Founded in 1890, the programme of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Hai Heghapokhagan Dashnaktsutiune) has been based on social justice, democracy and national self-determination for the Armenian people.
The ARF led the effort toward the establishment of the first Armenian Republic in 1918. Following the Sovietization of Armenia in 1920, the ARF was banned by the Communists and its leadership exiled.
In the Diaspora, the ARF fought Soviet rule over Armenia and championed the cause of Armenian independence; it played a leading role in organizing a social and cultural framework aimed at preserving the Armenian identity.
The ARF officially re-emerged in Armenia during the dissolution of the USSR, in 1990.
On December 28, 1994, the activities of the ARF were “temporarily suspended” by the Armenian authorities. In view of the political nature of the anti-ARF interdictions by the Armenian authorities, the ARF continued to operate in Armenia. On February 9, 1998, less than a week after the resignation of president Ter-Petrossian, the Justice Ministry lifted the ban on the ARF.
In November 1995, the ARF 26th World Congress was convened, with the participation of representatives from Armenian communities worldwide. The Congress elected the ARF Bureau, composed of nine members from Armenia, Canada, USA, Argentina, Lebanon, and Iran, which coordinates the international activities of the organization.
In September 1996, the ARF rejoined the Socialist International, which it had originally joined in 1907.
The ARF is internationally recognized as a major political force both in Armenia, Karabagh and in Armenian communities worldwide.
In the Republic of Armenia, during the 1998 presidential elections, the ARF supported Robert Kocharian’s candidacy. Following Kocharian’s election as President, ARF members Levon Mkrtchian and Roland Sharoyan were appointed Minister’s in Prime Minister Armen Darpinian’s cabinet. ARF Executive Council of Armenia representative Vahan Hovhanissian was appointed to the post of Advisor to the President of the Republic of Armenia.
In Mountainous Karabagh, the ARF was the political party in power during the initial years of the establishment of the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh (RMK). The Minister of Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports of RMK, Armen Sarkssian, is an ARF member.
In the Diaspora, the ARF is the major political force with organizations and affiliates in every Armenian community.