Hakob Bagratuni – Outstanding Statesman, Diplomat, And Military Figure Of The First Republic Of Armenia

Hakob Bagratuni – Outstanding Statesman

Prince Hakob Bagratuni was born in Akhaltsikhe in 1879 into an Armenian noble family from the Bagratuni dynasty. Bagratunis from Gyumri-Alexandropol who had migrated from Karin (Erzrum) at the beginning of the 19th century were representatives of the old Bagratuni princely family.

After graduating from the male Tiflis gymnasium with honors, Akop Bagratuni continued his studies at the Kyiv military school, then at the Nikolaev Academy of St. Petersburg. He participated in the Russian-Japanese war, held various high positions in Central Asia, and was extensively decorated for his services.

After the February uprising of 1917, Hakob Bagratuni arrived in St. Petersburg where the Kerensky government appointed him the chief of staff of the Petrograd military district. In August 1917, he was awarded the military rank of Major General.

Bagratuni has been at the roots of the establishment of the Armenian armed forces in the Russian army, becoming the Armenian Military Commissioner and the head of the Armenian Military Council.

After the Bolshevik revolution, Hakob Bagratuni was arrested but soon released and again appointed as the Armenian Military Commissioner. Then, up until the beginning of 1918, he was engaged in enrolling soldiers for the Armenian Corps.

In March 1918, Bagratuni arrived in Baku on his way to Armenia. However, Turkish spies tracked him down and attempted to assassinate him. As a result of the attempt, Bagratuni was seriously injured and lost part of his left leg.

Despite his serious injuries, Bagratuni would become a member of the Armenian National Council and make a great contribution to the defense of Baku from the joint Turkish-Tatar army. It should be noted that the vast majority of defenders of Baku were Armenians.

Then, Bagratuni became Minister of War of the Central Caspian Government.

In September, after the occupation of Baku by the Caucasian Islamic Army, Bagratuni migrated to Persia. In November 1918, after the defeat of the Turks in World War I, he returned to Baku and once again became a member of the Armenian National Council.

At the beginning of 1919, Bagratuni was invited to Yerevan where, thanks to his knowledge of foreign languages, he was included in the delegation that was to participate in the Paris Peace Conference.

Soon, Bagratuni was awarded the military rank of General of the Armenian Army – the highest military rank in the country. In August 1919, he assumed the chairmanship of an official military delegation traveling to the United States to negotiate defense cooperation with the US government.

In November 1919, the Armenian delegation arrived in New York, met numerous state and public figures, and participated in commissions, insisting on the need to provide support to Armenia and recognize its independence. In Washington, Bagratuni officially met the US Secretary of War and Secretary of State.

After his visit to the US, General Bagratuni went to France where he was appointed to the post of Armenian Ambassador to the UK. Then, as a member of an Armenian delegation, he participated in the London Conference of 1921 and the Lausanne Conference in 1923.

Hakob Bagratuni would spend his last days in London. He died in 1943 and was buried in the Brompton Memorial Cemetery. His son Levon Bagratuni, Ph.D. in medicine and philosophy from Oxford University, died in London in 1964.

Ruben Shukhyan

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