Garegin Nzhdeh

The commemorative coin issued by the Central Bank of Armenia is dedicated to Garegin Nzhdeh (Garegin Ter-Haroutunyan), a national hero, a fighter, strugging for liberation, a great commander and a military leader of Sjunik.

Garegin Njdeh or Garegin Ter-Harutiunian, Garegin Nzhdeh (Armenian: Գարեգին Նժդեհ) (1 January 1886, Nakhijevan – 21 December 1955, Vladimir, Soviet Union) was an Armenian statesman, fedayee, political thinker, and as a member of the A.R.F. Dashnaktsutyun party, was involved in revolutionary activities in Armenia, Bulgaria and Russia.

Garegin Njdeh was born on January 1, 1886 in the village of Kznut (Kyuznut), Nakhichevan. He was the youngest of four children born to a local village priest. Njdeh got his early education at a Russian school in Nakhichevan City. He continued his higher education at the Tiflis Russian Gymnasium school. In 1912, together with General Andranik Ozanian, he formed an Armenian battalion within Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps of the Bulgarian Army to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan wars. During the Second Balkan war he was wounded. Bulgarian military authorities honored him by the "Cross of Bravery".

Later, moving back to Armenia, Njdeh commanded different military units. He played a key role in organizing the defense of Karakilisa in 1918. A convinced Anti-Bolshevik, he led the defense of Zangezur in 1921 against the rising Bolshevik movement in the Democratic Republic of Armenia. The movement was marked with the expulsion of the region's local Azeri minority.

Garegin NjdehFollowing the declaration of independence of the Republic of the Mountainous Armenia from Soviet Armenia, he was proclaimed Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. He fled Armenia after the triumph of the Bolshevik Red Army, and was involved in revolutionary activities in Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and United States.

He visited the United States and Canada, encouraging Armenian communities that had established themselves there, and founding an Armenian Youth movement called Tseghakron (Armenian: Ցեղակրոն). In 1933, this movement led to the foundation of the Armenian Youth Federation, the youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Garegin Njdeh maintained close contacts with revolutionary organizations of Macedonian Bulgarians and Bulgarian Symbolist poet poet Theodore Trayanov.
In 1944, Garegin Njdeh was arrested by the soldiers of Stalin's "SMERSH" special brigade in Bulgaria. He died in a Soviet prison in Vladimir, Soviet Union.
An avenue, a large square and a nearby metro station in Yerevan are named after him.

Image copyright: Central Bank of Armenia
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KM #86a
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