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Zoravar Andranik

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#21 Yervant1


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Posted 25 February 2016 - 10:50 AM


15:30, 25 Feb 2016
Siranush Ghazanchyan

February 25, 2015 marks the 151st birthday of Andranik Ozanian
(Zoravar Andranik), Armenian military commander and statesman, key
figure of the Armenian national liberation movement.

He became active in an armed struggle against the Ottoman government
and Kurdish irregulars in the late 1880s. He joined the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktustyun) party and, along with
other fedayi (irregular soldiers), sought to defend the Armenian
peasantry living in their ancestral homeland, an area known as or
Western Armenia--at the time part of the Ottoman Empire.

His revolutionary activities ceased and he left the Ottoman Empire
after the unsuccessful uprising in Sasun in 1904. In 1907, Andranik
left Dashnaktustyun because he disapproved of its cooperation with
the Young Turks, a party which years later perpetrated the Armenian
Genocide. In 1912-1913, together with Garegin Nzhdeh, Andranik led
few hundred Armenian volunteers within the Bulgarian army against
the Ottomans during the First Balkan War.

Since the early stages of World War I, Andranik commanded the first
Armenian volunteer battalion and led them within the Russian Imperial
army against the Ottoman army. After the Revolution of 1917, the
Russian army retreated and left the Armenian irregulars outnumbered
against the Turks. Andranik led the defense of Erzurumin early 1918,
but was forced to retreat eastward. By May 1918, Turkish forces stood
near Yerevan--the future Armenian capital.

The Armenian National Council declared the independence of Armenia and
signed the Treaty of Batum with the Ottoman Empire, by which Armenia
gave up its rights to Western Armenia. Andranik never accepted the
existence of the First Republic of Armenia because it included only
a small part of the area many Armenians hoped to make independent.

Andranik, independently from the Republic of Armenia, fought in
Zangezur against the Azerbaijani and Turkish armies and helped to
keep it within Armenia.

Andranik left Armenia in 1919 due to disagreements with the Armenian
government and spent his last years of life in Europe and the United
States seeking relief for Armenian refugees. He settled in Fresno,
California in 1922 and died five years later in 1927. Andranik is
greatly admired as a national hero by Armenians; numerous statues of
him have been erected in several countries. Streets and squares were
named after Andranik, and songs, poems and novels have been written
about him, making him a legendary figure in Armenian culture.

Andranik died from angina on 31 August 1927 at Richardson Springs,
California. Andranik's remains were originally planned to be buried in
Armenia; however, the Soviet authorities refused entry.He was first
buried at Ararat Cemetery in Fresno, and his remains were moved to
France and buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris on 29 January
1928.In early 2000, the Armenian and French governments arranged the
transfer of Andranik's body from Paris to Yerevan.


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