Arsen Ghazaryan Արսեն Ղազարյան

* 1952

  • The interesting thing is that before I was released in May, one of the representatives of the Yerevan State Security Committee came to our prison. He had an interview with me, we talked for a couple of hours. Perhaps the mission was to see whether I had changed, because I was going to be released in three months. Well, the day of my arrest was on Sunday, they released me early on Saturday morning, although I remained in the new prison for seven additional days. I went out at eleven in the morning, I saw that the Chekist was waiting for me in front of the prison. As if he was my real brother. “Where should I take you, Arsen? I won't take you home,” he said. I replied, “If you won't take me home, drop me off at the station, I'll go from there. He had told me earlier that the subway had opened and the statue of The Worker had been erected. He brought me to the station, gave me money for the subway and an extra five rubles. From there I walked to the Republic Square metro station, got off and went to Komaygi park.

  • In 1979, I went to Moscow to work. The interesting thing is that there was someone among that group of young people named Smbat. At first, that young man seemed suspicious. I was once strolling through the streets in the center of Moscow, as I reached the intersection, Smbat appearedin front of me. I said, “I'm running away from you, how did you appear right in front of me?” Turns out, Smbat was sent after me.

  • I started attending Komaygi park. When I started speaking there, everyone gathered. And I was interested in the young people. We had agreed with Marzpet that I would recruit good, capable youths, introduce them to him, and expand the organization. That's how I introduced several people to Marzpet, among them Ishkhan Mkrtchyan. By the way, his name was not Ishkhan, it was Knyaz. It was I who named him Ishkhan. I also introduced Vardan Harutyunyan. They created an organization, I just supplied them with members.

  • "A letter came to my house, a notice from the prosecutor's office. On August 16, I was summoned to the prosecutor's office. After a couple of days, I went out on the street, met a childhood friend, I told him, I was called to the prosecutor's office of Spandaryan [ed.- one of Yerevan's administrative districts], would he happen to know where it is? He was driving a taxi. He said it should be next to the city hall. We went together. It was August 22. We went, I entered, the deputy prosecutor who was there, told me to wait till the investigator comes. I said there was someone waiting for me, let me go see them off. I went down and told my friend to go, and that I would meet him in a couple of hours. Those two hours became two years. They took me straight to prison."

  • I don't remember whether it was May 20 or 21 of 1980, a Gaz-24 stopped in front of our house, there were four Chekists (agent of the Cheka secret police) and their driver. They came, searched the house for four hours - from eight to twelve. They took me to the State Security Committee, interrogated me for a day, two days, three days. They interrogated me, then let me go. On the third day, after the interrogation, they let me go a little early, on the other two days, they interrogated me until 11 pm. On the third day, they told me not to leave the city and not to go to the park. I said, "When I leave here, I will go to Komaygi park. What are you even saying? That is my resting place.”

  • Before the army, I worked at an auto parts factory. After being discharged, I got a job there again, and around this time in 1973, in the summer, I met Shahen Harutyunyan. Well, before that I was politically active, both at school and at the auto parts factory, until being drafted to the army. We smoked while talking in the smoking room, we finished, and I was heading to work. Shahen said, "Can I talk to you for a minute, young man?” He was older than me. We got to know each other, and Shahen became my "political mentor/teacher".

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    Yerevan, 02.09.2023

    duration: 01:01:25
    media recorded in project Memory of Armenian Nation
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During the Soviet years, I introduced the leaders of Armenian underground organizations to talented young dissidents

Arsen Ghazaryan during USSR times
Arsen Ghazaryan during USSR times
photo: pamětník

Arsen Ghazaryan was born on August 19, 1952 in Yerevan. After completing his secondary education, he started working in an auto parts factory. He has not received a higher education. He served in the Soviet army in 1971-1973. While still at school, he often came up with anti-Soviet statements. In 1973, after returning from the army, he met Shahen Harutyunyan and his brother, Marzpet Harutyunyan. Arsen Ghazaryan did not engage in underground activities, but he had ties with members of underground organizations. He used to visit Komaygi park, where people of different ages and professions gathered and talked about various topics, politics and history. Ghazaryan also often spoke at those gatherings. Through him, Vardan Harutyunyan and Ishkhan Mkrtchyan, future members of the youth wing of the National United Party, got to know Marzpet Harutyunyan and joined the organization. Arsen Ghazaryan was detained in August 1980, for two years. He was charged with articles 69 (violating national and racial legal equality) and 206 (spreading obvious falsehoods defaming the Soviet state and public order) of the Criminal Code of Soviet Armenia. He served his sentence in Novosibirsk, a detention center for criminal detainees. After his release, he was under the control of the State Security Committee until the leadership period of the last leader of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev. He did not engage in political and public activities. He also participated in the 1988 Karabakh movement. Arsen Ghazaryan lives in Yerevan, works in a parking lot.