YEREVAN (Armenpress/Lemagan.com)–A monument dedicated to Karekin Njhdeh (1886-1955) was unveiled on August 24 in Kapan–Armenia. Government officials–including Prime Minister Antranig Margarian were present for the event.
Born into the family of a village priest in Nakhijevan in 1886–Karekin Ter Haroutiunian joined the Armenian Revolutionary Federation early on. He graduated from the Sofia Military Academy in 1907–then went to the Caucasus–where he was arrested by the Russian Tsarist authorities for revolutionary activities.
He escaped in 1911 and returned to Bulgaria–joining General Antranig’s brigade–which took part in the Balkan Wars on the Bulgarian side. In 1914–back in the Caucasus–he joined the Armenian volunteer movement against the Turks and was Dro’s aide in the Third Battalion.
In 1918–he fought in the Independence battle at Gharakiliseh under the command of General Nazarbegian. In 1919–he suppressed the Tatar (Azeri) rebellions in the Nakhijevan region. Thereafter–he led the fighting in Zangezour against the Tatars and later against the Bolshevik forces (1920-21).
When the agreement on the Sovietization of Armenia was signed in Yerevan on December 2,1920–Njhdeh proclaimed the independence of Lernahayastan–the mountainous region of Zangezour.
After the fall of Zangezour–he withdrew to Iran and later left for Bulgaria. In 1933–he arrived in the United States to found the ARF "Tseghagron" youth movement–which later became the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF).
In Eastern Europe–he worked with General Dro in World War II–at the end of which he was arrested by Soviet forces in the Balkans and deported to Siberia. He died in a Soviet prison in 1955.
In the early 1980’s a group of Armenian intellectuals transported Njhdeh’s remains to Armenia in great secrecy and considerable danger to themselves.
Part of his remains were secretly buried on the slope of the mountain Khustup on October 7–1983–in compliance with Njhdeh’s will. The rest of his remains were hidden in private homes for four years–and in 1987 they were secretly buried at St. Spitakavor Church–which has been considered a place for pilgrimage for Armenia’s ever since.
In 2001–the Armenian Central Bank issued a 100 dram coin in Nzhdeh’s honor.