Vazgen Manukyan started his political activity when he was a student. On April 24, 1967, with a group of like-minded people he organized a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy in Moscow, developing the scenario in advance, visiting Moscow universities and dormitories, finding Armenians by lists and informing about the demonstration.
On April 24 thousands of students gathered in front of the Embassy, holding hands and singing “Zartnir Lao” (“Wake up Lao”), after which the police came up, dragged them and tried to disperse the demonstration. But the demonstration had already taken place. This was the first successful demonstration after the unsuccessful attempts of previous years. Armenian students returned to dormitories excited to celebrate their victory.
A few days later, the demonstration organizers, including Vazgen Manukyan, were expelled from the university.
While preparing for the demonstration, Vazgen Manukyan met Hamo Harutyunyan, the former Soviet ambassador to Canada and head of the foreign policy planning department at the Soviet Union Foreign Ministry, who was a highly respected and influential figure in Moscow politics. It can be said that he laid the foundation of Manukyan's political activity.
Their contact continued even after the demonstration in Moscow. Hamo Harutyunyan taught Manukyan and his friends the nuances of politics and diplomacy, from national politics to global processes, talked about the structure of states, their internal chemistry, how political decisions were made, and so on. Harutyunyan also introduced the young people to famous Armenians.
“His house was a center for Armenians. For example, I met Silva Kaputikyan there. We met there many times and became close to Marshal Baghramyan. We also got acquainted with Marshal Babajanyan, the former First Secretary Yakov Zarobyan, shortly said, the most influential people of the time”, Manukyan recalls.
The other great ideological influence on the young people was by Karen Takhtajyan, who was a mathematician, his father was a well-known academician in St. Petersburg. Karen Takhtajyan raised issues of national ideology, urging young people to read philosophy.
“It was under his influence that I first began to study Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Otto Weininger, Indian philosophy. And under the influence of Hamo Akimich, we began to study what is meant by a joint-stock company, the economy of the United States, that is, if we were an independent state, we would understand which way to go, etc..All these guys later played a big role not only in founding various secret organizations in Armenia, but also during the 1988 movement”.-Vazgen Manukyan.