Ruben HOVHANNES (Akhaltsikhe 1868 – ?Yerevan 1938) His family originated from
Erzerum. Attended Russian and German universities, studying architecture and
mining engineering. Settled in Baku; joined the Dashnak party. Published a work
on poets of eastern Armenia (1902). Visited Erzerum after Ottoman constitution
(1908). Criticised establishment of volunteer units (1914). After 1917, he was a
member of the Armenian National Council; in November one of nine Dashnaks chosen
to represent the party in the new Constitution Assembly, Petrograd. Chief
spokesman for Dashnaktsutiun in the Transcaucasian Seim (February–May 1918). A
member of the Transcaucasian delegation at the Trebizond conference (March).
Minister of welfare in Chkhenkeli's government (Transcaucasian). After Armenia's
independence, he was a member of the delegation that signed the treaty of Batum
(4 June 1918). Appointed first prime minister of Armenia, arriving in Yerevan on
17 July. Criticised by hard-line Dashnaks for his conciliatory policies.
Travelled to Europe and America in April–May 1919 (together with a Populist
minister) to obtain funds and aid. Relinquished premiership of Khatisian, August
1919. Approached to take premiership again in November 1920; accepted, but
unable to form a government. Arrested after Sovietisation; released by February
revolt. Left Armenia for Europe in 1921. Published manifesto at a Dashnak
convention, Bucarest, March 1923, entitled Dashnaktsutiun has Nothing More to
Do, in which he argued that Dashnaktsutiun should terminate its existence as
a party and all Armenians should support Soviet Armenia. Repatriated to Soviet
Armenia and worked there; killed during Stalin/Beria purges.