The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) (Armenian: Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութիւնa), also known as Dashnaktsutyun, is an Armenian left-wing nationalist party founded in Tiflis, Russian Empire (now Tbilisi, Georgia) in 1890 by Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian. The party operates in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and in countries where the Armenian diaspora is present, notably in Lebanon, where the party is represented in the parliament.
The ARF advocates socialism and is a full member of the Socialist International since 2003, which it had originally joined in 1907. It possesses the largest number of members from the political parties present in the Armenian diaspora, having established affiliates in more than 20 countries. Compared to other Armenian parties which tend to primarily focus on educational or humanitarian projects, the ARF is the most politically oriented of the organizations and traditionally has been one of the staunchest supporters of Armenian nationalism. The party campaigns for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the right to reparations. It also advocates the establishment of United Armenia, partially based on the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920.
The ARF became active within the Ottoman Empire in the early 1890s with the aim of unifying the various small groups in the empire that were advocating for reform and defending Armenian villages from massacres that were widespread in some of the Armenian-populated areas of the empire. ARF members formed fedayee groups that defended Armenian civilians through armed resistance. The Dashnaks also worked for the wider goal of creating a "free, independent and unified" Armenia, although they sometimes set aside this goal in favor of a more realistic approach, such as advocating autonomy.
In 1917, the party was instrumental in the creation of the short-lived Democratic Republic of Armenia, which fell to the Soviet communists in 1920. After its leadership was exiled by the communists, the ARF established itself within Armenian diaspora communities, where it helped Armenians preserve their cultural identity. After the fall of the USSR, it returned to Armenia, where it now again has a significant presence as the leading opposition party in Armenia's parliament. Prior to Serzh Sargsyan's election as president of Armenia and for a short time thereafter, the ARF was a member of the governing coalition, even though it nominated its own candidate in the presidential elections.
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