Artsakh is, perhaps, the most pivotal issue facing the Armenian Nation today, as outside forces, once again, are using it to advance their divergent political and economic agendas and vying for a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that is not beneficial to the interests of the people of Artsakh or the Armenian Nation and poses a direct threat to Armenia’s national security.
The four-day war in April illustrated the fragility of the situation in Artsakh and a recent report that indicated 165 combatants lost their lives in 2016—up from 76 in 2015—has compounded the volatility that plagues the everyday lives of Artsakh residents.
The April war and the fact that the Artsakh Liberation Movement will enter its 30th year next month, propelled the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western United States Central Executive to dedicate the celebration of the party’s 126th anniversary this weekend to Artsakh and highlight the role the party has played throughout the party’s history.
Interestingly, the challenges facing the ARF founding fathers—Rostom, Kristapor, Zavarian–are not much different than the ones facing our nation today. Issues of oppression, tyranny, persecution and threat to our national security still exist on a daily basis. By clinging on to the basic tenets of its genesis, the party has been able to adeptly address the challenges facing the Armenian Nation and its aspirations.
This past year, the continued military threats and attacks against Armenians in Karabakh, coupled with the international mediators’ effort to corner Armenia to make a swift decision in resolving the conflict, have emboldened the ARF and its affiliate organizations around the world to ensure the freedoms and the gains made through the blood of our brothers and sisters are not squandered for political gains that will not benefit Armenia or Artsakh.
In this region alone, through outreach to the community, much-needed funds were raised to meet the immediate and extended needs of the people of Artsakh. The Armenian Youth Federation’s “With Our Soldiers” campaign, which provided financial assistance to each and every fallen hero of the April war, is a clear example of the ARF’s commitment to the advancement of the will of the Armenian Nation (The AYF turns 84 on January 14).
From the onset of the Karabakh Liberation Movement in 1988, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation played a pivotal role it its ascent and eventual victory. Today the ARF remains one of the active forces in Artsakh.
This year, in marking the ARF’s 126th anniversary, we dedicate the celebration to its role and contributions to the Artsakh movement, which has been an inseparable part of the ARF’s activities since its founding in 1890. In the early 1900’s and after Armenia’s Independence in 1918, Artsakh was a focal point of the party’s Eastern front activities, with the ARF’s storied generals leading the struggle against oppressive forces and emerging victorious. The heroes that were born from Artsakh not only have elevated the ARF lore, but have also become enshrined within our national psyche.
Similarly, the role the ARF played, with its tactical and military units during the war, contributed to the victory and the liberation of Artsakh. The ARF members who gave their lives joined the modern-day pantheon of Armenian heroes whose selfless dedication has allowed the people of Artsakh to determine their own fate—a right that cannot be compromised under any circumstance.
As we dedicate the ARF’s 126th anniversary to heroic Artsakh, we remain steadfast in our commitment to fight to the end, in the name of the Armenian Nation.