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ARMENIA


  • Alphonse Jhn, a promient Armenian anarchist is imprisoned by the Ottoman emperor for seducing members of the royal harem and hanged by czarist agents after the defeat of the Turks in Bulgaria in 1878. [A monument to Alphonse Jhn, financed by a consortium of nationalist-anarchist societies, stands today in the central square of Yerevan.]

  • Aspasia Qermt Jhn, the great grand-daughter of Alphonse, after meeting Stephen Dresch (in a Budapest bistro) in 1983, she devoted herself to the organization of "fifth-column" movements in Bulgaria, Armenia and Russia. She continues to spend a substantial proportion of her time in underground activity in Central and Southeastern Europe and elsewhere. Of Armenian, Greek, Turkish, Hungarian, Persian and Scots-Irish ancestry, Jhn's parents, well-known Eurasian anarcho-libertarians, renowned for their knowledge of ancient Greek history and philosophy, named her in honor of the intelligent, witty and influential consort (470?-410 B.C.) of the Athenian statesman and general, Pericles (?-429 B.C.). Despite her illustrious name-sake, in her adolesence and early adjulthood Jhn, tall with reddish-blond hair, acclaimed for her "Irish" beauty, led a rather Bohenian life devoted to the principles espoused by her mentor Frieda Lawrence, widow of D. H. Lawrence. Still something of a Bohemian, Aspasia spends her summers with several friends from her days as a student at the University of Dublin, travelling from pub to pub on the west coast of Ireland, playing their flutes in exchange for meals, drinks and lodging. Their performances have won wide acclaim and a devoted following of locals and perennial tourists (not restricted to covert intelligence agents). Has written, Gilded Cages: The Compromise of the Market and the Subversion of Liberty -or- The Professoriat Enslaved in the Dolls House of Academe. 28 May 1989.

  • John Kinross asserts in his book, The Ottoman Centuries, that in the 1880s, Armenian secret societies and nationalist groups made contacts with and gained "an impetus from their fellow Armenians in Russia, mainly in the Caucasus,who...[held] concepts of revolution, at once socialist and anarchist..."

  • Armenia's best known anarchist is Alexandre Atabekian, born in the Caucasus. He is in Geneva in 1891, often in the company of Kropotkin. Atabekian becomes involved with a group of Russian students in Geneva publishing the "Anarchist Library" a series of works in Russian. Atabekian is also acquainted with Elisee Reclus, Jean Grave and Paraskev-Stoyanoff. He makes contact with anarchists of Russia, France, Italy and Bulgaria. He was with Kropotkin as he died in 1921 and Atabekian was among the organizers of the anarchist funeral procession in Moscow. In 1929, he disappeared in an action by the Bolshevik government against the anarchists.

  • In 1891, a number of anarchist pamphlets were published in Paris in the armenian language, including:

    • L'Idee est une Force
    • A l'Occasion de l'election du Catholicos
    • Aux Paysans Armeniens
    • Lettre aux Revolutionnnaires Armeniens

  • Between 1880 and 1894, an anarchist Journal, Hamaink(Commonwealth) was published by Atabekian, first in Resht, Persia and later in Paris and London. Five issues appeared, in which he gave an anarchist analysis of Armenian and Ottoman subjects as well as the international revolutionary movement. Hamayank describes the exploitation of the Armenian proletariat, calling for the communalisation of land and self-determination. The magazine opposed European intervention, centralisation of the Armenian revolutionary movement and stated that all government was tyranny.

  • In 1896, a pamphlet appeared with title Aux Socialistes Revolutionaires et Libertaires by the "Quelques Libertaires Armeniens".
    This was translated into German and appeared in the 26 September 1896 issue of
    Gustav Landauer's Der Sozialist in Germany.

  • In the Summer of 1890, in Tbilisi, (Georgia) a coalition of nationalists and socialists came together called the Revolutionary Armenian Federation or simply "Dashnaktsouthian" (the Federation). Its members included Konstantin Hatisian, Christopher Mikealian, Stepan Zartan, Simon Zavarian, Ruben Hanazad, Abraham Dastakian, H. Loris Malkian and Levon Sarkisian. There were a number of competing factions, but one of these produced a manifesto in 1892 which approximated the position of the Russian Nihilists, calling for arms and the propagation of the people. This faction took part in a wave of attentats at the time when such actions occurred also in the anarchist movements of France, Italy and Spain and the United States.

  • The Dashnaks split with the more Marxist Hunchaks ca. 1890, declaring "'The Armenian is no longer imploring. He now demands, with gun in hand.' No longer prepared to await help from the powers, which was not to materialize, he took [his] destiny...into his own hands."
  • The Armenian revolutionaries launched a plot to stir up a Moslem revolt by posting "seditious placards" on the walls of the towns throughout Central and Western Anatolia, calling upon all Moslems to rise against the Sultan's oppressive rule.

    The Revolutionary Armenian Federation published a series of translated pamphlets of the best anarchist writers of the day:

    • Peter Kropotkin--
      • Les Minorites Revolutionnaires 1894
      • L'Anarchie 1893
      • L'Esprit de Revolte 1892-3
      • La Desorganisation des Etats 1892
      • Droits Politiques 1892
      • Aux Jeunes Gens (as Eritasardnerin) 1898
    • Elisee Reclus-- A Mon Frere le Paysans
    • Errico Malatesta-- Fra Contadini
    • Jean Grave-- Pouquoi nous sommes Revolutionnaires 1894
    These may well have been translated by Alexandre Atabekian.

    The Federation Also Published at least one pamphlet by Friedrich Engels.

  • Christapor Mikaelian, one of the founders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, was (at least at some point) greatly influenced by Bakunin and remained committed to direct action and decentralisation all his life.
  • In 1907, Paul Singer publishes, in Stuttgart, a report presented to the International Socialist Congress by the Socialist Party and the Revolutionary Armenian Federation. This french pamphlet testifies to the existence a number of active Armenian libertarians in 1896. Announces the "dawn of the Social Revolution" in the East.

  • The November 1907 issue of Emma Goldman's Mother Earth reports that "Anarchist agitation in the United States is being carried on in almost all the various languages spoken in this country, including Japanese, Armenian, etc."

  • In 1910, Hosankner by Mik'ayel Varandean (1874-1934) was published in Zhenev by Hratarkaktut'iwn HHD. The book was on the topic of socialism, labor and anarchism.

  • 5th March 2006: Armenian anarchist seeking asylum from Czech Republic

    In January, editorial collective of avtonom.org was contacted by our comrade Eduard from anarchist communist group Proryv (Break-through), which is member group of Autonomous Action from Yerevan contacted us with bad news. Another member of the group Vaagn is currently in Czech republic, forced to leave his homeland.

    First trouble was when his father was refused medical aid in a military hospital, notwithstanding father's long service and his former post in military. He also got some trouble in work, various forms of pressure were put on him, he was not allowed to take an exam for further qualification, he was refused bonuses and so on. In November, Yerevan anarchists were preparing protests against referendum on amendment to constitution. Planned amendment was planned to be on double citizenship, but really it was to be just another show-off of the power, government machinery prepared to show that everyone was obediently participating where really it was only a minor fraction, almost exclusively cops and army.

    In night between 26th and 27th of November anarchists were distributing leaflets with calls to boycott referendum. Around midnight of 9th of December Vaagn and his friend were in a car accident with two other cars, his friend hurt his foot. When Vaagn got off the car, someone stepped out from one of the car, began shooting to the air and shouting "stop!". Vaagn escaped the spot and called paramedics. His friend was taken to hospital, where he was thrown down the stairs two days later, he broke his spinal column. Unknown people also assaulted home of Vaagn and beat up everyone there, fortunately Vaagn was not home. Premises of "Proryv" were robbed the same day, various technology, including mini printworks were stolen. Attempts to solve issues through mafia did not bring any results. He heard that a bounty of 5000 dollars was promised for any information on him. 14th of December he took a flight to London. First he was planning to leave his country just for a few weeks, but eventually he learned that there was no way back. Right now he is appealing for an asylum from Czech republic.


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