Born in Shoushi, Karabagh, Vahan Navasardian received his early education in his hometown. Thereafter, he went to Baku, where he received a Russian secondary education. He then traveled to Russia, where he received hia higher education at St. Petersburg University, earning a doctorate in history and economics. Self-taught in Armenian, he overcame that seeming handicap and became an excellent writer in a variety of genres in Armenian (journalism, essays, historical abstracts, etc.).
He joined the ARF as a young man and until 1921 worked in various capacities throughout Russia and Eastern Armenia. At the age of 19, he was elected a member of the ARF Central Committee of Baku, performing both public and internal organizational functions. For a brief period, during World War I, he taught Russian, politics, and economics at the Gevorgian Seminary, at Ejmiatzin.
In 1917, he briefly became the mayor of Alexandropol. In May 1918, he participated in the fighting at Gharakilise. Later that year, he became editor of Horizon, in Tiflis. He settled in Yerevan in 1919 and became a member of parliament and editor of the ARF organ Harach.
In 1920, Navasardian fought in the Armeno-Kemalist war of September-November. Forced underground by the subsequent Sovietization of Armenia, he was active in organizing the February 1921 revolt. The brutal period of Sovietization and the ensuing Armenian struggles against Bolshevik tyranny left an indelible mark on Navasardian, who thereafter became a staunch opponent of Communism.
After the Sovietization of Armenia, he eventually settled in Egypt, after stops in Istanbul and Berlin, and served as editor of Houssaper in Cairo. The paper flourished under his tenure, shifting from a semi-weekly to a daily and attracting many of the most prominent Armenian writers and cultural figures in the Middle East.
For many years, Navasardian was a leading member of the ARF, taking an uncompromising stance toward the Soviet regime and its supporters.
An author of prolific and diverse output, he is well known for his books Bolshevizme yev Dashnaktsoutiune (Bolshevism and the ARF) and H. H. Dashnaktsoutian Gaghaparabanoutiune (The Ideology of the A. R. Federation).
Yesterday, the likes of Dreyfus, Farrar, and Beylis… and the powerful voices of great liberals reverberated from continent to continent.
“J’accuse,” Emile Zola thundered during the Dreyfus Affair.
“A matter of a way of life,” under this simple title, a great Russian, Vladimir Korolenko, was mobilizing the conscience of Russia against the abnormalities of the Tsarist regime.
“Red Sultan,” roared from the Thames that other lion of liberalism, Gladstone, against Hamid.
“I can’t remain silent,” declared Lev Tolstoy, in his powerful voice, on the occasion of the Tsarist mass hangings, thus raising the conscience of the world against the Tsars.
And thus were many others on the five continents of our world.
And these attacks against Tyranny and Evil did not remain without echo.
There was fire in the words of Zola, Tolstoy, Gladstone, and Korolenko; there was a contagious passion for Ideal, Conviction, and Principle, which through understandable channels was being transferred from country to country and through the masses, creating a tempest in souls, pitting liberty against tyranny, and raising enthusiastic multitudes in defense of liberty.
Today, all of them are silent; even those who have assumed the mantle of “liberalism” not only do not protest against the unspeakable tyranny and crimes which are being committed in the huge Soviet world, but they even possess a hidden sympathy in their hearts toward those who are committing these crimes. Not one protest. Not one occasion. Not one voice of rebellion, powerful, contagious… from anywhere.
From “The Creed of Liberty,” Hairenik Monthly, June 1951