Garegin Nzdek

From Kaiserreich


Garegin Nzdek (born in Nakhijevan, at that time Russia and now Armenia, on Januray 1 1886) is an Armenian military leader and the current Vice-Pasha of Armenia.



Early Life

Garegin Nzdek (also known as Garegin Njdeh) was born on January 1 1886 in the village of Kznut (Kyuznut), near Nakhichevan, the youngest of four children of a local village priest. At that time Nakhichevan was part of the Russian Empire but after the Weltkrieg it became part of the Ottoman Empire and now it is part of the semi-independent pashaluk of Armenia. Nzdek got his early education at a Russian school in Nakhichevan City and continued his higher education at the Tiflis Russian Gymnasium school.

Military career

In 1912, together with General Andranik Ozanian, he formed an Armenian battalion within the Bulgarian Army to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan wars. During the Weltkrieg he was a commander of Armenian auxiliary troops in the Russian Army. Later, after moving back to Armenia, Nzdek joined the Dashnaktsutiun, the powerful Armenian Revolutionary Federation party, and commanded different military units with whom he contributed to the Armenian uprising. He played a key role in organizing the defense of Karakilisa in May 1918 and that victory as well as those at Sardarapat and Abaran were instrumental in allowing the Democratic Republic of Armenia to come into existence on May 28 1928. He also had been proclaimed Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia (also known as Republic of Karabakh-Zanghezur), a short-lived and unrecognized state in the South Caucasus.

After the Weltkrieg

When near the end of the Weltkrieg Armenia fell under Ottoman military occupation, Nzdek was arrested and remained in prison for fifteen months before being released. He was forced to accept the presence of the Ottomans and he refused to help the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (in the meantime gone underground) that wanted to organize a rebellion; however, he spoke repeatedly against Georgia and Azerbaijan. While there were territorial disputes with both country and the hosility was usually higher against Azerbaijan, Nzdek used harsher tones against the Syndicalist Georgia. In fact, Nzdek was a fierce opposer to Socialism and Syndicalism and he had a bigger hatred against Bolshevism, because he considered the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the subsequent civil war a major cause in the outcome of the Weltkrieg and therefore in the fate of Armenia.

When in June 1928 the Ottoman Empire decided to establish Armenia as a semi-independent pashaluk, an autonomous region within the Empire, the Ottomans appointed him as Vice-Pasha because he was still popular with the Armenian population but his open hostility against the neighbouring countries was considered useful in diverting the attention from the influence (and the problems) of the Ottoman Empire.

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