Thursday would have been the late Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau Chairman, Hrair Maroukhian’s 85th birthday. Saturday, marks the 15th anniversary of Maroukhian’s passing after a long illness.
Hrair Torkom Maroukhian (Dec 19, 1928-Dec 21, 1998) served on the ARF Bureau for 35 years. Born in Kermanshah, Iran he graduated from the Mechanical Engineering department at Iran’s State University and later established his own engineering firm.
In 1963, as the representative of Northern Iran’s ARF Central Committee, Maroukhian took part in the ARF’s World Congress—a very significant meeting in ARF history because it called for generation change.
The generation of Tro, Navasartian and Vratsian ushered in a new crop of younger leaders who were born and raised in the Diaspora. As one of the most prominent faces of that generation, Maroukhian was elected to the ARF Bureau and re-elected in 1967 and in 1972.
At the 1988 ARF World Congress, which re-evaluated the party’s policies of the past quarter century and set a new agenda, Maroukhian was elected chairman. He would continually be re-elected to that position until his death in 1998.
In 1992, then President Levon Ter-Petrosian expelled Maroukhian from Armenia, a day before the World Congress was to take place for the first time in the newly-independent republic. Ter-Petrosian later cracked down on the ARF culminating in banning of the party in Armenia in 1994 and sending its leader to prison on trumped up charges. The ban on the ARF was lifted in 1998 after Ter-Petrossian resigned and Robert Kocharian assumed Armenia’s presidency.
Maroukhian held an active presence on Armenia’s political stage, in the struggle for freedom in Artsakh and in Armenia’s national renaissance, centering upon the motto “Tebi Yergir.”
It had been Maroukhian’s dream to live in Armenia and to devote his life to the mission of further strengthening the newly independent Armenian state. But fate dictated that he would return to the homeland only in death. Hrair Maroukhian’s dedication and commitment to the Armenian people, to the empowerment of the newly independent Republic of Armenia and for the right to self-determination of the people of Artsakh, will always be revered and remembered, not only by the ARF but by the Armenian nation.