It has been a year since Raphik Haroutyunian—founder of “Narek” LTD, entrepreneur and philanthropist, member of the board of the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia—has left us.
“Nature had endowed him not only with an inquiring mind and strength, but also with a straightforward, honest and incorruptible character, noble human traits.” These words of praise were published in the newspaper “Mankavarzh” [Teacher] back in 1967, when Raphik Haroutyunian was only 22-year-old, but had already managed to become the Greco-Roman wrestling champion of Armenia, to win the title of master of sports in the USSR. He accomplished this while at the same time being a student at the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the Kh. Abovyan Pedagogical Institute of Armenia.
Almost half a century had passed since those words and when Mr. Haroutyunian closed his eyes forever, he remained a bright personality for everyone, straightforward fellow, model husband, caring father, a skillful leader, a great patriot and in the words of his elder daughter, Sona Haroutyunian (professor at the University of Venice), “with a childish innocence, but imperious hand.”
Raphik Haroutyunian was born in 1945 in Artik. His father, Nikol Haroutyunian was a lawyer who occupied different positions. He became deputy of Armenia’s Supreme Council and put all of his energy into the benefit of the homeland. His mother, Amalia Sukiasyan, was a distinguished teacher.
In 1967, after becoming master of sports of the USSR, the newspapers began writing about Raphik Haroutyunian.“He’s been climbing the stairs of his cherished dreams,” some would say. Raphik had yet another passion—Physics—which, however, he wasn’t limited to. In 1968 after brilliantly graduating the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics, he entered and successfully completed the Department of Economy at Yerevan State University.
At this point there came the moment to invest his accumulated knowledge in service of the motherland’s prosperity, which he did until his death.
When in Armenia new relations began to develop in the economic sphere, Raphik Haroutyunian, as an apologist of the new and avant-garde, founded the company “Narek” in 1992, choosing the Italians as partners. Linking a solid bridge of bilateral economic cooperation, in a short time he became a strong supporter of Italian design and taste and until the end of his life he brilliantly headed “Narek” company, which now continues its activities thanks to the efforts of the experienced employees and Raphik Haroutyunian’s family members, relying on his slogan, “always forward, only forward.”
Arsen Ghazaryan, president of the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia, recounts, “In the early 1990s in newly independent Armenia, entrepreneurship was like a stormy sea. Few knew what to do and how to move. One of those exceptional few was Raphik Haroutyunian, who had already great experience from his previous career. He became one of the first professional captains of our new business. Although he was our oldest friend, with paternal warmth and a good-nature, he taught us that business was the starting point that will strengthen our statehood. He was not the one who demolished the old. Instead, by basing on its positive points he was the creator of the new. He became an example for us businessmen not only in business but also in human and partnership relations. And it was no coincidence that our great friend and benefactor Raphik Haroutyunian was the chairman and the first assessor of almost all of our congresses.”
Mr. Haroutyunian unconditionally invested his knowledge and experience for the prosperity of Armenia, providing a significant service to all domains entrusted to him. He was exacting with himself and others. He loved to compete and, as he used to say, win. He strove for perfection, and was successful in all areas. While in the Soviet period he demonstrated his virtues as a leader and held various important positions within the Ministries of Trade and Economics, in the newly independent Armenia, his virtues as a brilliant businessman and benefactor emerged. He rejoiced in the victories in Artsakh, distressed victims of the war, tried to allay sadness by supporting disabled war veterans, as well as the families of the fallen soldiers. He brought his help to disadvantaged children, students, the elderly and the needy. His focus was always considerate of his birthplace, the region of Shirak, to which he always brought his contribution. He had a deep respect for cultural figures. He was thus sponsoring events, book publications and concerts. He became a member of the entrepreneurs group “Friends of Italy” supporting cultural programs at the Italian Embassy in Armenia.
Raphik Haroutyunian was a man of many talents: he played the piano, tar, guitar and flute. He loved the Armenian duduk with the performance of Vatche Hovsepyan, Mkrtich Malkhasyan and Gevorg Dabaghyan, and he liked the songs of Sassun. “My ancestors were from Sassun,” he proudly repeated often, “my grandfather’s brother Harutik, has been Andranik’s soldier.”