Andranik Ozanian

Andranik Ozanian

Andranik Ozanian – General Andranik (25 February 1865 – 31 August 1927) was an Armenian military commander and leader.

Andranik Ozanian was born on 25 February 1865 in Shabin-Karahisar, Sivas Vilayet of Ottoman Empire.

Andranik went to the local Musheghian School from 1875 to 1882 and thereafter worked in his father’s carpentry shop.

In 1892 Andranik Ozanian Joined the Dashnak party. Defended Armenian villages in Moush-Sasun district in 1895–6. To Transcaucasia in 1897, to the party headquarters in Tiflis. Returned to Turkish Armenia well armed and with extensive powers. Leader of the guerrilla forces in Sasun from 1899, with 38 villages under his command. After the murder of Serop in 1900, Andranik Ozanian assassinated his killer, Bshara Khalil agha; became leader of Armenians of entire Bitlis and Moush district. Besieged at Arakelots monastery (near Moush) in November 1901, he broke out with his men after donning the uniforms of Turkish officers. Confronted by large Turkish force in spring 1904, he and his men – the elite of the Armenian guerrillas – effected a retreat to Van via Aghtamar. Left Turkish Armenia for Persia. To Transcaucasia; then Vienna. Resigned from the Dashnak party in 1907. Spent some time in Geneva and Egypt; then to Sofia. Soon identified himself with the Macedonian struggle; led a troop of 230 Armenian volunteers in the First Balkan war, 1912. To Transcaucasia on outbreak of first world war; commanded a volunteer troop of 1,000 men, active on the North Persian front, contributing to the Russian victory at Diliman (Shahpur, April 1915). His forces joined with the Armenian legion in expelling the Turks from south of Lake Van; but forced to retreat by a Turkish counter-offensive (July 1915). His unit dissolved by the authorities in early 1916. Commander of the Western Armenian division, in December 1917, whose three brigades constituted part of the Armenian Corps (established January 1918). Forced to evacuate Erzerum, March 1918. Resigned his command and left for Tiflis in same month. Formed new Western Armenian brigade; did not participate in the battle of Sardarabad. Angry with the leaders of the Republic of Armenia for signing the treaty of Batum; recognized the government of Soviet Russia, and declared Nakhichevan to be part of it (July 1918), having gone to Zangezur via Nakhichevan. About to March on Shushi (Karabagh) in December 1918, when a message from the British commander halted him, thereby causing Karabakh to remain outside Armenia to this day. To Echmiadzin via Daralagiaz, March 1919; forced by British pressure to disband his brigade. Left Transcaucasia in April 1919; to Paris and London, trying to persuade Allies to occupy Turkish Armenia. To the USA fund-raising for the Armenian army. To Fresno, California, where he died in 1927; his body shipped abroad for burial in Armenia; refused entry by Communist authorities, so laid to rest in Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris. In 1970 his grave visited by Marshal I. Kh. Baghramian. A bust of him has been erected in Soviet Armenia.

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