Garegin Njdeh is a prominent Armenian military commander, national hero and philosopher. He played a crucial role in the formation and preservation of the Armenian statehood.
In case you ask Armenians to name Armenian heroes, Garegin Njdeh will definitely top the list since. He is considered one of the most admired figures in Armenian history who greatly impacted the mindset of Armenian politicians, writers, the youth and ordinary citizens.
So, it comes as no surprise that you will find Njdeh’s most inspiring quotes shared on the youth’s pages of social networking sites. Besides, there are several statues, streets and even movies dedicated to the most prominent figure of the 20th century.
Interesting, right? Join us to find out more about the greatness and the sacrifices Njdeh has made to let Armenians enjoy the freedom that they have right now.
You’ll also find throughout the article the most inspiring quotes by Garegin Nzhdeh. We assure you, these quotes are not only for Armenians, but every individual who loves his homeland and is willing to do his best for the betterment of his country.
Garegin Njdeh: The Honorary Son of the Armenian Nation
Garegin Njdeh is a talented statesman, diplomat, writer, orator, philosopher, military commander, and in a word, one of the most admired and greatest Armenians in history.
Due to his true love towards homeland and heroic resistance against Turkish, Azeri, and Bolshevik forces, Njdeh won the hearts of Armenians and became an icon of fortitude.
Garegin Nzhdeh played a crucial role in some of the most dangerous battles fought for other nations as well. So, it is not surprising that Njdeh is not only revered and glorified by Armenians, but by other nations too.
Timeline of Garegin Njdeh’s Military and Political Actions
In 1908 Njdeh joined the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and participated in the Iranian revolution together with some Armenian revolutionaries.
In 1909, Njdeh was arrested by the Russian authorities on the charges of being a member of Armenian Revolutionary Federation and spent 3 years in various prisons across Russia and the Caucasus.
These arrests, though, didn’t make Njdeh change his political views. Garegin Nzhdeh remained a loyal and devoted Dashnaktsakan, who respected the party and stayed true to its mission.
In 1912, Njdeh left for Bulgaria where he formed an Armenian battalion within the Bulgarian Army to fight against the Ottoman Empire during the Balkan wars (1912 – 1913). For the brave and extraordinary performance, Garegin Nzhdeh was honored with the “Cross of Bravery” by Bulgarian military authorities.
After the declaration of the First Republic of Armenia, Njdeh was appointed as the governor of Nakhijevan, and later on, in August 1919, commander of the southern corps of the Armenian army.
However, the history of First Republic of Armenia was rather short, since on 2 December 1920, Armenia became a part of Soviet Union.
Garegin Njdeh Fighting Against Bolshevism and Soviet Occupation
The Soviet Government proposed that the regions of Nagorno-Karabakh and Zangezur should be part of the Soviet Azerbaijan.
Njdeh slammed this decision and as a convinced Anti Bolshevik he led the defense of Syunik and declared Syunik, Zangezour and its surrounding areas as self-governing regions in December 1920. This is how the so called “Republic of Mountainous Armenia” was established.
A new constitution was adopted and Njdeh Became the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense of the Republic of the Mountainous Armenia.
Between April and July 1921, the Red Army conducted massive military operations in the region, attacking Syunik from north and the east. Njdeh headed the struggle to compel the Bolsheviks to recognize Syunik as an inseparable part of Armenia.
After months of fierce battles with the Red Army, the Republic of Mountainous Armenia capitulated in July 1921 following Soviet Russia’s promises to keep the mountainous region as a part of Soviet Armenia.
After a time, Garegin Nzhdeh, his soldiers, and Armenian intellectuals crossed the Araxes River into neighboring Iran.
Soon, Njdeh left for Sofia, Bulgaria, where he married a local Armenian woman and started a family.
Garegin Njdeh’s Organizational Initiatives Within Diaspora Communities
Miles away from his homeland, Njdeh didn’t stop doing something good and useful for his country. He was involved in organizing the Armenian communities of Bulgaria, Romania, and the United States.
The fate of the Armenian youth in the Diaspora was at the heart of Njdeh’s concerns and his contributions in this area are noteworthy.
In 1933, by the decision of ARF Dashnaktsutyun, Njdeh moved to USA where he formed the Armenian Youth Federation, one of the oldest youth organizations in the Armenian Diaspora.
In 1937, he was back in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, where he began to publish the “Razmig” Armenian newspaper.
At the end of the 1930s, along with a group of Armenian intellectuals in Sofia, he founded the Taron Nationalist Movement and published its organ “Taroni Artsiv” paper.
Garegin Njdeh maintained close contacts with Macedonian-Bulgarian revolutionary organizations as well.
As already mentioned, Njdeh was a prolific writer, an author of many letters, books and hundreds of quotes that described Armenian psychology and society and continue to instill patriotism in youth.
Garegin Nzhdeh Trapped by Soviet Authorities
Like most Dashnaks (members of Armenian Revolutionary Foundation), Njdeh also faced several trials throughout his lifetime.
Besides, Njdeh’s wife and her brothers were frequently questioned by the KGB (Committee for State Security), and the family lived under the permanent threat of being exiled to Siberia.
On 9 September 1944, Njdeh wrote a letter to Stalin offering his support to attack Turkey. The Soviet military commanders told Njdeh that the idea to invade Turkey in order to punish Ankara for the collaboration with the Nazi Germany and also to return the occupied Western Armenia territories was interesting.
The Soviets invited Njdeh to a meeting where they were supposed to negotiate, but it was a trap. Njdeh was arrested and sent to Vladimir prison in Russia, where he was questioned and tortured.
Garegin Njdeh’s Arrest and Trial
In November 1946, Njdeh was sent to Yerevan for trial, and on April 24, 1948, he was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment.
Garegin Njdeh spent the last 11 years of his life (1944 – 1955) in various prisons across the Soviet Union, splitting his time between Moscow (1944 – 46), Yerevan (1946 – 48, 1952 – 53), and Vladimir (1948 – 52, 1953 – 55).
During the course of his entire prison term, the Soviet authorities suggested Njdeh to cooperate with authorities. He was promised amnesty if he agreed to write a letter to the government requesting a pardon.
The General never accepted the charges brought against him. He continuously denied any wrongdoing and stated that all of his efforts were directed at helping his people.
Njdeh was also subjected to both physical and psychological torture. At first, he was not even allowed to write to his relatives. The guards refused to provide him with paper and pen.
However, due to his mental and physical strength Njdeh survived eleven years in Soviet prison conditions that could have killed a healthy person within a few months.
The prison guards from Yerevan and Vladimir attested that Njdeh never lost his temper and never cursed or blamed anyone. Instead, he spent most of his time in prison reading or writing.
Garegin Njdeh’s Death and the Final Resting Place
During the last year of his life, the Soviet authorities allowed Levon, Njdeh’s brother, to visit him in the Tashkent prison (May, 1955). Njdeh was even allowed to write his first letter to his family (May, 1954).
Upon his return to Vladimir, Njdeh’s health deteriorated. When he was finally allowed to see a doctor, it became clear that he was not going to live for too long.
The great Armenian hero passed away on December 21, 1955.
After receiving a telegram from the Soviet authorities, announcing his death, Njdeh’s brother Levon left Yerevan for Vladimir to organize the transfer of Njdeh’s body.
However, the Soviet authorities refused to allow the transfer of Njdeh’s body to Armenia and Njdeh was buried at a cemetery in Vladimir.
In August of 1983, the husband of Njdeh’s granddaughter, Pavel Ananian, secretly brought the Armenian hero’s remains to Armenia and buried parts of his right hand at the footsteps of Mount Khustup (October 7, 1983).
When Armenia got independence (September, 1991), thanks to the endeavors of some intellectuals and public figures, Njdeh’s remains were reburied in Kapan (April 26, 2005), at the slopes of Mount Khustup.
The choice of the location of his grave was not accidental. Njdeh had once expressed such a wish.
Garegin Njdeh’s Legacy in Armenia and Diaspora
Garegin Njdeh’s legacy is rich and diverse. Thanks to Njdeh’s efforts, Syunik, the backbone of the country, remained an inseparable part of Independent Armenia.
Decades after his death, Armenians still remember Garegin Njdeh who dedicated his life to his country and became a martyr for his people.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that there are dozens of books, movies, programs, etc., dedicated to the great Armenian ideologist.
In March 2010, Njdeh was selected as the “National pride and the most outstanding figure” of Armenian history by the voters of “We are Armenians” TV project launched by one of Armenian TV channels.
There is even an avenue, a large square, and a nearby metro station in Yerevan named after Garegin Njdeh.
A village in the southern Syunik Province of Armenia is also named after Njdeh.
The statue of Njdeh was unveiled in May 2016, in the central part of Yerevan where the citizens and visitors have the chance to lay flowers and pay tribute to the memory of one of the prominent Armenian political and military figures of the 20th century.
The Movie “Garegin Nzhdeh”
There are some movies available on the internet about Njdeh. The most popular one is the same-named movie premiered on 28 January 2013 in Yerevan’s Moscow Cinema.
The movie budget was $7 million and was dedicated to the 21st anniversary of the Armenian army.
Social networks and media have been actively discussing the movie “Garegin Njdeh” and criticizing the producers just after the trailer was disseminated.
Even after watching, many people claimed that Njdeh’s character was not fully disclosed and his ideology could have been presented better. Despite early criticism, many skeptics eventually changed their opinions.
Armenian Nationalist Ideology Developed by Garegin Njdeh
Garegin Njdeh is mostly known and revered by Armenians as the father-founder of Armenian nationalist ideology that emerged in the 1930s.
“Tseghakron” movement, established on January 14, 1933, was actually aimed at promoting national awakening, resisting Turkish-Bolshevik propaganda, and finally reclaiming the rights of the Armenian people.
“Tseghakron” literally means “Race religion”, and the movement is by many considered a religion, rather than just a political movement.
However, Njdeh was not an atheist and didn’t aim to establish a new religion. His ideology is mainly based on the combination of patriotism and the Christian faith.
Being actively involved in World War II, Njdeh cooperated with Germany and offered his services in exchange for putting an end to the anti-Armenian campaign in the German press.
This cooperation, however, created a kind of myth around Njdeh’s name and led to linking “Tseghakronutyun” to fascism.
Njdeh clearly stated that ‘Tseghakronutyun” is a purely Armenian concept and it has no connection to any other foreign ideologies.
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