Every Armenian should think about Armenia as their home. President Armen Sarkissian met with a group of representatives of the Armenian community in Russia
The President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, who is in the RF capital Moscow on a private visit, met with a group of representatives of the Armenian community in Moscow.
Through their questions, the participants of the meeting got information directly from the President of Armenia about the recent developments around Artsakh, the current situation in Armenia, and the way-outs of the situation, and presented their proposals.
“These days are very difficult for all of us, - mentioned President Armen Sarkissian in his speech. - As President, it is my duty to talk to people, irrespective of the fact where they are. We all have a great pain in our hearts and minds, and each day we bear that pain and difficulty. That pain does not belong to Artsakh or Armenia; it belongs to all of us.” The President of Armenia said that before coming to Moscow, he had visited a number of Arab countries and met with the representatives of the Armenian communities there. “When we met in each community, we shared our pain; many had anger and demands. “It is the President’s duty to listen to everyone and to share his observations,” – said President Sarkissian, emphasizing that pain and loss are extremely great not only for most of Artsakh, but also for thousands of young Armenians’ lives, large numbers of the injured and all kinds of immense difficulties.
The President of Armenia stressed once more that we must rise, and that is possible if we give each other a helping hand, forget about our differences, not divide us into black and white, and understand that all of us are Armenian, with many diverse ideas and thoughts. “All our friends are sorry that we lost the war, but everyone will respect us, if after that we can rise and walk, with the thoughts gained from this defeat and lessons learnt from our mistakes new shall go ahead, build our country anew, and be proud of it, and build an army, which will be victorious.”
The participants of the meeting asked the President of the Republic diverse questions. Concerns were expressed about the war, its course, and the content of the signed document at the end. It was also mentioned that the current government should leave because what is happening in Armenia is a national disaster. It was said that there is distrust in the government in terms of rebuilding the country, especially since the government itself admits to have made mistakes and misjudged the situation. Reference was made to the recent proposal of the President of the Republic about holding early parliamentary elections, and before that forming a government of national accord. There was also dissatisfaction about the President and the Presidential institution; however, it was also noted to be the only institution of power in Armenia which clearly expressed its position and called on the government to resign. It was also marked that the Diaspora showed unprecedented unity and devotion during the war, and a deep disappointment, seeing the continued uncertainty and the absence of a clear plan to overcome the crisis. A viewpoint was expressed that the resignation of the government and the formation of the government of accord will be a stimulus to restore trust. It was proposed to deepen relations with Russia.
Answering the questions often asked too emotionally, the President said that realizing the great pain of loss and the enormous amount of unhappiness, he understood people's feelings, anger and criticism. “Our young people are really heroes. Thousands of lives were lost, which is a tragedy. The injured comprise a large number. The situation in hospitals is very serious; no one pays attention to the coronavirus anymore.”
The President said that we had lost several wars. "First, the demographic war. There has been no population growth since the 1994 ceasefire. When the soldier is on the border, he always looks what is in the rear. If there is emptiness, it is hard even for an Armenian soldier who has a great spirit. That area should have been inhabited," the President said. According to him, we also lost the information war. "Azerbaijanis and Turks had seriously prepared for this. This war goes on today as well, they are attacking us. We have not been engaged with this, and we lost. Today, we are attacking each other in Armenia instead of uniting. ”
The President of the Republic also noted that 26 years ago we really had the most powerful army in the region. "We built an army with volunteers, but at the end of the war we had a regular army. At that time our army was technologically better than that of Azerbaijan. In the following years, Azerbaijan spent huge sums of money to become stronger, and we were still living in the glory of the past; thus, in this war they had drones, and we did not. The next war will be with the participation of artificial intelligence." The President said that one should be engaged in science, new technologies, and education in order not to lose again.
Summing up the post-war situation in the country, President Armen Sarkissian emphasized: "In any country, where there is such a great tragedy, there is a solution - the government that led to this must go. If a politician is strong, he can return later. The previous elections were two and a half years ago, when the country was completely different; now we live in a different country. The crisis should not be estimated by the number of people in the square. In any case, I do not agree that the crisis should be assessed taking into account only the number of people gathered in the square. If there was no one in the square at all, would that mean that there is no crisis? Look around us, we are all in a crisis. It is not a crisis of a country, a state, but of a nation - human rights, psychological, financial, economic, and humanitarian. Not everyone will return to Karabakh, some will stay in Armenia, who will take care or support them? In other words, first of all, we must admit that we have a crisis, which means that we cannot continue as before. Armenia is another country now! It is even different compared to Armenia, which existed on September 27.
There is a civilized way: early elections, and an interim government of national unity. This does not mean that every party should have a minister, but someone respected by everybody forms a government, preferably technocratic. That government must work for half a year, or one year until new elections, when the people will give a mandate to some force again.
During this period, a referendum must be held. It is necessary to change either the Constitution or make it more humane.”
Referring to the fact that he learnt from the press about the signing of the trilateral statement on Artsakh, President Sarkissian said: "I think this is a destruction of the statehood. It was not destroyed that very day, but for years on. The greatest pain for me is that about 5% of my potential has been used for two and a half years. Not because I did not propose or insist, but because such is our Constitution and state. - President Sarkissian said that there is no leverage for restraint and balance in the current Constitution: “Every constitution, be it in the presidential or parliamentary system of government, must include balances, counterbalances, and mechanisms of restraint so that no one, be it the President or the Prime Minister, takes on decisions that are all-nation and very important. All this must be balanced. Our Constitution is absolutely unbalanced.”
The President said that talking about the need for new elections, one should also think about the referendum, constitutional changes or the improvement of the current Constitution. “There must be a balance between the parliament, the government and the presidential institution, - said the President. - I think that even if we remain a parliamentary country, the President should be elected by the people. In our country, all the positions are appointed by the Parliament, but where is the balance? Why are we surprised that we have what we have?”
What to do next? What will be the next step? “Since November 10, I have invited representatives of all political parties to me, - said President Sarkissian. - There is a place where we can get together; first I proposed this, as President. I have few powers, but the presidency is just for such a day.
Maybe according to this bad Constitution, my role is to be the one who can help get out of this situation on such days. All these years, I always tried not to violate the laws and the Constitution. These two years, I have not violated them at the expense of my nerves.”
Speaking about the support provided by the Diaspora and the relations with it on the whole, President Sarkissian particularly said that our nation has only one property and wealth: we have each other. “However, according to the Constitution, in order to become a member of the Armenian Parliament, a person must have only Armenian citizenship and live in Armenia for four years. I can list twenty talented doctors who could become ministers of Armenia. We ourselves have built a Berlin Wall between Armenia and the Diaspora. It is time to demolish that wall. Our Diaspora has become a means of receiving money: send money, and what will happen next, how it will be spent, does not concern you. We have come this point. After all, if we continue to live like this, may God help us.”
Referring to the question of who can be the next Prime Minister, the President particularly noted: “We always connect the solutions of our problems with some individual. It is in our mentality. In other words, when someone becomes a minister, he believes that the ministry is his, and people also think that the ministry is his. For this very reason, very often in our country, the ministries do not work as institutions, but work as that person's property. A country cannot win a war without having strong institutions. During the war, all the institutions will work together. It is not only the Ministry of Defense or the General Staff, everyone must work. And where are our institutions? Today, we see how many things do not work for us, and if we do not change, they will not be able to work. You and I can nominate candidates for the post of the Prime Minister, but there is no need to associate solutions with an individual. Especially now, when there will be an interim government, if the Prime Minister agrees. That interim government must have a program what it will do.
Who wants to become the prime minister? Look at this huge volume of problems, it is a great burden. He must be an honest man, and we must all help him. There is no one in the world who can alone make this country to its feet. We must all be engaged in this work, we must have a program, and the support of our real friends, first of all, Russia. There is an institution of the president. The President does not want to become Prime Minister. I have no claims, and I am not a rival to anyone. I want our country to be stable, because an unstable country means that the war will start again tomorrow. I see my role in the following: to help our people get out of this difficult situation," said Armen Sarkissian.
Speaking about handling the crisis, the President said that the most important issue is the development of the economy, and all other issues relate to it. “It is necessary to build a modern economy. As the first point, I would mention education. Military and medical spheres are built on the basis of education, - said the President of Armenia. - Armenia should not sell only brandy, we should also sell technology. The future of our country is connected with technologies and agriculture. Food security is also very important. We must agree with Russia that our students get an education here under the same conditions as the RF citizens, as it was done in the times of the USSR.
We must cooperate with everyone. To build our own we must take the best in the world. For all this, we must involve the best so that every Armenian thinks of Armenia as their home, so that our new programs are not just words.”
Summing up the meeting, the President said that it was important, first of all, in terms of listening to the compatriots. “We must all give answers to the questions together, - said the President. - It is not easy for all of us today, and we all need to get out of this situation together. It can be described in two main words: unity and dignity. We can lose a war, but we have no right to lose our dignity. Our strength must be to stand up together on our feet in these difficult conditions. We have some legends, and the worst thing is when you start to believe in the legend you have invented. This leads to the fact that, instead of building an army, we believe that we have an army, we start to believe that we have an economy, when we do not, we start to believe that we have a free press… ”
This speech of the President of the Republic was followed by a remark from one of the participants of the meeting․ “You cannot imagine, now we are all talking here, but half an hour ago the Yerevan press wrote that you were greeted in the churchyard chanting 'traitor,' and that almost no one came to meet you, and those who came left the meeting.”
“You may know who writes this.” – answered President Armen Sarkissian.