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Why we should read... `Antranig and His Times' by Hratchig Simonian (752pp, Gaysa Publishers, Yerevan, 1996) For Donald Abcarian, translator of Raffi and upright thinker whose help here and elsewhere is valued immensely. Armenian News Network / Groong February 28, 2005 By Eddie Arnavoudian This hefty first volume of Hratchig Simonian's two-volume biography of Antranig is no hagiography. The author pulls no punches as he considers the life and times of this most extraordinary Armenian guerrilla commander; `warts and all' as Oliver Cromwell put it. Erudite and well-researched, Simonian brings to his work a great deal of little known material that affords fresh insight into his subject. Of particular note is his account of those factors that helped shape the character and direction of the Armenian National Liberation Movement (ANLM) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I am not a historian and offer the following remarks in the spirit of a discussion on these important issues. For the sake of clarity it is perhaps worthwhile at the outset noting that unless directly attributed to Hratchig Simonian, views and opinions are mine alone, albeit based on a reading of the work. I. NATIONAL LIBERATION - TWO VISIONS, TWO DIRECTIONS Hratchig Simonian explores extensively the relationships between the military and political wings of the ANLM that had such determining influence on its strategy between 1896-1908. He details Antranig's case for the primacy of guerrilla warfare setting this against the programme proposed by the ANLM leadership, of which the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) was now master. (Here and hereafter all reference to the ARF is to its leadership alone, not to its countless dedicated and self-sacrificing ranks) Closely related is the examination of the opposition between Antranig's revolutionary nationalism and the ARF's Second International socialism. This examination lends credence to the view that the ARF's socialist rhetoric served only to conceal an abandonment of independent revolutionary struggle. This view is in turn reinforced by Simonian's account of Antranig's opposition to the ARF-Young Turk alliance; an alliance that did indeed mark an end to the ARF's revolutionary period. A singular value of Simonian's overall endeavour lies in its comprehensive demonstration of an oft-neglected truth: the course taken by the ANLM was not determined by external forces alone, by the Ottoman Empire or European imperialist powers. Nor was it pre-ordained by inescapable objective conditions of life in historical Armenia. Contributing significantly to all its important turns were those political and military choices made by the ANLM leadership after debate between its two major component forces: the home-based guerrilla movement and the Diaspora based urban intelligentsia. Here, Antranig, a vocal and ardent advocate for the former played a role of immense significance. Antranig's views expressed more closely the experience of the artisan-peasant population of Armenia that provided the mainstay for the Armenian revolution and its guerrilla forces. Antranig was of the people and lived amongst them. His perceptions and approaches to armed struggle, political organisation and political alliances were borne of direct knowledge of conditions in Armenia and of its people. For the mass of the Armenian people life, whether ruled over by Sultans or Young Turks, was defined by plunder, pillage, murder, abduction and arson. The so-called 1908 Young Turk revolution made no difference - none of the vast swathes of stolen land or property were returned and there was no let up in official and unofficial anti-Armenian terror that was continuing to drive tens of thousands into exile. For the common people the Young Turk was just that same unreconstructed military and political official of the Sultan's Empire, only dressed in the latest fashion. The people had no ground for illusions in the capacity of Sultan or Young Turk to make meaningful concessions to their legitimate democratic and national demands. Antranig's revolutionary vision was fashioned by this fundamentally antagonistic relation between the mass of Armenians and the Ottoman state and Young Turks. His uncompromising stand was prompted by the people's experience of the uncompromising tyranny of the Ottoman state. The outlook of the urban elite, on the other hand, was shaped by an entirely different experience. This elite that gave rise to a political and nationalist intelligentsia was externally based, in Istanbul, Tbilisi and further afield. Its relatively secure and privileged conditions of life removed it from the direct experience of the vast majority of the Armenian people. The western Armenian segment of this elite though subject to Ottoman tyranny did not suffer its full savagery. Important sections of both eastern and western elites were integrated into their respective imperial economic systems and sometimes even into the higher echelons of their political apparatus. In Istanbul the elite moved in the genteel surroundings of Ottoman wealth and luxury. When Armenian relations with the Empire soured elite Armenian ears in Istanbul echoed to the sympathetic sounding hypocrisy emanating from European Embassies in Istanbul. In Istanbul the urban intelligentsia existed in its own right, albeit very conditionally. It had its network of school, publishing houses, newspapers and journals, theatres and clubs. Though far from the Homeland, and limited within the very heart of the Empire, it still had something to live for. As it developed relations with Turkish intellectuals educated in the same European universities, it believed that prospects for Armenian life were improving. In contrast to the Armenian in the Homeland the Armenian intelligentsia and urban political activist encountered in the Young Turks men who rounded on the Empire with a democratic rhetoric that exuded a benevolent concern for all oppressed people. This all played its part in nurturing the belief that among the Young Turks in particular were forces amenable to Armenian democratic demands. This in turn generated that unwarranted willingness for compromise with the Empire as an avenue for political emancipation.  The conflicts between these two trends within the ANLM were to produce two strategic visions, one resting on a conception of an independent Armenian strategic power underpinned by armed force, the other relying on the promise of internal and external political alliances and reform. In the struggle between the home-based guerrilla forces and the representatives of the urban intelligentsia the latter prevailed. It was they who were to push the ANLM to abandon armed struggle and nationwide insurrection. In the name of political organisation they opted instead for the disastrous alliance with the Young Turks. To this there was an alternative path. It was argued for by men such as Antranig. The then ANLM leadership blocked that path. Needless to say, even as the ARF played the leading role in this process, all other Armenian political movements were complicit. Prior to considering some of these issues, one point about the character and circumstances of the man is illuminating. Like many leading fedayee Antranig hailed from a relatively well-to-do family of artisans in historic Armenia, underlining again the role of this class in the ANLM. Able to afford education for their children, possessing a degree of material comfort they were a class with ambitions typical of their counterparts elsewhere in the world. They balked against the repressions and insecurities of life in the decaying Ottoman Empire that were designed to inhibit their development in favour of the development of a newly emerging Turkish elite. Antranig was not however a natural revolutionary. In early youth, for all his explosive personality, he worked in the Royal Ottoman armoury when in Istanbul - a prestigious establishment post. In his time he was also a metal worker and cobbler. He had a go at his own copper business. A devout Christian, back in his hometown of Shabin-Karahisar where he was born in 1865, he turned his hand to carpentry and built the local Church, with no charge. It was the force of circumstance that drove him, and countless others, to nationalist politics and revolutionary struggle. II. GUERRILLA WAR VERSUS POLITICAL ORGANISATION - CONFLICT IN THE MOVEMENT Like many anti-imperialist movements the Armenian movement too was marked by a complicated relation between its armed wing and its political organisations, the former based in the homeland, the latter mostly in exile. Many of the issues that vexed the militants of the ANLM were to reappear in the liberation movements of the 1950s and onwards in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The debates within the Irish Republican Movement during the late 1960s and 1970s are particularly striking in their numerous parallels with the Armenian movement. The 1896 slaughter by the Ottoman state of over 300,000 Armenians and the killing of over 600 of the most tested Armenian guerrilla fighters inevitably forced a major re-evaluation of ANLM strategy and tactics. This received direct expression in a clash between two outstanding figures - Antranig and Hrair (Armenag Ghazarian - 1864-1904 - another widely respected guerrilla leader), both of whom in time joined the ARF. In his account Simonian does not shy away from the shadier aspects of this clash. Nor does he disguise the faults of his hero, writing even of claims that Antranig devised a plan to assassinate Hrair. 1896 had revealed the shortcomings of locally or provincially organised resistance that relied almost exclusively on the military skills of autonomous guerrilla formations operating in isolated territorial units. Despite their bravery and skill they proved unable to defend the population from slaughter and were ultimately no match for the superior nationally organised forces of the state. So `from the mid-1890s' writes Simonian `there developed within the guerrilla forces two positions on the future development of the movement.' (p95), The first was represented by leaders such as Antranig, Kevork Chavoush, Sebastatzi Murat and others for whom `the guerrilla struggle was the principle method of struggle against Turkish and Kurdish exploiters' (p95). Opposing Antranig and his co-thinkers was Hrair. Arguing that liberation was impossible through guerrilla warfare Hrair `proposed the idea of a nationwide insurrection' involving `mass popular participation' and `the arming of the people.' To this end Hrair elaborated an ambitious programme of `popular education' and political organisation as a preparatory stage for an eventual insurrection. To enhance effectiveness he also called for `the unification of Armenian political organisations' and urged the `development of alliances with other people's oppressed by the Ottoman Empire'. Insisting on a principle of self-reliance Hrair rejected strategies that `expected freedom from foreign nations.' (p95 -101) As part of this overall project he began work to reign in and subordinate the guerrilla units to the wider movement. In Antranig Hrair confronted an unyielding opponent. Antranig `categorically rejected' Hrair's thinking. `Objective conditions in western Armenia' were not conducive to `mass insurrection'. Giving Antranig's position a somewhat sharp and one-sided formulation, Simonian writes that for Antranig it was `the guerrilla who would free the people from the shackles of tyranny' and therefore `it was the people who should serve the fedayee, rather than the fedayee serving the people.' The foundation of the movement Antranig believed `must be an elite guerrilla force' that remaining independent should subordinate to itself all political organisations. Antranig in contrast to Hrair opposed collaboration with non-Armenian revolutionary forces. (p103 `104) One must question Simonian's claim that Antranig's and Hrair's positions `expressed two categorically opposed views'. (p95) This is the case only on a first superficial impression. Both were both dedicated revolutionaries committed to the emancipation of the people. Their debate was necessary and potentially fruitful. Both highlighted essential elements of revolutionary strategy that required the combination of the military and the political into a single whole. Antranig's formulations may have suggested a militarist disdain for mass political organisation, but at its core was the unquestionably correct insistence on the indispensable role of armed struggle for national liberation. On the other hand Hrair's positions could in immediate terms suggest a downgrading of armed struggle. But they expressed, albeit in a one-sided way, a grasp of the urgency of political and organisational work among the people. In the Armenian provinces of the Ottoman Empire any oppositional political organisation without the protection of armed force invited slaughter. In addition no amount of political work would persuade people of the benefits of nationwide insurrection if the movement could not even begin to defend them in their everyday life from endemic state repression and brigandage. So while Antranig rightly insisted on the necessity of an independently organised Armenian armed force, many of Hrair's proposals were also to the point. Low levels of popular political consciousness and political involvement, as well as powerful senses of local identity militated not only against political organisation and nationwide coordination but against guerrilla warfare too. Political organisation and education among the masses furthermore was a condition for securing consistent popular support to feed and clothe the guerrilla forces and to provide them with safe shelter, financial aid and a steady stream of recruits. The business of a revolutionary leadership would have been to develop this debate and produce an integrated political-military strategy that by overcoming past weakness would enhance the ANLM's power. This proved beyond the leadership. As with many other movements, the Armenian leadership failed to blend the political and the military. So the political and military spheres came to be headed by antagonists rather than collaborators. Hrair emerged as the `great organiser of the liberation movement' while Antranig became `its undisputed military leader'. (p115). Simonian does not examine why the leadership failed to produce an integrated revolutionary strategy. But his text makes it clear that this had nothing to do with personality clashes or with their debate about the future of the struggle. Critical here was the chronology and evolution of the ARF's collaboration with the Young Turks that was unfolding in the Diaspora far removed from the Homeland. Responding in turn to what they perceived as the overwhelming power of an external political leadership with little grasp of conditions in the Homeland and local realities of Ottoman rule, the guerrillas stood more stubbornly to its existing traditions with all the weakness that this entailed. III. REVOLUTIONARY REVIVAL STIFLED IN ARF-YOUNG TURK EMBRACE As the conflict between Antranig and Hrair unfolded, the ARF was simultaneously overhauling its strategic thinking, but on entirely different foundations. As it came to more decidedly dominate the post-1896 political scene the ARF elaborated a new strategy that was to mark a steady passage away both from Antranig's conceptions of guerrilla warfare and from Hrair's vision of nationwide mass insurrection. Occupying a central place in this process was the ARF's alliance with the Young Turks that in its development, if not in its conception, became not an enhancement of but a substitute for independent Armenian power. Accommodating itself to Young Turk strategic requirements the ARF by 1908 became a subordinate and dependent ally. Through their alliance with the ARF the Young Turks used the ARF in their own struggle against Sultan Hamid II. They also succeeded in delivering a decisive blow against the independent power ANLM. Through their accord with the ARF the Young Turks secured the voluntary disarmament of the military wing of the ANLM. In 1908 when ANLM members took positions in the Ottoman Parliament and even in cabinet offices they did so powerless. The ARF-Young Turk accord had disarmed the ANLM but it had given it no power over the state army, police or intelligence forces that were to organise the genocide. As Antranig remarked in another context, `if in the Homeland' there `are no (Armenian) military forces, as some would want, then no one will be in a position to resist'. (p299). 1896 had created certain grounds for those who argued in favour of a strategic and dependent alliance with the Young Turks. Mass slaughter, the death of many of the finest guerrillas and the subsequent mass emigration of skilled artisans from Armenia dealt a severe blow to the domestic base of the ANLM and to the political weight of its local guerrilla leadership together causing immense demoralisation and disarray within the ranks. Such circumstances would readily explain the ARF leadership's almost subservient turn to what it regarded as a more powerful force - the Young Turks. Yet this Young Turk orientation accelerated in its negative development at the very moment that the ANLM was experiencing a powerful revival and was re-rooting itself among the people. In 1904 notes Simonian `scores of youngsters having acquired weapons made their way into the mountains to swell the ranks of the guerrillas' then under Antranig's leadership. (p155) Underscoring their refreshed native foundation Simonian cites figures showing that during the 1904 Ottoman assault on Sassoon the majority of guerrillas consisted of local people. Among the 200, 125 were from the immediate region, another 40 from other regions of western Armenia and 30-40 from the Caucasus. There were in addition some 800 local peasants armed and ready to do battle on behalf of their community. (p172) In this connection Simonian writes that as battle loomed `the Armenian (guerrilla) youth had an important advantage (over Ottoman forces)'. `They were in their own homeland, among their own people and tied by a thousand and one strings to the peasant masses.' It was this that defined the `power of the guerrilla and their popular character.' (p133) The same point is underlined by the official ARF organ `The Flag' that wrote of the guerrilla `standing never having been greater' than it was in 1903.' (p156) In the early 1900s, the revived potency of the ANLM was significant enough for the Ottoman regime to contemplate another round of massacre as a means to again decapitate it. Though this did not materialise Simonian details the heightened social and economic oppression - the plunder, rape, kidnapping and depopulation - that ensued (p131-137). Parallel with such repression the Ottoman state in 1904 made another onslaught against the Armenians of Mush-Sassoon so as to once and for all break this centre of resistance. 1896 had failed to destroy Sassoon and with the regeneration of Armenian guerrillas it once again emerged a bastion of revolutionary Armenian potential. So the government hurled up to 10,000 regular troops and thousands more Kurdish auxiliaries against Armenian Sassoon. Outnumbered as they were, the Armenians had little choice but to engage the enemy in a full frontal battle. As a result they did make political and military mistakes, especially in regard to the safety of the local population. But Armenian forces resisted with a great deal of military courage and adroitness. Nevertheless the 1904 assault on Sassoon sounded the death-knell of this quasi-independent region ending an important stage in the history of the Armenian liberation movement. Against the new Armenian revolutionary revival there seemed to be an almost globally organised opposition. The Tsarist regime regarding the Armenian revolution with equal horror collaborated directly with the Turkish state slaughtering scores of Armenian fighters in 1904 (p205-217). Besides the Ottoman and Tsarist states in the 1904-1908 period European Embassies, the Armenian Church and the Armenian political leadership, then in negotiation with the Young Turks, all seemed to be driven by the same aim: to remove the guerrillas from Mush-Sassoon. `Antranig must leave' appeared to be their call. As a result of such enormous pressure and the military setbacks in Sassoon Simonian writes that Antranig was forced to `give way to (Van's) Armenian dignitaries, to pressure from political activist Goms (Vahan Papazian, 1876-1973, a leading ARF activist) as well as to the demands of foreign ambassadors.' In the autumn of 1904 against their will Antranig and his fighters left the city and headed for Persia.' The `Flag' reported that he had `left temporarily'. But he was to return only after the catastrophe of the genocide that removed the foundation of the Armenian nation - the people. One need not attribute a priori intentions or conscious collaboration to note how such united efforts succeeded where the Ottoman Empire alone had failed. This combined Ottoman, imperialist and Armenian elite pressure running parallel with deepening ARF-Young Turk negotiation delivered, after 1896, a second and almost irreparable blow to the ANLM. In 1907 the death of Gevorg Chavoush, a veteran guerrilla marked the symbolic end of an independent Armenian revolutionary force. With Antranig forced into exile and Hrair now also dead the `ARF leadership sent Aram Manoukian from the Caucuses into Vasbourakan.' (p227) Thereafter the field was left to the `politicians' with a free hand to do with the movement as they wished. By 1908 the ARF-Young Turk accord was sealed. IV. ANTRANIG VERSUS THE ARF LEADERSHIP Rejecting the ARF political trajectory Antranig, across the years, acted as something of a consistent opposition, sometimes internal, sometimes external. `The Movement' summarised the essence of his stand when it reported him arguing for `removing the reigns of leadership from the (ARF) Bureau officials, from amateurs' and `passing them to the military revolutionary forces' `working in the Homeland.' (p305) On a first encounter the detail of Antranig's politics seem to be marked by a narrow nationalism and militarism that compared poorly with an apparently more sophisticated political, democratic and internationalist ARF leadership. But for all the ambiguities of his formulations in his practical politics Antranig proved to be the more acute judge. Antranig's political views were not born of any theoretical or ideological considerations. Opposing the Young Turks he simply made what was a correct practical assessment that they were not genuinely committed to the emancipation of nations oppressed by the Ottoman Empire. He may not have argued a sophisticated intellectual case but in contrast to the ARF his experience in the Homeland enabled him to discern the utterly reactionary character of the Young Turks. So he rightly turned down offers of a seat in the new Ottoman `parliament'. `Go ahead and enjoy their company' he told the ARF leadership. `But be careful of these new comrades of yours'. In `the not too distant future they will have your heads and those of the people too... A vast trap is being laid, be careful.' (p321-322) The ARF leadership, whose politics expressed tragic delusions of the Diaspora intelligentsia did not heed such sound advice.  The same practical concerns animated Antranig's stand against the ARF's decision to join ranks with Russian socialists against the Tsarist state. Opening this new battlefront was in his view an unwise extension of severely limited Armenian power. Armenians under the Tsarist yoke were indeed oppressed. But under the Ottoman yoke they were threatened with imminent extinction. So Antranig urged the concentration of all resources and effort on the national struggle in the heart of Armenia ` the western Armenian provinces occupied by the Ottoman Empire. Antranig's opposition to the ARF's brand of socialist ideology flowed primarily from such practical concerns. As this ideology accompanied the growing intimacy with the Young Turks and the ARF entry into the anti-Tsarist struggle Antranig condemned ARF socialism as an `alien path'. In this socialism he saw little more than radical rhetoric that disguised the `betrayal of national ideals' (p260-261). However neither his opposition to the ARF-Young Turk accord nor his hostility to ARF socialism made him a national chauvinist or a friend of the elite. Antranig's uncompromising nationalism was prompted only by concern for the downtrodden. He hated Ottoman tyranny because `executing its work systematically' it subjects the common people to `artificial famine, forced emigration... endless and unbearable taxes... plunder, kidnapping and other such miseries.' (p274) In their attitude to non-Armenians Antranig and the guerrillas were `honourable and just to all, irrespective of nationality.' It was not unusual, writes Simonian `for Kurdish and Turkish working people to turn to the guerrillas' to right wrongs done them by their own elites. (p92) The final ideological and political, if not organisational rupture between Antranig and the ARF crystallized during the ARF's Fourth General Congress held in Vienna in 1907. Though at the time not resident in Armenia, he attended as the representative for the guerrilla movement substituting for Gevorg Chavoush. Urging Antranig to remain firm, a letter from Chavoush gave vent to guerrilla bitterness against the exiled leadership for its failure to send `money or armaments' to Mush and Sassoon. This had `thereby caused the people to curse' the leadership. (p288) At the Congress besides reiterating his broad positions Antranig laid enormous stress on questions of armed organisation and weapon procurements calling for immediate measures to prepare for national insurrection. Among other reasons he referred to the emigration that was `draining the land of up to 50,000 people a year' and so undermining the foundations of the Armenian nation. What in normal circumstances would `take four years to do we have to do in one' he argued. (p295-300) But the 1907 ARF Congress marked the isolation of the guerrilla leadership and final victory of the Diaspora intelligentsia. The treatment meted out to Antranig highlighted their polarisation. As representative of the guerrillas he was sidelined. Throughout Simonian's account one gets a whiff of the leadership's patronising haughtiness suggesting that Antranig was incapable of appreciating the finer points of politics. Antranig may not have received a European university education, but he possessed a brilliant mind. For all his political shortcomings he was astute enough to anticipate the Young Turk trap. But he proved unable to organise a political opposition that would prevent the ARF leadership walking into that trap. In 1911 the ARF did eventually accept that its alliance with the Young Turks had proved to be an error and so moved to terminate it. But instead of developing an independent, self-reliant policy that combined Antranig's and Hrair's revolutionary vision, the ARF turned again to treacherous Europe and nefarious Russia that had so cynically and so systematically used and betrayed the Armenian people. V. NATIONAL LIBERATION AND FOREIGN STRATEGY The extent of the divergence between the ARF's policy and any form of independent Armenian political strategy was manifested decisively during World War One (WWI) and in the aftermath of the Armenian genocide. During WWI the ARF abandoned even the pretence to any such notion and together with the Armenian political elite as a whole displayed a staggering lack of spine and a total inability to conceive of any action independent of Russia or the major imperialist powers.  During this same period Antranig's political judgements were not always as sharp as in the past. Removed from his home base in western Armenia and without the backing of an organised guerrilla force based among the people he lacked firm foundations for tactical and strategic calculations. Politically isolated he was also in no position to exercise influence over the direction of Armenian policy. But he was never passive and always raised his voice when he judged the interests of the Armenian people endangered. So he repeatedly came into conflict with the ARF leadership. Despite the catastrophe of the Genocide, WWI did present the Armenian political leadership with the opportunity of seizing the initiative, of embarking on an independent nation-building project. Here the ARF's war and post-war policy beggared belief. It exerted every effort to transform the ANLM into a willing and humble servant of Tsarist war policy.  In return it demanded nothing. It was content with the repetition of duplicitous pro-Armenian proclamations dug up from dusty Tsarist archives. Yet for all this rhetoric Tsarist (and Western European) policy during the war years remained as fundamentally anti-Armenian as it had been for over a century.  The Tsarist Empire seized WWI as an opportunity for another incursion into the Ottoman Empire to grab portions of occupied western Armenia for itself. To secure Armenian collaboration for their own imperialist venture they permitted the establishment in Tbilisi of an Armenian National Office that came to be controlled by ARF personnel. At once this body began organising Armenian resources to aid the Tsarist war effort. A major element was the organisation of battalions of Armenian Volunteers to act as adjuncts to Tsarist armies. Whilst using the ARF, the Armenians and their volunteer forces for its own ends the Tsarist autocracy worked carefully to prevent the emergence of any independent Armenian political power. It was particularly driven to prevent the development of any independent Armenian military power. Fearing that the 120,000-150,000 Armenian recruits in the Tsarist army could become the nucleus of an Armenian army none were allowed to fight on the Turkish front that looked on the Armenian homeland. Instead they were scattered into isolated units across the 1000s of miles of Russia's European front. Having removed the vast bulk of Armenian fighting men away from Armenia, the Tsarist authorities were to then turn to neutralise the Armenian Volunteers that they judged to have become a problem to Tsarist ambition. Albeit relatively small in numbers the Volunteers with their constant flow of recruits, their enthusiasm and with leaders such as Antranig had chalked up significant victories and accumulated enormous experience and war materiel. Fearing their potential the Tsarist government first incorporated them into its own army thus denying the Volunteers any space to act autonomously and then disbanded them. (p479, p495) Whilst Armenian soldiers were dying on foreign fronts Russian commanders refused to permit Volunteers to march to the aid of compatriots being slaughtered by the Young Turks. (pp393-433, p478). To prevent the Volunteers consolidating military gains they were repeatedly forced into needless tactical and strategic withdrawals from territories they had liberated. Russian imperial authorities also removed all Armenians from administrative posts in the government apparatus they established. Planning to populate newly conquered Armenian lands with Russians they also put impediments before Armenians wishing to return to their homeland. (p525-526) Yet, despite all this the Armenian political leadership never for a moment reconsidered its blind submissiveness to the imperialist powers. Together with its earlier alliance with the Young Turks this constituted another self-inflicted blow to the Armenian national movement. Yet the Armenian people survived and how they did may be told in the second volume of Hratchig Simonian's biography of Antranig. * * * * * * * The first volume of `Antranig and His Times' ends with a substantial chapter on the impact on Armenian politics of the 1917 Russian Revolution and Antranig's relations with the Bolsheviks, both meriting separate consideration. Beyond this, Hratchig Simonian's volume stands as an excellent and thorough history of the modern Armenian liberation movement covering almost every aspect of its experience: its origins, the development of political parties, the growth in Ottoman repression, the vicious and consistent anti-Armenian policy of the Tsarist Empire, European policy on the Armenian question, the role and weight of the European solidarity movement and much else. Here is a fine first volume that inspires one to grab hold of the second and retreat to a quiet hill refuge for a week. ________________________________________________________________________  Hagop Oshagan, the foremost 20th century Armenian novelist has a fine artistic examination of some of these questions in his short novel `Hadji Murad'.  A full history of the ARF-Young Turk relations would be instructive in answering some significant questions: why, despite evidence of Young Turk national chauvinism, and despite its opposition to Armenian autonomy, did the ARF come to its concord with them? What were the terms of the deal, did it take account of what was happening in the historic provinces? Was the ARF deceived by apparently credible assurances about a change in Turkish policy?  Why this leadership centred in the Caucuses and Istanbul refused or was unable to do so requires explanation. Contributing to such would be the noting of its structural integration into the economic and to a certain extent even political/administrative apparatus of the Ottoman and Russian Empires.  At the outbreak of WWI and just before, the ARF was either remarkably contemptuous of the strength of Turkish nationalism or thoroughly ignorant of the Young Turk's frenzied hatred of Russia. So confident was it of a swift Turkish defeat that it made not even a tactical effort to disguise its pro-Tsarist enthusiasms.  The visceral European and Russian opposition to an independent Armenian state also demands further historical study. Beyond immediate political causes European, British, German, French and Russian hostility to an independent Armenia was in part a result of their fear of the potential of Armenian commercial power. All these states had ambitions to secure the economic wealth of the declining Ottoman Empire for themselves. Here Armenian industry and capital that was significant in both the Ottoman and in the Tsarist Empire was a factor to be taken into account. The potential power of Armenian capital united with an Armenian state could threaten to obstruct imperialist ambitions to seize control of the entire area. -- Eddie Arnavoudian holds degrees in history and politics from Manchester, England, and is Groong's commentator-in-residence on Armenian literature. His works on literary and political issues have also appeared in Harach in Paris, Nairi in Beirut and Open Letter in Los Angeles.