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The truth about Dashnaksutyun (I)
While more pressure caused by the so-called genocide allegations depresses
Turkey every day, the historical facts reveal over and over again that these
claims are nothing more than international lies. Even the Armenian sources
substantiate how the Western imperialist powers and Tsarist Russia
manipulated the Armenian issue in order to split and share Turkey. The
Armenian sources prove that the Armenian gangs were used as a battering-ram
at the Caucasian front while Turkish Armenians were assigned with the task of
stirring up turmoil to facilitate the occupation and that Turkey, as a
justified response to that, waged a just war against the Armenians.
In order to disclose the reality about the genocide lie, we will, basing on
the sources of Dashnak and Soviet Armenia, try to unveil in this article the
truth about Dashnaksutyun, being one of the most critical components of the
issue. No documents shall be referred to in the article unless they are duly
approved by the authorized officials of Dashnak and Soviet Armenia. The
documents and publications we obtained through our research studies in the
Russian state archives and libraries will be classified under the following
1. Dashnaks exploited by the
Tsarist armies as a battering-ram
2. Dashnaks as an instrument of Western imperialism
3. Dashnaks as the perpetrators of the extermination of the Muslims
4. The looting policy of Dashnaks
5. Armenian people under Dashnak torture
6. Turkey’s justified war
7. Dashnaks and the Imperialist Powers to be blamed for the tragedies.
Under each of the above-mentioned titles, we first examine the related
Dashnak documents and then the sources of Soviet Armenia.
Dashnaks exploited by the Tsarist armies as a battering-ram
The statement sent to Tsar Nikolay II by the Armenian National Bureau led by
Dashnaks in the very beginning of World War I displays how much the Dashnak
administration was dependent on imperialism: “While the glorious Russian
armies fought on the snowy Armenian hills and vast Alaskert valley against
Turkey which was in need for German support and which dared to challenge
powerful Russia, the Armenians followed the advice of their ancestors (…) and
rose up to sacrifice their lives and belongings to protect the Great Russia
and the honor of the Russian crown.
The news of declaration of war against Turkey thrilled all Armenians.
Armenians from all countries are looking forward to be a part of the glorious
Russian armies and to contribute with their blood to the victories of the
Russian forces. We pray the mighty God to triumph over the enemy. Being
magnificent Russia’s new military apparatus and helping it fulfill its
historical mission in the East is our national debt to pay. We are avid to
make this wish happen.
The Russian flag shall fly freely at Istanbul and Gallipoli straits.
Your goodwill, their majesties, will free the peoples under Turkish
Before the war broke out, speaking to Msak, the publication organ of the
Armenian nationalist liberals, Zaven, the Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul,
proclaimed that the Armenian issue could only be fundamentally solved if the
whole Armenia (including a major part of the Anatolian lands) united under
the rule of Russia, the doomed holder of Armenia’s strings throughout the
history. The Patriarch said “The sooner the Russians get here, the better for
Similarly, the letter sent to the British and French ambassadors to Tsarist
Russia by Zavriyev, the Head of the Foreign Affairs Office of Dashnaksutyun
Party, in 1915 reveals the role actively played by the Armenians during World
War I: “Since the very beginning of the war, Russian Armenians have been
eagerly expecting to get involved in the war in Russia and Turkey. This
brings forth the re-consideration of the Armenian issue and the hope for an
absolute settlement to the problem. Therefore, the Armenians cannot stay away
from the imminent incidents and should, for this reason, be engaged in the
war as fiercely as possible.”3
A different Dashnak document substantiating the content of the aforementioned
letter which was present also in the archives of the Tsarist government is
found in the personal archive of the politician and historian Boryan.
The document containing the speech delivered by the military representative
of the Dashnaksutyun Party at the “National Congress - An Integrated Armenia”
held in Tbilisi in February 1915 is interesting for that reason: “As known,
the Russian Government, in order to equip the Turkish Armenians with arms and
organize them to mount an uprising during the war, provided them 242,900
Rubles for the initial expenses. Our volunteer troops have to break the
defense line of the Turkish army to unite with the insurgents and to create
mayhem in and at the back of the front and thus to ensure the progress of
Russian armies and take control of the Turkish Armenia.”4
The Dashnak archives are packed with documents acknowledging that the
Armenians instigated riots in and at the back of the front and fought as the
striking force of the Russian armies. “Turkish state officials and
power-holders should know that neither Turks nor the Turkish State mean
anything to Armenians now. They have to figure out different means to
maintain their existence.” reports Orizon/Volume 196, a newspaper published
by Dashnaksutyun in 1912.
While Orizon, volume 243, dated October 31st, 1914 called the Armenians to
actively engage in war, it vowed that the victory of Tsarist Russia will mean
a victory to the Armenians as well.6 Let’s look into what another Dashnak
publication, Ayrenik dated September 24th, 1915 had to say about Nikolay
Nikolayevic, the Governor of Caucasia in the Tsarist Russia, who was freshly
appointed to Tbilisi: “Yesterday his majesty, the mighty prince Nikolay
Nikolayevic, the representative of the Tsar in Caucasia, honoured Tbilisi. We
profoundly believe that the mighty prince, with his absolute willpower and
determination, shall eradicate the Turkish government forever. With this
desire in our hearts, we salute the beloved Commander of the Russian Army in
the Caucasus and bid him a warm welcome.”7
At the feast that was organized after the parade of the volunteer troops
under the command of Vardab in Echmiadzin on April 15, 1915 where senior
Russian officers also participated, the first glass was raised to glorious
Russia and its gallant army. After the Armenian Catholico held the ceremonious
praying, he expressed the gratitude of the Armenians to the Russian armies
and pledged full support to Russia in the challenge of liberating the
Armenian lands from the dominion of outsiders.8
Likewise, in his telegrams celebrating Vorontsov-Dashkov, the Governor of
Caucasia of the Tsarist Russia and P.I. Oganovski, Commander of the 4th
Caucasian Armies on the occasion of occupation of Van, Armenian Catholico V.
Gevorg remarks that he would pray for further victories of the Russian
In his memoirs published in Ayrenik, volume 5, in 1933, A. Hatisyan, one of
the foremost leaders of Dashnaks said “As the Russian army apparently gets
closer to defeat every day, our hopes which completely relied on Russia
evaporate” and thus declared which side it chose to take in World War I.10
Ovanes Kacaznuni11, the first Prime Minister of the Dashnak Government and
the founder of the Dashnak Party, thoroughly mulls over this process and
while making a harsh self-criticism of recent history, he admits in the
report the foreign affairs bureau of his party submitted to the assembly held
in Bucharest in 1923 that they unconditionally relied on Russia.
Noting that Russian Armenians, including Dashnaksutyun, held great
expectations then, Kacaznuni underlines that they doubtlessly believed in the
eventual absolute victory of the Allies [Britain, France] at the end of the
war and thus the liberation of Turkish Armenians after Turkey’s
long-wished-for downfall: “We unreservedly relied on Russia. We were, irrationally,
sure that the Tsarist government would grant us an autonomous Armenia
composing of freed Armenian provinces in Turkey and the Armenia in
Transcaucasia in return for our efforts and assistance.
We were reckless. We forced others to fulfill our ambitions; we valued
baseless promises and unqualified people way too much. The trance that
captured us led us into ignoring the reality and trapped us in a world of
Kacaznuni believes that the Armenians embellished themselves too much and admits
that they exaggerated the power of the Armenian people, their political and
military capacities and Russian support.
No doubt that the Armenian communists are among those who most closely
witnessed the connection between Dashnaksutyun and Tsarist Russia. In his
article published in Bolshevik Zakavkazya magazine, the monthly periodical of
the Transcaucasian Regional Committee of the Absolute Unity Communist Party,
in 1928 under the title of “Relating to the Armenian National Process”,
A.B.Karinyan who assumed key tasks both at the party and state organs in the
Soviet Armenia and who worked for long years in Armenia’s Soviet Socialist
Republics Academy elucidates the links between the Dashnaks and the Tsarist
“The Tsarist diplomacy did not need to conceal the fact at the eve of the war
that Russia intended to lure Turkish Armenians to Russia’s side and
considered it was high time and also very practical to engage the Armenians
in the forthcoming military operations at the Caucasian-Turkish front. T he
Russian liberal press, similarly, reserved pages to narrate the pitiful
situation of Turkish Armenians and began to repeatedly remind Russia’s
historical mission to protect the Christian peoples of the Near East.”
The tendencies of the Russian bourgeois and the Tsarist government were
accurately reflected in the Orange Book (A Compilation of Diplomatic
Documents. Reforms in Armenia. November 26th 1912 – May 10th, 1914,
Petersburg, 1015) published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the war.
The correspondences of the Russian ambassadors abroad and the reports
prepared by the consuls and the officials of the consulates clearly indicated
the undeniable interest of the Tsarist Russia in the destiny of the Armenian
issue. (…) Any pressure upon Turkey or restrictions upon the Ottoman State
meant further fortification of Tsarist Russia in the Near East and the
advance of Russian armies towards the inlands of Turkey.
Proclaiming itself as the protector of the Armenians, Russia tried to employ
the churches as its representation and the Armenian revolutionist parties
(such as Dashnaksutyun, Hinchak, etc.) as its servants. As also mentioned in
the Orange Book, the Echmiadzin Catholico and the Istanbul Patriarchy were in
close contact with the Tsarist diplomacy.14
Karinyan, while providing documentary evidence displaying the correspondences
and meetings held between the Armenian Catholico, Istanbul Patriarchy,
Dashnaksutyun officials and Tsarist government, notes that Dashnaksutyun
aimed to raise again the issues of re-structuring the east of Turkey with the
help of church representatives by triggering riots in rural areas, Russia’s
intervention and the Turkish Armenians’ right to self-determination. Thus
explaining that the Armenian movement fell completely under the direction of
the Tsarist government, Karinyan describes how Dashnaks disseminated
hostility towards Turks:
“The constant propagandas of the national press and the powerful organization
of Dashnaks, incited by the provocations of the diplomats of the Tsarist
Russia, further stimulated the chauvinist tendencies of the Armenians.
Encouraged by Caucasian Governor Vorontsov-Doskov’s declarations, Dashnaks
were completely convinced that the war emerged in the west would jump to Near
East front and inevitably result in the liberation of Turkish Armenians. The
Dashnak press started to fill the newspapers with Turco-phobic articles and
columns which warmed up the public opinion to the idea of looming war long
before the war was waged at the Caucasus front. The Russian government held
the absolute control. The spies of the Tsarist government organized Dashnak
Quoting in his article the full letter dated August 5th, 1914 written to
Caucasian Governor Vorontsov-Doskov by Armenian Catholico V. Gevork, Karinyan
makes the following comment:
“As clearly seen, Echmiadzin Catholico openly expresses himself as the
supporter of the war in his letter where he reflected not only his spiritual
willpower but also the ideas of the group governing the Armenian people. We
know very well from other letters of the Catholico published in that time
that Pagos Nubar Pasha, the well-known cotton manufacturer, owner of vast
lands and the counterpart of the Catholico in the west, also concentrated on
firing up the Armenian issue. The Catholico, Nubar Pasha and Dashnaks were
not only the puppets of the diplomats of greater states but also the
representatives of capitalist diplomats as well. (…) They fulfilled the tasks
and implemented the plans of only Western and Russian imperialist powers.”16
In his book named “Armenia, International Diplomacy and USSR” published in
1929, Armenian Soviet historian Boryan mentions similar points with reference
to the essence of the Armenian issue:
“Following the Berlin Conference, the Armenian issue turned into an
instrument of pressure against Turkey imposed by the Allies through
diplomatic ways. The British and Russian diplomacy (1880, 1895-1896) followed
by the Russian and German diplomacies (1913-1914) manipulated the Armenian
issue as an instrument for the imperialist policies pursued in the East.”17
Boryan who is declared as a “traitor” by today’s Armenian nationalists states
that Dashnaks blindly relied on the imperialist states and adds: “The
movement of the Armenian masses under the leadership of Armenian
representatives has always been dictated by the diplomats of greater states.
These representatives have permanently been instruments of the great
Boryan notes that Dashnaksutyun fully internalized the main guidelines of
Nikolay II and imperialist Britain and France while particularly underlining
the Dashnaks’ mission within Tsarist armies as the battering-ram.” Boryan
establishes that Dashnaksutyun raised awareness among Armenian masses
encouraging them to physically and financially support the Russian army and
to actively get involved in the forces to get rid of the Turks; he also notes
that the Armenian volunteer troops, within this scope, fought within the
Tsarist army against Turks for the “salvation” of Armenia. Then, the Tsar’s
war principles had turned into the principles of the Dashnaksutyun Party.
Dashnaks propagated that they adhered to the “civilized European nations” to
stand against “vandal” Germans and “undisciplined” Turks. Promises were made.
The Armenians were not by themselves any more in their struggle for
“freedom”.19 Boryan concludes that Dashnaks served neither on behalf of nor
for the Armenians and that they acted as the spies of the Tsarist Russia.20
Soviet Armenian historian A.A. Lalayan unquestionably reveals the connection
between Dashnaks, Tsarist Russia/the Allies and World War I: “Long before the
war started, the Dashnaksutyun Party was haunted by the delusion of occupying
some parts of the Turkish territory with the ambition to create a market for
the huge Armenian trade and industry bourgeois living in Transcaucasia and
abroad and of making the fantasy of greater Armenian kingdom stretching
between the two seas. In the opinion of Dashnak bandits, the imperialist war
had to serve as an instrument that would ensure to bring a solution to the
Armenian question and to occupy the identified territories (…)”
“The reactionary Dashnak party fooled the proletarian masses, as always,
particularly during wartime. By disguising the imperialist nature of the
1914-1918 war and the real goals behind it, the Dashnak Party used mottos
such as “freedom for our brothers in Turkey” (…). Making use of every single
means, they ignited a national clash calling Armenians to eradicate the
Afterwards Lalayan reminds that the imperialists promised “Greater Armenia”
to the grand bourgeois and their party Dashnaksutyun in return for certain
services. “The Allies exploited the Armenians for the following two goals:
Firstly: The Allies promised the Turkish Armenians freedom and even autonomy
and thus intended to involve them (Turkish Armenians who revolted and
established so-called volunteer troops) in the war against the Turkish
administration in Turkey.
Secondly: They aimed to employ the Russian Armenians who were tempted by the
promised seven provinces and Cilicia, in repression brigades and pioneer
troops within the Tsarist army at Turkey front and for intelligence purposes.
This was the plan formulated by Russia and its allies on the brink of the
Citing the correspondences of the Tsarist government in this context, Lalayan
points out to the big campaign launched by Dashnaksutyun calling upon to get
involved in the war on Russia’s side under the ostensible goal of “salvation
of the fellow Armenians.” He remarks that the Tsarist government manipulated
the Armenians to get control of the straits and descend to the Mediterranean
by fixing a base in Eastern Anatolia of Turkey. The Armenian historian Lalayan
refers to the letters of Tsarist Minister Lobanov-Rostovski and discloses
Tsarist Russia’s project of “Armenia without Armenians”.
He verifies with documents the ultimate objective of occupying Eastern
Anatolia and settling Kazaks in these regions at the expense of physical
extermination of the Armenians.
Lalayan confirms with documentary evidence of various communication made by
the Tsarist government in order to manipulate the Armenians and even the
Kurds against Turkey and notes that the Tsarist Russia’s Ministry of Foreign
Affairs prioritizes the following three goals:
“1. The principal necessity of a revolt by the Turkish Armenians in line with
the interests of the Tsarist government
2. Alluring the Armenians and thus ensuring their trust in the Tsar
3. By providing them weapons, keeping Armenians (and even Kurds)
ready-to-blow in order to employ them in the war against Turkey (…)
It is clear that the Dashnaksutyun Party, by conditioning the salvation of
Turkish Armenians on Tsarist Russia’s support through military means, solely
spied for Russia.23”
Asot Ionnisyan24, First Secretary of the Armenian Communist Party says in the
booklet named “Dashnaksutyun and the War” he authored in 1924 that Dashnaks
believed World War I would engage the imperialists in the “Armenian Issue”
and thus the problem would be resolved. Yet the imperialist war brought
nothing but pure pain and misery to all peoples, principally the Armenians.25
V. Parsamyan displays in his booklet named “Echmiadzin and Dashnaksutyun”26
which was published in 1931 that the nationalist-adventurous policies of
Dashnaks were supported by the Armenian Church led by Catholicos. Echmiadzin
was actively involved in establishing volunteer troops during World War I and
helped Dashnaks all the time in fulfilling their adventurous goals.
Dashnaks as an instrument of Western imperialism
Following the collapse of the Tsarist Russia, the Dashnaks stuck to the
instructions of Western imperialist powers and served to the interests of
states such as Britain, France and USA in the region. Kacaznuni, the Prime
Minister of the Dashnak Government, held a meeting with General F. Wocker,
the commander of the British Occupying Forces, on February 7th, 1919 to
express his absolute certainty that their situation would improve once the
Allies gained victory and advanced to Caucasia. The transcription of the
mentioned meeting is kept in the archives of the Armenian Ministry of
In his report he submitted to the party congress in 1923, Kacaznuni narrates
the incidents that emerged after the absolute defeat of the Central Powers of
World War I: “By the end of the month (November) the British armies, I mean
the armies of our allies, deployed in Batumi. Our hopes sprang up again. Our
situation in Transcaucasia would radically improve. And of course the
victory-holder that would replace the German armies in Tbilisi would be our
ally. We were fighting side by side, anyhow. We definitely had to pick some
privileges from our alliance with Britain. This had to be true because the
Georgians befriended with Germans while the Azeris openly sided with Turkey.
But we were wrong again. The British granted us no privileges. It was as if
they never knew or had completely forgotten that we were allies.”28 The first
Dashnak Prime Minister Kacaznuni makes an assessment of the diplomatic
activities of the Dashnak Party in his report and referring to the Paris
Conference held in 1919 autumn, he underlines that the “Greater Armenia”
project they claimed was an imperialist wish.
Kacaznuni remarks that the ridiculous project of an “Armenia stretching
between the two seas” did not originate from the Dashnak Party but was
invented by the Armenian Diaspora under the pressure from Western countries.
In Kacaznuni’s words, after the Armenians were told that America would not
approve of a smaller Armenia under its mandate and therefore they would have
to forget about the mandate unless the project of “Greater Armenia” came
true, this imperialist demand was taxed on Armenia.
Complaining that they were not able to use their willpower again even in an
issue as grave as this which required responsibility, Kacaznuni states that
their exaggerated and aimless demands, naturally, resulted in painful
frustration. To accurately depict the prevailing feelings of that particular
time, Kacaznuni reminds the instances when the Armenians belittled and
frowned on Sevres Treaty and even US President Wilson’s map of Armenia.29
The following line from the letter written by Dashnak representative
Agaronyan on July 31st 1919 to Dashnak Minister Hatisyan is significant in
showing how much the Dashnaks counted upon the imperialism as a means to
forever change their destiny: “The political destiny of the peoples indeed
depends on the Paris Peace Conference, not on our ambitions and decisions.”30
Another document kept in the Armenian State Archive narrates how the
Armenians in Adana had been armed by General Diffe, the commander of the
French occupying powers, under the name “revenge troops” and fought with the
French uniform on.31
Obedience to the British and French imperialism entailed to rely on the Greek
occupation as well. The telegram sent by Dashnak Minister of Foreign Affairs
to the party representative in Tbilisi is a clear evidence of that: “The
current state at the front is grave. It is absolutely necessary to
immediately inform Luck and Corbeille32 to ensure that they notify their
governments on the advance of Turkish troops and that all mandatory
precautions are taken. (…) And tell the Greek representative to telegram his
government to report the current situation and to ask whether an attack by
the Greek troops to weaken the Turks’ move would be possible.”33
The Dashnak representatives conclude another letter they sent to the Greek government
as “God bless the king of Greece and the victorious Greek army.”34 A
different letter sent to Soviet Armenia by Gurgen Tahmazian, the official in
charge of Paris section of Hinchak Party reveals the true face of the
European diplomacy: “We should not be expecting anything from Europe which
continuously violates our interests. Today Europe exploits us as
unprecedentedly as ever to achieve its oil and mine policies. We have to
establish friendly relations with the Turks. All peoples of Asia share the
same interest. They must unite to stand against the Europe’s capitalism.”35
A.F. Myasnikyan36 who was one of the leading figures of the state and the
party of both the Soviet Union and the Soviet Armenia evaluates the Dashnak
foreign policy: “The Armenian bourgeois and their party Dashnaksutyun kept on
repeating that Armenia’s fate definitely relied on Europe and the dominating
bourgeois of great states. Meanwhile, Armenia had always been a dispensable
toy for the European capital.”37
In another article written on January 25th 1922 by Myasnikyan, he underlines
certain points: “The Armenians were accustomed to heavily rest their destiny
on the European diplomacy; they believed their only salvation could be
ensured by the political knacks of European countries. Therefore, they
frequently changed the inclinations of Armenia. They sometimes drifted
towards Britain, sometimes towards France or the USA. They inclined towards
whoever sympathized with Armenian Christian brotherhood or their whines.
The dismissal of the European diplomacy (during Soviet Armenia era) resulted
in the halt of battles against the Muslim world and Turkey.38
In his book titled “Political Armenian Parties Abroad” Myasnikyan mentions
how Dashnaks acted in full accordance with the interests of British
imperialism on the issue of Mousul.39
While pointing out to the volunteer troops established by the Dashnaks to
fight at Gallipoli Front, Soviet Armenian state official Karinyan defines the
mission conducted by the Dashnaks on behalf of the West as follows: “Dashnak
Armenia accomplished a certain mission in Near East. By constantly posing a
threat at the Caucasian Front, they complicated things for Turkey.”40
Karinyan adds that particularly the British exploited Dashnaks following the collapse
of Tsarist regime in order to get a bigger share of Turkey: “By abusing the
discontentment of the minorities in Turkey, Britain formed special volunteer
troops from Armenians, Syrians and Greeks. This policy was so profitable for
Britain that it could attract combatant civilians and instant soldiers from
the local Christian community.
The Republic of Armenia was among the most important factors during the
warfare. By making baseless promises to Armenians which it never intended to
keep, the British government did not suffer a single loss but instead,
managed to keep Turkey under constant pressure by enjoying the entitlement to
Armenian services against Turkey and also Soviet Russia and carried out its
own policies in Transcaucasia by the support of Dashnaks.41
Karinyan indicates that Dashnaks established volunteer units around Adana,
also named as Cilicia, which fought against the Turks in France’s legionary
troops under the command of General Allenbi and underlines that they
particularly brought in volunteer soldiers among Armenians living in
Armenian Communist Party Regional Secretary for Delican wrote in his report
dated February 20th, 1921 that Dashnaks had been exploited by the Allies as a
weapon against Turkey and Azerbaijan.43
S.Hanoyana who also wrote the foreword of the Russian version of Kacaznuni’s
book alludes to Armenians who fled from Anatolia to French colony Syria in
his booklet named “The Dashnaksutyun Tragicomedy” published in 1930. Hanoyana
reveals in his study that Dashnaks were loyal servants of imperialist powers
that were in pursuit of colonizing policies. In his words, Dashnaks, during
their services for the imperialist powers, naturally hated peoples who fought
against the colonizing attempts.44
The historian L.A. Bayramyan mentions that British imperialism considered the
east of Turkey as a military battle field to fight against Russia and as a
catalyst to facilitate the implementation of its plans for Asia Minor and the
East. Bayramyan records that the British diplomacy abused the Armenian issue
to share the Ottoman lands on the one hand and to substitute the Russian
dominion by weakening the Russian influence on Istanbul through triggering
Turkey and Russia to fight against each other on the other hand.
To accomplish its goals, Britain manipulated Dashnaks. “Dashnaks strongly
adhered to the orders by the British government and turned into a loyal
weapon in the hands of the British diplomacy.”45
Historian G.M.Arutyunyan also refers to Dashnaks as the “disgusting
legionaries” of the British-American imperialism:
“It has been the regrettable destiny of Armenian people to be the subject of
the most embarrassing bargains between capitalist nations since 1878 until
the Soviet-supporters came into power in Armenia. (…) The British capitalism
starting from the process initiated by Berlin Conference intensified the
imperialist pressure on the Armenian people. For that, the British diplomacy
carefully masked its activities maintained via its consulates and intelligence
networks by covering them up by the Berlin Treaty and Cyprus Convention and
exploiting the Armenian nationalists’ tendency towards Western Europe. The
Protestant missioners became Britain’s ideological accomplices serving as the
spies of the British diplomacy.”46
S.A.Vartanyan, faculty member at Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences Institute
of History, notes that the Dashnak government always needed a supporting
power to rely on. Rerouting themselves towards Vrangel following the
execution of Kolcak and Denikin by the Red Army, the Dashnaks ran out of
hopes of resisting the anti-revolutionary forces in Russia after the
extermination of Vrangel armies as well. In Vartanyan’s opinion, the new
masters of Dashnaks now became American, British and French imperialist
The Dashnaks undertook the same role in World War II as they did in World War
I. Lalayan reveals that Dashnaks, standing by Hitler’s Germany, supported the
invasive policies of German and Japanese fascists this time. Lalayan believes
there is an interconnection between their support and Dashnaks’ fantasy of
“Greater Armenia”. He underlines that they are guided by the dream of
founding “independent” Armenia subsequent to the dissolution of the USSR,
expanding their lands to the disadvantage of Azerbaijan and Georgia by
occupying Nakhchivan, Karabakh, Ahalkialak and Borcali and establishing the
“United Armenia” after occupying Turkish lands starting from Eastern Anatolia
to the coasts of Mediterranean even though the said territory was not
Armenian-populated at all.48 Lalayan illustrates his point of view with
samples from Dashnak publications and narrates how they played war tam-tams
triggering Armenians to engage in war with Hitler.
During following years, Vartanyan points out to the espionage activities of
the Dashnaksutyun Party and their continuing treachery and how they sided
with the Germans during World War II.49
S.M.Amirhanyan who had assumed significant tasks in Armenia’s Communist Party
also underlined that Dro, being among Dashnaks’ prominent figures, also
served in fascist German armies.50
Dashnaks as the perpetrators of the extermination of the Muslims
The Dashnak documents are full of accounts of massacres committed by Dashnaks
who were under the command of Tsarist Russia and Western imperialism. The
instruction with the number of 34 and sent on June 22nd, 1915 by Nikolayev,
the Russian commander of Van troops, to Aram who became the governor of the
province after the occupation of Van ordered the Armenians to avoid attacking
the Kurdish population in the region and looting their villages. In his
protesting reply, Aram informed that the orders would not be fulfilled and
the perpetrators would be punished as severely as possible to set an example
for the Muslims of still unoccupied regions.51
The urgent report sent by Lieutenant Colonel Melik-Sahnazarov, the commander
of Dashnak Bas-Gyarninsk unit, to a different Armenian division on November
7th, 1918 notified that all villages of the region had been bombarded while
30 Turkish villages had been captured and asked for operation permission in
order to bombard the remaining 29 villages.
The report of the Dashnak Lieutenant Colonel narrating these incidents
himself is kept in Armenian State Archive. Particularly horrifying is the
Dashnak report which had first been published by Armenian Soviet historian
A.A.Lalayan in Revolyutsionniy Vostok journal (volume 2-3) in 1936 and then
in Istoriceskie Zapiski journal (volume 2) of USSR Academy of Sciences
Institute of History in 1938. The Dashnak officer proudly recites the
following acts of his in the report he prepared in Beyazit-Vaaram region in
1920: “I completely exterminated the Turkish population in Basar-Gecar.
Sometimes you are worried that the bullets are wasted for nothing; therefore,
I did not make any distinction and killed them all. The most effective method
to wipe these dogs off from the earth is to stuff the survivors of the
conflicts in wells and crush them with rocks thrown over their heads so that
they would not exist any more. This is exactly what I did. I assembled all
the men, women and children and I finished off their low lives by stoning
them with rocks in the wells that I squeezed them in.”53
The following verse from the song chanted altogether by the volunteer troops
who slaughtered the Turkish and Kurdish people is significant in displaying
the mood of those troops: “Come on, destroy, loot and kill-Whistle and walk
freely over the hill.”54
Dashnak leader Kacaznuni, while making a thorough evaluation of the past,
refers to the individual terror acts they committed in Russia and admits that
the reason behind these terrorist acts was to focus the attention of the West
on the Armenian issue. Kacaznunu describes Dashnak Party as an organization
Kacaznuni also confesses that they were also engaged in bloody clashes with
the Muslims living in Azerbaijan and Armenia during Dashnak government: “We
were not officially engaged in war with Azerbaijan but in effect we clashed
in Karabakh and to some extent, in Kazah. After that we fought hard with the
Muslims respectively in Arbab, Zod, Zangribazar, Vedi-Bazar, Sarur-Nahcivan,
Zangezur, etc. within the country. Azerbaijan’s negative attitude towards us
should be particularly noted. Similarly, the defiance of the local Muslim
people against the state encouraged by the presence of Turkey and Azerbaijan
should also be carefully noted.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that we failed to take necessary
precautions to improve our acute conditions either within the country or
abroad. We failed to take preventive measures to secure the order in
Muslim-populated areas. We had no other alternatives other than resorting to
weapons; we sent out armies. We massacred and as a natural consequence of
this failure, we lost our credibility as the party in power. We could not
succeed to ensure our dominion at critical points like Vedi-Bazar, Nahcivan
even with our weapons, we dissolved and eventually retreated.56
These facts put forward by Dashnak documents and the Prime Minister are also
clearly verified by the officials of Soviet Armenia. Dashnaks truly massacred
the Muslim people at various regions of Anatolia and Transcaucasia during and
after World War I.
While describing Dashnaks in terms of their relations with the Turks,
A.F.Myasnikyan, one of the senior officials of the state, a party leader and
military official, uses the phrase “people who put the Turks to sword in
Turkey and who cleansed57 Caucasia from Turks.” Myasnikyan also notes that
Ruben and Aram, two leading Dashnak personages, were granted the general
title thanks to their barbarity towards the Muslims in Turkey.58
The article about Dashnak commander Dro that was published in Nor Nosk, a
publication by Armenian internationalists who later joined Armenian Communist
Party informs that Dro’s rank was raised to general for his services in
cleansing Armenia off from the Turks.59 Those in charge of the massacres of
the Turks had thus been rewarded.
A witness of the mentioned era, Karinyan says the Dashnaks were dazzled by
the series of victories gained by the Russian army, particularly the
occupation of Van and Erzurum and adds:
“They started to openly demonstrate their true aims. They did not feel the
need to cover up their hatred towards non-Christians living in Turkey. Souls
enlivened by the victory of the Russian victory now fully concentrated on
increasing their influence on the occupied lands. And to achieve this, they
resorted to physical extermination of non-Armenian population.”60
Based on this fact, Karinyan spotlights another reality: “The most serious
obstacle in the realization of this ideal (establishing an independent
Armenia in Eastern Anatolia) was the Armenians’ minority status in the six
provinces on the east of Turkey. They formed an insignificant majority only
in a few regions. The other groups, particularly the Muslims constituted the
majority. Therefore, the Dashnaksutyun Party took the precautions mentioned
above against these groups.
The reports and the then instructions of the Russian army clearly show that
the Armenian volunteer troops tried to eradicate the non-Christians as
massively as possible. They also systematically removed the Kurdish and
Turkish population and thus fulfilled the Dashnaksutyun Party’s plan which required
the cleansing of the identified regions off from Muslim elements and to draw
the borders of the cleared regions. Despite the protests of the Russian
troops, this program was tenaciously implemented. The program was devastating
for the Armenians as well. They shared the same interests with their Turkish
and Kurdish neighbors who had been living and working together for centuries
under the same conditions. This was so obvious that even the diplomats of the
Tsarist Russia expressed it more than once. The Dashnaksutyun Party acted in
contrary. With their policies, they exacerbated the situation of the
Armenians in Turkey.61 Lalayan explicitly observes and illustrates the
connection between the volunteer troops and the massacres towards the
Proving with witnesses to that period and documents that the volunteer
Armenian troops were built by the order of the Tsarist government, Lalayan
particularly notes: “Following the meetings, Dashnaksutyun, through its
completely biased and sided press, launched an extensive campaign to support
the volunteer movement and initiated efforts with the help of the National
Bureau to directly organize these troops. It is important to note here that
the number of the volunteers in the Armenian troops was decided to be 1600 at
the negotiations held then. However, the National Bureau increased this
number to 10.000 in order to ensure quicker occupation of the eastern
provinces of Turkey. Gathering the chiefs of volunteer troops, the Bureau
assigned them to ruthlessly wipe out the Turkish population and delegated
these chiefs with the command of the troops.”62
Stressing that the rapid formation of the volunteer troops was carried out
not only in Transcaucasia but also in Turkey, despite the protests of Turkish
Armenians, Lalayan explicates the role of the Hnchaks at this point. He, as
an instance, proves with documentary evidence that Mavi Hahudyan, Mikael
Yaovrdyan and Gasparyan, the Hnchak officials representing Zeytin region,
promised to forward to Caucasian army 15.000 volunteers comprising of Cilicia
Armenians. Lalayan draws attention to the accelerated Dashnak efforts in the
organization of volunteer troops during the administration of Nikolay
Nikolayevic, who was appointed as the Governor of Caucasia in 1915 and points
out to the nonstop massacre of Turkish women, children, elderly and disabled
people particularly at war zones.
Lalayan informs that especially the Turkish Armenians reacted against
building so-called “volunteer” troops and they launched campaigns in provinces
like Van and Erzurum against these Dashnak troops. The Turkish Armenians even
sent a delegation to Tbilisi as they were completely convinced that the
“volunteer” troops would not bring any good at all, says Lalayan and adds
that Dashnaks did not heed these warnings at all and that the Tsarist Russia
and the British-French imperialism drove Armenians over Turkey.63
Lalayan draws up the balance sheet of the “volunteer” troops and deduces:
“The First Volunteer Movement was a display of maximum courage by the Dashnak
troops under the command of their blood-thirsty chiefs (Andranik, Amazayep
and others) to exterminate the Turkish women, children, and the elderly and
sick people. The Turkish villages occupied by Dashnaks were destroyed,
completely stripped off from their once residents and full of horribly
mutilated victims. (…) As clearly seen, one of the terrible consequences of
the Dashnak movement was the extermination of tens of thousands of Turks.”64
Affirming that Dashnaks were the perpetrators of the Armenian-Turkish
slaughter committed in Karabakh, Baku and other provinces of Transcaucasia
between 1905 and 1906, Lalayan reminds that it was the Dashnaksutyun Party
again which inflamed national conflicts during when they were in power
between 1918 and 1920 and that they stuck to the policy of extermination of
the national minorities living in Armenia which resulted in the physical
eradication of hundreds of thousands of labourers:
“Throughout the dictatorship of Dashnaksutyun (1918-1920) the non-Armenian
constituents had completely been recorded as illegal. The Dashnaksutyun’s
ultimate aim was to annihilate the Azeri and Kurdish people living on
Armenian lands and thus to make the whole territory pure Armenian.
During their 2,5-year rule, Dashnaksutyun carried out a merciless armed
struggle, killing and looting the civil Azeri people, destroying and burning
the villages. Between 1918 and 1919, the Dashnak Government bombed Azeri and
Kurdish villages (including the Armenian villages) under the pretext of
fulfilling the instructions of the state. While in 1920, following the
suppression of the uprising of Armenian laborers and peasants in May,
Dashnaksutyun bombed the Azeri and Kurdish villages and massacred the
civilians acting with the motto of “Muslims are our enemies”.65 Inthe booklet
which was published by the Red Army on occasion of the 10th anniversary of
the hunter brigade of Soviet Armenia’s Red Army, T.Hacikoglyan narrates the
massacres orchestrated by the volunteer Dashnak troops against the Turkish
“It still aches to remember the wars against Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey
during the short term of the dishonest Dashnak republic, the extermination of
thousands of Turks by the bloody acts of Dashnaks and the brutality, looting
and slaughters witnessed in the villages of Zangezur, Sarure, Daralagoz,
Megri, Arbaba, Zangibazar, Buyuk Bedi all of which had been reduced to ashes.
(…)”66 While referring to the massacres of the Turks, Hacikoglyan presents an
evaluation of the volunteer troop system and remarks on the soldier prototype
created within this system: “The Dashnaks had a sick deeply-rooted behavioral
pattern of fawning, sycophancy, despotism, marauding, leeching and killing
innocent and vulnerable people.”67
The Azeri originated Armenian and a witness to the barbaric period described
above, Veys Veysow who worked as the steward in charge of the B.Mazra animal
farm in the Basar Gecar region narrates his experiences in the Armenian
Horrdayn Ayastan newspaper: “The Dashnaks drove us out of our villages in the
middle of winter under a fire of bullets. (…) The Turkish villages in our
region were completely destroyed. What remained behind were merely black
ashes. The Dashnaks knew no limits in savagery! They killed countless number
of people and an innumerable lot of people died because of them! I am the
only survivor in my once 8-membered family.
The mountains on which we stand now were covered with corpses. Then, every
living soul in this region was immensely fearful. We used to suffer in
dreadful suspense when the dark came fearing that the Dashnak murderers and
looters would appear any minute. When my neighbors and I returned to the
ruined village after the Soviet regime was brought in the country, we sadly
saw that there was only one survivor from each family.”68
Source: International Symposium on the Development of Turkish-Armenian
Relations and the Events of 1915 - Ankara, 2005
1 Msak, No. 271, Cited from 1914 by: Marents, “Litso Armyanskogo Smenohovstva”,
Bolshevik Zakavkazya, No: 3-4, 1928, p. 89
2 Armenian USSR Central State Historical Archive (TsGİA Arm. SSR) fond
vıpisok, cited from file 37, page 45-46 by Kr Nr Raranryan 7 Polojenie
“Zapadnıh Armyan, “Armyanski Vopros” i Mejdunarodnaya Diplomatiya V”
Posledney Çetverti XIX Veka i Naçale XX Veka, Yerevanski Gosudarstvennıy
Universitet, Yerevan 1972, p.87 and so forth.
3 Mejdunarodne Otnoşeniya V Epohu İmperializma (Dokumentı İz Arhiva
Vremenennogo Pravitelstva), seriya IH, t. VII, ç.II, Gosudarstvennoe
Sotsialno-Ekonomiçeskoe İzdatelsvo, Moskva-Leningrad, 1935, p 45,..
4 Please see B..A..B.oryaiv Armeniya, Mejdunarodnaya Diplomatiya İ USSR, c.
I, Gosudarstvennoe İzdatelstvo, Moskva-Leningrad 1929, p. 360.
5 Orizon, No. T96, cited from T912 by K.N.Karimyan, the mentioned text, p.81
6 Orizon, No. 243, October 31st 1914, cited by: A.M.Elçibekyan, Armeniya
Nakanune Velikogo Oktyabriya, İzdatelstvo AN Armyanskoy SSR, Yerevan, 1963,
7 Ayrenik, No. 2, September 24th 1915, cited by:: A.Lalayan,
“Kontrrevolyutsionnıy Daşnaksutyun İ İmperialistiçeskaya Voyna 1914-1918 gg”
Revolyutsionnıy Vosyok, No. 2-3, 1936, p. 91.
8 Ararat, No. 5, 1915, p. 288, cited by: A.O.Arutyunyan, Kavkazski Front
1914-1917 gg., İzdatelstvo “yastan”, Yerevan, 1971, p.305.
9 Ararat, No. 5, 1915, p. 415, cited by: a.o.Arutyunyan, the mentioned text,
10 Ayrenik, No. 5, 1933, cited by: A.A.Lalayan, “Kontrrevolyutsionnaya Rol
Partii Daşnasutyun”, İstoriçeskie Zapiski, No. 2, 1928, p.83.
11 Born in Ahiska region of Georgia in 1867, Kaçaznuni joined the Dashnak
organization while working as an architect in Baku following his education in
architecture. In 1917 he became a member in the Armenian National Council. He
worked as the Dashnak representative in Caucasian Parliament until 1918. He
served his term as the first Prime Minister of the “independent” Armenia
between July 1918 and August 1919. In 1920, he was arrested subsequent to the
Bolsheviks come into power in Armenia. He left his country at the anti-revolutionist
riot in 1921, returned after long years and worked as an architect until his
death in 1938.
12 O.Kaçaznuni, Daşnaksutyun Bolşe Neçego Delat, İzdatelstvo “Zakkniga”,
Tbilisi, 1927, p.13.
13 Artaşes Balasiyeviç Karinyan (Gabrielyan) was born in Baku on November
11th 1886. Being a member of Soviet Union Communist Union as of 1907,
Karinyan graduated in 1910 from Petersburg University and he was involved in
revolutionist activities in Baku immediately afterwards. He worked as the
Chair of Economic Committee after the Soviets came into power in Armenia; he
was the Head of Central Board of Execution between 1924 and 1928 and as the
Vice-Commissioner at Armenian SSR Educational Public Commissioner between
1929 and 1930. Died in 1982, Karinyan has many published works on policy,
economy and history.
14 A.Karinyan, “Harakteristike Armyanskih Nationalistiçeskih Teçeniy”,
Bolshevik Zakavkazya, No.9-10, 1928, p.53 and so forth.
15 The mentioned text. S. 55 and so forth.
16 The mentioned text. S. 56 and so forth.
17 B.A.Boryan, The mentioned text, p. 24.
18 B.A.Boryan, The mentioned text, p. 25. Please see pages 345, 347, 371for
further similar phrases.
19 The mentioned text. p. 347.
20 The mentioned text. p. 370.
21 A.Lalayan, “Konrrevolyutsionniy Daşnaksutyun İ İmperialistiçeskaya Voyna
1914-1918 gg.”, p. 79 and so forth.
22 The mentioned text, p. 81.
23 The mentioned text, p. 84.
24 Aşot Gareginoviç İoannisyan was born in Susa/Azerbaijan on June 5th, 1887.
Being one of the foremost historians of Armenian SSR Academy of Sciences,
İoannisyan joined the Communist Party in 1906. He was actively involved in
the revolutionary actions in Transcaucasia. He was a professor in Moscow’s
Lazarev Institute, Erivan University and USSR Institute of Nations. He worked
as the Armenian Educational Public Commissioner between 1920 and 1921; as the
First Secretary in Armenian Communist Party Central Committee (1922-27) and
as the vice-director at USSR Academy of Sciences Institute of History. He produced
various works on the history of Armenia.
25 Please see T.P.Agayan, Veliki Oktyabr İ Borba Trudyaşihsya Armenii Za
Pobedu Sovyetskoy Vlasti, İzdatelstvo AN Armyanskoy-SSR, Yerevan, 1962, p.29.
26 Please see the mentioned text, s. 32.
27 Please see Armenian SSR Ministry of Interior Central October Revolution
Archive (TsAOR MVD SSRA) cited from f.114, d. 23, y. 48 by: D.Yenukidze, Krah
İmperialistiçeskoy İnterventsii V Zakavkazye, Gospolizdat Gruzinskoy SSR,
Tbilisi, 1954, p. 188.
28 O. Kaçaznuni, the mentioned text, p. 43.
29 The mentioned text, p. 57.
30 Please see A.F.Myasnikyan, İzbrannıe Proizvedeniya, İzdatelstvo “Ayastan”,
Yerevan, 1965, p.435.
31 Armenian SSR State Archive (GİA Arm. SSR) cited from f. 200, d.132, y. 338
by: N.Z.Efendıyeva, Borba Turetskogo Narodna Protiv Frantsuzkih Okkupantov Na
Yuge Anatolii (1919-1921), İzdatelsvo AN Azerbaycanskoy SSR Baku, 1966,
32 The representatives of Entente Powers in Tbilisi.
33 D.S. Zavriyev, K.Noveyşey İstorii Severo-Vostiçnıh Vilayetov Turtsii,
Tbilisi, 1947, p.85.
34 Russian State Archive on Social Political History (RGASPİ) f.544, 1. 3, d.
79, y. 51.
35 A. Myasnikov, Armyanskie Politiçeskie Parti Za Rubejom, İzdatelstvo
“Sovyetski Kavkaz”, Tbilisi, 1925, p. 82.
36 Aleksandr Fedoroviç Myasnikov (real surname: Myasnikyan), Soviet senior
state official, party leader, teacher of literature.
37 A.F.Myasnikyan, İzbrannıe Proizvedeniya, p. 363.
38 The mentioned text, p.372. For further review of Myasnikyan’s report
including his evaluation of Dashnak policy submitted to Armenian SSR First
Congress, please see the mentioned text, p. 375 and so forth.
39 Please see A.Myasnikov, Armyanskie Politiçeskie Parti Za Rubejom, p.22 and
so forth., 39,52.
40 A.Karinyan, The mentioned text, p.60, 72.
41 The mentioned text, p74.
42 The mentioned text, p. 66.
43 RGASPİ f.64, I, d. 84, y. 66.
44 Please see T.p.Agayan, The mentioned text, p.31.
45 L.A.Bayramyan, İmperialistiçeskaya Politika Anglii Po Otnoşeniyu K
Zapadnoy Armenii ve Kontse XIX. Veka, Yerivanski Gosudarstvenmy Universitet
im. V.M.Molotova, Yerevan, 1954, p.15, 17, 19.
46 G.M.Arutyunyan, Reaktsionnaya Politika Angliyskoy Burjuazii V Armyanskom
Voprose V Seredine 90-h Godov XIX Veka, Moskovski Gosudarstvenmy Universitet
im. M.V.Lomonosova, Moskva, 1954, p.2,8, 14.
47 S.A.Vartanyan, Pobeda Sovyetskoy Vlasti V Armenii (1917-1920), Akademiya
Nauk Armyanskoy SSR İnstut İstorii, Yerevan, 1954, p.19.
48 A.Lalayan, the mentioned text, p.76.
49 S.A.Vartanyan, the mentioned text, p.55.
50 .M.Amirhanyan, İz İstorii Borbı Za Sovyetskuyu Vlast V Armenii, İzdatestvo
“Ayastan”, Yerevan, 1967, s.71
51 USSR October Revolution Central State Archive (TsGAOR SSRR) cited from
f.579,1. 1,d.1880, y.3-7 by: A.O.Arutyunyan, The mentioned text, p.369.
52 Armenian State Archive (Gosarhiv Armenii) cited from f. 67, d. 644, y.1-2
by: A. A. Lalayan, “Kontrrevolyutsionnaya Rol Partii Daşnaksutyun”, p. 99 and
53 The mentioned text, p. 101; A.Lalayan, “Kontrrevolyutsionnıy Daşnaksutyun
İ İmperialistiçeskaya Voyna 1914-1918 gg.”, p. 92 and so forth.
54 Please see T.Haçikoglyan, 10 Let Armyanskoy Divizii, İzdatelstvo Polit.
Uprav. KKA, Tiflis, 1930, p. 5.
55 O.Kaçaznuni, the mentioned text, p.67.
56 The mentioned text, p. 48.
57 Including a footnote here, Myansnikyan that the word “cleansing” was
turned into term by the Dashnaks and signified “exterminating the Turks”.
58 A.Myasnikov, Armyanskie Politiçeskie Parii Za Rubejom, p.73.
59 RGASPİf. 80, 1. 4, d. 83, y. 137.
60 A.Karinyan, the mentioned text, p. 65.
61 The mentioned text, p. 65 and so forth.
62 A.Lalayan, The mentioned text, p. 86 and so forth.
63 The mentioned text, p 88 and so forth.
64 The mentioned text., p. 92 and so forth.
65 A.A.Lalayan, “Kontrrevolyutsionnaya Rol Parti Daşnaksutyun” p. 99.
66 T.Haçikoglyan, the mentioned text, p.4.
67 The mentioned text, p 6.
68 Horrdayn Ayastan, cited from July 12th, 1936 by: A.A. Lalayan, the
mentioned text, p.K 6.