05, 2011

Congratulatory Address by President Serzh Sargsyan on the occasion of Republic’s Day

Dear Fellow Citizens,

I congratulate us all on the occasion of Republic’s Day.

The Republic of Armenia, which was born on May 28, 1918, crowned our centuries-long struggle. It lasted for only two and a half years. Considering that this September we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of our newly independent state, two and a half years may seem a very short period of time for accomplishing anything at all. However, this view is misleading: in reality, it was the greatest revolution that occurred in the hearts and minds of the Armenian nation in modern times. With May 28, the Armenian people adopted a new system of values – that of independence and democracy. If the present Armenia is the successor of the First Republic (and it is), then it is first of all the inheritor of that system of values.

If before May 28, we were trying to self-organize in the religious, cultural, party, social and many other structures, after May 28 we embarked on self-organization as a state, which is the highest and most efficient form for the national self-organization. We made many reassessments regarding our internal life and surrounding milieu.

Before May 18, 1918 we were subjects; on that day the Armenians became citizens. Becoming a free citizen of a free country was a long and difficult road. Even today we are still overcoming hurdles down the way; however, it was a new beginning and a right political course. All segments and strata of our nation withstood that fateful test with honor. It happened at a moment in time when many in the world publicly or in their minds gave up on Armenia and the Armenian nation. Moreover, there had been many despondent among our people as well. Nevertheless, national unity had its brilliant manifestations in the heroic battles of May, 1918. In those days, the collective will of the Armenian national had worked miracles, and we today state with a well-founded pride and gratitude that lives and blood of the heroes of the May battles had saved Armenia from the clutches of death. None of the fighting soldiers, or levies, or officers, or commanders knew that only a day or two days later the Armenian statehood would be officially reinstated, but the most important thing had already taken place: we were fighting as Armenia, and were fighting well. It was a reality. Now we were giving up on the ages-long slavery, on our dismal and disarrayed past.

The country was in a extreme and extraordinary situation, however both the people and the authorities were acutely aware of the most important thing: independence and democracy do not disagree with each other. Moreover, they strongly support each other. Yes, people, individuals may sacrifice their interests, rights, property and even life for the common good, but is it possible renounce that people’s interests, right and their personal happiness?

Armenia of today has also gone through extreme situations and stood before that dilemma. Today we, as a state and as a nation, are strong enough to accomplish a new psychological transformation, bringing into life a new formula – interests and rights of a person are as sacred as general national interests. I have no doubt that in fact there is no dilemma at all but rather a superficial perception on behalf of some segments of the society regarding certain facts.

Whatever Armenia reborn on May 28, 1918 was not able to accomplish due to historical conditions despite her genuine and persistent efforts, will be accomplished by Armenia reborn on September 21.

A powerful army is good, but an army of powerful, free and protected citizens is much better still. A free citizen is the best shield against the external enemy as well as against internal transgressions. If a person does not enjoy full freedom and rights in his own land, what would he defend and from whom? I believe, everyone should ask him or herself this question.

National interests and liberties can and must be harmonized with personal interests and liberties, and not necessarily the one should be sacrificed for the other; on the contrary, they make one entirety.

May 28 is the occasion which allows us not only to reassess events that took place 93 years ago, but also events that are taking place today. Momentous events of the past provide instructive experience – positive as well as negative.

Dear Compatriots,

I once again congratulate you on the occasion of this great holiday. I wish that we together and individually become worthy successors of the work that was commenced on May 28. Before May 28, 1918, we and the world were listening to the groans of the nation which had gone through a genocide; starting from that very day another voice has been heard: it’s been the call of survival, eternal existence and it resonates in the souls of our generations.

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