The Execution of Axel Bakunts – The Crime of the Stalinist Regime

The Execution of Axel Bakunts

In 1937, Axel Bakunts (Alexander Tevosyan) was executed. Axel Bakunts was an Armenian prose writer, scriptwriter, translator, activist, and a participant of the Sardarapat Battle.

Bakunts was a native of the town of Goris, Syunik Province, a child of a peasant family. After graduation, Bakunts was sent to Etchmiadzin to continue his study at the Theological Academy. In the years of the Armenian massacres and the massive influx of refugees into Eastern Armenia, the building of the academy was provided for those in need, and Bakunts returned to Zangezur.

In one of the local villages, Bakunts worked as a teacher for about a year. Then, he moved to Goris, where he organized a theater troupe, playing several main roles in performances. This was when Bakunts took the literary pseudonym Axel, the name of one of his theatrical characters.

In 1918, Bakunts volunteered for the Armenian armed forces and participated in the Sardarapat Battle. The writer had a great desire to study in Moscow but went to Kharkiv due to the lack of finances. In 1923, after graduating from the Kharkiv Agricultural Institute, he became the chief agronomist of the Zangezur region.

In early 1937, Bakunts was arrested and repressed according to Stalin’s lists and shot on charges of anti-Soviet activities. In 1955, he was posthumously rehabilitated due to the absence of corpus delicti. In 1957, a museum was established in the house he had grown up in.

Among the most popular works of Bakunts were “Alpine Violet” (dedicated to Arpenik Charents, the first wife of Armenian writer Yeghishe Charents), “Lar-Markar”, “A letter to the Russian Tsar”, and “Kyores” (1935). Bakunts was also a screenwriter (Zangezur and others). His collection of short stories “Mtnadzor” was translated into English as “The Dark Valley” and published in 2009 by the Gomidas Institute.

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