Varandian was born in Karabagh, in Varanda, from which his pseudonym is derived. He attended the diocesan school of Shoushi and thereafter studied social sciences and philosophy at several German universities, then graduated from the University of Geneva.
Varandian lived mainly in Geneva and Paris and was a member of the Droshak editorial team and a party administrator and archivist.
At the ARF’s Fourth World Congress (1904) he was elected a member of the party’s Western Bureau.
As the main theoretician/ideologist of the ARF, Varandian represented Dashnaktsoutiun at the Second (Socialist) International, attending its Copenhagen conference in 1910. He also cultivated links with European socialist leaders of the day.
During independence, he was elected to the Parliament of the Armenian Republic. He served as Armenia’s ambassador to Italy from 1918 to 1920.
Varandian was a prolific writer. Among his books are The Prehistory of the Armenian Movement, Currents, Protest in Recent History, The Reawakening Homeland and Our Role, Dashnaktsoutiun and its Adversaries, Simon Zavarian, Mourad, and other works, in particular his two-volume History of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
Varandian died in France of a heart attack. He was 60 years old.
Protest in the name of political-constitutional liberty, protest in the name of social equality, these are the two great axes around which human history revolves, especially most recent history.
Within the political movements are the national-liberation movements, the heroic revolts of enslaved and subject peoples against foreign and tyrannical domination. There is no other subject as moving, as engaging. Unfortunately, our calamitous reality does not allow one to ponder such subjects at length. Today there is still apparent interest in them, but tomorrow, who knows; the ill-fated wave of our national welfare may once again go crashing down into the mysterious unknown, may once again divert our attention from such exercises…
Nevertheless, it is necessary to present, albeit briefly, the history of at least the last century to the Armenian reader. For even in moments of crisis, knowledge of history is perhaps the supreme remedy for our grief and our wounds; perhaps the study of exhilarating and inspiring pan-human protest can dissipate the fog of hopelessness, dangerous hesitation, and fatalistic abandonment that periodically gathers on the Armenian horizon…
From the “Foreword” to Protest in Recent History, Geneva, 1911