Society 14:25 25/02/2010

Zoravar Andranik's 145th jubilee marked

Andranik Toros Ozanian, Zoravar Andranik was born in February 25, 1865 and died in August 31, 1927. He was an Armenian general, political and public activist and freedom fighter, greatly admired as a national hero. Andranik Ozanian was born in the church quarter of Sebinkarahisar, Ottoman Armenia. Today the 145th jubilee of Zoravar Andranik is marked.

Andranik joined the Armenian freedom movement in the Ottoman Empire, and participated in Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Andranik became a fedayeen and joined military commander Aghpyur Serob, and became one of his bravest fedayeens. When Serob died, Andranik became the common leader of Armenian fedayee groups of Vaspurakan and Sassoun.


All of Andranik's lieutenants accepted that their leader possessed undisputed authority and superiority in military matters and that he was "primus inter pares" (the first among equals). Such was the popularity Andranik earned among the men he led that they came to refer to him always by his first name - even formally, when he later held a general's rank in the Imperial Russian Army.


The most famous battles of Andranik and his fedayees in that period were the guerrilla battles of Arakelots (St Apostols) Monastery of Mush (1901) and the Second Sasun Resistance (1904). After the Second Sasun Resistance (1904), Andranik and his feedayis were forced into exile by local Armenian authorities, and pressured from Armenian leaders to allow temporary peace in the highly violitle eastern vilayets. He passed through the Persian boarder, eventually arriving in Europe and published his "Military instructions" book in Geneva in 1906.

AtSofia, Andranik met revolutionist Boris Sarafov, and the two pledged themselves to work jointly for the oppressed peoples of Armenia and  Macedonia. Andranik participated in the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, within the Bulgarian army, alongside Garegin Njdeh as a commander of Armenian auxiliary troops in Macedonian - Adrianopolitan Volunteer Coprs. Bulgarian authorities honored him by the "Cross of Bravery".

During  World War I, he participated in the Caucasus Campaign and was appointed as general of the Armenian volunteer units of the Russian army. He participated in 20 different offensives where he gained fame due to his courage and the tactics he employed to defeat the opposing forces. The Russian authorities made Andranik a Major General in 1918 and decorated him six times for gallantry.

The writer, intellectual and ARF leader Mikayel Varandian wrote about Andranik: "Not less courageous and not less capable than Serob Aghbiur, Andranik had both intelligence and instinct. A born strategist, with a thorough knowledge of the mountains and valleys of the motherland, he was a unique and unparalleled leader and commander. He was audacious and courageous, also cautious and farsighted".

He was the commanding officer of the Armenian volunteer units, which helped the Van Resistance take control of Van on May 6, 1915. He helped re-capture the city from Ottoman forces during the Battle of Van. He was also the commander of the battalion that took the city of Bitlis from the Ottoman forces that was under control of Halil Pasha. Between March 1918 - April 1918, he was the governor of the  Administration for Western Armenia. His military leadership was instrumental in allowing the Armenian population of Van to escape the Ottoman Army and flee to Eastern Armenia, then controlled by Russia. The territory later became the Democratic Republic of Armenia.

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