Artashes Chilingirian - Ruben Darbinian

14 June , 1968

Born in Akhalkalak, Darbinian was taken to Ekaterinodar (present-day Krasnodar) as a child by his parents. He was educated there and in Tiflis. In 1903 he attended Moscow University, and later traveled to Germany to further his studies.

He joined the ARF in the early 1900s, and by 1906 he had become chairperson of its North Caucasus Central Committee. Due to his revolutionary activities, he was forced by Tsarist authorities to flee in 1909.

Moving to Constantinople, Darbinian continued his activities, becoming editor of the ARF organ Azatamart. In 1914, he returned to Tiflis, and from there went on to Baku as editor of various ARF papers.

During the “Baku Commune” of 1918, Darbinian traveled to Moscow with Simon Hakobian to secure Bolshevik aid against the Turkish forces besieging Baku. In Moscow, however, he was met with hostility on the part of Soviet authorities.

In 1919, Darbinian moved on to Yerevan, where he became Minister of Justice in the government of Aleksandr Khatisian. He also served for a time as editor of the party organ Harach.

When the Bolsheviks occupied Armenia in late 1920, Darbinian attempted to flee but was apprehended and jailed. He was freed by the popular revolt of February 1921, and during the ensuing months he remained in Armenia as editor of Azat Hayastan. He escaped the return of the Bolsheviks by going to Tabriz (Iran) and from there to the West.

Darbinian eventually settled in Boston, where he assumed editorship of Hairenik in March 1922. During his long tenure, Darbinian became known for cultivating the talents of many writers and cultural figures, and he oversaw the founding and enlargement of publications that served to supplement the Hairenik daily: the English-language Hairenik Weekly, the scholarly and literary Armenian Review, and the Hairenik Monthly, which was notable for publishing the memoirs of many early Dashnak leaders.

Darbinian was also known for his strong, uncompromising anti-Communist stance—a view he held throughout his middle and later years.

He died in Boston. He was 85.