On February 18, 1921, Armenia temporarily regained its independence. In fact, Armenia was the only republic where a nationwide uprising overthrew the Soviet regime. This stage of our history has been strictly hushed up for all 70 Soviet years, and it hasn’t been mentioned in history textbooks.
The photo published below shows the first issue of the republican government newspaper “Ազատ Հայաստան” (“Free Armenia”) from February 19, 1921. This issue features headings such as “Bolshevik power has been overthrown”, “The Salvation Committee of the Fatherland has been established”, “Imprisoned friends have been freed”, or “Glory to Free Independent Armenia”.
The background to the February popular uprising was as follows. The government of the First Republic was under the growing threat of occupation as a result of the actions of Kemalist Turkey and Bolshevik Russia. Eventually, it succumbed to the aggressive political pressure of Soviet Russia and on December 2, 1920, ceded power to the Bolsheviks.
After the establishment of Soviet order in Armenia, thousands of national figures were arrested, most of whom would be killed, while the rest would be sent to prisons in Baku and Russia.
On February 13, 1921, a powerful nationwide uprising erupted in Armenia, beginning with the Sasuntsis, survivors of the Genocide who had found a new home at the foot of Aragats. Dissatisfaction with the occupation of Armenia and the establishment of the Bolshevik dictatorial regime over the past two and a half months reached its climax, and a spontaneous outbreak of popular 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. Here, they established the Salvation Committee of the Fatherland whose leader became Simon Vratsyan.
However, units of the 11th Red Army reoccupied Yerevan only 40 days later. Nonetheless, this uprising is an exceptional fact in the history of all the republics of the Soviet Union.
After all this and at least now when we are considered an independent country and when we are attempting to rethink our entire 20th-century history, it is necessary to determine and rewrite the correct date of the Sovietization of Armenia. Soviet power was established in Armenia not on November 29, 1920, as previously thought, but on April 2, 1921.