1988 Co-Founder and Coordinator of the Karabakh Committee


Until 1988 Vazgen Manukyan was a member and organizer of various political organizations, uniting the Armenian intelligentsia, and it was natural that he was standing at the roots of the Karabakh movement.

“I experienced the greatest spiritual uplift of my life when I saw hundreds of thousands of eyes during my first speech at the mass-meeting, though I said things that were not acceptable at that time. For example, people were strongly believing that Armenia had lifelong enemy-Turkey  and lifelong ally-Russia, but I said that we had neither a permanent friend nor a permanent enemy,” remembers V.Manukyan.

During the demonstrations in February 1988 Vazgen Manukyan, in his public speech, for the first time called for a nationwide strike.

In 1988, when the “Karabakh” Committee was formed to lead the movement to reunite Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) with Armenia, Vazgen Manukyan first was a member of the “Karabakh” Committee (since February 1988) and then The Coordinator of the Committee (since June 1988).

On December 10, 1988, Vazgen Manukyan  along with other members of the “Karabakh” Committee was arreste dand spent 6 months in “Matroskaya Tishina” prison in Moscow.

Vazgen Manukyan, Ashot Manucharyan and Davit Vardanyan from the “Karabakh” Committee thought that the scope of the Committee’s issues should be expanded, certain ideological principles should be fixed. Manukyan wrote down those principles and presented them at the mass- meeting. Later they became the ideological principles of the Pan-Armenian National Movement (ANM).

“In 1988 the movement brought forward an issue that was acceptable to the entire nation, including the communist nomenclature and the intellectuals. It was the reunion of Karabakh with Armenia. But thereafter the movement brought two new powerful ideas that contradicted the ideology that had existed before. The first was the national ideology. The articles “The Law of  of the Third Force Exclusion”  and “The Time to jump off the Train” was written, the ideological principles of the movement were proclaimed, and all these ideas were hotly debated in public. It meant reviewing the entire ideology that had prevailed in Armenian society for the past two hundred years,” remembers Vazgen Manukyan.

The second most important principle proclaimed by the movement was the building of a new, liberal state, that will require to have new perspectives regarding human rights, freedoms, economy, political system  and etc..

“On the one hand, the “Karabakh” Committee promoted the idea of resolving the Karabakh issue in a constitutional way, seeking to find partners in international law all over the world, on the other hand, realizing the inevitability of war we encouraged the creation of volunteer detachments. Transforming the movement into an ethnic or religious conflict, could be a catastrophic mistake for us. The only way was the constitutional one, which would made Armenia acceptable for the whole world”.

Upon the initiative of the “Karabakh” Committee, the ANM public-political organization was established, the Founding Administrative Board of which consisted of almost all the members of the “Karabakh” committee. Vazgen Manukyan was elected the first Cairman of the Administrative Board of the ANM.