Speaking about February 1921, the most important stage of our national liberation struggle, has been strictly forbidden during all the 70 years of the Soviet period. And even today, the general public of an already independent country is virtually completely unaware of the dramatic events that occurred 98 years ago. And the historical truth is that as a result of a powerful national uprising on February 18, 1921, Armenia temporarily regained its independence.
The photo shows the first issue of the republican government newspaper “Ազատ Հայաստան” (Free Armenia) of February 19, 1921, which had the following headings: “The Bolshevik government is overthrown”, “The Committee for the Salvation of the Fatherland was established”, “Imprisoned friends released”, and “Glory to free independent Armenia”.
The prehistory of the February popular uprising was as follows. The government of the First Republic, put under a growing threat of occupation by the actions of Kemalist Turkey and Bolshevik Russia and yielding to the pressure of Soviet Russia, on December 2, 1920, gave up the power to the Revolutionary Bolsheviks. After the establishment of Soviet order in Armenia, thousands of national leaders were arrested. Most of them would be killed, while the rest would be sent to prisons in Baku and Russia.
On February 13, 1921, a powerful national uprising broke out in Armenia, the beginning of which was laid by the Sasun Armenians living at the foot of Aragats who had survived the Genocide. The discontent against the occupation of Armenia and the establishment of the Bolshevik dictatorial regime over the past two and a half months reached its apogee, and the spontaneous uprising spread to other parts of the country.
On February 16 – 18, rebel leaders with military experience took power into their own hands. On February 18, rebels led by Kuro Tarkhanyan (Կուռո Թարխանյան) and Martiros Bashgarnetsi (Մարտիրոս Բաշգառնեցի) entered Yerevan. There, they established the Committee for the Salvation of the Fatherland, which would be led by Simon Vratsian.
The 11th Red Army reoccupied Yerevan only 40 days after the outbreak of the uprising. But still, the uprising was exceptional among the republics of the Soviet Union. In fact, Armenia was the only republic where, as a result of a popular uprising, Soviet power was overthrown, albeit temporarily.
After all this, at least now, when we are considered an independent country and are making an attempt to rethink our entire history of the 20th century, it is also necessary to determine and fix the correct date for the Sovietization of Armenia. That is, the Soviet regime was established in Armenia not on November 29, 1920, as it was previously thought, but on April 2, 1921.