Zori Balayan (Armenian: Զորի Բալայան) born February 10, 1935 in Stepanakert is an Armenian novelist, journalist, sports doctor, traveler and sports expert. He was awarded the "Renowned master of the Arts" an Armenian official title.
Born in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh AO, Azerbaijan SSR. He graduated the Ryazan State Medical University in 1963. From 1971 to 1973 he traversed the Kamchatka and Chokotskaya tundras on dog-sleds, traveling as far as the North Sea. In his essay Hearth, published during the pre-perestroika era, he tried to demonstrate the Armenian identity of Nagorno-Karabakh and identified Nakhichevan as historically belonging to Armenia. He further regarded Turks (including Azerbaijan) as an enemy of both Russia and Armenia. Azeri historian Isa Gambar critizised Balayan's book in an article entitled Old Songs and New Legends. Renowned expert in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Thomas de Waal called Zori Balayan "chauvunistic intellectual warrior," whose book "Hearth" "might never have been allowed to spread".
In 1988 he and Armenian poet Silva Kaputikyan were received by Mikhail Gorbachev and discussed the absence of Armenian-language television programs and textbooks in Nagorno-Karabakh schools as well as other concerns of Karabakh's majority-Armenian population.
Balayan is a journalist for the weekly Russian-language publication Literaturnaya Gazeta.
Azerbaijani's cite a paragraph from a book, "Revival of Our Souls" while other websites say "Revival of Our Spirits", supposedly written by Zori Balayan where he admits to killing a Turkish child. Azerbaijani's go as far as to cite the pages, which the quote is on, the publisher company and publication city. The paragraph states:
"When I and Khachatur entered the house, our soldiers had nailed a 13-year-old Turkish child to the window. He was making much noise so Khachatur put mother's cut breast into his mouth. I skinned his chest and belly. Seven minutes later the child died. As I used to be a doctor I was humanist and didn't consider myself happy for what I had done to a 13-year-old Turkish child. But my soul was proud for taking 1 percent of vengeance of my nation.
Then Khachatur cut the body into pieces and threw it to a dog of same origin with Turks. I did the same to three Turkish children in the evening. I did my duty as an Armenian patriot. Khachatur had sweated much. But I saw struggle of revenge and great humanism in his and other soldiers' eyes. The next day we went to the church to clear our souls from what done previous day. But we were able to clear Khojali from slops of 30 thousand people."
Zori Balayan has come out denying having ever written such a book saying:
"Many people call me these days asking whether I have a book published in Vanadzor and titled ‘The Revival of Our Spirit’. The question is that for already two years people come across this dirty disinformation, this perfect nonsense, to put it mildly, which is said to be a sentence from my non-existing book. I want to say that authors of these false quotes do not understand that first of all they discredit their own people. I demand that those entitled to protect writers’ rights by investigating such cases to show the readers the book that was quoted. I am sure that the human rights are not a hollow sound but a necessary reality of our life and it has to be protected."
“In addition, the film repeatedly quotes quasi-book that no one has ever seen by Zori Balayan. And no one can see this book as it never existed. Zori Balayan has denied this fake for many times.”
“Even if one didn’t know that there was no such book by Zori Balayan, it should be quite obvious, from the language used in depicting the torture, that the quotation was wholly made up. What was shocking is that the quotation was repeated not by a Turkish ultra-nationalist, an Armenian hater, but from a person [Onur Caymaz] who sincerely denounces racism and discrimination.”
Onur Caymaz, a progressive, democratic-minded Turkish writer:
A couple of days after the publication of his article in the Turkish Radikal newspaper where Caymaz was quoting the alleged “quote” by Zori Balayan, Caymaz wrote in his personal blog that he was wrong, that it was evident that Zori Balayan had not written such a book, and that the quotation was false. He said he had heard about the book from an Azeri physician in a panel discussion on TV.
The authorities in Azerbaijan allege that Balayan was involved in a terrorist bombing of the metro in Baku in 1994. General secretary of Interpol, in a letter to Balayan, stated that the agency considered the complaint politically motivated and that it had removed Balayan from its wanted list as a result.
- My Kilikia, (Russian), Yerevan, 2004
- Zim Kilikia (Զիմ Կիլիկիա (Armenian)), Yerevan 2005
- Kilikia (Կիլիկիա (Armenian)), vols. 2 and 3, Yerevan 2006 - 2007
- Chasm, (Armenian and Russian), Yerevan, 2004
- Heaven and Hell (Armenian, Russian and English) Los Angeles, 1997, Yerevan, 1995
- Hearth, Moscow 1984, Yerevan 1981
- Between Two Fires, Yerevan 1979
- Blue roads, Yerevan 1975
- Required Man's opinion,(Russian) Yerevan 1974
- Balayan's page at the Armenian Writer's Union official site
- Thomas de Waal. Black garden.New-York: NYU press, 2003, pp. 142-143
- A Test of Change Explodes in Soviet, By F. Barringer with B. Keller, THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 11, 1988
- "Писатели требуют от правительства решительных действий". Izvestia. 5 October 1993. Retrieved 21 August 2011. (Russian)
- Tamar Minasian, "SECURITY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS: AZERI DISINFORMATION. AZERBAIJANI MASOCHISM? ", "AZG", June 06, 2006
- Armenia’s Foreign Ministry shows up Azerbaijani disinformation. December 25, 2009
- Ayse Gunaysu, "Gunaysu: The Reign of Lies in Turkey ", "The Armenian Weekly", May 11, 2012..
- "Zori Balayan Kimdir? ", "Onur Caymaz Personal blog"
- Tony Halpin, "Ship Shape: Cilicia completes second leg of its historic journey around Europe ", ArmeniaNow, Issue #33 (155), September 02, 2005..