This Week in Armenian History


(November 19, 2001)

Bagrat Ulubabian was a writer and historian but he was also a political activist. He played a prominent role in the struggle for the unification of Mountainous Gharabagh to Armenia, a reason for which he was forced to relocate from Gharabagh to Armenia. Ever since, he continued that struggle with his activity and with the pen.

He was born on December 9, 1925, in the village of Mushkapat, in Artsakh. In 1944, he graduated from the pedagogical institute of Shushi, and in 1946, he received his degree in Armenian language and literature from the pedagogical institute of Baku. Afterwards he taught at the school of the Gishi village, in the region of Martuni, and at the teachers’ institute of Stepanakert.

In 1949, Ulubabian was elected secretary general of the Writers Union of Mountainous Gharabagh. At the same time, he was the editor of the “Soviet Gharabagh” newspaper, head of the culture committee of the region and vice chairman of the executive committee of the Autonomous Region of Mountainous Gharabagh. He was one of the signers of the “Letter of the Thirteen,” which depicted the calamitous situation of Gharabagh under Azerbaijani control and was sent to the Central Committee of the all-Soviet Communist Party, the Supreme Soviet, and the Council of Ministers of the USSR. In 1967, because of his active participation in the efforts for the unification of Mountainous Gharabagh with Armenia, he was sacked from his position and the following year he moved to Armenia, where he became a member of the Writers Union.

After publishing two poetry volumes in the 1950s, he moved on to prose, with the publication of five compilations of short stories and novellas (1960-1976), as well as three novels, the most noted of which is the historical novel “Sardarapat,” which remained forbidden until 1988.

Other than his literary work, Ulubabian is more widely known for his historiographical publications. In 1969, he defended his dissertation “History of Artsakh from ancient times until the 10th century,” obtaining the degree of candidate (doctor) of historical sciences, and in 1973 he presented his second doctoral thesis, “The Principality of Khachen: from the 9th to the 10th centuries.” He worked at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia as senior researcher. His historical works are mainly devoted to the history and culture of Artsakh, its historical monuments and architecture, and its figures, with a total of 11 volumes about these topics. He has also written about the principalities of Armenia. He rendered the histories of Ghazar Parpetsi and Movses Khorenatsi, written in the fifth century, into modern Armenian. He died on November 19, 2001, in Yeghvard, and is buried in Yerevan.