Another Contest for a New Anthem

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–A new contest will be announced to come up with a new national anthem, announced Armenia’s Culture Minister Hasmig Boghosian during discussion between the cabinet and the National Assembly Wednesday.

Last year, a similar contest was held causing much controversy and at the end, due to a lack of quality entries, a presidential decision upheld the current “Mer Hayrenik” ("Our Fatherland") as Armenia’s National Anthem.

This contest differs from the last, as the music for the anthem has already been determined to be a piece composed by Aram Khachatourian, the writer and composer of Armenia’s Soviet era national anthem. The current contest aims to define new lyrics for the song, which was in use between 1944 to 1991. After Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 the new government reinstated "Mer Hayrenik" with revised lyrics.

"Mer Hayrenik," was penned by Mikael Ghazavi Nalbandian, one of the most revered nationalist figures of the 19th century, and adopted as the national anthem by the First Republic of Armenia between 1918-1921.

Thereafter it was banned by the Bolsheviks and became a hymn of protest before being reinstated as the national anthem when Armenia declared its independence in 1991. The First Republic’s anthem was also preserved by Armenia’s in the diaspora who upheld it as their nation’s anthem throughout the seven decades of Soviet rule.

During heated debate in the parliament last year, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation bloc unanimously opposed any decision to change the National Anthem. This contest stems from a 2005 Constitutional Amendment, which calls for the National Anthem to be determined by legislation.

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