The founder of the Artsakh’s independence movement, Igor Muradyan, died on Sunday, June 17 in Yerevan after a prolonged illness. He had interrupted his medical treatment in Washington to return to Yerevan to witness the aftermath of Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution” and only lived two days before passing away at a local hospital. We lost a very close friend, a mentor, and a visionary, who spared nothing to see his country be united and free.
Mr. Muradyan was a selfless leader, who has spearheaded the idea of unifying Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian-populated autonomous region within Azerbaijan), with Armenia back in early-1980s. The mass movement that sparked in 1988 gathered tremendous force—at times bringing together in excess of one million demonstrators—and soon spread to other republics of the Soviet Union, eventually resulting in its collapse.
Even after stepping down as the leader of the movement and following the end of the war of 1991-94, which he played a leading role in, he never stopped working for Armenia and devoted the rest of his life to its independence and enhancing its role in the world. His contributions to Armenia's sovereignty would stand second to none, making him a role model for that generation.
Mr. Muradyan was a good friend of Policy Forum Armenia and a strong supporter of our activities and vision. He constantly encouraged us to think “outside the box” and be bold and daring. For him, the groundbreaking high-level roundtable discussion “Armenia and the West” co-organized by PFA in Washington in 2014 was a testament of our maturity and ability to put forth serious solutions that undermine the outdated status quos. During his final months at the George Washington University hospital he was under constant care of PFA Fellows, which was our way of paying back for all his good deeds.
As the father of “Armenian Atlanticism,” he was respected by the expert communities in Washington, London, and Brussels. It is his unparalleled integrity, intellectual brilliance, and ability to foresee things that would take others years to realize, which brought him the acclaim.
Unfortunately, it is these same characteristics that made Igor Muradyan an outcast under the successive administrations in Yerevan—the leaders of which he despised for their corruption record and inability to address the country’s fundamental problems—leaving him with little, if any, means to care for his health and conduct professional activities, which often required travel.
Independent Armenia lost a Founding Father, a true patriot, who has given his life for Armenia and the generation of the 1980s. He will continue to live in our hearts and guide us to new achievements.
Rest in peace, dearest Igor, rest in peace.
Yours friends from Policy Forum Armenia