Gavafian Arshak (Keri) was one of the most prominent figures of the Armenian national liberation movement, as well as a member of the Dashnaktsutyun party and the organization “Pashtpan Hayrenyats” (“Defender of homeland”). He graduated from the Armenian school in his native settlement of Karin.
In 1889, he collaborated with Uno (Harutyun Ter-Martirosyan). In 1890, he took part in the military campaign of S. Kukunyan. In 1895, during the massacre of Karin, he headed an armed group guarding the residence of the Armenian spiritual leader.
In 1903, he along with the Hajduk group headed by Torgom moved to Sasun to take part in the Sasun self-defense.
In 1905, he moved from Vaspurakan to Eastern Armenia. During the Armenian-Tatar clashes, Keri was one of the organizers of the self-defense of the Armenians of Zangezur (particularly, in Angeghakot).
In subsequent years, he took part in the revolution in Iran (1908-1912), joined Yeprem Khan, became his assistant, and avenged his murder.
During WWI, Keri was the commander of the 4th Armenian Volunteer Detachment which participated in the Battle of Sarikamish in 1915. He proved to be a skilled commander.
In 1916, on the way to Mosul, near Revandiz, Keri’s squad got surrounded. But he resourcefully managed to lead the fighters out of the encirclement. Unfortunately, he himself perished in the battle. He would be buried in Tiflis. He is remembered as one of the bravest commanders of the Armenian Hajduks, and his deeds are cherished by songs and poems written by Armenians.