Politician and Literary Critic Nikol Aghbalian

Politician and Literary Critic

Nikol Aghbalian (1875, Tiflis – 1947, Beirut) was an Armenian social and political activist, literary critic, and a member of the Dashnaktsutyun party. He graduated from the Tiflis Nersisian School and the Etchmiadzin Gevorgian Seminary. He also studied at the Moscow, Lausanne, and Sorbonne (Paris) universities.

After completing his studies, Aghbalian worked as a teacher in Kagyzvan, Agulis, Shushi, and Tiflis. From 1909, he worked in Iran where he headed the Armenian National School. In 1913, Aghbalian headed the newspaper publisher “Nor Osank” and then “Horizon” (with A. Jamalyan) in Tiflis.

In 1914, after the outbreak of WWI, Aghbalian was elected a member of the National Bureau, entering the governing body of the Armenian voluntary movement. At this position, he repeatedly visited Western Armenia and was engaged in the issues of refugee transportation and rendering assistance to them.

After the February Revolution in Russia, Aghbalian repeatedly stated that the Armenian people must rely on themselves and not link excessive hopes with Russia.

In 1918, after the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia, Aghbalian was elected a member of parliament. In 1919, he was appointed Minister of Education. After the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, Aghbalian was arrested in February 1921. During the February counter-revolution in Armenia, he was released from prison and soon emigrated to Iran and from there to Egypt.

From 1930 until the end of his life, Aghbalian has lived in Beirut and has been engaged in teaching (at one point serving as the director of the Nshan Palandjian Seminary) and scientific and literary activities. Aghbalian authored a significant number of literary works, the most famous of which is “The History of Armenian Literature” (1947).

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