From left, Nicolas Aznavour, Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toghanyan and Ruben Vardanyan

Aznavour’s Son Recalls How His Father Mobilized World after 1988 Spitak Quake


MOSCOW ( — Moscow’s Maxim Gorky Art Academic Theater hosted on Wednesday, 28, a commemorative event dedicated to the 1988 devastating Armenian earthquake, also known as the Spitak earthquake.

Anna Hakobyan, the spouse of Armenia’s Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, National Hero of Armenia Nikolai Ryzhkov, Primate of the Russian and New Nakhichevan Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Yezras Nersisyan and others attended the event organized by the Armenian Embassy in Russia in cooperation with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Aznavour Foundation.

From left, Veronika Zonanbed, the wife of Ruben Vardanyan, Anna Hakobyan, the wife of Nikol Pashinyan and the wife of Ambassador Vardan Toghanyan

Addressing the meeting, Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toghanyan said the event commemorates the 30th anniversary of the catastrophic Spitak earthquake that claimed some 25,000 lives, the embassy announced on Facebook.

“Armenia shall never forget the support of those people and nations that were not indifferent to Armenians in their darkest moments. Starting from the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire to the Spitak earthquake, our history is full of amazing examples of humanity,” the envoy said, expressing gratitude to the whole world.

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative co-founder, Philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan and Charles Aznavour’s son Nicolas, who co-founded the Aznavour Foundation, also delivered remarks at the event.

“This event is entitled to become a global symbol of inspiration and support for social transformation. If we want to change our society, if we are resolute to create the best conditions for the future generations, we should show the world the real value of empathy and generosity that motivate the modern heroes. This is the mission of Aurora,” Vardanyan said.

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Nicolas, for his part, shared the story of the legendary singer’s great assistance to Armenia after the Spitak earthquake. He recalled how his father mobilized the world after the tragedy.

“My father was among the first to react to the 1988 tragedy and take action immediately. That very night, he wrote the song Pour toi Armenie (For You Armenia) together with Georges Garvarentz, mobilizing artists from France, United States, Italy and later from the entire international community,” he said.

“The existence of individuals able to consolidate people around them and empathize with them is a crucial factor to promote human development,” he added.

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