In June 1890, Russian Armenian students met in Tiflis, in the Russian Caucauses, in a large convention to discuss the future of Greater Armenia. They determined what would be the best way to unite all revolutionary forces under one new organization, and thus the new party the Armenian Revolutionary Federation or Dashnaktsuthiun party was born. It was founded by Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation

The Hunchak party also joined them but later withdrew and continued to work as revolutionaries in their own organization to revolt against the Ottoman Empire.

It contains affiliates in more than 200 countries, and represents a large majority of Armenian diaspora members as well as Armenians in Armenia.

The goals of the Dashnaks were adopted in their first general convention at Tiflis in 1892. The banners at the meeting read "It is the aim of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation to bring about by rebellion the political and economic emancipation of Turkish Armenia." [1]

The ARF also works as an umbrella organization for the Armenian National Committee, the Armenian Relief Society, the Homenetmen Armenian General Athletic Union, the Hamazkayin Cultural Foundation, and many other organizations. It operates the Armenian Youth Federation, which encourages the youth of the diaspora to join the political cause of the ARF and the Armenian people. The ARF-affiliated Armenian National Committee of America, and its sister organizations such as the Armenian National Committee of Canada subsequently have played a significant role in the campaign for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in their countries.

In 1894, the ARF took part in the First Sasun Resistance, arming the local population to help the people of Sasun rebel against the Ottoman Empire. In June 1896, the Armenakans organized the "Defense of Van" in the province of Van, where Armenians claim Ottoman Hamidieh soldiers were to attack the city, but the reality of the matter was that the Armenians rebelled and took over the Ottoman city of Van.

In order to achieve many of their aims, "by means of revolution, to arm the people, and wreck and loot government institutions." They were to "use the weapon of the terror on corrupt government officers, spies, traitors, grafters, and all sorts of oppressors."[2]

Louise Nalbandian noted "there was no radical difference between the Dashnak Program of 1892 and the aims and activities of the Hunchaks" which was to create terror and rebellion in the Ottoman Empire for the separation of a "free Armenia". These thoughts and ideas of course, were never hidden from the Ottoman government, who became more aware of Armenian thinking and helped in the deciding for the relocation of Armenian revolutionary villages and the eventual arrest of hundreds of Armenian Revolutionary leaders in April 24th, 1915.

Armenian guerrilla bands many of them under the leadership of the Dashnaks attacked Turkish army units, gendarmerie posts and Kurdish villages. British consuls regularly mention the killing of Ottoman officials.

In late November 1892 an Armenian villager tried to assassinate the vali (governor) of Van. He said after the interrogation which the British vice-consul reported that his priest and fellow villagers convinced him it would be for the betterment of the Armenian national movement.


  1. ^ The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey -
  2. ^ The Armenian Revolution pg. 18-19 -