Gevorg S. Khoudinyan

At the beginning of the current year, a collection of documents summarizing the letters and writings of the most prominent representative of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun’s first generation, Armenian famous hajduk leader Nikol Duman, was published in the “Vem series” edited and annotated by Yervand Pambukyan.

It includes Nikol Duman’s letters, his booklet entitled “Project of People’s Self-Defense” and small but valuable writings, photographs and other relics.

The documents included in this collection, which summarize the rich chronicle of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun’s military-revolutionary activity, not only have a narrow sourceological value, but also open a wide field of learning the experience and skills of the past for the current generation concerned with the defense of the Homeland.

The most interesting part of the reviewed collection is the letters and military instructions written by Duman from Yerevan during the bloody Armenian-Tatar battles in Transcaucasia during the years of the First Russian Revolution of 1905- 1907.

His activities in Yerevan in 1905 are taken as important by the fact that Duman was able to make a breakthrough in the extremely dangerous situation in the entire province of Yerevan after the brutal massacre of the Armenians of Nakhichevan. And if it were not for the extraordinary steps taken by Nikol Duman, a considerable part of the Armenians of the Ararat Valley would also have met the fate of Nakhijevan. Duman’s letters in those days show that he was able to properly analyze the causes of the Nakhijevan disaster and, through skillful steps, build a system of self-defense that allowed him to neutralize the quantitative and, in some parts, qualitative advantages of the enemy in much of the Ararat Valley.

The unique legacy left by the indomitable commander from Artsakh in the field of organizing ARF combat groups, which is a specific insight of the military-political content of the Armenian liberation war of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from a distance of a millennium is presented to us as a timeless and lasting experience whose necessity is felt again by the new generation of defenders of the Homeland, who are really concerned about having a national army.