritage outside of its value system, the latter is obliged to do so, because that heritage is a part of the world cultural diversity and is the fundamental right of the culture (personal/community) of the Armenians of Artsakh.



And other similar epigraphs


Arsen E. Harutyunyan
Tatev monastery is one of the famous historical, religious-cultural centers of medieval Armenia, whose epigraphic inscriptions have a great importance for the study of the history of Armenia. Numerous epigraphs are preserved on the walls of churches and memorial monuments of the monastery and many of them remain unpublished till today. A mirror-writing cryptography dated to 1537 is preserved on the southern wall of St. Paul-Peter Cathedral of the monastery, whose decipherment has been the main occasion of this publication. The study revealed the names of bishops Ter Anton, Ter Stepanos and Father Kirakos – most likely visitor-donators who visited Tatev monastery as a pilgrim and gave some donation, for which their names were allowed to be mentioned on the walls of the church as the “Book of Life”. In the result of this discovery, the number of Armenian mirror-writing cryptographs was added by one more (as they are known from Kurtan, Tanahat monastery, Litchk, Sevanavank, Haghpatavank etc.).

The study confirms that the desire to codify belonged to the bishops, who more likely came to Tatev monastery from the diocese of Gegharkunik. The paleographic features and uneven lines of the inscription have numerous similarities to the donative inscription of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church dated to 1532, on the basis of which it can be assumed, that the author and scribe of the newfound cryptography is the same monk Nerses, who is evidenced at the end of the epigraph of the abovementioned church.



Lusine Avetisyan
Practically, the etymology of the Armenian word “Աղջիկ” (“Aghjik” girl) is absent, all attempts to explain its origin are unconvincing.

A new etymology is presented in this article, which at the same time is based on linguistic data and on ancient ideas about phenomena, on the cosmogonic myth as well as on the ancient Armenian calendar. The subject of the article is the roots of “Աղջ” (“aghj” dark) and “Աղիջ” (“aghij” girl). It is likely that the primary variant of the second root is also “Աղջ”.

According to my hypothesis, for both concepts there is a single common root “Աղջ”, and this is substantiated by the myth about Hayk, and also by the word “Աղջամուղջ” (“aghjamughj” darkness, night), which is, in fact, the ancient Armenian name of one of the night hours.

The original Armenian chronology originates from the moment when Hayk,  according to legend, with a three-winged arrow tore Bel’s chest – the incarnation of darkness. Later, the Armenian months were named after his children. Tradition provides indirect information that units of time got male or female characteristics, since the months were named after the descendants of Hayk, both male and female.

The names of the months also give information about other realities that have been forgotten in the mist of millennia. They suggest that Armenians called their children by the names of the descendants of Hayk, or attributed the names of their children to the sons and daughters of Hayk, and we see through the millennia an incomplete list of Armenian names, probably headed by the name Hayk.

Progenitor Hayk, whom Anania Shirakatsi considers the founder of the Armenian calendar, is in fact the Armenian god of time. And the god of time is the father of all units of time, and above all, of the dualistic day. “Աւր” (“or” day) and “Աղջ” (“aghj” night) were the first children of different sexes of the god of time. Their twelve-hour divisions were defined later. “Աղջամուղջ” (aghjamughj) is also the child of the god of time and, obviously, a definite fraction of “Աղջ” (night), and reminds that she is also a child of the night.

At first, human called things and phenomena of the surrounding world, only then, in their image and likeness, he called his children. And the first thing to which the human mind has reached in the flow of endless time, undoubtedly has been a day with its harmonious existence, in which features and characteristics of its male and female children – day and night are combined.

After the initial determination of time, the wide-open eye of human consciousness in its own form of existence will find a demonstration of the equilibrium of the universe and a reflection of the daily born celestial twin. And it is natural that he distinguished his children of different sexes with the same names by which he defined two halves of day, calling his son “Աւր” (day)> “Այր” (man, husband), and daughter – “Աղջ” (night)> “Աղջ” (girl), “Աղջիկ” (little girl).




Hayk A. Hovhannisyan
The article is about the satirical novel “Phony Geniuses” which was written by Zabel Yesayan. In it, the author depicts the life of the young Armenian intelligentsia, who were living in Paris at that time. Yesayan clearly shows how the wrong assessment of the society turns a talented man into lazy, haughty and selfassured person.

In this work we have tried to refer to the prototype of the novel. We tried to show the obvious similarity of Intra – one of the modern writers to the main character of the novel. Most likely, Zabel Yesayan did not like the selfcontainedness of Intra’s literature, the sheer size of his self-image. That is why she criticizes the literature of her main character in the novel.

In the article we referred to the peculiarities of Zabel Yesayan’s satire showing the unity of satire and tragedy. Even the most satirical images of Yesayan have a tragic sublayer and the author’s pain is clearly seen in the composition.

Zabel Yesayan’s novel “Phony Geniuses” is a realistic work, it stands out with its high art and with a unique way of depicting reality.