This Week in Armenian History

Death of Ashot Navasardian (November 3, 1997)

Ashot Navasardian was among those who maintained the torch of independence alight during Soviet times and later participated in the self-defense and political life of Armenia in its first years. He was the founder of the Republican Party of Armenia, which had a leading role in the country during the years 1998-2018. 

Navasardian was born on March 28, 1950, in Yerevan, and graduated from the School of Law of Yerevan State University. He was still a university student when he became a member of the clandestine National United Party (1968). He then a member of its board in 1973. Later, he followed the ideology of national hero Garegin Nezhdeh and was a strong critic of Soviet totalitarianism. He was a follower of the idea of a free, independent, and united Armenia. His political views had him arrested three times. He was condemned to a total of 17 years of imprisonment and five years of exile. He spent 12 years in prison, both in jail and in special regime, and the second and third times he was released ahead time. 

After being released in 1987, he continued his political activities. In 1989-1990 he was a member of the board of the Union of National Self-Determination. A ruling of the Supreme Court of Armenia exonerated him in August 1990 due to the lack of criminal proof. 

Together with the other board members, Navasardian founded and headed the military and political organization Independence Army (1989), which participated in the fights for the defense of Armenia and the liberation of Armenia. He was decorated with the War Cross in the first degree. 

In 1990 Navasardian founded the Republican Party of Armenia and was its first president until his untimely death. In the same year he was elected to the Supreme Council of Armenia and between 1990 and 1995 was a member of two parliamentary committees. After the sanction of the Armenian Constitution in 1995, the Supreme Council was replaced by the National Assembly and Navasardian was elected to this body too, becoming vice-president of the permanent committee on Defense, National Security, and Internal Affairs. He passed away on November 3, 1997, at the age of forty-seven, in Yerevan, due to a cardiac condition. A school in Yerevan bears Navasardian’s name.