03, 2012

Address by the President of the Republic of Armenia, President of the Republican Party of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the 13th Republican Convention

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The President of the Republic of Armenia, President of the Republican Party of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan participated today at the 13th Convention of the Republican Party of Armenia at the Karen Demirjian Sports and Concert Centre and addressed the Convention.


Address by the President of the Republic of Armenia, President of the Republican Party of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the 13th Republican Convention

Fellow Republicans,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Conventions of the Republican Party of Armenia have long ago become one of the most significant events in the social and political life of our country arising as a unique quintessence of our maturing statehood and embodiment of new traditions. And that is quite natural.

The Republican Party has been our country’s leading political force for the major part of Armenia’s independent existence and along with its partners it has been able to sustain country’s advancement regardless of all internal and external tumults, regardless of the hurdles blocking our way and pernicious currents. Much has changed along the way: the presidents, the entire social and economic milieu, foreign and internal challenges, problems and actors have also changed. But the Party has been carrying on with its noiseless, unpretentious work, stirring away from the roads to abyss and temptations to reach the sun flying on wax wings.

The Republicans are everywhere: in all areas of our social life and in every corner of our country, and as such, it’s been able with its own authority to thwart any dangerous sway, to level fluctuations; through the same authority it maintains a steady speed and overcomes impediments thus making our country to move forward. With its vast experience accumulated through the years and with a constantly growing vigor, the Party makes a formidable bond, linking our present to our future and it is ready to rise against intolerance or domestic split, stagnation or levity, against a foreign foe or internal despondency.

In the upcoming parliamentary elections, we will present ourselves to our people as a team of like-minded individuals which has set a goal to win the people’s vote of confidence and form a government. Probably, there are some who don’t like it, those who cannot come to terms with an ideology that reigns in our country sustained by our people’s vote of confidence. However, that’s the reality which is nothing but right and beneficial for Armenia.

We are a national conservative party which stands for the implementation of each individual’s rights and for bringing to life our common national aspirations.

We believe that each person is born free and must have the opportunity to live free and develop, pursuing his or her own personal, familial, public and national goals.

All mentioned levels are important and interrelated. A person cannot be honest and virtuous on one level at the expense of other levels. A person cannot be honest and virtuous in his or her family at the public’s and the nation’s expense. A person cannot build his or her own personal and family happiness, robbing and depriving the public and the nation; stealing from the public and the nation means stealing from oneself, from one’s own family.

We believe that our society should develop in an environment of a free competition. However, free competition must not translate into the advantage for big money as it cannot translate into an opportunity for the very same big money to suppress and consume other competitors.

We also believe that family is the foremost and the strongest citadel which safeguards our national existence: it is our traditional and conservative family where the young respect and listen to the elderly, whose pillars are the wife and the mother. However, “listen” doesn’t mean to be a hostage to the will of the elderly and “the pillar of the family” doesn’t mean a prisoner of the kitchen. And it is best proved by the increasing presence of women and young people in the ranks of the Party. Compared to our previous conventions, there are more women and young people in this hall. And we will do our best to preserve and develop this tendency of their increased participation. We will combine the experience and knowledge of the elder with the vigor and enthusiasm of the young, with the dedication and traditionalism of the women, and together we will build a new Armenia – for us all and for each one of us.

We also believe that our public is much more than a simple mechanical gathering of people. We believe that a nation is much more than the people of a common character bonded by a social contract. We believe that that social contract is more based on the spirit of the nation rather than on the letter of the contract.

Fellow Republicans,

My reference to these pillars of our ideology is not accidental. It is no secret that there are some that have made the defamation of the Republican Party the main topic of their so-called high society conversations, discussions and writings.

This obsession is hard to understand and explain since none of them has ever raised any ideological problem. And it is natural: the objective is not the ideological disagreement and discussion but rather the creation of a pure public dislike and prejudice towards our Party and our ideas. But we do not retort, God with them.

Yes, we are the governing Party which has consciously and willingly assumed responsibility for leading a popular movement aimed at the resolution of the problems existing in our country. Mistakes of those who work can be mended, and these mistakes, even as such are much more valuable than empty and barren, seemingly correct statements of those who do nothing.

Today, the Republican Party of Armenia unites the like-minded individuals who are striving for the practical results. Today, all those who want to change something in our motherland and are ready to work toward that end day and night are with us. And we have never said that we are know-alls and we have constantly been inviting to cooperate all forces and individuals that are ready to do so.

Currently, our Party unites different people, from every possible area. A worker and a peasant, a businessman and a lecturer, a scientist and a civil servant – each on his/her own place and within his/her capacities is with us, ready to assist in the strengthening of the Armenian state and society.

We have preserved stability in this country during several crises and have laid solid foundation for the future development.

We have opened up the political system and rejected the dictate and attempts to monopolize by the cult of personality-type leadership as well as by the big money.

We have changed years-long stereotypes regarding criticism, rejected total intolerance towards dissent and reestablished the right of the opposition to have decent goals and honest intentions.

We have refused public affront as a political phenomenon and stood against the disgusting practice of using violence, especially brutal physical force, against the freedom of speech and in particular towards journalists.

All these factors and our work of the past years allow us to take pride in our work, to take pride in it and once again invite all patriotic forces and individuals to join their efforts with ours.

This invitation reveals our trust in our own strength, which allows us to state with the utmost confidence:
- To be a Republican is a responsibility,
- To be a Republican is an honor,
- To be a Republican is a matter of pride.

A hardened and encompassed with these feelings Republicans have still much to do, including things that were left unfinished by Ashot Navasardian, Vazgen Sarkissian and Andranik Margarian.

Dear Colleagues,

In 2007, the Republican Party of Armenia once again won the parliamentary elections led by “For you, Armenia” motto. Through all this years, Armenia has been the greatest value for our work and for our undertakings. For five years in a row, we have been solidifying our statehood, augmenting its defense capabilities and raising the level of flexibility. And it is true for the policies implemented in all main areas.

“For you, Armenia” motto has been leading us in our interaction with the outer world too. Yes, the foreign policy of Armenia is characterized by its logical permanence, precision, and readiness to come up with new initiatives. We have always been a responsible and predictable member of the international community, which has been implementing the international commitments it undertook with dignity and in good faith.

At the same time, we clearly understand that the world around us is not static, it changes. In our tough region, or to be more precise, at this intricate crossroad of several regions, changes can be swift. For that very reason, we develop our abilities to adapt and respond adequately to the new challenges and opportunities. Moreover, it is very important to constantly come up with our own initiatives lest we are perceived as a responding party only. As a full member of the international community, we should make our input in the shaping of the regional and international agenda.

Such an example was our initiative on the normalization of the relations between Armenia and Turkey which from the outset had two ways to progress. It is true that the initiative didn’t develop in the way desirable for Armenia and the international community; the Armenian-Turkish border still remains closed. However, the second way which the initiative went on was also important, because

First, as recent developments have clearly shown, it has solidified the process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide;

Second, the entire world came to see that the only obstacle for the establishment of the relations between Armenia and Turkey rest with Ankara and another capital, which acts as a busy-body, but in no way or shape with Yerevan;

And third, that Turkey was compelled by that initiative to sign an international document, which rules out any precondition for the establishment of the relations.

I will not go into details regarding the precondition; we all know it very well.

This example comes to prove that Armenia’s foreign policy course has been remarkably principled and calculated. In the future too, we will adhere to that course. We will fulfill in good faith our alliance commitments and international obligations, using each opportunity to advance our national goals through international engagement.

The process of the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide goes on through the joint efforts of Armenia and Diaspora. We have a clear-cut message to all states and nations of the world: denial of the Genocide perpetrated in the beginning of the last century constitutes the prolongation of that crime. This crime committed against the Armenian nation continues even today, right now, it goes on through the denial of the obvious fact. The Armenian nation and the entire humanity have to bring to an end that crime that is being perpetrated every day, every moment, right before our eyes.

We will not lessen our vigilance in the Nagorno Karabakh peace process. Artsakh has been and will continue to be Armenian. The Republic of Armenia has provided and will continue to provide all-inclusive assistance to Artsakh’s political and economic development. International recognition of the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination will be the foundation for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh problem. We will continue our works in the ongoing negotiations aimed at the engagement of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic as a full-fledged party in these negotiations. Efforts of Armenia, Artsakh and Diaspora will be aimed at the adoption in the international organizations of the decisions which preclude military option for the resolution of the conflict.

It is quite understandable that in order to thwart hostile encroachments diplomatic efforts only are not enough. In the process, we have strengthened our defense capability. We have installed both foreign and domestically produced armaments and military hardware. Without going into details, I would like to state that today we have adequate means and power to deter the potential adversary.

We will continue to bring our defense potential in compliance with the modern standards of professionalism, discipline, transparency and control. The Army will become exemplary also for our society. All current tendencies testify that we will reach these standards shortly.

Reform of the judicial and legal field is no less important. Results in this area are already observable. And it is not only about the volume of the institutional and legislative changes conducted in a relatively short period of time, or positive response of the international structures to the undertaken measures, which, as it seems, is becoming quite customary. The creation of the atmosphere, which is conducive for the alteration of the practices in the Police, Prosecutor’s Office, other law enforcement bodies and courts and establishment of a new culture are much more important.

This a qualitatively new result of the reform in the judicial and legal system which allows to break away with a mixed and sometimes justified stereotypes present within our society and related to these bodies.

Without a doubt, this is the most important however an intermediate result since in the short-time perspective activities of the Police, Prosecutor’s Office and the courts must be called upon to provide for a comprehensive protection of each individual’s rights and interests, guaranteed access to justice for every member of the society and fair resolution of every dispute.

Dear Colleagues,

It is no secret that since 2007 our Party has been accused of all possible sins. First, we were “selling” Karabakh, remember? This seems to be gone. Than we were disregarding the Genocide – this topic faded away too, it’s impossible to utter same nonsense again and again. And throughout this period, we were witnesses to a real feast of backbiting regarding the situation in the economic area.

Each year starts with the comparison of the final indicators of January with those of December, followed with victorious cries of registered decline. Never mind that comparison between December and January means a simple eye-washing through incompetent conclusions; the important thing is to howl as loudly as possible.

For years, the beginning of each month was marked with “worries” about the non-implementation of the budget of the previous month, through the “I told you” self-assertion. Never mind that later it has always been made clear that the tax and customs authorities exceed tax collection requirements; the important thing is to blacken even if presenting it as a non-fulfillment of the state budget.

Each publication of the indicators of the economic growth has constantly been accompanied by infantile assumptions. Everything is quite clear: to present the indicators of the real growth as nominal (which very often was the case in the past), subtract once again the cost of inflation and here you are – with your “brilliant” economic knowledge you’re an accomplished aspirant for receiving the laurels of the champion of decadent rhetoric.

If all these still yield no results, take up another “quality-checked” method: level to the ground the entire state statistics. Never mind that the specialized international structures praise the work of the National Statistical Service; it’s no problem because you already have great experience of accusing the Venice Commission, international financial institutions, different European structures, commissioners, OSCE, even the US, Russia and France of cutting a deal with the Armenian authorities. It’s ridiculous but also true that some are ready to level our statistics to the ground when it registers positive advancement and growth and gladly accept as true when that very same agency registers decline or reduction.

And if publications on “Oh, God, we’re doomed” topic nevertheless remain futile, never mind – regularly voice a concern that the Government has simply messed up the economic policy. Here too, a self-important posture and strict regularity is the key.

In 2007, the Republican Party won the parliamentary elections and, as stipulated by the law, received a state budget, which along with the resources of the Pension Fund made 658 billion AMD. Today, the Party is concluding this juncture of its governance with a budget up to 1 trillion 44 billion AMD. How many such “failed governments” have you seen?

Delivering the country from the clutches of a precarious crisis without social upheavals had a price to pay, and we had paid that price. We paid it in the first, purely financial phase of the crisis, swallowing quietly all the accusations which at times where getting to cursing, lest to become a tool in the ad campaign on the unavoidability of collapse. As a result, we blocked every avenue which was leading to the collapse of the financial and banking system otherwise we all would be buried under its debris.

We also paid during the economic phase of the crisis, when were designing bailout programs for each enterprise and were getting money for the social programs dram by dram. That was our job and our responsibility; and we were performing it silently, not despairing of the unfair blackening. As Vazgen would have said, we did it without a grumble.

We withstood a tough challenge and in the process strengthened yet more the immune system of our state. We also registered some results, which is also worth something.

In 2011, GDP per capita made almost 3174 USD, while in 2006 it was 1982 USD – it has increased by 1.6. For me, this figure is not satisfactory. It is even а shameful figure since today in civilized countries per capita GDP ranges from 30 to 50 thousand USD. But, as we have always said and agreed upon that all figures should be put into comparison because otherwise the question arises – who are the judges? In terms of internationally comparable prices, GDP per capita in 2011 was close to 5395 USD.

We were able to restore the number of jobs lost to the crisis and move forward. Besides recovering the losses, we also succeeded in this period of time in increasing the number of employed people by almost 18 thousand.

In the last five years, average nominal wages have increased by 1.8, while in real terms that number is 40.4 percent, which means that from 63.9 thousand AMD it became 115.3 thousand AMD.

Export of goods and services in 2011 compared to 2006 increased by 1.6 and reached 2.4 billion USD. For comparison, it is more than the GDP, i.e. total of goods and services produced in the Republic of Armenia in 2002.

In the same five years, deposits on the saving accounts of the population and businesses have almost tripled, reaching 983 billion AMD. In addition, the number of customers increased by 595 thousand, 565 thousand of which are physical persons, our citizens.

From 9.2 percent in 2006, as of end of 2011 the volume of the loans provided to the economy reached 32.9 percent of GDP. Again for comparison, it is more than Armenia’s entire GDP in 2001.

In 2011, the tax revenues-GDP ratio reached 20.1 percent of GDP, improving the situation in five years by 3 percent points. It is a serious figure indeed. In the absolute value of the last year’s indicators, it is almost 116 billion AMD. At the same time, we have also provided considerable incentives to the businesses, particularly for the development of small and medium enterprises, whose, so to speak, “budget price” only in 2011 made almost 60 billion AMD. These two absolute numbers testify to one thing only; it has become possible to take hundreds of billions of drams worth economic activity out of shadow economy.

In the same period of time, social expenses increased by 1.9; as for pensions, they were increased by 2.2. As a result, average and basic levels of pensions increased 2.5 times, average social benefits were raised by 79 percent, childcare allowances – 7 times, and benefits for the third and each subsequent child – 12 times.

Resources channeled into the areas of health care and education grew 1.5 times. Step by step, we succeeded in bringing premium health care services to the regions of Armenia, and will continue to do so. We have also created opportunities for our youth to receive the world’s best contemporary education, and will further develop those opportunities.

New avenues have been found to supplement resources for science and culture, introduced were new mechanisms and results will be apparent already this year. Just one example: this year, only budget funds envisaged for the culture excel amounts envisaged for year 2007 by 65 per cent, and now make 15.4 billion AMD.

In 2011, subsidies directed to the local communities excelled the 2006 level 2.2 times, and from 14.7 billion AMD reached 32.5 billion. Housing construction in the earthquake zone and expenses for the purchases of apartments, against 4.1 billion drams worth programs in 2006 and three previous years, programs implemented in 2009-2011 were worth 79 billion drams.

In the last five years, the area of potentially irrigated lands increased by 22 thousand hectares. Tendencies to decrease areas for the cultivation of grain crops, which started in 2005, were prevented, and crop yield has increased almost two times.

In 2007-2011, investments in the industry area reached 226.7 billion drams, and already in 2011 the annual increase of industrial output twice surpassed the average indicator for the CIS countries.

Production in the area of Information Technologies compared to 2007 increased by 2.5 and made 205 million USD. The number of companies working in the area has grown by 82 percent, coming close to 300 in 2011 and creating almost 7000 jobs.

In 2007-2010, specific weight of the goods, which require high qualifications and enhanced technologies in the overall export of industrial production rose by 1.4. It should be noted that for the same period of time, the growth of output in the same category in Georgia and Azerbaijan was two times less than in Armenia, and in Turkey it was inferior to the growth in Armenia 1.6 times.

In 2007-2011, in the framework of state assistance programs, the small and medium enterprises in the Republic of Armenia received 1.5 times more funds than in 2002-2006. The development index of the small and medium enterprises in Armenia compared to 2002 has grown ten fold.

Also in 2011, the number of tourists visiting Armenia doubled compared to 2006 and crossed the threshold of 750.000.

Tariffs for cellular phone connections have decreased dramatically, while the number of cell phone subscribers has increased almost 3 times, and now it is close to 3.8 million. In 2010, in per capita ratio for the mobile communication subscribers, in the CIS region Armenia was second only to Russia, and among 210 countries of the world was the 43rd, outperforming all its immediate neighbors.

Compared to 2007, internet access for the residents of Armenia in 2011 reached 45 subscribers per hundred persons. In 2006, the wholesale price for 1Mb/sec of internet connection was 5.4 million AMD. Currently, it is 35.6 thousand drams, or more than 150 times less than before.

In the last five years, road construction works were doubled compared to the previous five years. In 2007-2011, nearly 1500 km of roads were constructed or renovated in Armenia.

The number of gas subscribers exceeds the level of 2007 by almost 200,000, while supply of drinking water from previous 11.18 hours, in 2011 came close to 16.64 hours per day.

These are some facts from the achievements that we have been able to register in recent years, struggling at the same time against the global financial and economic crisis and its upshots.

Now, the question is: Are these results good? I would say, no (given there was no crisis). Could we have worked better? Of course, we could. Could the results have been better should there be another political force leading the country? Certainly, they could have been. However, there is a second question which also has the right to exist: could the results have been worse?... However, let this one be a rhetorical question.

Dear Colleagues,

It is true that just as many other countries, we are influenced by global developments. Moreover, in our case there is a direct link between the economic growth and the amount of remittances coming to the country from abroad. Yes, unfortunately today the economic growth or decline in Armenia is greatly conditioned by the foreign factors. To be able to avoid it in the future, the economy of tomorrow must be formed today, which in turn requires changes and modernization in the governance and administration mechanisms.

We have to move from the objectives of economic growth to the concept of economic development. We need economic development just as much as economic growth, probably even more. Economic growth will not solve our problems if it is not based on the creation of the new areas of economy, new types of activities, new enterprises, production of new goods and services, especially because the opportunities of extensive development gradually diminish. All able people should be engaged in that process and there is no need for protectionism.

Policies conducted by the state should support all, each and every one – equally.

We are undertaking structural changes and reforms based on this understanding. This is an objective process; it is inevitable and above any political force. The future belongs to the force which stands for changes.

Our Party has assumed a historic mission of spearheading Armenia’s reforms. We are a large party; tens of thousands are among our ranks. The time has come for us to increase and renew our qualities. Our activities result in changes within society and our country; hence we too should be able to change dynamically.

As a strong, large and people's party, we must accept these challenges, must accept easily into our economic agenda any new initiative, if it stems from our national interests, responds to the current problems and needs of our people and our citizens. That’s our Party’s present task.

I am not going to underrate, underestimate or neglect activities of any honest, working for the national interest Armenian political force or a party. Moreover, I am glad that our political life is diverse. However, it is our Party that through its capabilities and prospects is able to lead toward a new economic policy and new relations, toward more changes and modernization.

Fellow Republicans,

For years, we have been putting our strength and entire abilities into the Armenian state building. Led by “For you, Armenia” motto, we step by step have been building up our Army, raising efficiency of state governance, increasing flexibility in confronting external challenges; we have established the banking, financial, tax, treasury, justice and many other structures, improved the business climate, solidified foundations of the societal coexistence and fortified our country’s standing in the world. It’s not an overstatement – from this point of view, we have been rather successful. Today, we live in a reality when the state is mature to a degree that we can channel a considerable part of our resources to the resolution of other important issues.

From now on, our activities will be focused on individuals, on each and every one, on the citizens of Armenia. Economic growth will become a concrete job for a concrete person; from now on in our country having a job and a decent salary will not be the most desired things. We have strengthened the state; we can also resolve primary problems of the people. We need change. We, all of us together will implement these changes through the experience and leadership of the Republican Party.

We were saying – For you, Armenia! Now we have reached a milestone when we can state with confidence – A better Armenia for each and every one of us!

The atmosphere of pessimism and desolation, which has its own slogans, took shape in our society. No hostile propaganda is able to inflict as much destruction as those slogans which are voiced frequently and sound something like this, “There is no law in this country and never will be,” “Nothing is going to change, it will go on like this,” and the bottom-line – “This is no country at all.”

I say,

This is an enduring country whose historical and cultural heritage is priceless. This is a country every square inch of which was salvaged by the Armenian blood. This is a country, whose people gave up their lives to save books.

This is a country which fought quantity with quality, which put morals against petrodollars, and which won right before our eyes.

This is a country which is reckoned with and spoken to with esteem. This is a country which is missed and whose soil is kissed. This is a country which implements the most profound reforms and which despite every possible obstacle is moving forward. This is a country where talented and hardworking people live. When necessary, they were able to start from the scratch and achieve unbelievable results.

Who said we can discredit our country, flagellate ourselves?

Our grandparents, who survived heroically, when the entire world thought that the Armenians were done with? Or our children in the frontier villages, who go to school and excel in their studies? Who will dare to look into those children’s eyes and say “This is no country at all?”

I say, this is an enduring country which has a formidable backbone – its heritage and has bright eyes looking into the future. This is the most beautiful country in the world, and it will be even better.

Before he founded the Republican Party of Armenia, Ashot Navasardian was three times put in prison and sent to exile to be able to say just one thing – this is an enduring country. And today we, as a political force have come forward for that very reason.

Ashot had faith. We must believe to be able to change.

Dear Participants of the Convention,

It should be kept in mind that elections are only a means and not an end. We are a nation and we are a state. We have goals. Elections, parliaments and governments are tools to achieve those goals.

We must continue to work to strengthen Armenia’s standing and prestige in the region and in the world, must strive to achieve a greater political weight.

To do that, we need to move forward every day in accordance with the adopted course. We will accelerate our speed regardless of how strong the resistance will be. It is obvious that such resistance exists, when momentary gains are deemed to be more important than our goals. But we will overcome that resistance because we are plenty and we are strong, and it is difficult to come up openly against our truly national goals.

A greater respect of the foreigners toward Armenia and its citizens is conditioned first of all by us, by our own respect toward our state, our laws and our citizens. If we neglect this simple truth, we will achieve nothing, while keeping it in mind and using it, we will reform our country. Moreover, we will do it so quickly that it will cause our own surprise and admiration.

We must defeat tumor which overwhelmed our society and which is called corruption.

Toward that end both surgical and all other legal measures will be applied.

It is not difficult to see that the mentioned goals, including Armenia’s economic development, are closely interrelated. They are extensions and in the end of the day they are different facets of the same goal. Much has already been done and is being done on that path; however we haven’t reached the desirable level yet.

An historic opportunity to create Armenia’s new appearance and image is in our hands, literally in the hands of each of us. And we will do it.

Normal elections are essential but not sufficient for fundamental reforms. I would like to repeat: other objectives, which we pursue as a nation and as a state, are more critical. Political and economic liberties on one hand, discipline and exactingness on the other will provide new opportunities for our comprehensive development. It is our resource.

There is yet another goal which I would like to speak about.

Nowadays, a full-fledged propaganda war is being waged against Armenia and the Armenians dispersed around the globe. That war becomes particularly vicious when we achieve success in different areas or register developments in the process of the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide. We don’t conduct any campaign against any country or a nation but we face waves of hostility. In the contemporary world, only a democratic Armenia can withstand these waves. Against these waves we must bring out Armenia’s new image – the image of a more liberal and thus of a stronger Armenia. How can one admire French democracy, if he/she himself/herself does not have similar goals, if he/she himself/herself does not share same values or does not fight for them?

The moment in history has come, when the people of Armenia, all of us, should prove in practice what’s more dear to us – wicked habits inherited from the past, whose inertia is still present in our lives, or achievements of modern civilization? A civilization, whose roots and twigs were cultivated also by our greats. Personally I have made my choice. I have no doubt: only this way we will prevail and multiply the number of our friends all over the world.

Let’s believe so that to be able to change us and our country, to be able to change our mentality and attitude toward the state of Armenia. Let’s change our behavior on the streets, at the working place, in the university. Let’s change people who are not on their places. Let’s change the laws if they are far from being perfect. Let’s change the culture of internal political struggle. Let’s change to be able to trust people and the law. Let’s change so that streets, ministries, universities, villages and towns, parliament and backyard become ours, become better. As long as we don’t change and don’t believe, they do not belong to us, to us all.

If you don’t trust your member of the parliament, it means you don’t have one; if you don’t trust your judge, it means you don’t have one; if you don’t believe in your country, it means you don’t have one. Through this self-negation we have inflicted great damage on our own home. This will takes us nowhere. We must believe to be able to change.

But trust also needs constant nourishment. Each new change has great potential for strengthening trust. Trust and change: these are mutually determined and mutually fortifying phenomena. So, let’s change to trust. Let’s nourish our trust with concrete work.

Let’s change the appearance of our country to a degree that a person, who left Armenia years ago, doesn’t recognize it on his next visit, and is pleasantly surprised.

There are numerous negative phenomena in our country and our society that were inherited from the past and which go on by inertia. To change first of all means to break that inertia and implant new traditions. It is true for every area of our activities – from traffic on the streets to the elections. We have to conduct good elections regardless of the fact that today some others are getting ready not for the elections but are developing technical capability to present them flawed. All generations living in Armenia – young and old, have an historic obligation to implant new traditions which befit a civilized person of the 21st century.

There are many among us, who have visited abroad and drew comparison with Armenia, looked with admiring envy at good and nice things observed there. Also felt pain that the same is not present in Armenia. Why can’t we change it? Are we second to anyone?

Let’s change so as to trust our abilities and our possibilities. Let’s change so that a civil servant and a citizen have self-respect. The new Armenia starts from the dignified posture of each of us.

Paryur Sevak used to say, “We have no right to miss the train or airplane of history.” Today, it is obvious for me: if we do not change, we will miss it, we will be late as a nation and as a state.

Those who brought us the Vehamayr Gospel manuscript (named after the mother of Catholicos Vazgen of All Armenians, who donated it to Matenadaran) through the depth of times had faith. I was sworn in on that Bible. I believe in what we do and even more in what we will do.

Thus, let’s believe to be able to change. Big and small, a worker and a scientist, a successful person and the one who’s still in search; let’s believe to be able to change.

Thank you.

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