Hamshen Armenians to Resettle in Karabakh

Hamshen Armenians

YEREVAN (Yerkir)—Around 200 Hamshen-Armenian families living in Kyrgyzstan are opting to resettle in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Artsakh.

The leader of the Hamshen-Armenian community, Ruslan Karabadjakov has travelled to Yerevan, from where he will go to Artsakh to look into logistics for the relocation of 200 families there.

“Our place is here, in Armenia,” said Karabadjakov. “For 250 years fate has forced us to move from place to palce—Adzharia, Central Asia. Finally we’ve decided to seek refuge on our own soil.”

It is anticipated that the Hamshen Armenians will establish residency in the Mardakert region of Artsakh. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic authorities will provide land and opportunities for economic developments and will subsidize this effort until the families are self-sufficient.

Armenians of Hamshen in Western Armenia were conquered by the Ottomans in the 15th century. The majority of them were forced to convert to Islam. A resurgence of Hamshen Armenians has begun in recent years, with a group in Armenia forming community organizations and publishing a newspaper.

The Hamshen Armenians settled in Adjaria, from where they were driven out and a large majority settled in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. Harut said:

    This is a very good news i have been reading about hanshen Armenians it goes backto before 15 century and they also lived in the part of western Armenia by the black sea, this is very good we should relocate lots of the Armenians from all of the world to Arsax

    God Bless Armenia

  2. Edward Demian said:

    God speed. May the good Lord, Mer Hayotz Astvadz, (God of the Armenians) shine a light upon the Hamshen and show them the way home. I am so stocked. Now, there are 300,000 Armenians in Moldova, Living around the Armenian monastery of Hatch Gadar, they need to go home too.

    • MGL said:

      What’s wrong living in Moldova? How about 1 mililon Armenians from USA or 500,000 from France or somewhere else?

      • Edward Demian said:

        Only impoverished people are willing to relocate. American Armenians are rather wealthy by comparison; not farmers. Armenia needs farmers, not more city slickers.

      • Edward Demiraiakian said:

        All those diasporas are urged to relocate, but the poor make the best settlers. From the diaspora we want experts, innovators, out of the ordinary people, that know how to build things.

  3. Garen said:

    600 years being a Muslim is enough to change a mentality. If they are still considering themselves as Armenians, how about converting back to their ancestors’ religion this time willingly and eliminating the possibility of being the 5th column in their motherland. Have there been any requests from their side?

    • leo said:

      no need for them to convert. let them be whatever religion they want. they are Armenians and thats all that matters.

    • jda said:


      Not all Hamshen are Moslem; many are Christian.

      If we welcome our Moslem-Hamshen friends, and are not suspicious of them, chances are good that the Good News will be attractive to some of them, and some may convert because they believe in the Word. Because Christ touches their hearts. They should not seek to be Christian to placate their neighbors or to follow in the footsteps of ancestors. Christianity is not a badge of patriotism. They do not owe us the profession of Christianity. They owe it to themselves and God, perhaps.

      There are Armenian Sufis [ my cousin, for example], and I am sure Buddhists. Still more atheists and agnostics. Each is free to be Armenian. Nobody is a gatekeeper. It is a miracle that the Hamshen are still Armenian after so much time and distance.

    • Zareh Sahakian said:

      Garen read again: “Our place is here, in Armenia,” said Karabadjakov. “For 250 years fate has forced us to move from place to palce—Adzharia, Central Asia. Finally we’ve decided to seek refuge on our own soil.”

      “Our own soil” means they feel they belong. Who cares what religion they practice. Especially considering the fact that the overwhelming religion in Armenia today seems to be how to make money, not earn money but make money, by usually robbing each other that start hight up in the government.

      I thing it is both heartwarming and nationally advantageous to increase the Hamshen community on Armenia, for an eventual reunification with the Hamshenlis on the other side of the border.

    • www.Voskanapat.info said:

      After 70 years of forced atheism in the USSR they can start with a blank slate. The key is not to force anybody like the Turks did to them but have this option as an individual choice. There are plenty of Masques left in Artsakh by the Turks for these who want to go there. Give them a few generations and a good big welcome. Artsakh needs a lot of children and God knows they can make them!

      • Levon Medzaqordz said:

        How ignorant and foolish are you? Do you really want them to multiply and turn Artsakh into a majority muslim land? Is this what the struggle for Artsakh was for? If you think like this then what was the point? Might as well give it back to Azerbaidjian and end our problems. God save Armenia from foolishness like this…

    • Hratch Tchaghatzbanian said:

      This is a good point. But at the same time, if we’re going to talk about “their ancestors'” religion, what religion did you have in mind?

    • Rita said:

      So all Christian Armenians must also convert back to Paganism?

    • Chris said:

      Which one? Zoroastrianism? Point being, religion is unimportant. If they feel Armenian, speak Armenian, want to return to their native land, then they are Armenians. No questions asked.

  4. Krikor said:

    We should organize a drive so that this project is successful.The sooner the better.

  5. Chisto said:

    This was long overdue. Let’s set up a fund and help them. It will be money well spent. I hope every family in the diaspora can adopt a family in artsakh.

    • papken hartunian said:

      Chisto, I second your motion. I will open an account in Bank of America tomorrow with a seed money $1000.00. I will let you know the bank account number in this forum.
      papken hartunian

  6. Hagop Krikorian said:

    I got goose-bumps just reading this. What a wonderful story. So much negativity of Armenians leaving the homeland on their own free will. Let this be the start of a movement to repatriate as many Armenians as possible to our homeland. The Diaspora ought to rally around developing communities, industry, and a path towards a brighter future in Armenia for ALL Armenians. Perhaps we can find our way back home from these “lost” Armenians.

  7. Bedros said:

    ”””Free land and opportunities for economic developments and will
    subsidize this effort until the families are self-sufficient.”””
    It has to be tax free for a while che’?
    Wait till the rest of the word Armenians hear this, from Iraq, Turkey,
    including all of the retirees from Florida, and more.

  8. rita said:

    Welcome back! We are all Armenian regardless from religion and I am happy they are coming to join with other Armenians

    • Cilicia said:

      This is insane. These people will never be Armenian as long as they continue being Muslim. They will want to islamize Armenia from within. Armenian culture, language, history means nothing without Christianity. You clearly do not know what being an Armenian is all about.

      • Edward Demian said:

        Acctually, Muslims are very easy to convert, when they are away from the oppressive Turkish authorities. Given a free choice, and no peer pressure, they quickly choose Christianity.

        • pilunc said:

          really?, I guess you have no idea about us.. for us, our religion most important than anything.. sorry.. we are happy to be muslim and suggest you to cope with that!!

  9. ZARMAIR said:

    Bring those beautiful people back to the Fatherland. God bless them for surviving the centuries.

    • Levon Medzaqordz said:

      These “beautiful” people practice the same religion as those of the ugly people who marched 1.5 million of us into the desert, stole our land, and destroyed our wonderful churches.

  10. Jeff said:

    I wonder if their dialect has been studied. It’s been in isolation in Krygrzstan and as a living linguistic community can likely serve as a window into the state of one variety of Armenian prior to the standardization of Ashkhrabar (both eastern and western varieties).

  11. Sassoun said:

    Let’s us welcome them with open arms and make them feel at home. Our Nations salvation is resettlement of our homeland with all Armenians. Pari yegak Sireli Hayrenageetsner!

  12. Vartegez said:

    It is a great news, I hope more of these Armenians will move to their homeland

  13. MGL said:

    Are these people Christians? Shouldn’t they be settled in Agdam and other former Azeri’s territories?

    • bigmoustache said:

      so what if theyre not chrisitan? they consider themselves armenian, thats MORE armenian to me than some armenians that i know. unproud armenians, weak armenians like LTP, tavajans…

      they SHOULD be resettled in karapagh.

      As for aghdam, the whole fking place is ours! i dont know why that town hasnt been repopulated with armenians but it should haver, long ago.
      if there are any poor or homeless in yerevan, why dont we give them farming land? we could solve 2 problems at once…

  14. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    This is such a touching story. Wow they are such a beautiful bunch. I already love them like no other. Welcome home brothers and sisters.

  15. manooshag said:

    Welcome Hamshen Armenians to our ancient land of Artsakh, after 250 years!! You know you are Armenians, but you have been forced to adopt another religion… an issue which can be cleared over time…
    You have chosen Artsakh well – for these several years the progression of the citizens of Artsakh has been outstanding and your honest participation and inclusion shall be of benefit to Artsakh – historically, Armenian lands for many generations. Paree Yeghak!

  16. arthur said:

    i wish one day i can all so take my bags and come to Armenia for permanent residence

  17. Hrant K. said:

    To MGL: for your info, there is no more ” occupied Agdam” any more it has been renamed its

    original Armenian name “Aghri”. There are only former Armenian territories, aka the former so called

    ” occupied azeri territories”, and that by Stalin’s unfair map redrawing to satisfy the then

    communists’ brotherhoods’ so called “imperative needs” , which Armenia paid the price so dearly

    from 1920-23. There is a New World Order now, and Armenians, whether 300000 from Moldova or

    anywhere else in this Universe are free to choose to resettle wherever or whenever they want!!! (7)

  18. papken hartunian said:

    I have a dream. The day will come Armenians from diaspora will stay in line to move to Armenia. Whoever moves to Armenia will save himsel or herself and would be born as a new armenian.
    I respect the worst armenian living in Armenian more than the best Armenian living in Diaspora.
    Let us move to Armenia to pay our dues before becomes too late.

    • bigmoustache said:

      lebanon is the only place in the diaspora that armenian culture thrives, if you want to save western armenian culture move back to lebanon and repopulate it to pre-war numbers. we were there from the beginning and its our last piece of cilicia

  19. ando said:

    We need to go back in order to save ourselves and our children. We all know our survival in the Diaspora is impossible. I encourage everyone to seriously think about making their way back to our homeland. What is the point in being Armenian passing our culture to our kids if we never plan to go back to our roots? What is the point, why are we fighting so hard if we are not planning to repatriate.

  20. Armen said:

    I agree with you to go back, unless if we are not going to be a burden on the Armenia, and it will be better if it gets done by planed and organized way.
    I like to be optimistic about Hamshens but their religion troubles me, they can become very dangerous by fallowing their books teachings, have you heard about Lebanon Arab Christians and Muslims ware, and Egyptian Muslims burning churches few days ago, and many of suicide bombers in around the world, Hamshens are believers to the same book, they may turn to attack us from within, is that possible to be I hope not,but their book teaches it, isn’t it, are we ready to face that, I think it is a big concern, I will stay away from that books teachings, and remember that if it was a good thing, our ancestors had adopted it long time ago, I hope I’m wrong but I doubt it.
    But again it is good to be like the father of the prodigal son.And maybe thats what Artsakh authorities are trying to do.which is good.

    • bigmoustache said:

      do you know what lebanons christians can do, they can act VERY un-christianlike…have you heard of THEIR massacres and genocidal attempts.
      as for the suicide bomber, i can see youve already fallen prey to propaganda. todays suicide bomber is an idiot and more likely to use it as a weapon of terror. attacking civilians or attempting to stoke sectarian feuds.
      i once read that in afghanistan they tried to use one to breach a base only to get shot up and have their ‘suicide bomber’ waste himself of $70 worth of fencing material lol (they used it to breach a hole in the fence, thats all) . in the 80s, when the idea came as a war strategy, it started in lebanon and the occupying israelis had no idea about it, even the americans. thats why they suffered such losses in lebanon (250 americans in one bomb, 80 shin bet when their base was bombed, israeli patrols 5 here 7 there…etc)
      now its all but useless except for those who have no other military means and those that use it for terror against civilians.
      in our history we have had many fedayis go out on missions they knew they would never return from, and even though it makes no sense on todays battlefield, i could only feel pride and awe at such patriotism from our people if they were ever to take such dire measures.
      within time many hamshens may convert, but that doesnt mean much to me. i dont have ‘faith’ in any religion but my race. thats my religion to me and ive seen more miracles in an armenian history book than any bible, believe that!
      long live the ARF

  21. ando said:

    Armen jan,

    I do agree that those that repatriate should not be a burden to the Armenian state. I also believe unlike the masses that went back decades ago the modern generation is a lot more educated, successful and has a better grasps in how the world works. I think the new generation of Armenians that will go back to Armenia will make a huge impact on the countries development and overall mentality of doing things. As far as your concern about the Hamshen Armenians religion I think it is unnecessary. Our culture, unlike most in the world is actually stronger than our religious beliefs’. Think about it, we have been through so many religions and even lived as atheists during soviet times for 70 years but not once we had a civil war or a religious war amongst each other. I foresee the Hamshen Armenians eventually integrating and their kids being born and raised in Armenia and in Armenian schools will be fully integrated back to our culture. Important thing is the language and culture in my opinion, religion is secondary. One last note: we have many Muslim Kurds and Yezdiz in Armenia but they live among us and have never posed a threat or refused to serve in our army etc. Furthermore, many of them actually fought in our side during the war with the Azeris even though they shared the same religion as our enemy.

    • bigmoustache said:

      we need to forget religion here. or else thanks a lot for attracting the jihadists. quite the contrary, we need to be more involved in mid east matters. we have populations there, and just like any other nations that armenians live in, we have made something of ourselves. again were known as the artists, craftsmen, intellectuals and even politians in these countries.
      so we should be more vocal, mediating…instead of turkey. we need to remind those arabs how the turks treated them. of the massacres of the past and todays racism and feelengs of superiority in turkey, and keep that wedge between them and turks.
      we should also support the palestinians more openly. then the israelis will understand and we’ll have more leverage in the ongoing efforts of genocide recognition

  22. HAGOP said:

    the more Armenians settle in Artsakh the best it is ! at least to compensate those leaving for the Russian Federation in order to work and somehow to help their family !

  23. Ashod Krikorian said:

    We were Armenian before Christianity, and we will be Armenian after Christianity… There are almost 4 million Hamshen Armenians in this world. They are of our same bloodline, and to deny them because of something as trivial as religion is ignorant and a dangerous mentality.
    Instead of hating on them we should learn by their example. We need to welcome more of our own brothers and sisters back!

    • Sirvart Garabedian said:

      Don’t we take a moment to think logically that if we don’t allocate them to Karabagh and leave them in Muslim countries or Moldova whereever they be, gradually ther generation will be lost forever, at least it helps them to get involved with civilized Armenian and let them have their own place, get involved in Armenian community of Artsakh, their children thought Armenian in schools, so that they gradually overcome their wrong identity!!!!

  24. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    I want to change my religion
    To be called Hamsen

    As I look ‘Like Them’
    And they look ‘Like Me’

    Who knows my religion through
    Looking to my face
    I will be grateful
    If thee…could tell me…!

    Thus…We can change our Religion
    Hence…never our ethnicity
    It is Our DNA…s
    Implanted in our genes

    It is Our Armenian Tree
    Like an Olive Tree
    Which can live thousand years
    And still give the same olives
    The same green leaves…

    And every seed created
    Must Beat… breathe…seed through centuries
    Did you understand my dears…!


  25. Gevork said:

    We need only one article of faith and one unquestionable fact , that God created us, and he did so through out ancestors. No one without a true identity can make one of any religion. The Hamshen Armenians have met the test of time, and pressure and have remained true. Our Armenian ancestors were around long before Jesus and Mohamad! Long live the one true religion that unites us all!

  26. Peter Megerdumiam said:

    The NKR govenment should put the Hemshin men as border guards so if the Azeri snipers kill then, then the Armenian government can complain to Islamic organizations about the crimes that Azeri’s have committed against their fellow muslims. but it is important to limit the numbers of Hemshin because you don’t want to have too many Muslims in Armenia. Unfortunately many Iranians are marying Hayastansi woman who are converting to Islam . Turkey and Iran both have plans to Islamize Armenia and that is a major threat.

    • Edward Demiraiakian said:

      How about we put you up on a cross. What a perfect martyr you would make.

  27. Peter Megerdumiam said:

    Loyalty is more important than religion. If the Hemshin are loyal, then they can be trusted but it is still good to allow small numbers of them to come.