What's below is the complete edition of
the 1955 booklet released by the Armenian Information Service, offering a
record of Hovhannes Katchaznouni's parting words to the Dashnagtzoutiun, given
in the form of an address to the Party congress in 1923 Bucharest. Holdwater's
Hovannes Kachaznouni (as alternately spelled in
some Armenian sources) lived from 1868-1938, and was First Prime Minister of
the Republic of Armenia in 1918-1919.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnagtzoutiun) Has Nothing to Do Any More
(The Manifesto of Hovhannes Katchaznouni, First Prime Minister of the Independent Armenian
Translated from the Original by Matthew A. Callender
Edited by John Roy Carlson (Arthur A. Derounian)
Published by the
Armenian Information Service
Suite 7D, 471 Park Ave.
New York 22
1955 Price 75c
However the propagandist may try, historical truth cannot be subverted forever in a free
country. However hard Dashnag propagandists may try to twist and bury the truth, and
glorify the failure of their Independent Armenian Republic, truth must eventually prevail.
Now, for the first time in English, is a deep and incisive self-study by a competent
The author was a pillar of Dashnagtzoutiun. He was the first prime minister of the
Republic. He knew every Party secret before, during, and after the founding of the
ill-fated Republic. Few were in a position to know more, nor to express themselves with
greater clarity, logic and foresight than Hovhannes Katchaznouni.
Unlike most Dashnag leaders who were revolutionists, and reared in the early Russian
socialist-revolutionary schools, Katchaznouni was born in Akhaltzkha in the Caucasus, the
son of a revered Armenian priest. He was graduated from the Architectural School of the
University of Moscow. His notable works include the magnificent Cathedral at Baku, among
This booklet is a condensation of his parting words to Dashnagtzoutiun, given in the form
of an address to the Party congress in 1923—words which proved remarkably prophetic, and
currently are as true as when they were first spoken.
In reprinting Katchaznouni’s address neither the translator nor the editor are assumed
to agree or disagree with his views. Katchaznouni’s work is published at this time as a
refutation to the grandiose, exaggerated and even outrageously false claims of the Dashnag
leadership today, mouthed by men who for the most part were mere party functionaries
during the days of the Republic, but through the years have blown up themselves into
intellectual giants, saviors of Armenia, etc.
Katchaznouni’s work is a basic source of Dashnag history, and the Armenian Information
Service considers it a privilege to be able to present, for the first time, the writings
of this Armenian patriot and prophet to an American audience.
August, 1965 JOHN ROY CARLSON (Arthur A. Derounian)
TO THE READER
This is a manifesto which I am presenting to the Convention of foreign branches of
the Armenian Revolutionary Federation convened during this month of April, 1923.
Deeply convinced that all the questions raised here will be subjected to the most
serious consideration of not only the members of the Party but also of every single
Armenian, I thought it was my duty to have this manifesto published and thereby make
it public property.
I am having it printed complete and without any alterations* except the final three
or four pages which contain concrete proposals that are reserved to the governing
bodies of the Party.
Bucharest, July, 1923
first man who led the Republic of Armenia
These matters have had my deliberate and serious consideration. I do not know
whether you, too, have arrived at the same conclusions. Allow me to say more: I am
afraid that my final conclusion—those very difficult words which I shall here
state with all singleness of heart—will cause general embarrassment, perhaps
resentment, in the Convention.
I am prepared for that.
I only ask that you believe: a) that it is more difficult for me to write and sign
those words than for you to listen to them from my own lips; b) that those words are
not the result of thoughtless or petty, transient dispositions or hasty resolve. I
beg of you therefore that you be patient and approach the matters with an open mind,
unhampered—something which is not easy for men who have lived a Party life and
have thought from a Party angle.
Let me now proceed with my subject.
In order to present my conclusions in proper sequence I feel it is necessary for me
to refresh your memory with the various phases of the Armenian Cause — from the
Great War to the Lausanne Conference  — and
the role played by the Dashnagtzoutune during that period. So that I may not abuse
your attention, I shall curtail my speech and present to you a concise yet accurate
* Except for abridgements, made for the sake of brevity by the translator and the
editor, Katchaznouni’s utterances appear verbatim.
At the beginning of the Fall of 1914 when Turkey had not yet entered the war but bad
already been making preparations, Armenian revolutionary bands began to be formed in
Transcaucasia with great enthusiasm and, especially, with much uproar. Contrary to
the decision taken during their general meeting at Erzeroum only a few weeks before,
the A.R.F. had active participation in the formation of the bands and their future
military action against Turkey.
In an undertaking of such gravity, frought with most serious consequences,
individual agents of the Transcaucasian A.R..F. acted against the will of our
superior authority, against the will of the General Meeting of the Party. Why? This
example urges us to recall that the A.R.F. in Transcaucasia in the past had been a
follower rather than an originator of movements that had their inception beyond
their control. Thus it was in 1903 (rebellions and demonstrations on the ocassion of
the seizure of Church properties); thus it was in the year 1905-1906 (bloody
encounters between Tartars and Armenians); and thus it was also during the first big
movements of the laboring classes (1903-1906) when the A.R.F. was being led at Baku,
Tiflis and Batoum by the policies of foreign socialistic parties.
The same characteristic line of action appears, as we see a little later, in the
conduct we pursued afterwards generally.
It would be useless to argue today whether our bands of volunteers should have
entered the field or not. Historical events have their irrefutable logic. In the
Fall of 1914 Armenian volunteer bands organized themselves and fought against the
Turks because they could not refrain themselves from organizing and refrain
themselves from fighting. This was in an inevitable result of a psychology on which
the Armenian people had nourished itself during an entire generation: that mentality
should have found its expression, and did so.
And it was not the A.R.F. that would stop the movement even if it wished to do so.
It was able to utilize the existing conditions, give effect and issue to the
accumulated desires, hopes and frenzy, organize the ready forces — it bad that
much ability and authority. But to go against the current and push forward its own
plan — it was unfit, especially unfit for one particular reason: the A.R..F. is a
people’s mass strong in instinct but weak in comprehension.
If the formation of bands was wrong, the root of that error must be sought much
further and more deeply. At the present time it is important to register only the
evidence that we did participate In that volunteer movement to the largest extent
and we did that contrary to the decision and the will of the General Meeting of the
The Winter of 1914 and the Spring of 1915 were the periods of greatest enthusiasm
and hope for all the Armenians in the Caucasus, including, of course, the
Dashnagtzoutiun. We had no doubt the war would end with the complete victory of the
Allies; Turkey would be defeated and dismembered, and its Armenian population would
at last be liberated.
We had embraced Russia whole-heartedly without any compunction. Without any positive
basis of fact we believed that the Tzarist government would grant us a more-or-less
broad self-government in the Caucasus and in the Armenian vilayets liberated from
Turkey as a reward for our loyalty, our efforts and assistance.
We had created a dense atmosphere of illusion in our minds. We had implanted our own
desires into the minds of others; we had lost our sense of reality and were carried
away with our dreams. From mouth to mouth, from ear to ear passed mysterious words
purported to have been spoken in the palace of the Viceroy; attention was called to
some kind of a letter by Vorontzov-Dashkov to the Catholicos as an important
document in our hands to use in the presentation of our rights and claims — a
cleverly composed letter with very indefinite sentences and generalities which might
be interpreted in any manner, according to one’s desire.
We overestimated the ability of the Armenian people, its political and military
power, and overestimated the extent and importance of the services our people
rendered to the Russians. And by overestimating our very modest worth and merit we
were naturally exaggerating our hopes and expectations.
The deportations and mass exiles and massacres which took place during the Summer
and Autumn of 1915 were mortal blows to the Armenian Cause. Half of historical
Armenia —the same half where the foundations of our independence would be laid
according to traditions inherited from the early eighties and as the result of the
course adopted by European diplomacy — that half was denuded of Armenians: the
Armenian provinces of Turkey were without Armenians. The Turks knew what they were
doing and have no reason to regret today. It was the most decisive method of
extirpating the Armenian Question from Turkey.
Again, it would be useless to ask today to what extent the participation of
volunteers in the war was a contributory cause of the Armenian calamity. No one can
claim that the savage persecutions would not have taken place if our behavior on
this side of the frontier was different, as no one can claim the contrary, that the
persecutions would have been the same even if we had not shown hostility to the
Turks. This is a matter about which it is possible to have many different opinions.
The proof is, however — and this is essential — that the
struggle begun decades ago against the Turkish government brought about the
deportation or extermination of the Armenian people in Turkey and the desolation of
Turkish Armenia. This was the terrible fact!
Civilized humanity might very well be shaken with rage in the face of this
unspeakable crime. Statesmen might utter menacing words against criminal Turkey. “Blue”,
“yellow”, “orange” books and papers might be published condemning them.
Divine, punishment against the criminals might be invoked in churches by clergymen
of all denominations. The press of all countries might be filled with horrible
descriptions and details and the testimony of eye-witnesses. . . . Let them say this
or that .. . but the work was already done and words would not revive the corpses
fallen in the Arabian deserts, rebuild the ruined hearths, repopulate the country
now become desolate. The Turks knew what they ought to do and did it.
The second half of 1915 and the entire year of 1916 were periods of hopelessness,
desperation and mourning for us. The refugees, all those who had survived the
holocaust, were filling Russian provinces by tens and hundreds of thousands. They
were famished, naked, sick, horrified and desperate floods of humanity, flooding our
villages and cities. They had come to a country which was itself ruined and
famished. They piled upon each other, before our own eyes, on our thresholds dying
of famine and sickness
And we were unable to save those precious lives. Angered and terrified, we sought
the culprits and quickly found them: the deceitful politics of the Russian
government. With the politically immature mind peculiar to inconsequential men, we
fell from one extreme to another. Just as unfounded was our faith in the Russian
government yesterday, our condemnation of them today was equally blind and
By an extraordinary mental aberration, we, a political party, were forgetting that
our Cause was an incidental and trivial phase for the Russians, so trivial that if
necessary, they would trample on our corpses without a moment’s hesitation.
I am not saying that we did not know the circumstances. Of course we knew and
understood and so we stated when it was necessary to explain the situation. Deep
down in our hearts, however, we did not grasp the full meaning of that word-formula;
we forgot what we already knew and we drew such conclusions as though our Cause was
the center of gravity of the Great War, its cause and its purpose. When the Russians
were advancing, we used to say from the depths of our subconscious minds that they
were coming to save us; and when they were withdrawing, we said they are retreating
so that they allow us to be massacred. . . .
In both cases we misinterpreted the consequence with the purpose and intention. We
sought proofs of Russian treachery and of course we found them — exactly as we
sought and found proofs of the same Russians’ undeniable
benevolence six months before. To complain bitterly about our bad luck and to seek
external causes for our misfortune —. that is one of the main aspects of our
national psychology from which, of course, the Dashnagtzoutiun is not free.
One might think we found a spiritual consolation in the conviction that the Russians
behaved villainously towards us (later it would be the turn of the French, the
Americans, the British, the Georgians, Bolsheviks — the whole world — to be so
blamed). One might think that, because we were so naive and so lacking in foresight,
we placed ourselves in such a position and considered it a great virtue to let
anyone’ who so desired to betray us, massacre us and let others massacre us.
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: Up to this point the words of the author have been translated
verbatim in order to give an idea of Mr. Katchaznouni’s logical mind and the
exposition of the facts that drove him to present his “Manifesto” to his
colleagues at the 1923 Convention. From here on, and solely for the sake of brevity,
we shall quote excerpts of his arguments which led to his decision as to why the
Dashnagtzoutiun, in his opinion, should “decisively end its existence” because
“there is no work for the Party.”
THE INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC
Armenia was a Democratic Republic. It had the proper organs of a
democratic-parliamentarian government: a legislative body composed of the people’s
representatives and a responsible administration. The Parliament was composed of
representatives from the four existing Parties and minorities with the widest true
democratic principles. The government received its authority from the legislative body and
was responsible to it. This was the form. But the reality was otherwise!
In practice our Party tended to subject to itself, to control, the legislative body and
the government. We did not have the courage, nor the ability to declare an open
dictatorship, but did not wish to remain within parliamentarian limits either and tried to
establish in Armenia the Ittihad  system — a party
dictatorship disguised as a democracy. An intolerable dualism resulted from it — on the
surface the Parliament and the government; behind the scenes, invisible, the Party and its
There was no Parliament; it was an empty form without content. The problems of state were
being discussed and solved behind closed doors, in the rooms of the Dashnag faction, and
then declared from the rostrum of the Parliament.
In reality, there was not even a parliamentary faction, because this latter was under the
very strict supervision of the Dashnag Bureau, and was obliged to carry out its orders.
There was not a government either. This, also, was subject to the Bureau; it was a kind of
executive body for the Bureau in the state. This was the Bolshevistic system. But what the
Bolsheviks are doing openly and consistently, we were attempting to veil under democratic
The Armenian Parliament opened on August 1, 1919. The elections took place in accordance
with the democratic procedure — general, equal, direct and secret balloting — but it
was strange and disheartening that 72 out of 80 members were Dashnags, with only four
members from the other parties. There was no opposition party to act as a check. We
Dashnags seemed to be victorious but did not understand that it was not a Parliament but
the caricature of a Parliament.
Following the Bolshevik rebellious efforts of May 1920, there was a "coup d’etat"
and the A.R.F. Bureau (the so-called “Bureau Government”) replaced the Parliament with
its own dictatorial rule. By order of the Bureau the resignation of prime minister A.
Khadissian was accepted on May 5, and by order of the Bureau Dr. H. Ohanchanian was
ordered to form a new cabinet; the latter presented the already-prepared list of ministers
in the same meeting in which he was ordered to form a new cabinet. That was the Bureau
itself. Parliament was ordered indefinitely recessed. The Armenian Parliament had given a
dictatorial government to the Dashnagtzoutiun —to the Bureau.
This was against the decision of the 9th General Meeting of the A.R.F. and had many
disadvantages, but it also had the advantage of coming out in the open in its true form
The Armenian-Turkish war which broke our back began in the Fall of 1920. Would it have
been possible to evade it? Probably not. The crushed Turkey of 1918 had recovered during
the two years. There came forward patriotic, young officers who formed a new army in Asia
Minor. They saw the necessity of attacking in the Northeast, and also in the Southwest
against the Greeks which they could not do without first crushing their flank on the
Armenian front. One cannot say that the Turks really had such a plan, but it is possible
that they did and it was also probable that the war with us was inevitable.
Despite these hypotheses there remains an irrefutable fact. That we had not done all that
was necessary for us to have done to evade war. We ought to have used peaceful language
with the Turks whether we succeeded or not, and we did not do it. We did not do it for the
simple reason — no less culpable —that we had no information about the real strength
of the Turks and relied on ours. This was the fundamental error. We were not afraid of war
because we thought we would win. With the carelessness of inexperienced and ignorant men
we did not know what forces Turkey had mustered on our frontiers. When the skirmishes had
started the Turks proposed that we meet and confer. We did not do so and defied them.
Our army was well fed and well armed and dressed but it did not fight. The troops were
constantly retreating and deserting their positions; they threw away their arms and
dispersed in the villages.
Our army was demoralized during the period of internal strife, the inane destructions and
the pillages that went without punishment. It was demoralized and tired. The system of
roving bands, which was especially encouraged by the Bureau-government, was destroying the
unity Of the military organization. The instruction of the army, its military spirit, its
organization and discipline, and therefore its power for defense had deteriorated to. the
last degree, and that was a surprise to the government: the government and the ministers
of war did not know their own army. 
And then the government made a fatal mistake. Intending to increase the number of troops,
it called under arms additional men who were past middle age and tired, overburdened with
family and financial burdens. They were made to put on the military uniforms in a great
hurry; rifles were put into their hands and instantly sent to the front. These were
ready-made deserters which caused additional defections and demoralization in the ranks of
When on November 2  the victorious armies of KaraBekir had reached Alexandropol, the
Bureau-government presented its resignation. It could not stay in power any longer; it was
beaten, and on account of its defeat it had been discredited. 
Was there an understanding
between the Bolsheviks and the Turks? In our ranks that conviction was widespread. I
think, however, that it was wrong; at all events there is no positive proof.
Then it became necessary to begin negotiations with
the Turks and it became necessary that those who negotiated should be new faces.
After a short indecision, the government of Simon Vratzian was formed, composed of
Dashnags and social revolutionaries. Dashnag ministers belonged to the “Left”
wing of the Party, while he, the prime minister [Vratzian] was known to be a man of
the Russian orientation, and the socialist revolutionaries bad personal ties in the
Armenian Bolshevik circles. There was a remote hope that in the event the Bolsheviks
came to power (a fact we were beginning to understand was inescapable) a government
with such a composition would be able to find a common language with the new comers.
The Turks had already occupied Alexandropol. In the meantime the Armenian Bolsheviks
at the head of the Red troops entered Itchevan and Dilijan. Was there an
understanding between the Bolsheviks and the Turks? In our ranks that conviction was
widespread. I think, however, that it was wrong; at all events there is no positive
proof. It is probable that the Bolshevik agents (or individuals with Bolshevik
leanings) were trying to destroy our Army from the inside, but for that it was not
necessary to have an agreement with the Turks.
The plot of the Bolsheviks was not the reason for our defeat, nor the power of the
Turks (which was not important at that time), but our own ineptness! Of course the
Bolsheviks benefited from our defeat and that was very natural, but it was not
essential that they should have come to an understanding with the Turks for that
On December 1 (or November 30) our delegates signed an agreement with the Turks in
Alexandropol  which was not much different
from the cruel treaty of Batoum. On December 1 that same Vratzian government
resigned and relinquished its power to the Bolsheviks.
The Bolsheviks entered Armenia without meeting any resistance. This was the decision
of our Party. There were two reasons for acting this way; first, we could not resist
it even if we wanted to — we were defeated; second, we hoped that the Soviet
authorities, backed by Russia, would he able to introduce some order in the state
— a thing which we, all alone, had failed to do, and it was very plain already
that we would not be able to do.
It was our desire to let the Bolsheviks rule the country without any obstruction to
remain loyal to the new government, to cooperate with their useful work. This
decision was not unanimous. There was irreconcilables who did not expect anything
good from the Bolsheviks; they demanded opposition and fighting, even though the
defeat was inevitable. Small was their number; when the proposal was refused those
most in opposition left the country and fled.
There was also another minority, opposed to the first one: this one wanted to
approach the Bolsheviks as a party matter and form a political block with them.
These were segregated and came to be known as Leftist Dashnags, and made
declarations in Bolshevik spirit. They did not succeed. The Bolsheviks with reason
distrusted them, and discarded them.
THE PARIS MEMORANDUM
In the meanwhile, what had been our diplomatic activity with the outer world during
our liberty as an independent nation — Constantinople, Europe and America — and
what were the results? In the Spring of 1919, the Paris Delegation of our Republic
presented a Memorandum of our demands to the Peace Conference at Paris jointly with
the National Delegation of the Armenians in Turkey. According to that Memorandum the
frontiers of the Armenian State would include:
A. The Caucasian Republic with enlarged territory (the entire district of Erevan,
the districts of Kars without the northern part Ardahan, the southern section of the
Tiflis terirtory, the south-western part of Kantzag);
B. The seven vilayets of Turkish Armenia (Van, Bitlis, Diarbekir, Harpout, Sivas,
Erzeroum and Trebizonde, excluding only the southern section of Diarhekir and the
western section of Sivas);
C. The four sanjaks of Cilicia (Marash, Sis, Djebel-Bereket and Adana with
A vast state was being organized and demanded — a great Armenia from the Black Sea
to the Mediterranean, from the mountains of Karabagh to the Arabian Desert. Where
did that imperial, amazing demand emanate? Neither the government of Armenia nor the
Dashnagtzoutiun had envisaged such a childish and foolish plan. On the contrary, our
Delegation had carried with it from Erevan very moderate demands, commensurate with
our very modest ability.
How did it happen that our Delegation signed the “From Sea to Sea” demand? It
was told that if they did not demand those fascinating frontiers, the
Turkish-Armenians (through their National Delegation) would sever their Cause from
that of the “Republic of Ararat” and will apply to the Powers accordingly. Our
Delegation was also told that America would not accept a mandate over a small
Armenia but would accept one over a “From Sea to Sea” Armenia. Because it would
have been dangerous to proceed with the defense of our Cause with two separate
bodies, each with a contradictory demand, and because the American mandate was what
we wanted, our delegates signed the Memorandum and presented it to the Powers.
I wish [therefore] to prove once more that our Party has not managed national
affairs, has not had a strong will, has not followed our own program, but it has
been led by others and has allowed the others to lead our Party.
The Paris Memorandum of course thrilled us. A kind of mentality was created
according to which the drawing of frontiers on paper actually gave us those
territories. To doubt it was a treachery. Of course there followed the rude
awakening — the Treaty of Sevres;  the
refusal of the Senate of the United States to accept the mandate; even the frontiers
drawn by President Wilson did not satisfy us. We thought he could have demanded a
larger territory . . . . There were the usual complaints that the powers were
unfair1 did not appreciate us and did not compensate us according to what we
THE AGONY BEGINS
The agony of the Armenian Cause began in 1922. At the London Conference  was heard for the first time the word "Home". The Treaty of
Sevres was entirely forgotten. There was no question of an independent Armenian State.
Only a doubtful "Home" in someone else’s home. This was the blow dealt us in
March. Things got worse at Lausanne toward the end of the year. No "Home" was
demanded for us. The Turks politely refused everything. The Great Allies, in a desperate
gesture, confessed and bewailed that they had done everything possible to help the
Armenians but could not do anything.
Then, here came comrade Tchicherin and offered in the name of Soviet
Russia to locate the Armenians of Turkey in Crimea, on the shores of Volga, in Siberia.
Thus, the “State” was reduced to a “Home”, and the “Home” was converted into
colonies in Siberia. The mountain did not even give birth to a mouse. . . . This was the
If we are to evaluate the work we did and the results we obtained, we must confess that we
have nothing to boast about from the time we declared the independence of our Republic. We
must admit that our burden to organize a State and lead it was far beyond our strength.
We have always miscalculated and have always encountered with unpredictable situations
because we have been unable to foresee them. And it is evident, to me at least, that it
was on account of our ineptness, individually, that prevented us from conducting affairs
of state properly. We have been unable to distinguish the State from the Party and have
introduced party mentality into matters of state. We have not been statesmen.
Let no one take offense from these words which are not spoken with any malice but are a
mere self-estimation. Is it not true that I myself have been among the incompetents on the
front line, your collaborator, equally responsible in our defeat?
What is the present?
We have a small Republic today between the River Araxe and Lake Sevan, nominally free, but
in reality one of the fringe countries of the re-established sovereign Russian Empire.
There is no Turkish-Armenia, neither State nor Home, not even an international political
Question any more, killed and buried at Lausanne. Generally speaking, the Armenians in the
Dispersion are not a political element for Armenia today.
The immediate subject of solicitude for the Armenian political mind must be the existing
Republic, the Armenians who live in it and around it. I underscore this sentence
vigorously and call it to your special attention, for that will be the starting point of
our future action.
The Armenian Republic is a Soviet and the Armenian government today is a Communist
dictatura. Is it possible to come to an agreement with the Bolsheviks? We have tried and
have been refused. The fact is that the Bolsheviks do not wish to recognize our
Let me go a step further to explain my thoughts. I ask myself: if, by a miracle, the
existence of Bolsheviks in Armenia depended on myself, if it were possible for me to
remove them from Armenia in a single second, by the movement of a single finger of mine,
would I make that movement? I answer without hesitation that I would not. Not only would I
not do it, but I would cut off my entire hand so that even in my dream, by mistake or
inadvertently, I might not be able to make that dangerous movement!
Was the arrival of the Bolsheviks a calamity for our country? This is an unexpected
question coming from a Dashnag. The Bolsheviks are necessary in Armenia under the present
political conditions and there is no other force that could take their place. This is the
truth. Let us not be carried by narrow political ideas.
We had exhausted all our resources, had come to an impasse as Government and as Party in
the fall of 1920. Had the Bolsheviks delayed their arrival, we, ourselves, would have
asked them to come because we were so weakened and powerless and there was no other force
in the country to replace us.
Look at the consequences of their coming:
We governed our country for two and a half years; it is nearly two and a half years the
Bolsheviks have governed it. We had wars with Georgia, Azerbeijan and Turkey. The
Bolsheviks have had none. We had continual internal fights — Agapapa, Zot, Zanki-Bazar,
Vedi-Bazar, the valleys of Milli, Sharour, Nakhichevan, Zangezour. The Bolsheviks have had
no internal fights, except those in connection with the “Februarian” revolt. We had
kept the entire country under arms, in constant fighting, we had kept all working hands on
the battlefields at a time when there was the greatest demand for construction work. The
Bolsheviks have freed the people from that calamity, from that heavy burden.
In our time the people were decimated or exhausted from famine. We destroyed
bread-producing lands like Sharour and Veti, cattlelands like Agapapa, wantonly and
without benefit to us. We gave to the armies of Kiazim Kara-Bekir (along with much other
wealth) the harvest of 1920 — the only abundant one since the famine years. Today, I
hear Armenia is not hungry any more, is not clamoring for bread, one might say, and I
believe it because the people had time to sow and to reap.
We tried hard to re-establish communication with the outer world but did not succeed. The
Bolsheviks did it. During our time Armenia groped in darkness, all movement and activity
ceased half an hour after sunset because we had no means for providing lighting. The
Bolsheviks brought much kerosene from Baku and saved the country from the slavery of
darkness. Of course these things are not very important you might say, but is it not a
fact that we could not achieve even that little? The Bolsheviks were necessary for Armenia
then and they are necessary for Armenia today.
Nevertheless the Bolshevik system in its entirety is not acceptable for us. But what can
we do? Perhaps, fight it from without?
European cities are full of emigrant malcontents of all kinds who publish
newspapers, write books, call protest meetings, threaten, curse the Bolsheviks. . ..
I know of no other “work” that is more futile and miserable than what is being
done Is it with these thundering words that they will blow off Soviet heads? That is
not a fight nor a struggle but an exposition of a despicable stupidity. The fighters
against the Bolsheviks must fight from within so that the blow may tell; but to hith
behind the frontiers and show one’s fist from a safe distance — it is gesture
which, at all events, is not worthy of Dashnagtzoutune.
To fight from without, to carry on an anti-Bolshevik propaganda from abroad, when
our words are not heard inside this country, is an inane and indecent thing. What
are we to do then?
It is here that I shall state the very grave word, which, I know will embarrass you,
but which must be said at last, and said simply, without concealment or attenuation:
THE ARMENIAN REVOLUTIONARY FEDERATION HAS NOTHING TO DO ANY MORE.
Our Party has done everything it could do and is exhausted. New conditions of
existence present new demands and we are unfit to respond. We must therefore leave
the field to others abler than ourselves.
Is it necessary to repeat again the new conditions? Here they are: Turkish Armenia
does not exist anymore; half the Armenian people have been massacred, others are
dispersed in the four corners of the world, the other half is homeless and bleeding,
in need of long rest and recuperation; the Armenian Republic is united with
Communist Russia as an autonomous state; to separate our State from Russia we
cannot, even if we wish — and we must not wish it, even if we were able to do so;
the Party is beaten and has lost its authority, has been expelled from the country,
cannot return home, while in the colonies it has no work.
This is the situation today.
The Party cannot say “I shall therefore create work for me” no matter what kind
of work. That “therefore” is a mistake of logic. The sentence must be reversed
to: because I have no work to do I must cease to exist. Work is not for the
existence of the Party, but it is the Party that must exist to do the work, and
where there is no work for the Party, there can be no Party.
When I said the Dashnagtzoutune has nothing to do any more, I did not express myself
correctly. It has one more final thing to do, a supreme duty to the Armenian Cause
and toward its own past. It must, and by its own decision, with full cognizance,
decisively end its existence.
I ask you, would the political liberation of our country, which has been our aim and
work thus far, die with us? It would be extreme megalomania on our part to think so
— not only megalomania but a very naive conception of historical facts. It is for
the very purpose of assuring our National Cause, not to do any harm to it, that I
propose the dissolution of our Party.
The Dashnagtzoutune cannot assist the Bolsheviks. It is necessary that it may not be
overthrown, and in order that it may not be upset the Dashnagtzoutune has only one
means — to depart from the scene. And since the Dashnagtzoutune has nothing else
to do anymore — neither at the present time nor in the future, it must end its
existence. Our Party has lost its “raison d’etre,” its reason for existence.
This is the bitter truth. Shall we have the courage to confess the truth and arrive
at the proper conclusion?
And the only conclusion is that we must end our existence.
With comradely salutations,
Editor’s Note: Although highly critical, Katchaznouni has also been merciful
toward the Dashnags by omitting the all-important historical fact that Armenian
Independence was by no means due to Dashnag efforts or heroics, but rather, it was
forced upon them by the Turks. The event came about as the Turks— plotting to
conquer Armenia at a later date, but first wishing to sever Armenia from Russia as
her possible ally — gave the Dashnags a 72-hour ultimatum to declare Armenia a
free and independent state or face immediate invasion. These revelations are found
in Appendix V.
1. In the Treaty of Lausanne, signed July 24, 1923
between the Allies and Turkey, reference was no longer made to Armenia or Armenians. Both
had ceased to exist in the eyes of both Turkey and the Allies. Thus the “Armenian
Question” and the question of Armenians was buried in the grave of diplomatic silence.
2.The Ittihad (The Committee of Union and Progress)
represented the resurgence of the Young Turk movement in 1909 against the oppressions of
Sultan Hamid. It started as a revolutionary movement friendly to the Dashnags and Dashnag
aspirations, but it soon followed, the established pattern of massacre, bloodshed and
rabid Turkish fanaticism.
3. For corroboration see Appendix 1.
4.For the proclamation of Surrender see Appendix
5. See Appendix III for provisions of the
humiliating Treaty signed by the Dashnags under the tragic and ill-fated Vratzian regime.
6.Under Article 88-93, Section VI of this treaty
signed between the Allies and Turkey on August 10, 1920 Armenia was formally recognized by
Turkey and the Allies as a “free and independent” state—a state more of the mind
than of fact—which was promptly deserted by the Allies, rescinded by the Turks, abused
and misgoverned by the Dashnage, and finally put to rout by the waiting Soviets.
7. As a result, Italy entered the war on the Allied
side, May 23, 1915.
ARF emblem includes a terroristic symbol of violence
ARF leaders are wont to boast of their “glorious”
independent Republic. Katchaznouni’s testimony is fully corroborated by the
testimony of another eyewitness, Leon Z. Surmelian, an author now residing In
California, who in his autobiography “I Ask You Ladies and Gentlemen” (E. P.
Dutton & Co., New York, 1945), made the following observations:
“Father heaped again his scorn and sarcasm on the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation. ‘It’s destroying our nation! It has ruined our schools, disunited
our people. What do your leaders know about international politics? Wasn’t it all
this revolutionary foolishness that caused the Massacre?’ “—Page 63.
“Going to Armenia was like going to war. Onnik, Eugenia and I had our picture
taken; I might never see them again. Turks, Tartars and even Soviet Russian troops
were attacking our new-born Republic from all sides, and its population was dying of
famine and epidemic diseases.” —Page 206.
“I ate an apple and one of the soldiers picked up the core I threw away, and
swallowed it greedily. Oh, my God, our soldiers were hungry. I recalled Napoleon’s
statement; an army marches on its stomach, and was plunged into gloomy thoughts. How
could we stop the Turkish Army with hungry men?
But hunger was not the only reason for their glum, dour expressions. The officers
called them ‘Donkey’s head!’ ‘Stupid creatures!’ and such uncomplimentary
names. Products of Russian military colleges with their social and mar tial
traditions, these Russianized officers were using the methods employed in the old
Tsarist army. No wonder communist propaganda had made so much headway among our
“‘For two months I have been breathing the free air of independent Hayastan,’
he [Nurikhan] said, cynically. He was disillusioned, like many Armenians who had
come to Erivan to see the miracle of independent Haynstan with their own eyes. He
wanted to go back to Tiflis. I suffered one disillusionment after another. Our army,
as I saw it, was incompetent or in utterly indifferent hands. We just did not have
the right men, we did not have real Armenians at the head of our troops.”
“We were told Kars could hold out for at least six months. The Armenian Army, even
though it numbered only about thirty thousand men, and was ill-fed and ill-clothed,
was considered quite capable of coping with anything the Turks had to offer. We had
heard and read much about our army’s victories at Sardarabad, Nakhichevan, Olti,
Kars fell. The Turkish occupation of this key fortress meant the collapse of our
front, but the Chief-of-Staff did not seem to be affected by the debacle at all: he
came to his office promptly at ten o’clock, drank his cocoa promptly at eleven o’clock,
and left promptly at three o’clock Things continued as usual in the ministry of
war; the same old indifferent expressions on the faces of generals and colonels.
It was practically a hopeless struggle from the very beginning, but I thought with
the right leadership we could have kept Kars either by a successful resistance or
through the intervention of Soviet Russia, which professed friendship for our
people: all we had to do was to adopt a pro-Soviet policy. Politically we were a
naive and inexperienced nation.”
—Pages 209, 220.
“The Turks had won the war, and further resistance was futile. Armenia sued for
peace. The Grand National Assembly of Ankara, speaking through its ‘People’s
Commissar for Foreign Affairs,’ demanded, and got, half of the territory of our
Republic, and almost all the arms, ammunition, mules and rolling stock Armenia had.
And while negotiations for a suicidal peace treaty were going on at Alexandropol,
the government sent us to Nor Bayazet, to resume our agricultural studies.”—Page
“The Armenian Government had signed an agreement with Soviet Russia and withdrawn
from power. Armenia had to choose between Soviet Russia and Kemalist Turkey, which
under the circumstances was tantamount to choosing between life and death. What
disturbed me was the attitude of the natives toward this sudden change in regime;
they were too glad about it.”—Page 231.
After about 2 1/2 years of mismanagement and corruption, in the course of which it
underwent four regimes, the Armenian Republic finally breathed its last. Torn within
itself, distraught, tortured, with the populace clamoring for “bread and peace”
which the Bolsheviks promised, the Dashnags surrendered Armenia meekly, without a
fight—abjectly, humbly, and in some instances even gratefully. A large number of
leaders and followers, sharing Katchaznouni’s views, remained behind to become
citizens of the new State.
H.H. ARMENIAN REPUBLIC
December 2, 1920 Erivan
In view of the situation created by the external conditions, the Government of the
Armenian Republic decided at its session of December 2, 1920, to resign from power,
and to turn the whole military and civil authority over to the Supreme Commander of
the Army to which office is appointed War Minister Dro.
President of the Council of Ministers
Certified copy of the Original:
[Signed] H. TOUMANIANTZ
Chief Executive [of Council of Ministers]
Simultaneously, within a few hours of each other, while one Dashnag delegation headed by
the retiring prime minister was negotiating with the Soviets at Erivan, another delegation
headed by a former prime minister, negotiated with the Turks at Alexandropol —
surrendering Armenia first, from the point of view of chronology, to the Soviets, then
some hours later (with the participation of ministers who had already resigned from
office) to the Turks: by all odds a masterful though asinine effort at double-dealing.
Soviets do not recognize this treaty.
Highly significant Is Article 8, wherein Dashnags agreed “to forego their rights to ask
for damages . . . as a result of the general war,” thus closing the doors FOREVER to
reparations for the enormous destruction of Armenian life and property.
Now revealed for the first time in English are the provisions, in their entirety, of the
secret Treaty of Alexandropol, signed on December 2, 1920. It is a humiliating treaty,
whose contents heretofore have never been divulged by the ARF. A reproduction of. the
original treaty in Turkish, together with a translation into modern Turkish, appeared in
Vol. II, No. 1 of “Die Welt Des Islams” (“The World of Islam”), published by the
well-known book firm, E. J. Brill, Leiden, Holland.
“THlS IS THE TREATY OF PEACE BETWEEN TURKEY AND ARMENIA AT GUMRU [ALEXANDROPOL]"
On the one part the Turkish Government and on the other part the Armenian Republic, for
the purpose of putting an end to the hostilities and to find a thesis of agreement, have
sat down for an examination of the facts.
On the part of the Turkish Government:
General Kazim Kara-Bekir Pasha, Commander on the Easbern Front
Hamid Boy, Vali of Erzeroum
Suleyman Negati Bey of Erzeroum
On the part of the Armenian Republic:
Alexander Khadissian, Prime Minister
Avram Gulhandanian, Minister of Finance
Stepan Gorganian, Minister of the Interior
After due verification of their powers of attorney and the validity of their certificates
of authority, the discussions have resulted in the following agreement:
1. State of war between Turkey and the Armenian Republic has been ended.
2. The frontier between Turkey and Armenia, as seen on the attached map (starting from the
mouth of the Lower Karasou, the River Araxe, the Arpatchai, north to Kekatch, from thence
to the valley of Karahan, eastern Teghnis, eastern Great Kemel, Kiziltash, major Aghbaba
Mountains) is the limit, The final determination of the frontier will he decided by a
mixed commission on the spot two weeks after the signature.
Armenia will not interfere in the administrative form to be chosen by general election and
that administration’s jurisdiction in Mount Kouki 10,282 - 8022 - Mount Gamasour, 8160 -
the village of Koutoulak - Mount Saat, 7868, - the houses in Arpatchai, 3080, Mount
Kemourlu, 6930 - Sarayboulak, 8071 - the station Ararat - the southern part of the estuary
of the Lower Karasou on the Araxe River (Nakhitchevan, Shahtakhti, Shamour) and the
administration of this zone shall be under Turkish protection. [The numerals above are
those on a military map of the time.]
3. The Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey may be able to consider the
wishes of the Armenian Republic about the relocation of the entire native population back
into the territories designated in the second article, existing in the old Ottoman
boundaries which shall remain to Turkey, by irrefutable historical, ethnic and legalistic
rights accepts their return by a general election within those territories, within three
years after the ratification of this treaty. A mixed commission will decide the form of
4. So that the possibility of villainous activities and movements resulting from the
incitements of imperialistic governments be once for all and permanently prevented and
disallowed the Republic of Erevan undertakes not to maintain any military organization
beyond a gendarmerie corps of 1500 riflemen with 8 mountain or field guns and 20 machine
guns for the protection of its internal peace. There will be no military conscription in
Armenia any more. The Armenian Republic is free to build fortifications and place in them
as many heavy artillery pieces as it wishes for the protection of the country against
external enemies. In this heavy artillery are 15 cm. shells and 15 cm. long rifles that
can be used, and lesser ones used in field armies. No larger guns will be found.
5. After the peace the Government Erevan accepts to permit the Turkish representative or
ambassador in Erevan to be free to investigate all these matters at any time. In return
for that the Grand National Assembly promises military assistance to Armenia in any
internal or external trouble.
6. The two parties permit the return of refugees to their hearths across the old
boundaries with the exception of those who, during the general war, went to the enemy’s
army and took arms, and those who crossed occupied territories and participated in
massacres, and mutually assure the privileges of minorities obtained in the most-civilized
countries to those who repatriate themselves.
7. Those of the refugees mentioned in Article 6 who do not return to their hearths within
the limit of one year after the ratification of this treaty, besides not being able to
benefit from the generosity of the said article, their legal claims also will not be
8. Despite the great expenses which the Grand Assembly of Turkey incurred for its army
during two years because of the urgency of the war it had to wage against Armenia, it
renounces its right to demand lawful damages, and in the same manner the two parties
forego their rights to ask for damages because of the changes which took place as a result
of the general war.
9. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey promises to render assistance in the most sincere
manner for the complete formulation and defense of the Armenian Republic mentioned in the
Second Article with utmost integrity.
10. The Erevan Government declares and considers void and null the Treaty (of Sevres)
which was absolutely rejected by the National Grand Assembly of Turkey, and by recalling
the delegations who have been tools in the hands of the imperialist countries and their
government circles in the purlieus of Europe and America, promises its determination to
eliminate all kinds of misunderstandings between the two countries; the Republic of Erevan
promises to keep away from government circles those pugnacious men who run after
imperialist aims and play havoc with the peace of the two nations so that it may give
proof of its sincerity for the maintenance of peace and tranquility and the rights of
Turkey as a good neighbor.
11. The Armenian Republic admits and vouchsafes the authority of the vicar of the chief of
Sheri of the National Grand Assembly of Turkey to ratify the appointment of the chief
Mufti, elected by the direct vote of muftis as well as the organization and enactment of
the rights of the people living in the country for the realization of their aspirations
and religious sentiments. [The chief Mufti and muftis were to be quartered in Armenia for
the benefit of Moslems living there].
12. The two contracting parties mutually promise not to hinder the free passage of any
person or any merchandise belonging to any person on all routes (also of Armenia and
Iran), from side to side, by sea and between any country in transit operations. The
Turkish government assures the freedom of transit operations between Sharour, Nakhitchevan,
Shahtakht, and Djoulfa via Iran, Magou and Armenia.
The Armenian government promises not to impede general transit operations of merchandise,
carriages, railroad wagons between Azerbaijan, Iran, Georgia and Turkey.
The Turkish State will take all railroads and transportation routes in the Erevan Republic
under its own control in order to prevent treacherous acts against its integrity and
totality by imperialists until complete peace is established and the two parties will
forbid the official and unofficial agents of imperialist (Entente) powers from causing any
damage or disturbance inside the Republic.
13. The government of the National Grand Assembly can take temporary military preventive
measures in Armenia against attacks that may threaten its territorial integrity on
condition that such measures do not disturb the rights of the Republic of Erevan conceded
in this territory.
14. All treaties signed by the Republic of Erevan with any country that relate to Turkey
or are harmful to the interests of Turkey, the said Republic agrees to consider absolutely
null and void.
15. Commercial relations between the two parties will begin and ambassadors and consuls
will be exchanged upon the signature of the treaty.
16. Regulations for telegraphic, postal, telephone, consular and commercial relations will
be established by mixed commissions according to the provisions of this treaty. Meanwhile
Turkey will be authorized by the State to resume telegraphic, postal and railroad
communications between Armenia and occupied territories as soon as the treaty is signed.
17. In accordance with this treaty, concerning Armenia, by the provisions of the special
treaty for the evacuation of territories under Turkish occupation and the repatriation and
exchange of prisoners, the determination of the frontiers of the Armenian Republic will
immediately be put into effect. The civilians and notables held will be delivered. The
exchange of prisoners will be effected by a mixed commission.
18. This treaty is subject to ratification within a month. The ratified copies will be
exchanged at Ankara. The plenipotentiary high representatives have signed this treaty of
peace and frontier demarcation. This treaty, being in two copies, has been constituted at
Kumru-Alexandropol on the date 2/12/1336*. In the case of any dispute agreement can be
arrived at by reference to the Turkish text.”
* December 2, 1921. The Turkish year 1336 corresponds to 1921 A.D
taking a moment here to mention other treaties/decrees where the Armenians renounced
claims [as with Article 8, above], and where Armenian refugees were allowed to return [as
with Article 7, above], and where the nation of Armenia was recognized.
ADDENDUM, 5-07: The beginning of this section contained corrupt information, and
has now been corrected. Apologies.
Following the Brest-Litovsk
Treaty (March 3, 1918), when the Soviets were forced to make territorial concessions to
the Central Powers, the Transcaucasian Federation came into being, but lasted only some
three months. Georgia declared independence on May 26, and Armenia and Azerbaijan followed
on May 28.
Treaty of Batum (June 4, 1918): "If we remember that the existing Republic was
recognized by the Turks under the Treaty of Batoum, in which the Russian-Armenian
envoys renounced all territorial claims over Western Armenia, we can readily
comprehend why the Turks regarded the Act of May 28, 1919, as a provocation of war"
(K. S. Papazian, "Patriotism Perverted," 1934, p.45) The Ottoman Empire
was the FIRST nation to recognize the Republic of Armenia, after the Armenians declared
their independence on May 28-29. ("...[T]he Armenian nation would never forget that
it was the Ottoman Government which first conceived the idea of founding an independent
Armenia, and recognized it." Telegram, Sept. 9, 1918, Avetis Aharonian to Prime
Minister Kachaznuni; Feigl, "The Myth of Terror," 1986, p. 97. Aharonian's "gratitide" would not prevent him from signing a
treaty (Sevres) dismembering the Ottoman Empire in August, 1920)
2) The Ottoman Empire issued
a decree on December 31, 1918, which allowed the Armenians to return to their homes
(if necessary vacating the homes that were occupied by others), and those converted to
Islam would be Christian again. The Armenian Patriarch reported to the British that there
were 625,000 Armenians in what was left of the empire, before the implementation of
Sèvres. (Details of this decree may be found on "p. 138," or the 30th page of
this PDF file.)
Treaty of Kars (Oct. 13, 1921) "contains a clause, legally signed — even
by Armenia — which reads as follows: '15. The governments signatory to the agreement
(Russian S. S. R., Armenian S. S. R., Azerbaijan S. S. R., Georgian S. S. R. and Turkey)
are engaged in declaring a general amnesty restricted to the citizens of the other side
"pour tous les meurtes et délits commie en temps de guerre" (for all the
murders and offenses committed in time of war)...'." (Feigl, "The Myth of
Terror," 1986, p. 109.).
Treaty of Lausanne (July 24, 1923). "...[E]very former citizen of the Ottoman
Empire... could come to Turkey as a Turkish citizen anytime within two years. Article 31
naturally applied to all the Ottoman-Armenian citizens who had been relocated during the
war [and]... was tailor-made for the Armenians who... now wanted to move back to Turkey.
...[E]very Armenian who had once been an Ottoman citizen had until July 24, 1925 to
come to Turkey as a Turkish citizen with the same rights as other Turkish
citizens." (Feigl, "The Myth of Terror," 1986, p. 116.) Lausanne
also permitted claims for compensation by a deadline and set up mixed courts for this
purpose. The right for compensation was thus exercised.
As a point of interest, the
Gumru-Alexandropol Treaty was signed three months after its first (Dec. 2-3, 1920)
signing, in Moscow. It was signed a third time in Kars on Sept. 22, 1921, after approval
by the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
Copy of the actual Gumru-Alexandropol Treaty
Armenians look upon former Turkish regimes as
Jewry looks upon Nazi Germany. Some Armenians, as do some Jews, believe that their
former tormentors “will never change.” Apparently not so with Dashnag leaders.
Though the Turks had just bled the nation white and the Anatolian deserts were still
strewn with the bleached bones of a million martyrs, Dashnags sought help and
protection from Turkey as provided in the Treaty of Alexandropol. This shameless act
placed the ARF on record as willful collaborators with the assassins of their
Armenian brethren in return for the mere promise to govern an “independent Armenia”
under Turkish tutelage.
In a final effort to displace the Soviets (to
whom they bad surrenders Armenia on Dec. 2, 1920) and occupy the country with
Turkish help, the Dashnags on February 18, 1921 staged a well-planned counter-revolt
against the Bolsheviks. But soon finding themselves in urgent need of help, Simon
Vratzian the last prime minister and symbol of Dashnag failure and chicanery, sent
the following desperate note to Behaeddln, representative in Erivan of the Turkish
“Please forward the present request promptly to your high authorities, and as I
have explained to you, urge them for an immediate answer.
The fight of Armenia against the bolsheviks, and for its own freedom and
independence, serves, as we are convinced, not only Armenia itself, but also the
interests of all the nations of the Near East.
For this reason, Armenia hopes, that during this fight she will receive help from
her neighbors, and first of all the interests of the Turkish people also require
that Armenia should come victorious out of this fight and remain independent.
Relying on this conviction, the Armenian government requests the government of the
Grand National Assembly of Turkey, that, in the name of the mutual interest of the
two peoples and as speedily as possible, it:
1. Return the Armenian war prisoners that are now on the war front of Erivan.
2. Give the Armenian army some ammunition under certain conditions; first of all
cartridges for Russian three-lined rifles and for Turkish mausers; or else rifles of
the Russian and Lepel system.
3. Communicate with us, if the government of the Grand National Assembly finds it
possible to send military aid to Armenia, and if able to do so, to what extent and
In making this appeal, the Armenian government relies on the friendly relations that
have been established with the treaty of Alexandropol, and which were disturbed
during the bolshevik rule.”
President of the Armenian Republic
Erivan, March 18, 1921.
Distrustful, the Turks refused to help their Dashnag allies. The Soviets finally
ejected them from Armenian soil in April, 1921.
The highly complex sequence of historical events which preceded the formation of an
independent Armenia on May 28, 1918 may be delineated as follows.
Following the October, 1917 revolution the Bolsheviks relaxed their interest and withdrew
from the Caucasus region, turning over to the Armenians their munitions, and leaving them
in possession of a relatively large territory including the vilayets of Trobizond, Moush,
Erzeroum and the regions of Kars, Ardahan, Karabagh and Nakhitchevan — a total area
which later became known as “Wilsonian Armenia.”
The Caucasus was then governed by a Trans-Caucasian Federation composed of Armenians,
Georgians and Azerbaijan nationals, with a representative assembly, the Seym. In December,
1917 Turkey signed an armistice with the Seym and, together with the Russian withdrawal
In the meanwhile, and in order to resist further intrusion by the Allies — which the
Bolsheviks and Turks jointly feared — Turkey entered into a common pact with the
Russians. Under these conditions the pan-Turkish dream of expansion eastward remained
dormant. But in May, 1918 she had recovered sufficiently and begun a bloody march
eastward. Turkey now feared that a continued advance on the Caucasus might involve her
with Russia so she demanded that Armenia, Georgia and Aberbaijan dissolve the Seym and
declare themselves free and independent states so she could deal with them individually at
her convenience. The Soviets were in no position to interfere as they were busy with the
aftermath of the October revolution.
Christian Georgia and Moslem Azerbaijan acquiesced readily, leaving the Armenians to shift
for themselves. The Armenians resisted, forcing Turkey to grant the Dashnags a 72-hour
ultimatum from “eight o’clock in the evening of May 26.” This, and subsequent events
are narrated in graphic detail in “The Armenian Republic” by Simon Vratzian (Imprimerie
Navarre, Paris, 1928) from which the following excerpts are taken:
Pages 127, 129: “Unfortunately the Caucasian Federation does not exist Therefore the
Seym has resigned. . . - The Armenians are left in the middle, alone, without friends,
without protection, abandoned by all, victims to the treachery of their neighbors. A more
horrible condition is difficult to imagine. What to do? To whom to apply? Where to seek
Page 131: “The declaration of independence came more on account of external pressure
rather than from the will of the National Council, Vratzian wrote. He then noted that the
declaration was actually made on May 30th (instead of May 28th as celebrated by the
Dashnags) when negotiations with the Turks began. On June 4, 1918 a formal Treaty of Peace
was signed between Turkey and the Armenian Republic.
What was Armenian Independence like? Vratzian paints a graphic picture. Page 155: “Thus
passing between the fire and the sword, Armenia was called an independent state. Its
independence was not received with applause and acclamation. On the contrary, by many it
was considered a misfortune, like a mother who has born a sick child, the Armenians beat
their heads in grief.
Yes, the independence of Armenia was born from the sea of suffering and tears. Many did
not believe it. The words ‘Independence’ and ‘Republic’ were used in quotation
marks. And the reasons for believing thus were strong, truly horrifying were the
conditions; independence under these conditions seemed a mockery.
In reality there remained in Armenian hands only a small sliver of territory — hardly
12,000 square kilometers, poor and half -demolished. Snuggled among arid mountains in a
deaf corner of the world, overburdened with refugees and orphans, surrounded with
teeth-gnashing enemies, without bread, without medicine, without help. Famine and
sickness, ruined and looted, tears and poverty, the terror of massacre!
And on the other side, the victorious army of Enver, energized by pan-Turkish dreams which
were trampling on the body of Armenians in their march toward Apsheron [the oil wells of
Baku, and the Caspian Sea] and Turkestan.”
Page 175: “Around November 20th the government was transferred from Tiflis and
enthusiastically reforms were made. . . . But this enthusiasm did not last long, and
behold the escape of people and ministers from Erivan, where living conditions were
desperate for those not used to black bread, sleeping on floors and lice. . . . Thus a
situation was created where Armenia had three ministers of food—and yet no food!”
In another book, “Independent and United Armenia,” Vratzian added:
“Tears, misery and chaos were everywhere. Who had the heart to think of independence
under these circumstances? Who was going to realize and protect that independence? . . .
For an Armenian intellectual under the existing conditions independence was equivalent to
a return of Turkish tyranny, to a new era of martyrdom, and by this is explained that
session of the Armenian Council which considered ‘independence’ more like a home in
mourning where lay a dead body.”
When, in final desperation — with Turkey again threatening to loot, massacre and rape
survivors of the holocaust since 1915 — the populace accepted Soviet rule [to which
Dashnag leaders themselves offered no resistance] thousands of Dashnags remained behind to
become citizens of the new state, On November 20, 1923 they met in Erivan. The
stenographic minutes of the “Convention of Former Dashnags of Armenia” were published
in 1924. The report showed the presence of 247 delegates, the time. After a trip to the
United States Katchaznouni returned to Armenia, and spent his last years on native
The Armenian Information Service
Seeks to disseminate accurate information on Armenians in the United States; defend
the historic Armenian Church; protect the Armenian good name against its detractors,
whether they be Dashnags, or others; and promote better understanding between Old
stock Americans and the New.
in addition to a list of booklets just initiated, The Armenian Information Service
publishes the “Armenian Reporter” which seeks to enlighten and interpret, in the
light of our history and our future here, those problems which personally concern
American citizens of Armenian background.
Also published: “The ARF: a Study in Political Gymnastics,”—50c.
In Preparation: “Dashaag Collaboration Abroad with the Nazi Regime”
“Record of Dashnag Collaboration with Arab Diplomatic Officials.”
Armenian Information Service
Suite ID, 471 Park Ave.
New York 22
Prof. Turkkaya Ataov had given
a rundown of this report in The 1923 Manifesto of Hovhannes
Katchaznouni; it was exciting
to have the chance to read the work in its entirety.
The appendixes contained
valuable information as well, an added bonus.
Since Armenians are as
single-willed a monolithic people as ever may have existed, what I found most
interesting was digging into the personalities of both Mr. Katchaznouni and the
editor, Armenian-American author John Roy Carlson (Arthur A. Derounian). These two
appeared to have broken ranks with the mandatory Armenian line, and indeed I've
encountered Armenian attempts to discredit both... the fate of all Armenians who
dare to venture away from 100% agreement with the fanatical genocidal viewpoint,
where all Turks must be presented as monsters, and all Armenians must be presented
as innocent victims. (The other common punishment has historically been worse than a
smear campaign directed against the character of those who dare disagree. Ka-pow!
However, now that I've had a
chance to get greater insight into both Katchaznouni and John Roy Carlson, I can see
neither were traitors to the Armenian cause. They both plainly regard the Turks in
the same way as do most Armenians who venture opinions publicly; the Turks are the
evil blight whose purpose has been to make the Armenians' lives hell on earth.
The difference is, both men
were courageous enough and had enough of a sense of honor to admit what lay at the
root of the Armenians' fate. This is what makes them so dangerous to the Armenian
genocide industry, and why this booklet has been systematically picked off the
shelves of the world's libraries, by members of the Diaspora faithful. (Little could
they predict the coming of the Internet; what the "censors" wished would
go away is now available to many at the click of a button.)
Note how Katchaznouni presents
the following picture:
Again, it would be useless
to ask today to what extent the participation of volunteers in the war was a
contributory cause of the Armenian calamity. No one can claim that the savage
persecutions would not have taken place if our behavior on this side of the frontier
was different, as no one can claim the contrary, that the persecutions would have
been the same even if we had not shown hostility to the Turks. This is a matter
about which it is possible to have many different opinions.
Did he really believe that? Or
was he making concessions to his Dashnak audience?
For what possible reason would
the Armenians have been treated to the disastrous resettlement program, other than
their having treacherously rebelled against their country, in their country's
darkest hour? Did Katchaznouni actually believe in the phony reasons supported by
the Hovannisians and Dadrians of his time, Pan-Turanism, Muslims hate Christians,
and the looting of Armenian wealth?
All of a sudden, the Turks were
going to "exterminate" the Armenians, at the worst stage of the Ottoman
Empire's life... while engaged in a mortal struggle, with manpower and resources in
desperate shortage? Then why did the Turks not "exterminate" Ottoman Jews?
Ottoman Jews were not racially Turkic (Khazar theories likely unknown); the Jews
were not Muslim. The Jews had wealth.
Answer: the Ottoman Jews were
loyal to their nation.
Regardless, Katchaznouni was
MAN enough to admit:
The proof is, however — and this is essential — that the struggle begun
decades ago against the Turkish government brought about the deportation or
extermination of the Armenian people in Turkey and the desolation of Turkish
Armenia. This was the terrible fact!
Translation: we bore the act,
and we must bear the responsibility... the way a MAN must. (Well, half a
translation; Katchaznouni still couldn't resist desiring to blame the Turks, just in
Similarly, author and true
Armenian patriot John Roy Carlson, also derisively looks down his nose at the evil
Turks: "Turkey again threatening to loot, massacre and rape survivors of the
holocaust since 1915." However, Carlson/Derounian has come to understand
the disgusting nature of the Dashnaks, whose fanatical, murderous and despicable
ways was the root cause of the catastrophe that was brought upon the Armenian
people. Sure, as an Armenian, he too suffers from the common psychological ailment
of his people that Katchaznouni spells out so eloquently:
"[One of the main
aspects of Armenian] "national psychology... [is] to seek external causes for
[Armenian ] misfortune."
... However, at least Carlson
was not completely blind. Carlson was probably aware that if the Armenian
revolutionary committees did not start up circa 1880, none of these
"massacres" would have ever happened. However, it would have taken real
guts to come out and say that. And practically the only Armenian who has had the
courage and integrity (that I'm aware of; without forgetting brave Armenian-Turk Artin Penik) to have
publicly taken the truth all the way has been Edward Tashji...
paying a heavy price, having been accused by his single-minded brethren of being
recruited/bought, and always aware of a whizzing bullet that may not be far
away. (ADDENDUM: Since this writing, Edward Tashji has sadly passed away, in 2005.)