Zori Balayan

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Zori Balayan in Stepanakert (2010)

Zori Balayan (Armenian: Զորի Բալայան, born February 10, 1935 in Stepanakert) is an Armenian novelist, journalist, sports doctor, traveler and sports expert.[1] He was awarded the "Renowned master of the Arts" an Armenian official title.


Born in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh. He graduated the Ryazan State Medical University in 1963. From 1971 to 1973 he traversed the Kamchatka and Chokotskaya tundras on dog-sleds, traveling as far as the North Sea. In his essay Hearth, published during the pre-perestroika era, he tried to demonstrate the Armenian identity of Nagorno-Karabakh and identified Nakhichevan as historically belonging to Armenia. He further regarded Turks (including Azerbaijan) as an enemy of both Russia and Armenia. Azerbaijani historian[2] Isa Gambar criticized Balayan's book in an article entitled Old Songs and New Legends.[3] British journalist and author Thomas de Waal called Zori Balayan "chauvunistic intellectual warrior," whose book "Hearth" "might never have been allowed to spread".[4]

In 1988 he and Armenian poet Silva Kaputikyan were received by Mikhail Gorbachev and discussed the absence of Armenian-language television programs and textbooks in Nagorno-Karabakh schools as well as other concerns of Karabakh's majority-Armenian population.[5]

In October 1993, he signed the Letter of Forty-Two.[6]

Balayan is a journalist for the weekly Russian-language publication Literaturnaya Gazeta.


There exists an allegation, mainly propagated by mainstream Azerbaijani and Turkish sources, that Zori Balayan confessed to the killing of an Azerbaijani child. The allegations are purported to be from a paragraph in a book entitled Revival of Our Souls or Revival of Our Spirits, supposedly written by Zori Balayan. Balayan, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, have come out denying him having ever written such a book.[7][8] Ayse Gunaysu, member of the Committee Against Racism and Discrimination of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (Istanbul branch) has said "it should be quite obvious, from the language used in depicting the torture, that the quotation was wholly made up."[9] Onur Caymaz, a Turkish writer, who originally backed the allegation, stated that he was wrong and that Balayan hadn't written such a book.[10]


The authorities in Azerbaijan allege that Balayan was involved in a terrorist bombing of the metro in Baku in 1994. General secretary of Interpol, in a letter to Balayan, stated that the agency considered the complaint politically motivated and that it had removed Balayan from its wanted list as a result.[11]

Critics in Armenia[edit]

Balayan's views and alleged lobbying[12] activities were criticized by Armenian authors, including Igor Muradyan[13] and Levon Ter-Petrosian.[14] Balayan's letter to Vladimir Putin met harsh criticism in Armenia in 2013.[15]


  • My Kilikia, (Russian), Yerevan, 2004
  • Zim Kilikia (Զիմ Կիլիկիա (Armenian)), Yerevan 2005
  • Kilikia (Կիլիկիա (Armenian)), vols. 2 and 3, Yerevan 2006 - 2007
  • Chasm, (Armenian and Russian), Yerevan, 2004
  • Heaven and Hell (Armenian, Russian and English) Los Angeles, 1997, Yerevan, 1995
  • Hearth, Moscow 1984, Yerevan 1981
  • Between Two Fires, Yerevan 1979
  • Blue roads, Yerevan 1975
  • Required Man's opinion,(Russian) Yerevan 1974


  1. ^ Balayan's page at the Armenian Writer's Union official site Archived January 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 31, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 12, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Thomas de Waal. Black garden.New-York: NYU press, 2003, pp. 142-143
  5. ^ A Test of Change Explodes in Soviet, By F. Barringer with B. Keller, THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 11, 1988
  6. ^ Писатели требуют от правительства решительных действий. Izvestia (in Russian). 5 October 1993. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  8. ^ Armenia’s Foreign Ministry shows up Azerbaijani disinformation. December 25, 2009
  9. ^ Ayse Gunaysu, "Gunaysu: The Reign of Lies in Turkey ", "The Armenian Weekly", May 11, 2012..
  10. ^ "Zori Balayan Kimdir? ", "Onur Caymaz Personal blog" Archived March 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Tony Halpin, "Ship Shape: Cilicia completes second leg of its historic journey around Europe ", ArmeniaNow, Issue #33 (155), September 02, 2005..
  12. ^ В последние дни Зорий Балаян занят лоббистскими вопросами нового кандидата в премьеры: «Жоховурд»
  13. ^ Идиотизм и пошлость в одной ипостаси, Игорь МУРАДЯН
  14. ^ В Армении майдан не состоялся из-за глубокого разочарования народа в Западе
  15. ^ Письмо Зория Балаяна Путину удостоилось резкой критики в Армении и Карабахе