Stepan Zorian (Armenian: Ստեփան Զօրեան, 1867–1919), better known by his nom de guerre Rostom (Ռոստոմ), was one of the three founders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and a very active participant of the Armenian national liberation movement.
Founding of the ARF
Zorian was born in Tsghna, Erivan Governorate. He attended college in Moscow but dropped out before graduating. He eventually went to Tiflis, Georgia, where he met Christapor Mikaelian and Simon Zavarian, all would become revolutionaries. They co-founded the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) in 1890. Their new political party had a major impact on Armenians. It gained support by demanding reforms and taking up arms to defend Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire.
Works and travels
Zorian moved to Geneva, Switzerland where he managed the Droshak Journal (Troshag) newspaper, as the editor. In Karin, pretending to be a teapot salesman because ARF party members were banned in Turkey, he established student unions. He later settled in Bulgaria to create cooperation between ARF and the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization in its struggle against Abdul Hamid II. He also opened an Armenian school there with his wife, Lisa Melik Shahnazarian.
Post Constitution days
During the 1908 Constitutional revolution in Turkey, he moved to Garin. In 1914, World War I broke out, he moved to Europe and then to the Caucasus. There he participated in the Armenian-Tatar wars. During the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, he participated in the revolution alongside Persian revolutionaries. He also directs the fight of self-defense in Baku. After a disastrous result, he fled to Iran with thousands of Armenians.
Zorian died in 1919 in Tiflis, aged 52. He was the only founder of the ARF to live to see an independent Armenia.