Category Archives: ARCHIVE


The secret reference book by Liparit Nazaryants and Khachatur Malumyan to the German Embassy in Constantinople


Ashot N. Hayruni
Doctor of Sciences in History

Lusine S. Sahakyan
Ph.D. in History

After the outbreak of the First World War, when the Ottoman State, allied with Germany, entered the war, the German-Armenian Society was very concerned about it, because the Turks, under cover of the war, could carry out new massacres of Armenians. Both for this reason and in order to ensure a friendly attitude towards the Armenians in the German Foreign Ministry, it was necessary for the organization to constantly possess the latest information about the events taking place in the Ottoman State. Johannes Lepsius, the president of the Society, under the pretext that the organization wishes to send its representative to Turkey in order to convince the Western Armenians that they must take the side of Turkey during the war, managed to get the support of the German government in this matter. Towards the end of 1914, Liparit Nazaryants, a board member of the Society, departed for Constantinople using a passport issued by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with all associated expenses covered by the Ministry.

But Nazaryants’s real mission was something else. He established contact with the Central Committee of the ARF of Sofia, together with the Armenian intellectuals of Constantinople and other figures in the city, he sent information to Lepsius about the new systematic persecutions against Armenians, on the one hand, and, also informed Constantinople’s German Embassy, trying to induce them to intervene and stop the persecutions on the other hand. Nazaryants was also instructed by the German-Armenian Society to go to the Caucasus to inform the Eastern Armenians about the plight of the Western Armenians. The Russian consul in Sofia, considering him a German spy, did not permit him to go to the Caucasus.

On the other hand, the German Embassy in Constantinople, after some time considered Nazaryants a Russian spy, so they took his documents from him, after which, being deprived of freedom of movement, Nazaryants had to stay in Sofia for a long time. Before that, however, he had already communicated a large amount of information to Lepsius and the German-Armenian Society, which was of great importance for the development and success of Society’s further pro-Armenian activities. One of Nazaryants’s valuable reports addressed to the German Embassy in Constantinople is published with this article for the first time. The report is in German and an Armenian translation is provided.


1․ Aydın M., “Savaşın Bitirdiği Doğu Açılımı Tahsin (Uzer) Bey’in Van Valiliği (1913-1914)”, Deutsch-türkische Begegnungen, Alman Türk Tesadüfleri, Berlin, 2013, s. 538 – 570 (In Turkish).
2․ Aufruf zur Begründung der “Deutsch-Armenischen Gesellschaft”, Der Christliche Orient, 1914, S. 102.
3․ Die Armenische Frage und der Genozid an den Armeniern. Dokumente aus dem politischen Archiv des deutschen Auswärtigen Amts, zusammengestellt und eingeleitet von Prof. Dr. Wardges Mikaelyan, Jerewan 2004, S. 123, 131, 133.
4. Erowsaġemi hayoc’ patriark’aran, Haykakan harc’i ew hayoc’ c’eġaspanowt’yan arxiv, Towp’ 1, T’ġt’apanak M 201, vaveragir Hmr ġ 389-ġ 399։ Žamanak՝ [1914-1915] (In Armenian).
5. Feigel, Uwe, Das evangelische Deutschland und Armenien, Göttingen 1989, S. 210.
6. T’ēodik, Goġgot’a Hay hogeworakanowt’ean ew ir Hòtin aġētali 1915 tariin, Niw Eork’, 1985, ēǰ 177- 179 (In Armenian).
7. Lepsius, Johannes, Bericht über die Lage des Armenischen Volkes in der Türkei, Potsdam 1916.
8. Lēṙnean, Ṙ., Meç aġēti naxòrēin, «Hayrenik’», E tari, Boston, 1927, t’iv 4(52), ēǰ 33-37, 95 (In Armenian).
9. Leṙnean, Ṙ., Meç aġēti naxòrēin, «Hayrenik’», E tari, Boston, 1927, t’iv 5(53), ēǰ 65-66 (In Armenian).
10. Lēṙnēan, Ṙ., Meç aġēti naxòrēin, «Hayrenik’», E tari, Boston, 1927, t’iv 7(55), ēǰ 88 (In Armenian).
11. Lēṙnēan, Ṙ., Meç aġēti òrerown, «Hayrenik’», Z tari, Boston, 1927, t’iv 2(62), ēǰ 130-132 (In Armenian).
12. Hayastani ew harakic’ šrǰanneri teġanownneri baṙaran, Erewan, 1986, ēǰ 473 (In Armenian).
13. Haykakan harc’, hanragitaran, Erewan, «Hakob Meġapart», 1996, ēǰ 427 (In Armenian).
14. Hayrowni Ašot, Yohannes Lep’siowsi aṙak’elowt’yownë, Erewan, 2002, ēǰ 247-257 (In Armenian).
15. Hayruni Aschot, Im Einsatz für das bedrohte Volk der Armenier. Johannes Lepsius und seine Mission, Paderborn 2020, S.131․
16. Hayruni Aschot, Johannes Lepsius´ armenische Verbindungen, in: „Johannes Lepsius – Eine deutsche Ausnahme; der Völkermord an den Armeniern, Humanitarismus und Menschenrechte“, Herausgegeben von Rolf Hosfeld, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2013, S. 218-219.
17. Meç eġeṙni aṙaǰin vaweragroġë․ Šawarš Misak’ean, xmb․ Erowand P’ampowk’ean, Xačik Papikean hratarakčakan himnadram, t’iv 9, Ant’ilias, 2017, ēǰ 14-18(In Armenian).
19. Mitteilungsblatt der Deutsch-Armenischen Gesellschaft, Dezember, 1939, S. 4.
18. Sahakyan, Lowsine, Erowsaġemi Hayoc’ patriark’aranowm pahvoġ «Teġekatow divani»` Haykakan harc’i ew Hayoc’ c’eġaspanowt’yan arxivi patmowt’yownë ew «Bovandakowt’yownë», «Hayagitowt’yan harc’er», 1 (25), Erewan, 2022, ēǰ 5-9 (In Armenian).
19. Sahin, Mustafa, Hasan Tahsin Uzer’in Hayati, Idari ve Siyasi Faaliyetleri, Atatürk Arastirma Merkezi, Ankara, 2015, s, 3-10 (In Turkish).


Manyak M. Yeranosyan

In the early 1910s, Russia’s repressive policy towards Armenian political parties, especially the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), has undergone certain changes. This fact is explained by an attempt to attract Eastern and Western Armenians to the side of Russia in the context of regional changes at the beginning of the 20th century.

Taking into account the existing changes in Russian policy in the context of the creation of the Entente, it is still unclear whether there were preliminary meetings between members of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun and the Russian authorities, and if there were, then how and through whose mediation the parties determined their positions.

From the point of view of the mentioned and other issues, the document published for the first time, which is preserved in the microfilm fund of the Armenian National Archive, is noteworthy. The original of the document was kept in the Politarchive fund of the Russian Foreign Policy Archive and was sent to Yerevan during the Soviet years.

This document is a letter sent by Russian Ambassador N. Charikov to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which he shares his impressions and observations from the meeting with prominent ARF figures S. Zavarian and H. Zavryan. From the content of the document it becomes clear that at the end of 1911, having frozen their relations with the Young Turks, representatives of Dashnaktsutyun began to consider the possibility of restoring the trust of the Russian state. Through the mediation of G. Zohrab, getting the opportunity to meet with the Russian Ambassador, they made great efforts in order to receive the favorable attitude of the Russian state.

In turn, Ambassador N. Charikov, having listened to the arguments and comments of S. Zavarian and H. Zavriyan, recommended his government to show generosity in the large trial scheduled in St. Petersburg over the ARF with the aim of using in the future the opportunities of the most influential political party among Armenians in the interests of the Russian state.


The secret readings of the Police Department of Tsarist Russia in the 1890s

Mkrtich D. Danielyan

In the Ottoman Empire parallel to the Armenian massacres that began in the fall of 1985, the persecution of Armenian politicians by the Police Department of Tsarist Russia began in Transcaucasia. The Tsarist government thought that the idea of restoring national statehood among Armenians was very viable, so they considered the possible rebellion of Western Armenians against the Ottoman Empire as a dangerous example for Eastern Armenians. Therefore, in order to prevent the possible financial support to the Armenian national liberation movement, the Tsarist government first of all directed its attack directly to the ARF Central Committee of Baku or “Oskanapat” led by Christapor Mikaelian, in which Nerses Davtyan (Hrashali), Mikael Zalyan (Dr. Zaliev), Nerses Abelyan, Levon Tadevosyan (Papasha), Stephan Ter-Mkrtchyan (Gagik) played a major role, the latter later became the head of the military fund of ARF (Zinphon).

In such a situation, ARF and its leaders, in particular Christapor Mikaelian, were able to disguise their activities under the guise of various humanitarian and charitable initiatives. In this way they organized fund-raising and other initiatives in order to support the Western Armenians. However, these initiatives caught the attention of the Police Department, and many prominent figures, including Cr. Mikaelian, were arrested.

The presented documents include not only reports and bulletins of the
officials of the Police Department, but also the translations of the writings and letters of a number of famous figures of the Federation, which were confiscated by the Tsarist policemen during the searches, but due to the lack of knowledge of the Armenian language and the lack of necessary information about these figures, were partially distorted and were warped by the translators.

The first part of the documents that are being published includes the reports and bulletins of the officials of the Russian Police Department and the translations of the writings and letters of a number prominent ARF figures, which were seized during the searches.

The second part of the documents will include the documents related to the judicial investigation initiated by the Ministry of Justice based on the materials submitted by the Police Department.


On the closing of the Armenian schools in February, 1885

Gohar G. Avagyan

In 1828-1829, after the annexation of other territories of the Transcaucasian region of Eastern Armenia to Russia, in the course of realization of the colonial and strengthening policy pursued by the tsarist government, a certain place was given to the field of education. The main goal was to increase the role of the Russian language in the region, and then from childhood to instill in the pupils a sense of submission and loyalty to the Russian throne and to prepare persons with certain professional qualifications to contribute to the economic development of the backward region. 


Newfound documents about the life and activity of Artashes Muradyan

Aram S. Sayiyan
In 1926-1930 in Kemalist Turkey, another Kurdish uprising broke out on Mount
Ararat. One of the key leaders of this uprising was Zilan Bey – in fact, a member of the
Armenian Revolutionary Party Dashnaktsutyun Artashes Muradyan, who, on the
instructions of the party, in the fall of 1927 became the representative of the Armenian
side in Ararat under the pseudonym Zilan Bey. In a very short period of time, he
managed to resolve all controversial issues between the Kurdish tribes and rally them
around the proclaimed Ararat Republic. Thanks to this, the Kemalist authorities did not
manage to bring feuds into the ranks of the Kurdish rebellious tribes before his arrest in
the summer of 1929 and win over at least one tribe to their side. Kurdish units inflicted
heavy defeats on the Turkish army for three years, and in the summer of 1929 they
managed to capture the city of Igdir and reach the Soviet-Turkish border. This very
seriously alarmed the Soviet military-political leadership, which saw this as a real
threat to their power in the South Caucasus. It was decided in Moscow that the Ararat
uprising was planned by the British with the aim of taking over the Baku oil. The use
of the Kurdish question against the British interested the Soviet military-political
leadership for both defensive and offensive purposes. In the expected war with Great
Britain, Iranian and Iraqi Kurdish tribes were supposed to attack British military
airfields in Iraq and destroy distant bombers, preventing them from bombing Baku. As
for the offensive goal, it was planned to send armed detachments of Kurdish tribes of
southeastern Iran to India during the war with Britain, and to send the Kurds of
northwestern Iran to Iraq by tying the hands of the British and preparing a springboard
for the offensive of Soviet troops in these areas.

Moscow believed that ARF Dashnaktsutyun was the organizer of this plan, and
the Kurds were a striking force. To destroy these plans, the OGPU decides to eliminate
Zilan Bey. They manage to lure Artashes Muradyan to the Soviet-Turkish border and
arrest him. But different versions of Muradyan’s arrest suggest that Artashes Muradyan
was recruited by the OGPU even before the uprising in Ararat, and now, when the
victories of the Kurdish detachments and the proclamation of the Ararat Republic
contradicted the interests of Moscow, he was recalled under the guise of arrest and the
uprising was left decapitated. Ruben indirectly confirms this theory, who in his letter to
the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Envoy of the USSR in Egypt N. V. Novikov
wrote that Artashes Muradyan went down to the border river in order to receive
military weapons from the Soviet. His immediate supervisor, Yeghishe Ishkhanyan,
also suspected him of treason, but the investigation into this case found A. Muradyan
absolutely innocent. Most likely, the Bolsheviks managed to lure him into a trap using
his family ties. It is likely that the OGPU threatened with reprisals against the
Muradyan family and he was forced to surrender to the Soviet punitive organs.

In Soviet times, his fate was unknown and only after the collapse of the USSR, it
became known from declassified documents that he was shot in one of the gulag camps
in the Arkhangelsk region in 1938. The place of his burial is still unknown. Together
with him, members of his family and close relatives were also repressed, most of
whom also died in places of detention. The Bolshevik punitive organs did not spare his
young children by arresting Muradyan’s wife, Margarita, or his elderly brother Levon
and father-in-law Grigor, whose graves are also unknown. Artashes Muradyan to this
day is one of the honored national heroes for most of the Kurds and an unjustly
invaluable figure for the Armenian nation.


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.


To the ARF External Responsible Body

Khachatur R. Stepanyan

The published documents present several letters of the ARF Central Committee of Georgia in 1922 addressed to the ARF Foreign Responsible Body. In 1922, both the motive and the conditions of the ARF underground activities in Soviet Georgia (as in the whole of the Soviet Transcaucasia), did not change. The prospect of a possible collapse of Soviet power and anarchy in Transcaucasia forced the ARF leadership to maintain its organizational presence in both Soviet Armenia and neighboring republics. At the same time, Soviet persecution forced them to operate underground and in the conditions of strict secrecy.

The letters below contain interesting information not only about the activities of the ARF in Soviet Georgia in 1922, but also about the political and socio-economic situation in that republic and throughout Transcaucasia.

Addressing regional policy issues, the letters alluded to some easing of tensions which emerged in Soviet-Turkish relations in late 1921.

The letters pay great attention to the New Economic Policy implemented in the whole Transcaucasia and especially in Georgia, revealing its negative aspects.

Several letters mention Dro’s visit to Georgia, his ban on entry to Armenia, and some of his financial problems.

The information about the demonstrations and uprisings against the presence of Soviet Russian troops in Georgia, which were suppressed only by the use of force, is quite interesting.

The letters again refer to the fate of the imprisoned and exiled ARF members, to taking care of their and their families’ needs. A separate report presents the reactivation of party-organizational life.


Military operations on the Caucasus Front from July 1914 to April 26, 1916.
Copy-book 10: from February 4 to March 14, 1916.

Ruben O. Sahakyan

The 10th notebook of Th. Nazarbekyan’s memoirs present the military operations that took place from February 4, 1916 to March 14, the most important of them was the night attack of Bitlis (Baghesh) on February 18-19 (March 2-3).

After the liberation of Mush, the detachment led by General D. Abatsiev, which included General T. Nazarbekyan’s military unit, was instructed to capture Bitlis. On the night of February 17-18, 1916, the first attack on Bitlis failed. The Russian troops and the Armenian 1st Druzhina suffered significant losses. T. Nazarbekyan stated that at the beginning of the attack D. Abatsiev had made a mistake by not capturing the heights dominating the city, which was used by the enemy. And only after receiving the replenishment did General D. Abatsiev suddenly take over Bitlis on the night of February 18-19, 1916.

In his memoirs, T. Nazarbekyan refers to the cases of robbery and violence committed by the army after the capture of Bitlis. He notes with surprise that the Armenian volunteers were mainly blamed for this, when the Cossacks and the shooters entered the city first, and finally the volunteers. To be impartial, the commander cites a June 29, 1916 letter from military priest Ruben Bekgulyants. Bringing several examples, the friar categorically denied the rumors about the “illegalities” of the Armenians. In his turn, the general tried to prevent any clashes between the Armenian and Turkish residents of the city.

By the estimation of General N. Korsun, the capture of the city of Bitlis gave an opportunity to control the mountain pass leading to Mesopotamia. The operations in Erzrum and Bitlis significantly eased the situation of the British, who were fighting hard in the Suez Canal.

Russian units were constantly attacked by Kurds. The brigands of the infamous tribal chief Musa Bey were especially prominent. Prince B. Shakhovsky, who had great diplomatic experience, was sent to negotiate with them, even promising to grant autonomy to the Kurds. The Mush detachment under the command of T. Nazarbekyan and the Armenian refugees found themselves in a catastrophic situation, there was no supply, especially bread. The supply was almost stopped. At that difficult moment, Rostom (Stepan Zoryan), who had moved to Western Armenia as the plenipotentiary of the Caucasus branch of the Union of All-Russian Cities, offered his help to the general. He asked T. Nazarbekyan for a guard to find the wheat stored in abandoned Armenian villages. They agreed to share the found supply equally. Thanks to Rostom, the refugees and troops were provided with enough bread.

On March 8, 1916, the secret order of the commander of the 4th Caucasian Army Corps, General V. de Witt, was received, after the reading and analysis of which T. Nazarbekyan concluded that their situation was not that stable, as heavy fighting was expected, whereas his corps was occupying about 100 km front with little force. The Allies had stopped the Gallipoli operation and it was expected that the Turks would start moving regular military units toughened in battles to the Russian-Turkish front.

The preparations of the Ottoman command were evidenced by the intelligence information and the testimonies of the Armenian refugees: Turkish military units and Kurdish bandits were advancing in the direction of Bitlis. Analyzing the received order and information, T. Nazarbekyan concluded that the enemy was preparing to attack Bitlis, therefore on March 13 he sent additional forces to Bitlis.


ARF Foreign Responsible Body

Khachatur R. Stepanyan

The presented documents reflect the 1921 activities of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun in Soviet Georgia. In some cases, there is information about the general organizational and political situation of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun in Soviet Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan. The persecution policy led by the Soviet authorities forced the ARF leadership, like other non-Bolshevik parties, to operate mainly underground in Transcaucasia.

The decision to continue operating under prohibited conditions was due to fears that in the event of an imminent overthrow of the Bolshevik regime, the ARF’s organizational and political presence could be used to meet potential challenges.

The letters sent by the ARF Central Committee of Georgia to the Foreign Responsible Body contain interesting information about the Transcaucasus, the political events around it, the Kemalist Pan-Turkic plans, Soviet Georgia, the agreed discriminatory policy pursued by the Soviet authorities against Soviet Armenia, the difficult economic situation in the region, etc. In particular, they present the restraints imposed by the Soviet authorities in Georgia, the intolerable situation of the peasantry. Episodes of the epidemic, implemented severe tax and monetary policy are described.

The letters also contain important information on the process of formation of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federation. There are reports of coercion from Moscow and Georgia’s attitude towards it. The Georgians were opposed to Armenia’s “alliance with Georgia” and believed that Soviet Georgia should either be independent or form a direct union with Soviet Russia.

The information about the Pan-Turkic programs implemented by the Kemalists in the Muslim-populated areas of Georgia is also unique. In Adjara, in the province of Akhaltsikhe, the Turks set up a special agent network to facilitate their further steps.

All the letters indiscriminately present the organizational situation of the ARF in Georgia, the arrests of the ARF members, the necessity to take care of the detainees and the persecuted, the need for material resources.

Some random but interesting news are also reported about the presence of Enver – one of the organizers of the Armenian Genocide, in Georgia.

Although the author of the letters is the ARF Central Committee of Georgia, the main information concerns Georgia, but the reports about Armenia are no less important. The economic and political processes conducted by the Soviet authorities in Armenia were, in fact, mainly similar to those of Georgia. Here there is special information about the activities implemented by the Soviet Armenian authorities with the Diaspora. Attempts were made to present the Soviet power in the Diaspora in positive colours.


Military operation on the Caucasus Front from July 1914 to April 26, 1916.
Copy-book 9: from January 27 to February 27, 1916

Ruben O. Sahakyan
The 9th notebook of Tovmas Nazarbekyan’s memoirs present the military operations that took place from January 27, 1916 to February 27, which brought a radical breakthrough in the battles on the Caucasus front.

In January-February 1916, the Caucasian army carried out simultaneous operations, which enabled it to gain an operative advantage over the enemy in both Taron and Upper Armenia. The Russian army continued its offensive in the direction of Erzerum, aiming to capture the main strategic stronghold of the Ottoman 3rd Army in Western Armenia. Tovmas Nazarbekyan proudly states that in difficult climatic conditions and with few losses the Russian troops managed to capture Erzerum which was considered impregnable. Commander of the 6th Caucasian Regiment, Colonel Movses Silikyan was appointed commandant of Erzerum.

Simultaneously with the capture of Erzerum, the seizure of Mush was carried out by a group of Russian troops headed by Tovmas Nazarbekyan. Immediately after that, the general visited Mush, therefore he later described the Turkish atrocities in detail. In his memoirs, he cited the written testimonies of two officers of his division about the details of the massacres of Armenians in the city and valley of Mush. At that, one of the testimonies was checked and recorded through the interrogation of Armenian and Muslim witnesses. Only a few Armenian craftsmen were left alive in the city, who were needed to meet the needs of the army.

After capturing Mush and its valley, the Russians had to constantly fight the Kurdish gangs in the rear, which disrupted the regular supply and communication of the armed forces, as a result forcing them to deploy significant forces to protect the rear and carry out punitive actions.

On February 11, 1916, the Russians tried to seize Bitlis (Baghesh) quickly, but failed. However, after receiving appropriate assistance, General Abatsiev captured Bitlis on the night of February 18-19.