The Founding Fathers

Kristapor Mikaelian (Ellen, Topal, Edward)

Kristapor Mikaelian (1859-1905)

Born in the village of Verin Agulis in Goghtn, Kristapor Mikaelian graduated from the Academy of Education in Tiflis. Afterwards, he attended Moscow University, where he met Simon Zavarian. He then returend to Tiflis, where he trained labor groups in military drills and taught literacy and revolutionary ideals. He later established “Yeritasard Hayastan” organization in an effort to unite various Armenian activist units.

Kristapor became one of the founders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and remained a member of its Bureau for his entire life. The Russian government exiled him to Bessarabia because he was suspected of being a revolutionary. He eventually moved to Kalats, Romaine, where he published the third issue of the Droshak newspaper and served as its editor for many years.

Kristapor was in charge of the “Potorik” (“Tempest”) project, an operation designed to raise funds for the party through coercive methods.

Kristapor plotted Sultan Abdul Hamid’s assassination and died tragically while testing a bomb in Vitosh mountain in Bulgaria. He was 46 years old.

Rostom (Stepan Zorian)

Rostom (Stepan Zorian) 1867-1919

Born in the village of Tshna in Goghtn, Rostom attended the Moscow Scholl of Agronomy, from which was expelled because of his revolutionary tendencies. He became a founding member and also an active advocate of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Tiflis. In Geneva he was editor, typesetter, and distributor of Droshak (“Fkag”) newspaper. Rostom went to the city of Karin disguised as a samovar salesman. There he established revolutionary student associations.

Rostom later settled in Bulgaria in order to promote close ties between the Federation and the Macedonian revolutionary and to encourage collaborative efforts against Sultan Hamid’s rule.

There he and his wife, Lisa Melik Shahnazarian, laid the foundation of an Armenian School.

Rostom took part in the Armeno-Tatar wars in the Caucasus in 1905-1906, defending Armenians all over the Transcaucasian region from Tatar atrocities. During the Persian Revolution, Rostom cooperated with Persian revolutionaries in an effort to assist them in their uprising against the tyranny of the Shah. Later, he held the Armenian defense of Baku against the Ottoman armies that were trying to occupy the oil-rich city in 1918.

Rostom died of typhoid fever in Tiflis at the age of 52.

Simon Zavarian (Andon)

Simon Zavarian (Andon) 1866-1913

Born in a village of Aygehat in Lori, Zavarian graduated from the Moscow School od Agronomy. After the initial meetings establishing the foundation of the ARF (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) in Tiflis, he moved to Trebizond to assume a position as a school principal. He was arrested and exiled to Bessarabia as a revolutionary.

Zavarian drafted by bylaws of the Party with Kristapor and Rostom and remained a member of the ARF Bureau until his death. Traveling extensively while serving as State Agronomist, he was able to take advantage of his position by conducting research for the Party. He toured the region of Cilicia with Vardan of Khanasor, and later visited Trebizond, Romania, Geneva, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

Zavarian also held teaching positions in Mush, in Sasun, and later in Constantinople, where he also contributed to Azatamart (“Battle of Liberation”), the official newspaper of the ARF in Constantinople during the Ottoman Constitutional Regime from 1908 to 1915.

Zavarian died suddenly of what is thought to have been a heart attack on his way to Azatamart publishing house. He was 47 years old.


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