On August 1, 1918, the first session of the Armenian National Council (Parliament) of the first convocation opened in Yerevan.
The first legislative body in the history of Armenia was formed in the summer of 1918, two months after the proclamation of the republic’s independence. This parliament was the only one in the history of Armenia that was created not as a result of elections but as a result of a political agreement.
The Council meeting on August 1 was attended by the entire political and military elite – Prime Minister Hovhannes Kajaznuni, ministers (nakharars), high military commanders, artists, church ministers, diplomats, and numerous guests.
Avetik Sahakyan was elected Chairman of the Council at the meeting and made an official speech. The words spoken by him at the first session of the Parliament were as follows:
“Today, I have the honor, on behalf of the Supreme Armenian National Council, to open the first session of the Council of Armenia and declare that from now on, it will be the only full-fledged permanent body of state power in the Republic of Armenia. This day will become historic for us and will open a new, enlightened period in the life of our young state. A period of independent political and economic development.
This day will forever remain in our memory because for the first time, we see wonderful dreams and a cherished desire for independence realized within our narrow horizon and in impossibly difficult conditions.”
The sessions of the parliament of the independent Republic of Armenia in 1918-1920 were held in the building of the Buniatyan theater. This building was located on today’s Vazgen Sargsyan 7 Street, down from the “Marriott” hotel.
In Soviet times, this building housed the A. Paronyan Musical Comedy Theater. Later, in the second half of the 1970s, this historic building was destroyed, and a new building for the theater was built in its place.
On the archival photograph below, you can see the building of the Buniatyan theater.
Avetik Sahakyan was an Armenian politician, one of the main activists of the Dashnaktsutyun Party, the Minister of Food in the Government of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, and Chairman of the Armenian National Council.