Armenian National Congress (1917)

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The Armenian National Congress (or Congress of Eastern Armenians[1][2]) was a political congress established to provide representation for Armenians of the Russian Empire.[3][4][5] It first met at the Artistic Theatre in Tbilisi on 11 October [O.S. 28 September] 1917.[6][7][8][9][10] Its formation was prompted by the opportunities the Russian Revolution provided for Armenians (and other minority nationalities in Russia) towards the end of World War I.[4]


The congress consisted of 204[1] members from all over the Russian Empire, with only Armenian Bolsheviks refusing to take part for ideological reasons.[11] It was dominated by the Dashnak Party.[6][10][12][13][14]

The composition along party lines was as follows:[15]

  • Dashnaks: 113 representatives
  • Populists: 43 representatives
  • Socialist Revolutionaries: 23 representatives
  • Social Democrats: 9 representatives
  • No party: 7 representatives
  • There was also a small number of representatives from Western Armenia, including Andranik Ozanian.


Since a real government did not exist in the Yerevan province of Armenia, the Armenian National Congress served as a government for the province.[16] According to Richard Hovannisian, the Congress was "the most comprehensive Eastern Armenian gathering since the Russian conquest of Transcaucasia".[6] The immediate objectives of the Congress were to devise a strategy for the war effort, provide relief for refugees, and provide local autonomy for various Armenian-run institutions throughout the Caucasus.[4] The Congress also called for the militarization of the Caucasus front.[17][18] The Armenian National Congress supported the policies of the Russian Provisional Government concerning the war, and also suggested redrawing provincial boundaries along ethnic lines.[19] The Congress was instrumental in the secularization of Armenian schools and the nationalization of secondary Armenian schools.[17]

The Congress met for 18 sessions before it dissolved on 26 October [O.S. 13 October] 1917.[20]


Before dissolving, the Congress created a National Assembly of 35 members to act as a legislative body for Armenians in the Russian Empire.[21] It also created an executive body of 15 members called the Armenian National Council, headed by Avetis Aharonian.[5][22][23] This council eventually declared independence for the First Republic of Armenia led by Aram Manukian in May 1918.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ a b Ter-Minassian p.30
  2. ^ Stephen F. Jones Socialism in Georgian Colors: the European Road to Social Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2005), page 259
  3. ^ a b Adalian p.76
  4. ^ a b c d Herzig, edited by Edmund; Kurkchiyan, Marina (2005). The Armenians : past and present in the making of national identity (1. publ. ed.). London [u.a.]: RoutledgeCurzon. p. 95. ISBN 9780700706396. Retrieved 9 February 2013. {{cite book}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ a b c Derogy, Jacques (1990). Resistance and Revenge: The Armenian Assassination of the Turkish Leaders Responsible for the 1915 Massacres and Deportations. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412833165.
  6. ^ a b c Hovannisian Armenia on the Road to Independence, p.87
  7. ^ Tarihten güncelliğe Ermeni sorunu : tahliller, belgeler, kararlar (in Turkish) (1. basım. ed.). Beyoğlu, İstanbul: Kaynak Yayınları. 2001. ISBN 9789753433266. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 1917'nin Ekimi'nde Taşnakların yönetimi altında Ermeni Milli Kongresi yapılmıştı.
  8. ^ Ter-Minassian p.30 for Old Style date
  9. ^ (Большая советская энциклопедия) Bolshaia Sovetskaia Entsiklopediia (in Russian) (Volume 3 ed.). 1926. p. 437. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  10. ^ a b Douglas, John M. (1992). The Armenians. New York, NY: J.J. Winthrop Corp. p. 358. ISBN 9780963138101. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  11. ^ Hovannisian Republic, pp.16-17
  12. ^ "Rus-Türk-Ermeni münasebetleri, 1914-1918". Ermeni Araştırmaları: üç Aylık Tarih, Politika Ve Uluslararası Ilişkiler Dergisi (in Turkish). 6 (22–24): 104. 2006.
  13. ^ Kurkjian, Vahan M. (2008). A history of Armenia. Los Angeles, CA: Indo-European Publishing. ISBN 9781604440126.
  14. ^ Weekly summaries : Nov. 2, 1918-Febr. 1, 1919. New York u.a.: United States Military Intelligence [1917-1927], Volume 6. 1978. ISBN 9780824030056.
  15. ^ Ter-Minassian pp.30-31
  16. ^ Teghtsoonian, Oksen (2003). Teghtsoonian, Robert; Teghtsoonian, Christopher (eds.). From Van to Toronto : a life in two worlds. New York: IUniverse, Inc. ISBN 9780595274154.
  17. ^ a b Marshall, Alex (2008). The Caucasus under Soviet rule (1. publ. ed.). London: Routledge. p. 86. ISBN 9780415410120. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  18. ^ Yıldırım, Hüsamettin (1990). Rus-Türk-Ermeni münasebetleri : 1914-1918 (in Turkish) (1. baskı. ed.). Ankara: Kök Yayınları. ISBN 9789757721048. Retrieved 25 February 2013. Ekim ihtilalinden önce Tiflis'te Ermeni Millî Meclisi toplanmış, bütün savaş süresince Ermeni siyasî hayatını, Ermeni gönüllü hareketlerini tertip ve idare etmiş olan Millî Yurt'un yerine Taşnaksutyun mensuplarından kurulu olan Millî Kongre seçilmiştir.
  19. ^ Hovannisian Republic, pp.17-18
  20. ^ Ter-Minassian pp.33-34
  21. ^ Ter-Minassian p.34
  22. ^ Bardakjian, Kevork B. (2000). A reference guide to modern Armenian literature, 1500-1920 : with an introductory history. Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press. pp. 263–264. ISBN 9780814327470. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  23. ^ J. Hacikyan, Agop (2005). The Heritage of Armenian Literature From The Eighteenth Century To Modern Times. Detroit: Wayne State Univ Pr. ISBN 9780814332214.


  • Richard G. Hovannisian Armenia on the Road to Independence (University of California, 1967)
  • Richard G. Hovanissian The Republic of Armenia: The First Year 1918-19 (University of California, 1971)
  • Rouben Paul Adalian Historical Dictionary of Armenia (Scarecrow Press, 2010)
  • Anahide Ter-Minassian La République d'Arménie 1918-20 (Éditions Complexe, 2006 ed.)