HOVHANNES (Dsegh, Lori 1869 – Moscow 1923) Attended the Nersesian Academy,
Tiflis, but did not complete the course of studies.
Thus, largely self-taught, he emerged as a poet of great directness, simplicity
and lyricism, with a universal appeal. The unofficial poet laureate of Armenia.
Also wrote stories and folk-tales. Most famous poems include Krounk ('The
Crane'), 1896; Hayots Lerneroum ('In the Armenian Mountains'), 1902; the
long poem Sasuntsi Davit ('David of Sasun'), 1902; Hayots Vishtë
('Armenian Grief'), 1903; Hogehangist ('Rest in Peace'), 1915, etc.
Stories include Kach Nazar ('Nazar the Brave'), 1908. Tumanian was
elected a member of the permanent bureau set up in Tiflis, November 1912, to
seek a solution to the problem of Turkish Armenia. Sponsored several charitable
societies in Tiflis in 1917–18, also the Union of Eastern peoples, which sought
to unite the small nationalities of the Middle East. Advocated strongly
pro-Russian stance throughout; profoundly distrusted Europe, seeing it as a
manifestation of little more than greed and rapacity. Presided over meeting in
Tiflis, June 1919, condemning the British for their activities in Karabagh.
After the revolt of February 1921, he was sent by Orjonikidze to Yerevan on 20
March, to try to persuade the Dashnaks to surrender. They refused. Appointed
president of HOK (Armenian Assistance Committee) in September 1921; briefly in
Constantinople on relief work late 1921; returned a sick man. To Moscow for
medical treatment in late 1922, where he died. Buried in Tiflis. His birthplace
now bears his name.