A Shot into the World’s Deafness
”In front of us and the truth, there was a wall of silence. We had to tear it down. In the Turkish genocide against my people, terrible and unspoken, a million and a half people were brutally killed. At that time, it was three quarters of the total number of Armenians. We did not want innocent victims, we shot at the representatives of the state that committed that horror and at the indifference of the world. (...)Serbs are freedom loving people, very close to us. They understood that we are not criminals but fighters for our people and a just idea”

By: Mišo Vujović

”The world was deaf to the sufferings of the Armenians”, said quietly the man with a calm face, slightly protruding gray beard, a penetrating gaze, as he scanned me investigatively, reminiscing of the most fateful event of his life.
That March 9, 1983, carried by the sublime idea of ​​fighting for the truth about the suffering of the Armenian people, in the center of Belgrade, he fired revenge shots at the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the SFRY Galip Balkar.
Today, sixty-one-year-old Harutyun Krikor Levonyan, one of the Armenian ”avengers”, lives a new life, committed to the old idea of ​​protecting national interests and a just solution to the Armenian issue.
During his stay in the Sremska Mitrovica prison, Levonyan learned Serbian language, but over time, many words disappeared from memory.
In communist Yugoslavia, there was silence about the Turkey’s genocide against the Armenian people in 1915-1917.
Today, after almost forty years, Krikor Levonyan does not perceive the assassination of the Turkish ambassador as a feat but as a fulfilled patriotic duty. He does not expect laurels and awards, but respect and moral support, which were not lacking among our citizens, are sufficient satisfaction for him.
”It is important that we pass on this idea of ​​freedom to the young generation. We, not as a small, but a small-numbered nation, which has lived without its own state for centuries, have managed to preserve our identity and restore the Armenian state. As descendants of the ancestors of the victims of the Turkish genocide, we were forced to do something. The world did not understand the pain and Golgotha ​​that the Armenian people went through. Our goal was not to kill people, but to draw the world’s attention to the suffering of Armenians and the tacit genocide. That silence forced us to find a way to open the world’s eyes, to have them learn about that terrible genocide against the Armenians. In front of us and the truth, there was a wall of silence that we had to tear down, and the assassinations of Turkish diplomats remained as the only means for our small people in the fight against a much more numerous and stronger enemy. The actions of fighters for the administration of justice due to the genocide against the Armenians were not directed against the Turkish people, but against those who ruled Turkey and publicly declared themselves as enemies of the Armenians”, this member of the liberation organization ”Commandos” begins his confession in a calm voice. On 9 March 1983, he fatally wounded Galip Balkar, the Turkish ambassador to Belgrade.
Under the slogan that ”the non-Turkish population is a cancer to be removed from the Turkish body”, Talat Pasha’s order to arrest 250 prominent Armenians in Istanbul in late April 1915 and the law to expel Armenians from the Ottoman Empire, began a pogrom of this old Christian people, which will result in the genocide of over a million and a half people, which at that time accounted for three-quarters of the entire Armenian population.


I was nineteen when Rafi Elbekiyan and Harutyun Krikor Levonian shot at the Turkish ambassador in Belgrade.
Levonyan fired four shots at Balkar, while Elbekiyan wounded his driver with one bullet at the moment when he tried to pull a revolver.
Such an act was almost unthinkable for the majority of the inhabitants of Yugoslavia, one of the safest countries in the world. The feelings of the population in the capital were mixed. From justification to condemnation. Despite the ubiquitous eyes and ears of the service, the condemning attitude of the state, a large percentage of citizens, especially the younger ones, expressed sympathy for the assassins.
Unfortunately, along with the ambassador, the young Želјko Milivojević, a student from Inđija, also tragically died. Levonyan was more fortunate, himself severely wounded by a police bullet, while Colonel Slobodan Brajović will become permanently disabled while trying to prevent Levonyan’s escape.
At that time, the peaceful capital of the SFRY was in shock, and this assassination in the center of Belgrade, back in 1983, will be an overture to the brutal street liquidations and bloody civil war.
Most of the Belgraders who happened to be there went in pursuit of the assassins. Student Milivojević was killed when he tried to catch up with Elbekiyan. According to the verdict, Milivojević was shot by Rafi Elbekiyan. The defendants’ lawyers referred to the court expertise and the autopsy report, which stated that a 7-mm bullet had been found in the body of the late Milivojević, while the assassins fired 9 millimeters. At that time, the Yugoslav and Serbian militia used weapons with a caliber of 7.62 millimeters. Whether the pathologist, Dr. Snežana Velјković, really incorrectly measured the diameter of the bullet found in Milivojević’s body, or she was subsequently ”suggested” to ”admit” the mistake, remains unexplained to this day.
Based on that expertise, the defense attorneys tried to prove that the unfortunate student, in a sacrificial attempt to catch the assassins, was not hit by a 9 mm Astra gun used by the assassins, but with a 7.62 caliber which seriously wounded Krikor Levonyan.


”The court rejected the indictment that it was a case of reckless revenge, because the act was committed out of patriotism, and there are no low motives there”, said one of the defendants’ attorneys, lawyer Veljko Guberina, in his book Witness to History. During his address, Guberina referred to the great pogrom and suffering of the Armenian people from Turkey, which the court did not accept as a mitigating circumstance, but his presentation at the trial contributed to informing the general public about the genocide against Armenians. In July of the previous year, in the show about Soviet Armenia, TV Belgrade referred to the genocide, stating the figure of one and a half million Armenians who had been killed. A few days later, Ambassador Balkar handed a sharp demarche to the Federal Secretariat for Foreign Affairs.
In the first-instance trial, the assassins were sentenced to 20 years in prison each, and the Supreme Court reduced the sentence to 15 years.
Levonyan claims that he did not injure Colonel Brajović, who tried to defeat him.
He believes that both he and Colonel Slobodan Brajović were wounded with the same weapon, caliber 7.62.
”We had thoroughly prepared for that action, aware that the ambassador did not participate in the genocide against the Armenians, but that he was the successor and continuation of the policy of the creators, commanders and inspirers of that crime. Thus, we shot at a representative of the country that committed the genocide. We shot at the country that he represented at that moment”, categorically stated Levonyan, expressing regret for the innocent victims who died during the assassination.
”It was not an act of hostility towards your country, we did not intend to hurt any of the innocent citizens, but the development of the situation was such that, unfortunately, it happened. During my evacuation from the scene, Colonel Brajović tried to control me by grabbing me with both hands from behind. I shot in the air, and in that turmoil he fell, and I continued to run along Bulevar Revolucije street towards Tašmajdan Park, where I was shot in the spine. A little further away from me, student Milivojević was killed, and my friend Elbekiyan was accused of his death, but I am convinced that he was also killed by police officers who used 7.62 millimeter caliber ammunition. Colonel Brajović had a wound in a place where I could not hit him by shooting in the air”, Levonyan was categorical. Lawyer Srđa Popović claimed that the same police officer who wounded Levonyan in order to prevent Elbekiyan from fleeing, also hit Milivojević who, running after the assassin, crossed the path of the bullet.
Levonyan is convinced that there were more than two police officers in that area mentioned in the court records. To this day, the identity of the police officer who shot and wounded Levonyan remains unknown. Another member of the militia, who protected him, wounded, from the enraged crowd, is also unknown.
The court did not determine who the third participant in the assassination was, nor from whom the assassins had received weapons the day before. Also unknown is the identity of the man who got behind the wheel of the ambassador’s Mercedes after the assassination and transported him to the hospital, where he died two days later from his wounds.
And, finally, who are the people arrested along with Levonyan and Elbekiyan, whose arrest at the SSIP collegium is discussed by Secretary Lazar Mojsov.


All this raises the question of how Levonyan and Elbakyan, for days ”undetected”, prepared the assassination, in what was then one of the safest countries in the world, whose secret services would not failed to detect even much more benign activities of potential enemies. It is evident that the assassin’s reconnaissance had observed the embassy building and its surroundings for months, and that certainly could not go unnoticed in a system where most citizens, employed in public and community affairs, cooperated with security services.
”I noticed, the day before, that the worker in the kiosk across from JAT’s office was armed. I assume that kiosk employee was a member of the secret services. As far as I remember, there were some embassies across the street, the Assembly and the main post office are nearby”, this vital 60-year-old recalls today, while we are talking in the villa of our host, known in business circles all over Europe and Asia.
”Before Belgrade, our organization carried out similar actions throughout Europe, and we did not think at all in which part of Europe we would act in order to serve the strongest possible blow to the Turkish state, politics and diplomacy. We prepared thoroughly for each action. Before the assassination on March 9, I was in Belgrade in February. I studied the terrain, observed the embassy, ​​tried to determine the ambassador’s movements, habits... After thorough planning, we decided that the intersection of Bulevar Revolucije and Generala Ždanova Street was the most acceptable place to complete the mission. Not because of our safety, but because of the knowledge that the ambassador will pass through that intersection. The day before, we followed his journey to the US Embassy, ​​and then we decided to attack him during the next exit from the embassy, ​​whose premises he rarely often leave. At exactly 11:10 AM, on March 9, 1983, a black Mercedes with Turkish flags stopped at a traffic light on the corner of Bulevar Revolucije and Generala Ždanova Street”, recalls a man who will fatally wound a Turkish diplomat with four shots, and who will be shot, while fleeing, just a few moments later, by an ”unknown" police officer ”on vacation” from an official gun, hitting his spine and making him permanently disabled.
”Everything happened in seconds. I remember the ambassador sitting in the back seat reading the newspaper. I think our eyes met the moment I fired in his direction. I was preoccupied with the success of the action and it was all I could think about. I am sorry that innocent people were killed. We knew that the Serbs were a libertarian people, that, as a people with a difficult history, they fought fiercely against the Ottomans and we felt close to the Serbian people.  The state authorities, from the police to the judiciary and prison guards, treated us correctly, with the awareness that we are not criminals but fighters for a just idea. Especially the doctors and medical staff cared for us with attention and sympathy, for which I am grateful for life. I remember Dr. Sava Subotić, a wonderful man, who I have been thinking about with respect and gratitude for years, and I would like to get in touch with him”, this talented man, successful designer, builder, painter and sculptor evokes memories with a smile.


While we talk, my tireless brother Panta, with whose help I met Levonyan, manages to find Dr. Subotić. Touching conversation, memories flood in, and only an occasional grimace on Levonyan’s face reveals emotion.        
He remembers waking up in the prison hospital and the news from Dr. Ranković that he will no longer be able to walk. The harsh knowledge of the consequences of that endeavor did not discourage him. The fact that he fully realized his mission gave him new impulses of life. He was convinced that even in such conditions, he would continue the just fight for his people. The fight for the truth, for the internationalization of the Armenian question, for the condemnation of genocide, so that such a heinous and mass crime would never happen again. Not only to Armenians, but to any nation in the world.
”As every man has the right to life, so it is with nations. One and a half million innocent Armenian victims were killed in the most monstrous way, as evidenced by the genocide museum. These are innocent people, brutally murdered just because they belong to another religion and another nation. And someone had to answer for that crime, not only the perpetrators but also the heirs of such a policy”, categorically said this member of the secret organization ”Commandos”, which for years, along with the even more extreme ”Asala”, inspired fear and trembling for the Turkish state and its officials.
The ”Commandos” according to our interlocutor, were organized in small groups and almost did not know about each other, which ensured a high level of conspiracy and efficiency in the realization of the planned assassinations. Unlike the members of ”Asala”, the ”Commandos” did not place explosive devices, thus avoiding mass casualties like the one at the Orly airport in Paris in 1983, but opted for a much riskier way of fighting – firearms.
”Regardless of the fact that our goal was the same, we differed from ”Asala” on many issues, our targets were exclusively diplomats, ambassadors and other Turkish officials. And we were worried that innocent people were killed in their actions. That certainly could not have positive impact on the solving of the Armenian question”, categorically stated Levonyan, emphasizing that even today he would act as a just fighter for the Armenian issue.


”All my decisions were made after a long deliberation, which is why I did not repent at any moment, despite the severe consequences. As you can see, I wear my cross very well. Unfortunately, fate wanted innocent victims to suffer, and because of that, I repeat, I deeply regret it. I am also sorry that the world is not aware that neo-Ottomanism is on the rise”, warns Levonjan, emphasizing that the latest events in Nagorno Karabakh are proof of these conquest appetites.
He looks with concern at the aggressive expansion of neo-Ottomanism and the indifference of Western countries. He calls for a common response to that threat.
”What happened in Belgrade is definitely something special in my life. I am glad to have met the Serbian people, who have a lot in common with the Armenians. We have a similar mentality. I thank everyone for their caring attitude towards me. The court’s decision was very strict. It was clear to us that the state had to defend itself. We felt that the judges understood our fight, that they respected us despite the condemning decision. As far as I remember, Judge Šekularac personally came to my room, told me that he regretted making such a verdict, that I had to be strong. I replied: ‘I understand you, you passed the verdict as a professional, as I did my job, defending my people.’ Also, I am not angry with the police officer who shot at me. He also carried out his duty”, he juggles his memories with unreal calmness, carefully measuring every thought, avoiding the answers to some sensitive questions with diplomatic wisdom, defining them as ”outdated” or technical, after almost four decades. I notice that he skillfully avoids answers, which elicits a benevolent smile on his serious face.
The fact that in the meantime, thirty-one countries in the world, including the United States, recognized the genocide against the Armenians, shows that the shootings have completely devastated the world’s deafness.


Regret for the Innocent
”I am sorry for the suffering of innocent people. The organization to which I belonged avoided explosives and bomb attacks precisely because of the possibility of citizens being killed, but in such actions, the probability of things getting complicated is, as a rule, high”, Levonyan repeated several times.


The Danger Is Still There
”Every hundred years, Pan-Turkism raises its head with the intention of swallowing and subduing all small nations, to re-establish the old borders of the Ottoman Empire. This ideology is not a threat only to small nations, but to the entire civilization. After all, Erdogan does not hide his pretensions towards other countries”, Levonyan warns.

From now on you
can buy National Review at Trafika sales outlets

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 81 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 80 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 79 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 78 - руски

Serbia - National Review - Tourism 2020

Србија - национална ревија - Број 77

Србија - национална ревија - Број 76

Србија - национална ревија - Број 75
Србија - национална ревија - ФранкфуртСрбија - национална ревија - МоскваСрбија - национална ревија - Москва
Србија - национална ревија - ПекингСрбија - национална ревија - број 74
Србија - национална ревија - број 73

Србија - национална ревија - број 72Туризам 2019.
Србија - национална ревија - број 71
Србија - национална ревија - број 70Србија - национална ревија - број 69Србија - национална ревија - број 68Србија - национална ревија - број 67Tourism 2018
Србија - национална ревија - број 66
Serbia - National Review - No 65
Serbia - National Review - No 64Србија - национална ревија - број 63
Србија - национална ревија - број 62
Србија - национална ревија - број 61

Србија - национална ревија - број 60
Србија - национална ревија - број 59
Serbia - National Review - No 59
Serbia - National Review - No 58

Serbia - National Review - No 56
Serbia - National Review - No 55
Serbia - National Review - No 54
Tourism 2016
Српска - национална ревија - број 53
Српска - национална ревија - број 12-13
Srpska - National Review - No 12-13
Serbia - National Review - No 51

Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 48
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46Serbia - National Review - No 46, russianSerbia - National Review - No 45Srpska - No 6
SRPSKA - National Review - No 5Tourism 2014SRPSKA - No 2
Tourism 2013
SRPSKA - National Review - Special Edition

Battle above Centuries
Legends of Belgrade
History of the Heart


Чувар светих хумки
Србија од злата јабука - друго издање
Orthodox Reminder for 2013
Пирот - Капија Истока и Запада
Беочин - У загрљају Дунава и Фрушке Горе
Србија, друмовима, пругама, рекама
Србија од злата јабука
Туристичка библија Србије

Коридор X - Европски путеви културе
Београд у џепу
Тло Србије, Завичај римских царева
Добродошли у Србију