Dashnaktsutiun

Dashnaktsutiun

 

(Union), an Armenian bourgeois-nationalist counterrevolutionary party. The Dashnaktsutiun was founded in 1890 in Tbilisi, and it published the newspaper Droshak (The Banner). At that time the leaders of the Dashnaktsutiun included Kh. Mikaelian, S. Zavarian, and Rostom (St. Zorian). In 1892 the First Congress of the Dashnaktsutian ratified a program and charter and developed a tactical line for the party. The Dashnaktsutiun program set a goal of developing political activity in western Armenia. In addition, the party hoped to liberate the Armenians from the Turkish yoke and establish an autonomous state on Turkish territory by means of armed uprisings and terrorist acts and with aid from the Western powers and tsarist Russia. The agrarian part of the Dashnaktsutiun program proposed the transfer of land to village communes.

The social base of the Dashnaktsutiun was the Armenian bourgeoisie, whose interests the Dashnaks endeavored to subordinate to the national liberation movement of the Armenian people. In 1906, S. G. Shaumian wrote that the Dashnaktsutiun “played its reactionary role, the role of a brake on the liberation movement” (lzbr. proizv., vol. 1, 1957, p. 216). The Dashnaks opposed the revolutionary workers’ movement. Attempting to isolate Armenian workers from the general Russian revolutionary struggle during the Revolution of 1905–07, the Dashnaks kindled national differences between the peoples of Transcaucasia, and Dashnak organizations broke up workers’ strikes. The Dashnaks disguised their antipopular policy with socialist phraseology. In 1907, the Dashnaktsutiun joined the Second International.

During World War I (1914–18) the Dashnaks attempted to take advantage of the piratical policy of the Russian autocracy and raise a national liberation struggle of the Armenian people against Turkish despotism. The Dashnaktsutiun was opposed to the Great October Socialist Revolution. With the Mensheviks, the Socialist Revolutionaries, and the Musavat Party, the Dashnaks organized a Transcaucasian Commissariat and later a Transcaucasian Sejm. Taking advantage first of the support of German and Turkish imperialism and then British, French, and American imperialism, the Dashnaks attempted to detach Armenia from Soviet Russia.

From May 1918 through November 1920 the Dashnaktsutiun was the ruling party of the bourgeois Armenian republic. At the head of the government were the Dashnaktsutiun leaders—O. Kadzhanuni, A. Khatisian, A. Ogandzhanian, and S. Vratsian. The Dashnaks led Armenia to complete economic ruin, and they drowned in blood the May 1920 uprising of the Armenian workers. After Soviet power was established in Armenia (Nov. 29, 1920), the Dashnaks concluded a treaty with Turkey on Dec. 2, 1920, in Alexan-dropol’. It provided for the cession to Turkey of a considerable portion of Armenian lands. In February 1921 the Dashnaks raised an anti-Soviet rebellion, but they were utterly defeated. The Dashnaktsutiun party was abolished in Soviet Armenia, but it still has organizational units in the USA, France, Greece, Iran, and other countries. These organizations carry on active anti-Soviet propaganda.

REFERENCES

Shaumian, S. G. Izbr. proizv., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1957–58.
Knuniants, B. M. Izbr. proiz., 1903–11. Yerevan, 1958.
Spandarian, S. S. Slat’i, pis’ma i dokumenty. Moscow, 1958.
Ocherki istorii Kommunislicheskoi partii Armenii. Yerevan, 1967.

TS. P. AGAIAN

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