Hovhannes Hakhverdyan – First Minister of Defense of Armenia

Hovhannes Hakhverdyan - First MinisterLast year was celebrated the centenary of the First Republic of Armenia. Along with this, it would be correct to note the fact that the Armenian army was created and fully held a century ago as well. And the first minister of defense of Armenia was Lieutenant General Hovhannes Hakhverdyan. He served as minister from June 1918 to March 1919.

Hovhannes Hakhverdyan was born in St. Petersburg into the family of state adviser Barsegh Hakhverdyan and Nina Ter-Mikelyan. Like his brothers Gevorg and Gabriel, he would become a cadre officer of the royal army. As a military, he went through the crucible of the Russian-Japanese War, as well as WWI.

In 1915, at the age of 42, Hakhverdyan was granted the rank of Major General. At the end of 1917, he moved to the South Caucasus. On June 15, 1918, he assumed the position of the Minister of War of the First Republic of Armenia. During the Armenian-Georgian war that broke out in December 1918, he played a key role in the Armenian army. Hovhannes Hakhverdyan was granted the rank of Lieutenant General in already independent Armenia.

In March 1919, the prime minister of Armenia Hovhannes Kajaznuni resigned. Hovhannes Hakhverdyan also left his position, but he would for some time hold the position of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian army. But in November 1919, after the adoption of a law forbidding using languages other than Armenian in office work, Hakhverdyan resigned.

After a Bolshevik coup attempt in May 1920, Hakhverdyan was appointed the Deputy Minister of War under the government of Hamo Ohanjanyan. It should be noted that it was the government of Ohanjanyan that signed the Treaty of Sevres.

After the fall of the First Republic, the Bolshevik government gave an order to arrest about 1.500 Armenian officers, including Hovhannes Hakhverdyan, and exile them to Ryazan.

It is known that Hovhannes Hakhverdyan subsequently managed to move to St. Petersburg where he would work as an accountant. However, in December 1930, he was again arrested by the Stalin regime in the so-called “Spring” case and accused of being a member of the “counter-revolutionary monarchist grouping of officers. On March 28, 1931, he was shot along with other former tsarist officers in accordance with the ridiculous court sentence.

Ruben Shukhyan


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