Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic

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Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic
Հայկական Սովետական Սոցիալիստական Հանրապետություն (Armenian)
Армянская Советская Социалистическая Республика (Russian)
Motto: Պրոլետարներ բոլոր երկրների, միացե՜ք (Armenian)
Proletarner bolor erkrneri, miac’ek’ (transliteration)
"Proletarians of all countries, unite!"
Anthem:  Հայկական Սովետական Սոցիալիստական Հանրապետություն օրհներգ
Haykakan Sovetakan Soc’ialistakan Hanrapetut’yun òrhnerg
"Anthem of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic"
Soviet Union - Armenian SSR.svg
Location of Armenia (red) within the Soviet Union
StatusSemi-independent state (1920–1922)
Part of the Transcaucasian SFSR (1922–1936)
Union republic (1936–1991)
De facto independent state (1990–1991)
and largest city
Official languages Armenian (state language)
Russian (official)
Recognised languages Azerbaijani  · Kurdish
State atheism (de facto)
Armenian Apostolic Church (de jure)
Demonym(s) Armenian
Gevork Alikhanyan (first)
Aram Gaspar Sargsyan (last)
Head of state  
Levon Ter-Petrosyan (last)
Alexander Miasnikian (first)
Vazgen Manukyan (last)
Legislature Supreme Soviet
 Republic proclaimed
2 December 1920
 Becomes part of the Transcaucasian SFSR
30 December 1922
5 December 1936
20 February 1988
 Independence declared
23 August 1990
 Independence referendum
21 September 1991
 Independence completed
26 December 1991
HDI  (1991)0.648
Currency Soviet ruble (руб) (SUR)
Calling code7 885
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of the Democratic Republic of Armenia.svg First Republic of Armenia
Flag of Transcaucasian SFSR (1925-1936).svg Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
Flag of the Democratic Republic of Armenia.svg Republic of Mountainous Armenia
Armenia Flag of Armenia.svg
Today part of Armenia

The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic [lower-alpha 1] , also commonly referred to as Soviet Armenia or Armenia [lower-alpha 3] was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union in December 1922 located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. It was established in December 1920, when the Soviets took over control of the short-lived First Republic of Armenia and lasted until 1991. It is sometimes called the Second Republic of Armenia, following the First Republic of Armenia's demise.


As part of the Soviet Union, the Armenian SSR transformed from a largely agricultural hinterland to an important industrial production center, while its population almost quadrupled from around 880,000 in 1926 to 3.3 million in 1989 due to natural growth and large-scale influx of Armenian genocide survivors and their descendants. On 23 August 1990 the Declaration of Independence of Armenia was adopted. On 21 September 1991, the independence of the Republic of Armenia was confirmed in a referendum. It was recognized on 26 December 1991 when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the state of the post-Soviet Republic of Armenia existed until the adoption of the new constitution in 1995.



Prior to Soviet rule, the Dashnaksutiun had governed the First Republic of Armenia. The Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia was founded in 1920. Diaspora Armenians were divided about this: supporters of the nationalist Dashnaksutiun did not support the Soviet state, while supporters of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) were more positive about the newly founded Soviet state. [2]

From 1828, with the Treaty of Turkmenchay to the October Revolution in 1917, Eastern Armenia had been part of the Russian Empire and partly confined to the borders of the Erivan Governorate. After the October Revolution, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin's government announced that minorities in the empire could pursue a course of self-determination. Following the collapse of the empire, in May 1918, Armenia, and its neighbors Azerbaijan and Georgia, declared their independence from Russian rule and each established their respective republics. [3] After the near-annihilation of the Armenians during the Armenian genocide and the subsequent Turkish-Armenian War, the historic Armenian area in the Ottoman Empire was overrun with despair and devastation.

A number of Armenians joined the advancing 11th Soviet Red Army. Afterward, Turkey and the newly proclaimed Soviet republics in the Caucasus negotiated the Treaty of Kars, in which Turkey resigned from its claims to Batumi to Georgia in exchange for the Kars territory, corresponding to the modern-day Turkish provinces of Kars, Iğdır, and Ardahan. The medieval Armenian capital of Ani, as well as the cultural icon of the Armenian people, Mount Ararat, were located in the ceded area. Additionally, Joseph Stalin, then acting commissar for nationalities, granted the areas of Nakhchivan and Nagorno-Karabakh (both of which were promised to Armenia by the Bolsheviks in 1920) to Azerbaijan. [4]

From 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936, Armenia was a part of the Transcaucasian SFSR (TSFSR) together with the Georgian SSR and the Azerbaijan SSR. The policies of the first Soviet Armenian government, the Revolutionary Committee (Revkom), headed by young, inexperienced, and militant communists such as Sarkis Kasyan and Avis Nurijanian, were implemented in a highhanded manner and did not take into consideration the poor conditions of the republic and the general weariness of the people after years of conflict and civil strife. [5] As the Soviet Armenian historian Bagrat Borian, who was to later perish during Stalin's purges, wrote in 1929:

The Revolutionary Committee started a series of indiscriminate seizures and confiscations, without regard to class, and without taking into account the general economic and psychological state of the peasantry. Devoid of revolutionary planning, and executed with needless brutality, these confiscations were unorganized and promiscuous. Unattended by disciplinary machinery, without preliminary propaganda or enlightenment, and with utter disregard of the country's unusually distressing condition, the Revolutionary Committee issued its orders nationalizing food supply of the cities and peasantry. With amazing recklessness and unconcern, they seized and nationalized everything military uniforms, artisan tools, rice mills, water mills, barbers' implements, beehives, linen, household furniture, and livestock. [6]

Such was the degree and scale of the requisitioning and terror imposed by the local Cheka that in February 1921 the Armenians, led by former leaders of the republic, rose up in revolt and briefly unseated the communists in Yerevan. The Red Army, which was campaigning in Georgia at the time, returned to suppress the revolt and drove its leaders out of Armenia. [7]

Convinced that these heavy-handed tactics were the source of the alienation of the native population to Soviet rule, in 1921 Moscow appointed an experienced administrator, Alexander Miasnikian, to carry out a more moderate policy and one better attuned to Armenian sensibilities. With the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP), Armenians began to enjoy a period of relative stability. Life under the Soviet rule proved to be a soothing balm in contrast to the turbulent final years of the Ottoman Empire. [8] The Armenians received medicine, food, as well as other provisions from the central government and extensive literacy reforms were carried out. [9]

Stalin's secretaryship

First Secretary of the Armenian Communist Party Aghasi Khanjian, a native of Van and a devoted communist, is widely believed to have been executed in 1936 by Lavrentiy Beria. Aghasi Khanjian 1934.jpg
First Secretary of the Armenian Communist Party Aghasi Khanjian, a native of Van and a devoted communist, is widely believed to have been executed in 1936 by Lavrentiy Beria.

Stalin's government took several measures in limiting power of the Armenian Church, already weakened by the Armenian genocide and the Russification policies of the Russian Empire. [10] In the 1920s, the private property of the church was confiscated and priests were harassed. Soviet assaults against the Armenian Church accelerated during this time, beginning in 1929, but momentarily eased in the following years to improve the country's relations with the Armenian diaspora. [11] In 1932, Khoren Muradpekyan became known as Khoren I and assumed the title of His Holiness the Catholicos. However, in the late 1930s, the Soviets renewed their attacks against the Church. [12] This culminated in the murder of Khoren in 1938 as part of the Great Purge, and the closing of the Catholicosate of Echmiatsin on 4 August 1938. The Church, however, managed to survive underground and in the diaspora. [13]

"The Great Purge" was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated against members of the Communist Party, writers and intellectuals, peasants and ordinary citizens. In September 1937 Stalin dispatched Anastas Mikoyan, along with Georgy Malenkov and Lavrentiy Beria, with a list of 300 names to Yerevan to oversee the liquidation of the Communist Party of Armenia (CPA), which was largely made up of Old Bolsheviks. Armenian communist leaders such as Vagharshak Ter-Vahanyan and Aghasi Khanjian fell victim to the purge, the former being a defendant at the first of the Moscow Show Trials. Mikoyan tried, but failed, to save one from being executed during his trip to Armenia. That person was arrested during one of his speeches to the CPA by Beria. Over a thousand people were arrested and seven of nine members of the Armenian Politburo were sacked from office. [14] According to one study, 4,530 people were executed by firing squad in the years 1937-38 alone, the majority of them having been accused of anti-Soviet or "counter-revolutionary" activities, for belonging to the nationalist Dashnak party, or Trotskyism. [15] [16]

As with various other ethnic minorities who lived in the Soviet Union under Stalin, tens of thousands of Armenians were executed or deported. In 1936, Beria and Stalin worked to deport Armenians to Siberia in an attempt to bring Armenia's population under 700,000 in order to justify an annexation into Georgia. [13] Under Beria's command, police terror was used to strengthen the party's political hold on the population and suppress all expressions of nationalism. Many writers, artists, scientists and political leaders, including the writer Axel Bakunts and the celebrated poet Yeghishe Charents, were executed or forced into exile. Additionally, in 1944, roughly 200,000  Hamshenis (Armenians who live near the Black Sea coastal regions of Russia, Georgia and Turkey) were deported from Georgia to areas of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Further deportations of Armenians from the coastal region occurred in 1948, when 58,000 alleged supporters of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Greeks were forced to move to Kazakhstan. [17]

World War II

Armenia was spared the devastation and destruction that wrought most of the western Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War of World War II. The Wehrmacht never reached the South Caucasus, which they intended to do in order to capture the oil fields in Azerbaijan. Still, Armenia played a valuable role in the war in providing food, manpower and war matériel. An estimated 300–500,000 Armenians served in the war, almost half of whom did not return. [18] [19] Many attained the highest honor of Hero of the Soviet Union. [20] Over sixty Armenians were promoted to the rank of general, and with an additional four eventually achieving the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union: Ivan Bagramyan (the first non-Slavic commander to hold the position of front commander when he was assigned to be the commander of the First Baltic Front in 1943), Admiral Ivan Isakov, Hamazasp Babadzhanian, and Sergei Khudyakov. [20] The Soviet government, in an effort to shore up popular support for the war, also allowed for token expressions of nationalism with the publication of Armenian novels such as Derenik Demirchian's Vardanank, the production of films like David Bek (1944), and the easing of restrictions placed against the Church. [21] Stalin temporarily relented his attacks on religion during the war. This led to the election of bishop Gevork in 1945 as new Catholicos Gevork VI. He was subsequently allowed to reside in Ejmiatsin. [22] [23]

At the end of the war, after Germany's capitulation, many Armenians in both the Republic, including Armenian Communist Party First Secretary Grigor Harutyunyan (Arutyunov), and the diaspora lobbied Stalin to reconsider the issue of taking back the provinces of Kars, Iğdır, and Ardahan, which Armenia had lost to Turkey in the Treaty of Kars. [24] In September, 1945, the Soviet Union announced that it would annul the Soviet-Turkish treaty of friendship that was signed in 1925. Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov presented the claims put forth by the Armenians to the other Allied heads.

Turkey itself was in no condition to fight against the Soviet Union, which had emerged as a superpower after the war. By the autumn of 1945, Soviet troops in the Caucasus and Soviet-occupied Iran were already assembling for an invasion of Turkey. However, as the hostility between the East and West developed into the Cold War, especially after the issuing of the Truman Doctrine in 1947, Turkey strengthened its ties with the West. The Soviet Union relinquished its claims over the lost territories, understanding that the newly formed NATO would intervene on Turkey's side in the event of a conflict. [25]

Armenian immigration

Monument to the 50th anniversary of Soviet Armenia 2014 Erywan, Pomnik Odrodzonej Armenii na Kaskadach (02).jpg
Monument to the 50th anniversary of Soviet Armenia

With the republic suffering heavy losses after the war, Stalin allowed an open immigration policy in Armenia; the diaspora were invited to repatriate to Armenia (nergaght) and revitalize the country's population and bolster its workforce. Armenians living in countries such as Cyprus, France, Greece, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria were primarily the survivors or the descendants of the genocide. They were offered the option of having their expenses paid by the Soviet government for their trip back to their homeland. An estimated 150,000 Armenians immigrated to Soviet Armenia between 1946 and 1948 and settled in Yerevan, Leninakan, Kirovakan and other towns. [26] [27]

Lured by numerous incentives such as food coupons, better housing and other benefits, they were received coldly by the Armenians living in the Republic upon their arrival. The repatriates spoke the Western Armenian dialect, instead of the Eastern Armenian spoken in Soviet Armenia. They were often addressed as aghbars ("brothers") by Armenians living in the republic, due to their different pronunciation of the word. Although initially used in humor, the word went on to carry on a more pejorative connotation. [28] Their treatment by the Soviet government was not much better. A number of Armenian immigrants in 1946 had their belongings confiscated upon arrival at Odessa's port, as they had taken with them everything they had, including clothes and jewelry. This was the first disappointment experienced by Armenians; however, as there was no possibility of return the Armenians were forced to continue their journey to Armenia. Many of the immigrants were targeted by Soviet intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Interior for real or perceived ties to Armenian nationalist organizations, and were later sent to labor camps in Siberia and elsewhere, where they would not be released until after Stalin's death. Some who were suspected of being dashnaks (Armenian nationalists) were targeted for deportation to Central Asia in 1949. [2]

Revival under Khrushchev

Following the power struggle after Stalin's death in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev emerged as the country's new leader. [29] In a secret speech he gave in 1956, Khrushchev denounced Stalin and his domestic policies largely loosened the government's grip over the country. Khrushchev put more resources into the production of consumer goods and housing. Almost immediately, Armenia underwent a cultural and economic rebirth. Religious freedom, to a limited degree, was granted to Armenia when Catholicos Vazgen I assumed the duties of his office in 1955. One of Khrushchev's advisers and close friends, Armenian Politburo member Anastas Mikoyan, urged Armenians to reaffirm their national identity. In 1954, he gave a speech in Yerevan where he encouraged them to republish the works of writers such as Raffi and Charents. [30] The massive statue of Stalin that towered over Yerevan was pulled down from its pedestal by troops literally overnight and replaced in 1962 with that of Mother Armenia. [31] Contacts between Armenia and the Diaspora were revived, and Armenians from abroad began to visit the republic more frequently.

Many Armenians rose to prominence during this era, including one of Khrushchev's friends, Mikoyan, who was the older brother of the designer and co-founder of the Soviet MiG fighter jet company, Artem Mikoyan. Other famed Soviet Armenians included composer Aram Khachaturyan, who wrote the ballets Spartacus and Gayane that featured the well known "Sabre Dance", the noted astrophysicist and astronomer Viktor Hambardzumyan, and popular literary figures Paruyr Sevak, Sero Khanzadyan, Hovhannes Shiraz, and Silva Kaputikyan.


A stamp issued in 1968, commemorating the 2,750 anniversary of the founding of Yerevan, and with the image of the statue of the popular folk figure Sasuntsi David The Soviet Union 1968 CPA 3672 stamp (David of Sassoun Monument in Yerevan (Yervand Kochar, 1959) and Ararat Mountains).jpg
A stamp issued in 1968, commemorating the 2,750 anniversary of the founding of Yerevan, and with the image of the statue of the popular folk figure Sasuntsi David

After Leonid Brezhnev assumed power in 1964, much of Khrushchev's reforms were reversed. The Brezhnev era began a new state of stagnation, and saw a decline in both the quality and quantity of products in the Soviet Union. Armenia was severely affected by these policies, as was to be demonstrated several years later in the catastrophic earthquake that hit Spitak. Material allocated to the building of new homes, such as cement and concrete, was diverted for other uses. Bribery and a lack of oversight saw the construction of shoddily built and weakly supported apartment buildings. When the earthquake hit on the morning of 7 December 1988, the houses and apartments least able to resist collapse were those built during the Brezhnev years. Ironically, the older the dwellings, the better they withstood the quake. [32]

Though the Soviet state remained ever wary of the resurgence of Armenian nationalism, it did not impose the sort of restrictions as were seen during Stalin's time. On 24 April 1965, thousands of Armenians demonstrated in the streets of Yerevan during the fiftieth anniversary of the Armenian genocide. [33]

Gorbachev era

Armenians demonstrating for the unification of the republic with Nagorno-Karabkh at Opera Square in Yerevan in the summer of 1988 Karabakh movement demonstration at Yerevan Opera square (2).jpg
Armenians demonstrating for the unification of the republic with Nagorno-Karabkh at Opera Square in Yerevan in the summer of 1988

Mikhail Gorbachev's introduction of the policies of glasnost and perestroika in the 1980s also fueled Armenian visions of a better life under Soviet rule. The Hamshenis who were deported by Stalin to Kazakhstan began petitioning for the government to move them to the Armenian SSR. This move was denied by the Soviet government because of fears that the Muslim Hamshenis might spark ethnic conflicts with their Christian Armenian cousins. [17] However, another event that occurred during this time made an ethnic clash between Christian Armenians and Muslims inevitable.

Armenians in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was promised to Armenia by the Bolsheviks but transferred to the Azerbaijan SSR by Stalin, began a movement to unite the area with Armenia. The majority Armenian population expressed concern about the forced "Azerification" of the region. [34] On February 20, 1988, the Supreme Soviet of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast voted to unify with Armenia. [35] Demonstrations took place in Yerevan showing support for the Karabakh Armenians. Azerbaijani authories encouraged counter demonstrations. However, these soon broke down into violence against Armenians in the city of Sumgait. Soon, ethnic rioting broke out between Armenians and Azeris, preventing a solid unification from taking place. A formal petition written to Gorbachev and senior leaders in Moscow asked for the unification of the enclave with Armenia, but the claim was rejected in the spring of 1988. Until then, the Soviet leader had been viewed favorably by Armenians, but following his refusal to alter his stance on the issue, Gorbachev's standing among Armenians deteriorated sharply. [36]


Flag of the Armenian SSR (Republic of Armenia) from 1990 to 1991 Flag of Armenia.svg
Flag of the Armenian SSR (Republic of Armenia) from 1990 to 1991

Tension between central and local government heightened in the final years of the Soviet Union's existence. On May 5, 1990, the New Armenian Army (NAA), a defense force envisioned to serve as a separate entity from the Soviet Union's military, was created. A celebration was planned for May 28, the anniversary of the creation of the first Armenian republic. However, on May 27 hostilities broke out between the NAA and the MVD troops based in Yerevan, resulting in the deaths of five Armenians in a shootout at the railway station. Witnesses claimed that the MVD had used an excessive amount of force in the firefight and insisted that it had instigated the fighting. [37] Further firefights between Armenian militiamen and the MVD in nearby Sovetashen (now Nubarashen) resulted in the deaths of twenty-seven people and an indefinite cancellation of the May 28 celebration. [38] On August 23, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR adopted the Declaration of Independence of Armenia. [39] [40] The document established that only the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Armenia are in force on the entire territory of Armenia. Created its own Armed Forces. Declaration declared the Republic of Armenia a subject of international law. [41] [40] The reason Armenia's decision to break away from the Soviet Union largely stemmed from Moscow's intransigence on Karabakh, mishandling of the earthquake relief effort, and the shortcomings of the Soviet economy.[ citation needed ]

On 17 March 1991, Armenia, along with the Baltics, Georgia and Moldova, boycotted the union-wide referendum in which 78% of all voters voted for the retention of the Soviet Union in a reformed form. [42]

Armenia confirmed its independence in a referendum on 21 September 1991 after the unsuccessful coup attempt in Moscow by the CPSU hardliners. [39] Greece became the first country to recognize the newly minted Armenian nation a few days later. Tensions between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh on the one hand and Azerbaijan on the other continued to escalate, ultimately leading to the outbreak of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. Despite a cease-fire in place since 1994, the parties have yet to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Soviet Union itself ceased to exist on December 26, 1991, and Armenia became an sovereign independent state in the international stage. The United States recognized Armenia's independence a day before.

The country has seen substantial development since independence, moving away from a planned economy to a privatized one and adopting a representative democratic system of government. Armenia remains blockaded by both Turkey and Azerbaijan over the Karabakh dispute. It maintains friendly relations with its neighboring states of Georgia and Iran and is a strategic ally of Russia.

On 5 July 1995, the new constitution of Armenia was adopted.


The administrative divisions of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic Map of Soviet Armenia.gif
The administrative divisions of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic


The structure of government in the Armenian SSR was identical to that of the other Soviet republics. The highest political body of the republic was the Armenian Supreme Soviet, which included the highest judicial branch of the republic, the supreme court. Members of the Supreme Soviet served for a term of five years, whereas regional deputies served for two and a half years. All officials holding office were mandated to be members of the Communist Party and sessions were convened in the Supreme Soviet building in Yerevan.

After independence and before the adoption of the 1995 Constitution, the Armenian Republic took place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic with the President is the head of state and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The unicameral parliament was the Supreme Council of Armenia.

With the establishment of the Republic, Soviet authorities worked tenaciously to eliminate certain elements in society, in whole or in part, such as nationalism and religion, to strengthen the cohesiveness of the Union. In the eyes of early Soviet policymakers, Armenians, along with Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians, Germans, and Jews were deemed "advanced" (as opposed to "backward") peoples, and were grouped together with Western nationalities. [43] The Caucasus and particularly Armenia were recognized by academic scholars and in Soviet textbooks as the "oldest civilisation on the territory" of the Soviet Union. [44]

At first, Armenia was not affected significantly by the policies set forth by Lenin's government. Prior to his debilitating illness, Lenin encouraged the policy of Korenizatsiya or "nativization" in the republics which essentially called for the different nationalities of the Soviet Union to "administer their republics", establishing native-language schools, newspapers, and theaters. [45] In Armenia, the Soviet government ruled that all illiterate citizens up to the age of fifty to attend school and learn to read Armenian, which became the official language of the republic. The number of Armenian-language newspapers (Sovetakan Hayastan), magazines (Garun), and journals (Sovetakan Grakanutyun, Patma-Banasirakan Handes ) grew. An institute for culture and history was created in 1921 in Echmiatsin, the Yerevan Opera Theater and a dramatic theater in Yerevan were built and established in the 1920s and 1930s, the Matenadaran, a facility to house ancient and medieval manuscripts was erected in 1959, important historical studies were prepared by a new cadre of Soviet-trained scholars, and popular works in the fields of art and literature were produced by Martiros Saryan, Avetik Isahakian and Yeghishe Charents, who all adhered to the socialist dictum of creating works "national in form, socialist in content." The first Armenian film studio, Armenkino, released the first fiction film, Namus (Honor) in 1925 and the first sound film Pepo , both directed by Hamo Bek-Nazarov. [46]

Lenin Square (Now Republic Square) was the main square of Yerevan from 1926 to 1991 Hanrapetowt`yan Hraparak.jpg
Lenin Square (Now Republic Square) was the main square of Yerevan from 1926 to 1991

Like all the other republics of the Soviet Union, Armenia had its own flag and coat of arms. According to Nikita Khrushchev, the latter became a source of dispute between the Soviet Union and the Republic of Turkey in the 1950s, when Turkey objected to the inclusion of Mount Ararat, which holds a deep symbolic importance for Armenians but is located on Turkish territory, in the coat of arms. Turkey felt that the presence of such an image implied Soviet designs on Turkish territory. Khrushchev retorted by asking, "Why do you have a moon depicted on your flag? After all, the moon doesn't belong to Turkey, not even half the moon ... Do you want to take over the whole universe?" [47] Turkey dropped the issue after this. [48]

Participation in international organizations

Armenian SSR, as a Soviet republic, was internationally recognized by the United Nations as part of the Soviet Union but it had Norair Sisakian as President of the 21st session of the UNESCO General Conference in 1964. The Soviet Union was also a member of Comecon, Warsaw Pact and the International Olympic Committee.

Military forces

The military forces of the Armenian SSR were provided by the Soviet Army's 7th Guards Combined Arms Army of the Transcaucasian Military District. It was organized into the following:


Under the Soviet system, the centralized economy of the republic banned private ownership of income producing property. Beginning in the late 1920s, privately owned farms in Armenia were collectivized and placed under the directive of the state, although this was often met with active resistance by the peasantry. During the same time (1929–1936), the government also began the process of industrialization in Armenia. By 1935, the gross product of agriculture was 132% of that of 1928 and the gross product of industry was 650% to that of 1928. The economic revolution of the 1930s, however, came at a great cost: it broke up the traditional peasant family and village institution and forced many living in the rural countryside to settle in urban areas. Private enterprise came to a virtual end as it was effectively brought under government control. [51]


The History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan Hraparak fountains02.jpg
The History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan


Lazare Indjeyan's Les Années volées and Armand Maloumian 's Les Fils du Goulag are two repatriate narratives about being incarcerated and eventual escape from gulags. Many other repatriate narratives explore family memories of the genocide and the decision to resettle in the Soviet Union. Some writers compare the 1949 Soviet deportations to Central Asia and Siberia with earlier Ottoman deportations. [2]

See also


  1. Armenian SSR; Armenian: Հայկական Սովետական Սոցիալիստական Հանրապետություն , romanized: Haykakan Sovetakan Soc'ialistakan Hanrapetut'yun; Russian: Армянская Советская Социалистическая Республика, romanized: Armyanskaya Sovetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika)
  2. Standard pronunciation is in Eastern Armenian ( [hɑjɑsˈtɑn] ). Western Armenian: [hɑjɑsˈdɑn] .
  3. ( /ɑːrˈmniə/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); [1] Armenian: Հայաստան, romanized: Hayastan, IPA:  [hɑjɑsˈtɑn] ; [lower-alpha 2] Russian: Армения; Armeniya)

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The Turkish–Armenian war, known in Turkey as the Eastern Front of the Turkish War of Independence, was a conflict in late 1920 between the First Republic of Armenia and the Turkish National Movement following the collapse of the Treaty of Sèvres. After the provisional government of Ahmet Tevfik Pasha failed to win support for ratification of the treaty, remnants of the Ottoman Army’s XV Corps under the command of Kâzım Karabekir attacked Armenian forces controlling the area surrounding Kars, eventually recapturing all territory previously ceded to the Ottoman Empire by Soviet Russia as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

First Nagorno-Karabakh War Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict between February 1988 and May 1994

The First Nagorno-Karabakh War was an ethnic and territorial conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in protracted, undeclared mountain warfare in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum, boycotted by the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh, was held, whereby a majority voted in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia began in a relatively peaceful manner in 1988; in the following months, as the Soviet Union disintegrated, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, resulting in ethnic cleansing, with the Sumgait (1988) and Baku (1990) pogroms directed against Armenians, and the Gugark pogrom (1988) and Khojaly Massacre (1992) directed against Azerbaijanis being notable examples. Inter-ethnic clashes between the two broke out shortly after the parliament of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in Azerbaijan voted to unify the region with Armenia on 20 February 1988. The declaration of secession from Azerbaijan was the final result of a territorial conflict regarding the land. As Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and removed the powers held by the enclave's government, the Armenian majority voted to secede from Azerbaijan and in the process proclaimed the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast Former autonomous region within the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic

The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) was an autonomous oblast within the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians.

The Armenian–Azerbaijani War, which started after the Russian Revolution, was a series of conflicts in 1918, then from 1920 to 1922, that occurred during the brief independence of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and afterwards. Most of the conflicts did not have a principal pattern with a standard armed structure. The Ottoman Empire and British Empire were involved in different capacities: the Ottoman Empire left the region after the Armistice of Mudros but British influence continued until Dunsterforce was pulled back in the 1920s. The conflicts involved civilians in the disputed districts of Kazakh-Shamshadin, Zanghezur, Nakhchivan and Karabakh. The use of guerrilla and semi-guerrilla operations was the main reason for the high civilian casualties, which occurred during the nation-building activities of the newly established states.

United Armenia Armenian irredentist concept

United Armenia, also known as Greater Armenia or Great Armenia, is an Armenian ethno-nationalist irredentist concept referring to areas within the traditional Armenian homeland—the Armenian Highland—which are currently or have historically been mostly populated by Armenians. The idea of what Armenians see as unification of their historical lands was prevalent throughout the 20th century and has been advocated by individuals, various organizations and institutions, including the nationalist parties Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Heritage, the ASALA and others.

Armenia–Azerbaijan relations Bilateral relations

There are no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, largely due to the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The neighboring nations had formal governmental relations between 1918 and 1921, during their brief independence from the collapsed Russian Empire, as the First Republic of Armenia and the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan; these relations existed from the period after the Russian Revolution until they were occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union. Due to the two wars waged by the countries in the past century—one from 1918 to 1921 and another from 1988 to 1994—the two have had strained relations. In the wake of ongoing hostilities, social memory of Soviet-era cohabitation is widely repressed.

Armenia–Georgia relations Bilateral relations

Foreign relations exist between Armenia and Georgia. Both countries are former Soviet republics of the Soviet Union. Both countries' governments have had generally-positive relations, but there have also been some problems.

Armenians in Azerbaijan are the Armenians who lived in great numbers in the modern state of Azerbaijan and its precursor, Soviet Azerbaijan. According to the statistics, about 500,000 Armenians lived in Soviet Azerbaijan prior to the outbreak of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1988. Most of the Armenian-Azerbaijanis however had to flee the republic, like Azerbaijanis in Armenia, in the events leading up to the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, a result of the ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Atrocities directed against the Armenian population took place in Sumgait, Ganja and Baku. Today the vast majority of Armenians in Azerbaijan live in territory controlled by the break-away region Nagorno-Karabakh which declared its unilateral act of independence in 1991 under the name Nagorno-Karabakh Republic but has not been recognised by any country, including Armenia.

Azerbaijanis in Armenia Ethnic group

Azerbaijanis in Armenia were once the largest ethnic minority in the country, but have been virtually non-existent since 1988–1991 when most either fled the country or were pushed out as a result of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War and the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. UNHCR estimates the current population of Azerbaijanis in Armenia to be somewhere between 30 and a few hundred people, with the majority of them living in rural areas and being members of mixed couples, as well as elderly or sick. Most of them are reported to have changed their names to maintain low profiles to avoid discrimination.

Mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia took place several times throughout the 20th century, and have been described as acts of forced resettlement and ethnic cleansing.

Soviet leaders and authorities officially condemned nationalism and proclaimed internationalism, including the right of nations and peoples to self-determination. While the Soviet Union did not practice "racial politics" and was supportive of self-determination and rights of many minorities and colonized peoples, it significantly marginalized people of certain ethnic groups designated as "enemies of the people", pushed assimilation of, and promoted chauvinistic Russian nationalistic and settler-colonialist activities in their lands, in stark contrast to earlier Leninist policies. While Lenin supported and implemented policies of korenization, Stalin reversed much of his predecessor's previous internationalist policies, signing off on orders for exiling multiple distinct ethnic-linguistic groups brandished as "traitors", including the Balkars, Crimean Tatars, Chechens, Ingush, Karachays, Kalmyks, Koreans, and Meskhetian Turks, who were collectively deported to Siberia or Central Asia, where they were legally designated "special settlers", meaning that they were officially second-class citizens with few rights and were confined within a small perimeter. After the death of Stalin, Khrushchev criticized the deportations based on ethnicity of in closed section of his Report to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, describing them as "monstrous acts" and "rude violations of the basic Leninist principles of the nationality policy of the Soviet state." Soon thereafter in the mid to late 1950's most deported peoples were fully rehabilitated, having been allowed the full right of return and their national republics were restored — except for the Koreans, Crimean Tatars, and Meskhetian Turks, who were not allowed such right of return and were kept tethered to Central Asia. The government subsequently took a variety of measures to prevent such deported peoples from returning to their native villages, ranging from denying residence permits to people of certain ethnic groups in specific areas, referring to people by incorrect ethnonyms to minimize ties to their homeland, arresting protesters for requesting return to Leninist policies with right of return, and spreading racist propaganda demonizing ethnic minorities.

Armenia–Turkey border International border

The Armenia–Turkey border is 311 km in length and runs from the tripoint with Georgia in the north to the tripoint with Azerbaijan in the south.

Anarchism in Armenia emerged as part of the Armenian national liberation movement, with its roots in various heretical Christian sects that practiced in the region. It took on an organized form with the establishment of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in 1890, before being suppressed by the various empires and authoritarian regimes that ruled over Armenia during the 20th century. It eventually re-emerged in the 21st century, as part of the anti-establishment movement that spread throughout the country in the wake of its independence.

Deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia (1947-1950)

Deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia – is the resettlement of the Azerbaijani population of the Armenian SSR in 1947-1950, which was carried out in accordance with the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 4083 dated with 23 December 1947.


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  3. The full history of the Armenian republic is covered by Richard G. Hovannisian, Republic of Armenia. 4 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971-1996.
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  34. On Karabakh, see Cheterian, Vicken (2009). War and Peace in the Caucasus: Russia's Troubled Frontier. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 87–154. ISBN   978-0-231-70064-1.
  35. Kaufman, Stuart (2001). Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War. New York: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs. p. 61. ISBN   978-0-8014-8736-1.
  36. See Thomas de Waal, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through War and Peace, 2nd rev. ed. (New York: New York University Press, 2013); Ohannes Geukjian, Ethnicity, Nationalism and Conflict in the South Caucasus: Nagorno-Karabakh and the Legacy of Soviet Nationalities Policy (London: Routledge, 2016).
  37. Krikorian, Robert O and Joseph R. Masih. Armenia: At the Crossroads. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1999, pp. 19-20.
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  39. 1 2 Маркедонов Сергей Самоопределение по ленинским принципам
  40. 1 2 Декларация о независимости Армении
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  43. Martin, Terry (2001). The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939. New York: Cornell University, p. 23. ISBN   0-8014-8677-7.
  44. Panossian. The Armenians, pp. 288-89.
  45. Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire, pp. 10-13.
  46. Suny, "Soviet Armenia," pp. 356-57.
  47. Khrushchev, Nikita, Sergei Khrushchev (ed.) Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev: Statesman, 1953-1964. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, pp. 467-68. ISBN   0-271-02935-8.
  48. Khrushchev. Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, p. 468.
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  50. Holm, Michael. "91st Motorised Rifle Division". Retrieved 2016-02-14.
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Further reading