Vahan Hovannesian 1956-2014

The Socialist International extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Vahan Hovannesian, former leader of the SI member ARF of Armenia, who sadly passed away on Sunday 28 December 2014 following a long illness. We honour his memory, his life’s work and his contribution to our International, including his role as co-chair of the SI Committee for the CIS, the Caucasus and the Black Sea, a position he was elected to in February 2013.

Vahan Hovannesian was born on August 16, 1956 in Yerevan. He graduated with degrees in history and archaeology from the Moscow Pedagogical Institute in 1978 and received his Ph.D in history. From 1978 to 1980 he served in the Soviet army. From 1980 to 1989 he worked as a research assistant and later as a head of the scientific research division in the Erebuni Museum. In 1989 he worked as a research assistant in the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography under the Academy of Sciences. From 1990 to 1992 he was an active member of the Artsakh liberation movement and was a member of the ARF Central Committee of Armenia, becoming one of the first leaders of the organization in Armenia when it resurfaced during the latter days of the Soviet Union. In 1992 he became a member of the ARF Bureau, but in 1995 he was arrested after the then president, Levon Ter-Petrosian, began a campaign of persecution against the ARF and shut down the party’s activities in the homeland.

After Ter-Petrosian’s resignation in 1998, Hovanessian served as advisor to Armenia’s new president, Robert Kocharian, and headed the Commission on issues of Local Self-Government until 1999. In 1999, he was elected a member of Armenia’s Parliament, becoming chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and National Security and Internal Affairs, and served until 2003 in the ARF’s parliamentary caucus. On May 25, 2003 he was re-elected by the proportional system on behalf of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and elected Vice-President of the National Assembly on June 12. He was also a member of both the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Faction and its bureau. On May 12, 2007 he was elected by the proportional system as a deputy of the National Assembly for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and on June 7, 2007 he was elected Vice-President of the National Assembly.

On December 28, 2013, Hovannesian was appointed as Armenia’s Ambassador to Germany.

He is survived by his wife, two children and grandchild.