While Soviet Armenian “official” satire did not enjoy, for obvious reasons, the freedom needed to fully develop its social function, there was no lack of satirical writers and pieces in the press, and even a satirical weekly, Vozni (“Hedgehog”). Poet Aramayis Sahakian was synonymous with the weekly for over three decades.
Sahakian was born in Artsvashen (province of Gegharkunik), the Armenian exclave occupied by Azerbaijan from 1992, on May 25, 1936. He graduated from the language and history department of the Khachatur Abovian State Teacher Training Institute (now university) in 1960 and followed the courses of literature at the Maxim Gorky Institute of Moscow in 1967. He worked at the youth newspaper Avangard (1960-1965) and the literary monthly Garun (1967-1970), and later at the State Commission of the Armenian Television and Radio from 1971–1977.
He became very popular as the witty editor-in-chief of Vozni for over thirty years (1982-2013). He was known as the “Chief Hedgehog” (Գլխաւոր Ոզնի). In 1990-1995 he was member of the Supreme Soviet of Armenia (the predecessor to the National Assembly). After the independence, he continued his activities as editor and also had a popular program on public TV for more than ten years, called “House of Laughs.”
Aramayis Sahakian’s best-known books are Little Stars (1958), Age of Love (1959), We Are Together (1964), To Live and To Love (1968), Be Happy (1972), I Love You (1975), You’re Your Child, Armenia (1986), among others. He also had several collections of poems published in Russian translation. His poems earned various prizes in Armenia. He wrote the lyrics for more than a hundred songs, including the very popular song “Beautiful Dream” (Չքնաղ երազ).
He passed away on March 14, 2013, in Yerevan.