Sadly lately there has been an increase in postings and articles in Armenian social media online and print sites criticizing the past and present activities of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF).

Since its formation in 1890 and to this day the ARF has been criticized, ridiculed and put down by some people who make it their priority to do so.

I am not going to list the allegations or comment on whether they are true or false. Suffice it to say, the ARF has made mistakes in the past and mistakes are still happening.

Yet in spite of all political hurdles, the ARF in the Armenian Diaspora fought for the survival of our Homeland. The point I’m trying to make is this: Only those who do something make mistakes. Meanwhile others sit by idly and take joy and pride in criticizing.

Since its formation and to this day the ARF has and continues to work for and secure the survival of our Homeland and our Republic of Artsakh, against all known and unknown forces who are working to wipe them off of the map of this world.

I know I will be crucified for saying it, but I don’t care. When I have something to say, I say it.

I have said it often in the past and I feel compelled to say it again: If it weren’t for the ARF and our first Republic, we would not have had an Armenia today.

If it weren’t for the ARF and our first Republic, we would not have had an Armenia today.

During the 70 years of Communist regime in Armenia, the ARF was the only Armenian political party proudly flying our beloved Yerakuyn [tri-colored] flag on Churches, schools, community centers and other organizations under its umbrella in the Armenian Diaspora all around the world, while others shied away and criticized every chance they got.

Furthermore, the ARF has been and still is the most active Armenian political party in fighting for and demanding  recognition of the Armenian Genocide. It is also the only Armenian political party that is fully active, flourishing and growing up in stature and numbers, while the other Armenian parties and organizations are shrinking to the point of non-existence.

If the ARF and its doctrine and ideology are wrong, then why have its supporters continued to increase worldwide? Why? Because of the confidence in the ARF and its leaders. Not all Armenians are party members, but most support the ARF.

The ARF leaders must be doing what is right for the community, and they have most of the community’s support, otherwise its institutions would have disappeared just like the others. In my hometown of Toronto, for example, in the past few years, we have seen the closure of the AGBU school and just now in October 2018, we heard the AGBU center is up for sale.

Leaders make mistakes. Leaders come and go. But the ARF is and will always be there long after we are gone.

In conclusion I would like to share with you a true statement made by a friend: “The ARF has done and continues to do well in the Diaspora. However, the sad reality is that it is not doing well in Armenia. Hopefully they will do what is right and recover their standing in Armenia.”

Hrad Poladian

Hrad Poladian

Born in 1942 in Cairo, Egypt, Hrad joined the Badanegan Mioutioun when he was 8 years old. He joined the ARF ranks in 1965. He's been living in Canada since 1966, and he has been a member of Armenian National Committee of Quebec from 1988 to 1993, where he handled media relations until his resignation from the ARF in 1994. However, he says, in his heart he is still a Tashnak for life.
Hrad Poladian

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  1. The ARF is useless, everything they do is counter productive, and i just find odd how some people are part of “ARF families” as if they are more loyal to a political party than their countries. The whole thing is strange. People need to face the fact that the ARF is not relevant anymore and progress forward.

  2. Obviously another Armenian who has an ax to grind against the ARF- that is all I am going to say.

    Hrad Poladian

    • I’m not a member of any political party, just care that Armenia is free. The ARF had been supporting one of the most horrible corrupt governments in the world and the ARF chose to support them. What has the ARF achieved when in government, please tell me?

  3. We thank Hrad Poladian on his comments on the A.R.F. If we didn’t have our A.R.F. that was formed in 1890. there would not be an Armenia today. Our Freedom Fighters whom fought the Turks year after year saved our nation. The Armenian People must continue to support the A.R.F. and come forth suggestions to help on the many issues that still are confronting us. For instant, Artsakh whom has been free from the Azeri’s for over 27 years should have been incorporated by the Armenian Government. The Azeri’s have sniped & killed over 400 of our Artsakh Soldiers & Village people & the Russians whom are protecting our borders from invasion from Turkey are not helping us out on the killing of our Artsakh soldiers & village people. Pressure should be put on Russia to back us up on this serious issue. Also, over one million Armenian’s have left for Russia for lack of jobs in Armenia. This serious issue must also change. The Armenians living in Russia are grataly are marrying Russians & losing their Armenian Culture & Preservation. Their is much to be said but people should not critixize the A.R.F. for all the good it has done for preserving our Nation. People must come forward & make suggestions when our organization happens to go in the wrong direction.

  4. There is not enough room and space here for me to tell you what the ARF did when in government- I suggest to you to read the history of the ARF and read my article again. You will not see any further comments from me again. Tank you.

    Thank you.

  5. “I have said it often in the past and I feel compelled to say it again: If it weren’t for the ARF and our first Republic, we would not have had an Armenia today.”

    A perfect statement, but don’t tell that to our local apparatchiks who come here claiming the ex post facto argument of “Armenia wouldn’t exist without Mother Russia”. Russia never did a damned thing to create Armenia. The ARF did. That’s why the Soviet Union brainwashed and lied itself through Armenia for over 70 years about the “evils of the ARF”. The end result was the five star ignoramus also known as the Soviet Dinosaur which continues to exist and control Armenia to this day. And on the contrary Russia not only gave away large plots of land to both Turkey and Azerbaijan, but they wanted to finish Armenia off by giving Syunik too as the last stabbing of Armenia so that Turkey and Azerbaijan can accomplish their turanic dream. And who stopped that? Yea the ARF. But again, don’t tell that to our local apparatchiks and the puppet “government” of Armenia, they are liable to have their blood pressures shoot through the roof.

  6. Sadly, this subjective commentary is filled with generalizations and presents no useful facts.

    Hrad Poladian prior to this op-ed, has put me in a group of people who have an ax to grind, discounting facts and figures we have presented. My pointing out the dangers that the Armenian people have faced since the inception of the ARF is not based on hatred, but rather a matter of survival. History forgotten will repeat itself, yet in the world of the ARF, the real history is hidden or suppressed, thus it can not be used as a lesson to teach and learn by. This is the real history and biggest downfall of the ARF.

    I will close in saying that I am of 5 people who own the archive of the ARF’s claim to fame, “Operation Nemesis”. The reason why I am an owner of it is that in fact it was NOT an ARF sanctioned operation, but rather was carried out under the leadership of my grandfather, Shahan Natalie, who handed in his resignation in October of 1919 at the conclusion of the ARF’s 9th General Assembly in Yerevan, Armenia. This objection by the ARF leadership of the assassination in my opinion is probably the biggest mistake they made, as if it had not been for my grandfather drive and determination to carry of the operation, today I have no doubt the language you would have been speaking in Yerevan is Turkish.

    Within the weeks to follow, the first installment of Shahan Natalie’s classified archive, which includes the only known archive of Operation Nemesis, will be published in the form of an 800 page book. I invite Mr. Poladian to revisit this subject and give an objective opinion on the importance of this unknown history of the ARF once he had an opportunity to read the book.

  7. Dear Mr. Manoogian. I said what needed to be said. I do not wish to engage in a debate with you, and I DO NOT WISH TO HELP YOU SELL YOUR BOOK.

  8. ARF may have done some good things. But it did one very bad thing: support for nearly 10 years an illegitimate regime that violated political and civil rights and fixed elections. That badness is so bad it is difficult to see past it to the good.

  9. The first stage of grief is denial. “Not all Armenians are party members, but most support the ARF.” This is almost a laughable statement.

  10. It is sad to see some fellow Armenians criticizing the politically most active Armenian Party A.R.F. I am not an A.R.F. member but I am a highly supporter. Here is my PERSONAL experience and why. I am an Armenian born and raised in diaspora in Kamishli, Syria in 1949. I love Syria. Because of the Turkish Genocide, I was born in Syria and millions like me around the world. Today, I read and write the Armenian language fluently because of A.R.F.’s hard work by building and help building schools,
    churches, community centers, publish newspapers in diaspora around the world also maintaining and watching them. This is why until today the year of 2020 we have Armenian teachers, Singing choirs, deacons, that’s why the divine liturgy is in Armenian language in all our churches in diaspora. That’s why we Armenians love and are attached to our motherland Haiastan, Artsakh and Our Christian Faith because of A.R.F. and the Armenian teachers that I have tremendous respect towards them who educated us and taught us our Alphabet, culture, history and the Armenian Genocide. A.R.F. played a big role by keeping the Genocide Torch lit until to this date. Finally, I think if anyone would ask me today. Mr. Zaven what nationality are you. Probably my answer would have been “My father told me we are Armenians” if there was no A.R.F.

    Zaven Vartanian
    August 2020

  11. Dear Zaven Vartanian.Thank you for your comments about the ARF Let me share with you the following. I became a member of the ARF Badanegan ARF Youth Organization in the 1950s. My Gnkahayr was the late Unger kapriel Lazian. I and many others like me in Cairo, Egypt have been fortunate to grow up to see our great leaders of the ARF like Vahan Navassartian, Kapriel Lazian and Tro and many other influential Armenian leaders, and have been mentored by Peglar Navassartian, Sarkis Zeitlian. Having left Kalousdian Armenian National School of Cairo, Egypt, I grew up and remained Armenian because I had joined the Badanegan, and then the Yerdassartz and the ARF ranks in 1965my Gnkahayr was Dr. Papken Papazian Yes, there have been some dark pages of the ARF history. LEEDERS COME AND GO BUT THE ARF REMAINS. LONG LIVE THE ARF.

  12. Kapriel Lazian was my grandfather. I never met him as he passed away a few months before I was born. But my grandmother (Natalia Lazian) talked to me about his family (his parents and siblings all perished in the Medz Yeghern) and his achievements. I was, and am, very proud of him.

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