Conference Kicks off Events Dedicated to ARF’s 115th Anniversary

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–The first in a series of events dedicated to the 115th anniversary of the founding of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) opened in Yerevan–Armenia on Friday.

Several Armenian historians gathered at a conference to kick off the event. ARF Bureau representative Hrant Margarian noted that the gathering is an opportunity for historians to present a clear the history of the ARF.

"During this conference we can objectively look into our history and react to the issues of the past and future," Margarian said in opening the conference.

"Even without the past 100 years–our activities during the past 15 years are sufficient enough to make a credible showing before our people," Margarian said.

ARF Bureau member and National Assembly Vice-speaker Vahan Hovhannisian said the years following the founding of the ARF were eventful–to say the least.

"We have passed through various periods: national liberation struggle–short period of independence–activities in diaspora–return to Armenia–and all these periods have been distinct. The ARF–as well as any other political party–should find method of operating during each era. Today–for example–it is the strengthening of the statehood–restoring of the people’s trust–reluctance to jeopardize national interests. We should not allow that."

Ashot Mlkonian–Director of the National Academy of Sciences History Department noted that when assessing our traditional political parties from a perspective of a 115-years–sometimes–the principals of historical study are breached. "The phenomena should be assessed from the point of view of the given period–and only then can assessmen’s be credible," he said.

Dr. Ararat Hakobian spoke about ARF’s parliamentary activities from 1918-1920–noting that the ARF managed to establish a parliamentary government system. He stressed–however–that history should not be expected to only praise the ARF. "We don’t need it–since in criticism we see the mistakes we have made in the past or are making now–so that we do not repeat them."

Talking about ARF’s function in the diaspora–ARF Bureau’s Albert Ajemian said that after its exodus from Armenia–the party assumed the task of organizing the diaspora–preserving Armenian identity–and politicization of the diaspora.

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