3110) Hovhannes Kajaznouni

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Hovhannes Kajaznouni (Igitkhanyan) (Armenian: Հովհաննես Քաջազնունի; Russian: Ованнес Каджазнуни) (1868-1938) - Armenian social and political leader. Member of Dashnaktsutsyun Party. First Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of Armenia in 1918 - August 1919. He was also an architect, who had a valuable impact on architecture of Baku. . . .

Education and first steps

Hovhannes Matevos Kajaznouni (Ter-Hovhannisyan) was born in city of Akhlatsikhe of Armenian Gugark region, currently included in Javakheti region of Georgia on February 1, 1868 in a family of a prist. He took surname Kajaznouni, which is the translation of his grandfather's surname - Igitkhanyan.

He got his primary education in Tbilisi in 1877-1886 first at private boarding school and later at Realschule.

In 1887 he left for Petersburg to enter Citizen Engineers Institute.

In 1893 he graduated from it with honor diploma getting profession of architect. On the eve of the Institute 25th anniversary best projects the students were published, and Kajaznouni applied with his project of an Armenian church. During the project creation he investigated Ani and Echmiadzin architecture.

Those years he was also interested in Shakespeare literature. The same period he joined ARF and becomes one of its principal members.

In 1893-1895 he worked at Baku Regional Architectural Department.

In 1895-1897 he worked in Batumi as architect.

In 1897-1899 he worked at Tbilisi Municipal Governance as regional architect.

In 1899-1906 he worked in Council of Baku Oil Producers Congress as senior architect. He actively worked with local oil producers - Balakhan, Bibi-Eybat, Sabunchi. He was architect of a hospital and apartment houses in Baku.

During Armenian-Caucasus Tatar (called Azerbaijani since 1930s) massacres in 1905-1906 he became member of Peace-Building Commission for stopping the violence.

Since 1906 he gave up his architectural work and started active political career.
[edit] Kajaznouni project of Armenian church in Baku

Circumstances made him return architecture in 1909. Tenders were organized for construction of Armenian church of Thadeus and Bartholomew in 1900 and 1907 as a will of late Armenian rich businessman Budaghov (Budaghyan), but brought to no compromise among commission, architects and society. In 1909 relatives of Budaghyan contacted Hovhannes Kajaznouni directly and ordered him to start the project.

He wanted to base on medieval traditions of Armenian church architecture, but mixed with modern symmetry and expression methods. The church got a cross-shape plan, a bit of oval. Besides 4 deepenings in 4 sides of equal sized cross-shape, he had also 4 smaller deepenings between each. The three-flight bell-tower is built in the church, but at the same time taken outside of the western facade. The inside architecture is also worth to mention for he leaned two cross-shaped arcs to the drum of the dome resulting enlarging of the pray hall. The whole building got light and symmetric look. Western facade has two-arc windows, which shape and pattern had Roman architecture influence.

In 1911 moved to Turkey escaping from being arrested by the so-called "Dashnaktsutsyun case" and didn't manage to complete the project [1].

Post-Baku period and Republic of Armenia

Later he lived in Constantinople and in Western Armenia.

In 1914 Kajaznouni moved back to Caucasus.

In 1917 he was elected as member of Armenian National Council and member of Transcaucasian Seym.

After declaration of Armenian Independence on May 28, 1918, he was appointed prime minister of the Republic by Armenian National Council and on June 30 presented his cabinet of 4 ministries, which had 4 ARF (Dashnaktsutsyun) members and one non-partisan:

Hovhannes Kajaznouni Prime-Minister (Minister-President)
Aleksander Khatisyan Minister of Foreign Affairs
Aram Manukyan Minister of Interior
Khachatur Karchikyan Minister of Finance
Hovhannes Hakhverdyan Minister of Defense

The new government finally moved to Yerevan from Tbilisi in July 1918 leaving most of its belongings in Tbilisi.

As representative from Armenia he participated Batumi and Trabzon negotiations, but after negotiations fail Kajaznouni together with Aleksander Khatisyan signed Batumi Treaty on June 4, 1918.

In October 1918 as a result of permanent pressure by other parties of the National Assembly Hovhannes Kajaznouni resigned. The National Assembly accepted his resign, but at once appointed him to form a new coalition cabinet considering all spheres, which were missed before. After discussions with all parties of Armenia and meeting radical position of Social-Revolutionary and Social-Democratic Parties, he formed the new coalition cabinet of 8 ministries together with ARF and People's Party on November 4, 1918:
Hovhannes Kajaznouni Prime-Minister (Minister-President) ARF
Sirakan Tigranyan Minister of Foreign Affairs ARF
Aram Manukyan Minister of Interior ARF
Khachatur Karchikyan Minister of Public Assistance ARF
Artashes Enfiajyan Minister of Finance People's Party
Samson Harutyunyan Minister of Justice People's Party
Mikael Atabekyan Minister of Public Education People's Party
Levon Ghulyan Minister of Provisions People's Party
Hovhannes Hakhverdyan Minister of Defense Non-partisan

In January Aram Manukyan and Minas Berberyan died of typhus during typhus epidemic in Armenia, while Hovhannes Kajaznouni and Sirakan Tigranyan contacted typhus ills, but survived [2].

In February 1919 he was sent to Europe and USA trying to get support for Armenia.

By Spring he presented a modified cabinet:
Hovhannes Kajaznouni Prime-Minister (Minister-President) ARF
Sirakan Tigranyan Minister of Foreign Affairs ARF
Aleksander Khatisyan Minister of Interior ARF
Sahak Torosyan Minister of Welfare ARF
Samson Harutyunyan Minister of Justice People's Party
Artashes Enfiajyan Minister of Finance People's Party
Gevorg Melik-Karagyozyan Minister of Education People's Party
Christophor Vermishev Minister of Provisions People's Party
Christophor Araratov Minister of Defense Non-partisan

On February 15 and April 16 he passed responsibility of the Prime-Minister on Aleksander Khatisyan for leaving for negotiations in Tbilisi. Since April 27, 1919 Aleksander Khatisyan became acting Prime-Minister and since May 28 - Prime-Minister of Armenia. In September 1920 after returning to Armenia he was appointed as vise-chairman of National Assembly.

On November 25, 1920 he became Chairman of National Assembly and occupied the position for a week.

After Bolshevik occupation of Armenia he was arrested. After anti-Bolshevik February 18, 1921 revolt he became head of commission formed to help families of Bolshevism victims, which was given first 10, and later 50 mln. rubles.

After the revolt was suppressed he moved to Bucharest, where he published book "Dashnaktsutyun had nothing to do", which was greatly criticized by other members of the party. The same year he left Dashnak party.

In 1925 he moved back to Soviet Armenia to work as architect in Leninakan (Gyumri). He lived in Yerevan, worked in Technical Department of Yerevan State University. On the basis of that department soon Construction Institute opened in Yerevan and he moved there getting rank of professor.

In 1937 he was arrested together with other representatives of pre-Soviet Armenia, and according to Stalin repression mechanism they all were called enemy of the state. He died in prison in period of 1937-1938.

After his death all of his personal archives, letters and documents were confiscated by KGB. Only remaining few documents were preserved by his daughter Margarita Hovhannisyan.


1. ↑ Edmond Tigranyan «Activity of Armenian architects in South Caucasus» - ISBN 99930-0-001-2
2. ↑ The Republic of Armenia: The first year, 1918-1919 By Richard G. Hovannisian; ISBN 0520018052

* Энциклопедия «Армянский вопрос», Ереван 1991, ISBN 5-89700-005-0

        Prime-Minister of Armenia
Preceded In office Succeeded
None May 30, 1918 - May 28, 1919 Aleksander Khatisyan



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