Armenian Revolutionary Federation

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Template:Politics of Armenia

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) (Armenian: Hay Heghapokhakan Dashnaktsutiun, Dashnaktsutiun, or Dashnak) is an Armenian political party founded in Georgia in 1890 by Christofor Mikaelian, Rostom Zarian, and Simon Zavarian. The party operates among Armenian communities internationally, especially in Armenia and Lebanon, and in the ethnic Armenian-dominated Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, which declared its independence from Azerbaijan in the 1990s and was occupied by Armenian forces. The ARF advocates socialism and is a member of the Socialist International, although its Lebanese branch has broken ranks by embracing capitalism.



Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Missing image
ARF logo

Foundation: 1890
Head: Levon Mkrtchyan

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation came into being in 1890 through the merging of various factions of Armenian nationalists. The original aim was for an independent Armenia, which was not at that time seen as a positive move by all Armenians. The party began to organise itself in Turkey in the early 1890s and held its first major meeting in Georgia in 1892. At the meeting two bureaus were founded, responsible for the East and the West respectively. The Eastern Bureau was responsible for planning and implementing attacks against the Ottoman Empire. The Western Bureau established itself in many European cities, including London, Brussels, Berlin, Leipzig, Geneva and Rome.

During the Armenian Genocide of 1915, ARF members were among the first to be openly persecuted and massacred by the Ottoman Turks because of their leadership roles in the Armenian communities.

When the first Republic of Armenia was proclaimed in 1918, the ARF became the ruling party. Despite their tight grip on power, the ARF was unable to stop the impending Communist invasion from the north, which climaxed with a Soviet takeover in 1920. The ARF was banned, and many of its members dispersed to other parts of the world. The ARF is considered the foremost organization in the Armenian Diaspora, having established numerous Armenian schools, churches, community centres, scouting and athletic groups, relief societies, youth organizations, camps, and other organizations throughout the world.

Modern history


The ARF has always maintained its ideological commitment to "a Free, Independent, and United Armenia." The term United Armenia refers to the borders of Armenia that were recognized by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres.

When independence was achieved in 1991, the ARF soon became the second strongest political party, behind the Pan-Armenian National Movement (PANM), a neo-conservative organization supported by foreign powers. The ARF accused the PANM government of corruption, and, fearing its power, President Levon Ter-Petrossian banned the party, along with Yekir, the country's largest daily newspaper. He also ordered the arrest of the leaders of women's, youth, athletic, and cultural organizations. The ban on the ARF was lifted, however, after Ter-Petrossian fell from power and was replaced by Robert Kocharian.

Today, the ARF is one of the three parties in the government coalition, along with the Republican Party and the Country of Law party. With 11 of the 131 seats in the National Assembly of Armenia, it is the major socialist party in Armenia and the fourth largest party in parliament.


Template:Politics of Nagorno Karabakh The ARF holds 9 of the 33 seats in the National Assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically and historically Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan that was transferred to Azerbaijan by Joseph Stalin in the 1920s, and occupied by Armenian forces in the 1990s. It is the second largest party in Nagorno-Karabakh, where it will will take part in the next legislative elections, which are scheduled for 19 June 2005.


Template:Politics of Lebanon Ethnic Armenians are allocated 6 seats in Lebanon's 128-member National Assembly. The Lebanese branch of the ARF, which has usually controlled a majority of the Armenian vote and won most of the ethnic Armenian seats in the National Assembly, differs from the international movement by its support for Lebanon's capitalist system. It has generally avoided entanglement in sensitive domestic issues, usually supporting whatever government has happened to be in power.

Prior to the Lebanese Civil War of 1975 to 1990, the party was closely allied to the Phalangist Party of Pierre Gemayel, and and generally ran joint tickets with the Phalangists, especially in Beirut constituencies with large Armenian populations. The refusal of the ARF, along with most Armenian groups, to play an active role in the civil war, however, soured relations between the two parties, and the Lebanese Forces (a militia dominated by Phalangists and commanded by Bachir Gemayel, Pierre Gemayel's son) responded by attacking the Armenian quarters of many Lebanese towns.

A major change occurred in the parliamentary election of 2000. Negotiations to form a joint ticket between the ARF and the Dignity Party of Rafik Hariri broke down over Hariri's insistence that all candidates elected on his list, including ARF candidates, would have to form a unified parliamentary block subsequently - a rarity in Lebanese politics. He also refused the ARF proposal to provide the joint candidate for the sole seat allocated to Lebanon's Protestant community (many of whom are ethnically Armenian), insisting that that seat should go to an ally of his. The ARF decided to go it alone, although other Armenian parties joined Hariri's list. In an unprecedented sweep, Dignity and its allies captured 13 of Beirut's 19 seats, and the ARF was left with only one parliamentary seat, its worse result in many decades.


The Armenian Revolutionary Federation's goals are:

  • The creation of a Free, Independent, and United Armenia. The borders of United Armenia shall include all territories designated as Armenia by the Treaty of Sèvres as well as the regions of Artsakh, Javakhk, and Nakhichevan.
  • International condemnation of the as yet unpunished Genocide committed by Turkey against the Armenians, return of the occupied lands, and just reparations to the Armenian nation.
  • The gathering of worldwide expatriate Armenians on the lands of United Armenia.
  • Strengthening Armenia's statehood, institutionalization of democracy and the rule of law, securing the people's economic well being, and establishment of social justice.

External link

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