Hovhannes Kajaznuni

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Hovhannes Kajaznuni
Յովհաննէս Քաջազնունի
Hovhannes Katchaznouni.JPG
1st Prime Minister of Armenia
In office
6 June 1918 – 7 August 1919
Preceded by position established
Succeeded by Alexander Khatisyan
Chairman of the National Assembly of Armenia
In office
4 November 1920 – 2 December 1920
Preceded by Avetik Sahakyan
Succeeded by Soviet Armenia
Personal details
Born (1868-02-01)February 1, 1868
Akhaltsikhe, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 1938 (aged 69–70)
Yerevan, Armenian SSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Armenian
Political party Armenian Revolutionary Federation

Hovhannes Kajaznuni, or Hovhannes Katchaznouni (Armenian: Յովհաննէս Քաջազնունի) (1 February 1868 – 1938), was the first Prime Minister of the First Republic of Armenia from June 6, 1918 to August 7, 1919. He was a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Personal life[edit]

Hovhannes Kajaznuni was born in 1868 in the town of Akhaltsikhe, then part of the Russian Empire, now part of Georgia. He attended secondary school in Tiflis from 1877 to 1886. In 1887 he moved to St. Petersburg and entered the Citizens' Architectural Institute, graduating with honors in 1893. In St. Petersburg he joined the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, eventually becoming one of its most important members. After graduation, he worked at the construction department of the Baku provincial administration (1893–95), as an architect in Batumi (1895–1897), and as regional architect at the Tiflis provincial administration (1897–99). Between 1899 and 1906 he worked as a senior architect in Baku, designing hospitals and apartment buildings. After 1906 he devoted himself to political and social activities.[1]

He was forced to leave the Caucasus in 1911 to avoid being called to St. Petersburg to testify at the "Armenian Revolutionary Federation trial" mounted by the Russian government. He lived in Istanbul and then in Van until 1914, when he returned to the Caucasus. He became a member of the Armenian National Council in 1917 and was an A.R.F. representative in the Seym (the Transcaucasian Parliament) until 1918. He was on the Armenian delegation that conducted peace talks with the Ottoman Empire in Trabzon and Batumi. After the dissolution of the Transcaucasian Federation, he was elected in Armenian National Council as the first Prime Minister of the independent Armenian state on June 6, 1918 and his Cabinet was formed on June 30. Kajaznuni held this position until August 7, 1919; with the nomination as a Prime-Minister abroad from June 5, 1919. He was in diplomatic missions in Europe (beginning in August 1919) and the United States (from October 9, 1919 until August 1920). He returned to Armenia to become Chairman of the Parliament on November 4, 1920. Kajaznuni was arrested after the Bolsheviks came to power in December 1920 and was liberated by the February 1921 revolt against the Soviet regime.

After the end of the revolt in early April 1921, he left the country and lived in Bucharest from 1921 to 1924. In 1925 he returned to Soviet Armenia and worked as an architect in Leninakan. He also taught at the technical department of Yerevan State University, lecturing on construction and architecture. In 1930 he joined the newly established Construction Institute and attained the title of professor there. Kajaznuni became a member of the Armenian Union of Architects. Kajaznuni became a victim of Stalin's Great Terror. He was arrested in 1937 and imprisoned. He died in prison in 1938, although the exact date of his death is unknown.[2]

Report to the 1923 ARF Congress[edit]

Kajaznuni prepared a critical report for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party convention held in Bucharest during April 1923 (the 10th Congress of the Party was held in 1924)[3][4] titled Dashnaktsutyun Has Nothing More to Do, which called for the parties' support of Soviet Armenia.[5][6][7][8]

Kajaznuni published his report in Vienna in 1923. In the same year, it was republished by non-A.R.F. circles in Tbilisi, Alexandria (Egypt), and Bucarest.[9] Its claims immediately drew rebuke from the party.[10][11][12] The report was translated to the English language in 1955 by Matthew Aram Callender, and edited by Arthur Derounian.[13] The Armenian original was reprinted twice in Yerevan in 1994 and 1995, and copies of different editions are available through major Armenian libraries worldwide.

Turkish denialist translation[edit]

In 2007 Turkish historian and genocide denier Mehmet Perinçek produced new texts in Turkish and English that he claimed were translations of Kajaznuni's 1923 report, allegedly based on a Russian copy (printed in Tbilisi in 1927) held in the Russian State Library in Moscow.[14] Perinçek alleged that the Russian State Library copy was unabridged, and that earlier translations had supposedly been abridged. This allegation appears to be built on a misreading of Callender's English translation, which does abridge some later portions of the text, but translates verbatim Kajaznuni's introduction, which contains the description of the holocaust. Mehmet Perinçek is the son of veteran politician Doğu Perinçek, who in 2007 became the first person to receive a criminal conviction for denial of the Armenian Genocide, a conviction that was overturned on free-speech grounds in 2015.

The veracity of Perinçek's assertions are disputed by the Armenian scholar Viken L. Attarian, who claims that this "discovery" is actually a forgery made by allegedly partisan Turkish historians to deny the fact of the Armenian Genocide.[15] As evidence for his position, Attarian notes that these alleged translations into Turkish, English and German were published by Kaynak Yayınları in Istanbul, as the first in a book series titled Ermeni Belgeleriyle Ermeni Soykırımı Yalanı (in English: The Lie of 'Armenian Genocide' in Armenian Documents).

Attarian wrote: "The Turkish denialists are the ones who talk most about Katchaznouni and ... use texts and falsified translations that have nothing in common with the originals... Whatever the Turk denialists present about K is wrong and a lie... Katchaznouni never denied the Genocide and ... never betrayed his homeland.". In Matthew A. Callender's translation, made directly from the original Armenian text, Kajaznuni clearly describes what happened to the Armenians as a "holocaust" (p. 7):

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.[16]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Kachaznuni, Hovhannes (1923). Dashnaktsutiwne anelik chuni aylews. Vienna: Mkhitarean Tparan. 
  • Katchaznouni, Hovhannes (August 1955). Carlson, John Roy, ed. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnagtzoutiun) Has Nothing to Do Anymore. Translated by A. Callender, Matthew. New York: Armenian Information Service.  (Book cover), Full text online
  • Ovanes Kachaznuni. The Hundred and Ten Days in Europe. Baku, 1911 (new edition in Russian, Saint Petersburg, 2013)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edmond Tigranian, Հայ ճարտարապետների գործունեությունը Անդրկովկասում XIX դարի վերջ - XX դարի սկիզբ (Contributions of Armenian Architects in the Transcaucausus at the End of the 19th Century and the Beginning of the 20th Century), Yerevan, 2003, p. 236-241.
  2. ^ Հայկական Հարց Հանրագիտարան (Encyclopedia of the Armenian Question), Yerevan, 1996, p. 456.
  3. ^ Svajian, Stephen G (1977). A trip through historic Armenia. GreenHill. p. 418. ...the manifesto to the 'Dashnag Party Congress' in Bucharest, April 1923.
    His manifesto is entitled, 'Dashnaktzoutune Has Nothing To Do Any More.'
     
  4. ^ Bast, Oliver (2002). La Perse et la Grande Guerre. Institut français de recherche en Iran. ISBN 978-2-909961-23-1. ...book which was originally 'a manifesto' he had presented to the convention of the foreign branches of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Bucharest, 1923) 
  5. ^ Katchaznouni, Hovhannes (July 1923). Dashnaktsutiune anelik chuni ailevs (in Armenian). Vienna: Mechitarist Press. 
  6. ^ Hovannisian, Richard G. (January 1974). "Dimensions of Democracy and Authority in Caucasian Armenia, 1917-1920". Russian Review. Blackwell Publishing. 33 (1): 37–49. doi:10.2307/127620. JSTOR 127620.  See footnote 12.
  7. ^ Nassibian, Akaby (1984). Britain and the Armenian question, 1915-1923. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-312-09809-4. (Dashnaktsutiun Has Nothing To Do Any More) (Vienna, 1923)  (also London and Sydney: Croom Helm)
  8. ^ Libaridian, Gerard J (September 1991). Armenia at the Crossroads: Democracy and Nationhood in the Post-Soviet Era. Blue Crane Books. p. 20. ISBN 0-9628715-1-6. 
  9. ^ See http://www.armunicat.am:8991/ARMA and search for Յովհաննէս Քաջազնունի.
  10. ^ Darbinian, Reuben (1923). Mer Pataskhane H. Kachaznunii (in Armenian). Boston: Hayrenik Tparan.  Translates to "Our Answer/Response to H. Kachaznunii" (author's name also transliterated "Rouben", "Ruben", "Rooben", etc.)
  11. ^ Gakavian, Armen (October 1997). "ARMENIAN DIASPORAN IDENTITY REIMAGINED, 1915-1985". PhD Thesis, Department of Government and Public Administration, University of Sydney. Retrieved 2008-09-02. ...the former Prime Minister of Armenia, Hovhannes Kachaznouni, published a book, The ARF Has Nothing More to Do, and migrated to Soviet Armenia. As the title suggests, Kachaznouni argued that the ARF and the other parties had no role to play in Armenian political life, now that Armenia was Bolshevik. The opponents of the ARF, of course, capitalised on this. In the same year, a response was written to Kachaznouni by high-ranking party member Rouben Darbinian, who argued that Kachaznouni was wrong to give up hope, because Sovietisation would be short lived, and the ARF needed to continue the struggle for freedom. 
  12. ^ Derogy, Jacques (1990). Resistance and Revenge. Transaction. p. 167. ISBN 0-88738-338-6. April 11[, 1923]. Letter from Shahan Natali to the Boston committee:
    I was informed too late to be able to express my view towards the item put on the agenda of the next interim conference in Vienna; the position of the Party toward the sovietization of Armenia. You are not without responsibility for this delay, which has prevented me from making the party return to its revolutionary line.
     
  13. ^ Imprinted on the cover of the booklet: "Published by the Armenian Information Service, Suite 7D, 471 Park Ave., New York 22."
  14. ^ Özdemir, Sadi (2007-11-02). "Ermeni isyanını Perinçek buldu İTO ABD'ye gönderiyor". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  15. ^ Hovhannes Katchaznouni - the Intellectual Politician and Unique Patriot (A Lecture in Armenian). By Viken L. Attarian, P. Eng. MSc MBA, Montreal
  16. ^ The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Has Nothing To Do Any More: The Manifesto of Hovhannes Kajaznuni. New York 1955. p.7
Political offices
Preceded by
None
Prime Minister of the First Republic of Armenia
1918-1919
Succeeded by
Alexander Khatisyan