12, 2010

Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Republican Party of Armenia

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Dear members of the Republican Party,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today, we commemorate a momentous jubilee – the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Republican Party of Armenia.
The creation of the Party in 1990 was an exceptional event in Armenia’s political life. At the time, the Party’s founding leader, a freedom fighter and a statesman Ashot Navasardian’s personality, as well as his political biography were unfamiliar to many. A party, which was being created in a new reality, was called upon to breathe in a new life and offer new substance to our political realm. On one hand, it testified to the incessancy and continuity of the national struggle, i.e. preservation of legacy, on the other hand, our will and resolve to withstand existing challenges acquired a new organizational form.
A strong adherent of exclusively peaceful and constitutional struggle, our party from day one of its creation realized however the necessity of armed struggle for the self-defense of the Armenian nation. It was obvious that our people and, particularly, its Artsakhi segment were being forced into war; it was obvious that war was inevitable. Our party was a force which was ready for that too – in the person of Independence Army and its devoted warriors. At the crucial moment, we together with the entire Armenian nation stood up to fight for freedom, and in that fight the Republican Party too had its significant share. We will not tire to honor and bow to the memory of all our martyrs, regardless of their political affiliation; thanks to them we have an entirely different Armenia and entirely different Artsakh. Glory to immortal Armenian heroes!
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are proud that in different periods of time our Party was led by such distinguished sons of our nation as Ashot Navasardian, Vazgen Sarkissian and Andranik Margarian. Under their leadership our Party matured, earned people’s trust and assumed pivotal role in governing the country.
Ashot Navasardian was the epitome of hope, aspiration, and energy. When many wouldn’t even dream of independent statehood, he was openly promoting that noble goal. He stood up against a system which was viewed as dreadful and invincible. Ashot Navasardian had a dream and he had a goal, a goal which today has become a reality - the reestablishment of independent Armenian statehood. To achieve that goal he endangered his well-being, sacrificed the serenity of his family, and his own chance to study. It is also thank to him and his brothers-in-arm that the Armenian freedom loving spirit prevailed, and we were given the opportunity to establish the Third Republic of Armenia.
Vazgen Sarkissian is one of the brightest personalities in our modern history. He didn’t shy away from responsibility in the most difficult times – he came forward and displayed features of a true leader. He was the man who would not accept even the possibility of Artsakh – an indivisible part of our motherland – once again becoming a hostage to the whims of the Azerbaijani leadership. At that time the choice was very clear, and Vazgen had made his unequivocal and resolute decision. Today, we bear responsibility to his memory; today we bear responsibility to his and our common choice, made at the fateful moments of our history.
And the third cherished name for our Party – Prime Minister Andranik Margarian. He was one of the most devoted patriots, able to find consensus, overcome difficulties, and advance national goals. His motives were honest; he was surrounded by accord because Andranik Margarian had catching humanism and loyalty to his country. He would respond, try to understand and appreciate every idea or initiative and would always try to help to implement it. Andranik Margarian was a statesman in the true meaning of the word and his work made him the pillar which fortified state philosophy and activities inspired by the vision of statebuilding.
The loss of our three leaders was difficult for all of us. They were dreaming of a victorious Armenia and stood by their dreams. Today, we should make the Armenia of their dreams come true, the prosperous Armenia, the strong and peaceful Armenia they dreamed of, and we definitely will.
Dear Friends,
Jubilees are good occasions to access the past, sometimes to reaccess it. Our road was as thorny as was Armenia’s road. The twenty-year biography of our Party is inseparable from our nation’s biography. Armenia’s victories and defeats, achievements and failures are also ours; not because Armenia belongs to us but because we belong to Armenia, with our lives and our work we belong to Armenia.
Presence of a strong leading party provides for internal stability, which is very important. There can be no economic progress without that stability, therefore there can be no future. However today I see another danger. Superfluous stability could result in stagnation, a slow down, and still waters as a rule turn into swamp. We are not going to invent the bicycle. The disease has a very simple cure – a well-developed democracy, a more active political dialogue, fervor for the creation of new development programs and persistent adaptation of the European standards into all areas of our political, social and economic lives. And I stress, it must be done with no exemptions or reservations.
We should be able on one hand to stay clear of revolutionary shocks since they brought no good to any country ever, on the other hand we must avoid the danger of marking time; we must increase our pace. Our way is the golden middle. If during the previous decades one would talk of the inaptitude of our society in some areas (by the way, there was probably some truth to it), today we have a rather accomplished and self-organized society, we have serious and established political and social forces, which are able and must elevate the country to a qualitatively new level. Among those forces the Republican Party of Armenia has its own special place; it’s well-known that from the one who has been given much, much will be demanded.
Dear Party Members,
Today, corruption and bribery are the gravest impediments to our progress. Their cause and roots can be talked about for hours, but today the task before us is to eliminate them. There are former Soviet republics which have been able to uproot that problem. Not entirely, of course, but bribery and corruption have been brought to such a minimal level that the people started to trust the “chinovniks”, the police, and the judges. It’s not a fiction, it’s a reality, and it is our tomorrow’s reality. We have to bring that tomorrow closer by employing all our abilities. We are proud of our law abiding compatriots residing in foreign countries. I am confident that very soon we will be proud of the respect that our fellow citizens have for the law. Our citizens respect the law when it works for everyone. State structures must ensure equality of all before the law and inescapable punishment for breaking the law. We must do it. Yes, it’s not going to be easy, but good things do not come easy in this world.
About our partners in coalition, political parties “Bargavach Hayastan” and “Orinats Erkir”. I thank our partners for being true to the letter and spirit of the coalition agreement we signed. The Republican Party on its behalf has been trying to be a reliable and principled partner. I believe we managed to do it.
Since the parliamentary elections are forthcoming, quite naturally along with the approaching elections talks emerge. Sometimes they turn into spiteful rumors about alleged mutual jealousy and competition of the coalition parties, while some would even make grave predictions about the dissolution of the coalition. We will not comment on the flippant rumors, as for the elections, healthy competition is natural and logical. I would like to repeat, healthy competition but not intrigues. Elected to the parliament will be the forces which will get the people’s vote of trust in the honest struggle. The reshuffle of the political forces should be and will be made only by the voters. Other options are simply disregarded.
At this point, I would like to go back to the rumors and talks that recently have been circulating around that I allegedly presented the ultimatum to Prosperous Armenia Party. And guided by that logic and to put it in their own jargon, I am trying to challenge that Party and particularly Gagik Tsarukian. You all know that I never speak by ultimatums to anyone, moreover to my partners. What is called “ultimatum” are simply my demands to my own party members as well as to our coalition parties. I believe it is normal and to suggest the opposite is simply illogical.
We should bear in mind that because of the pre-election struggle, we will again enter a period in our public life when emotions, proper and improper accusations will fly, attempts to paint black the achievements and glorify the failures will be made. It’s a natural process which no country has been able to avoid so far. We should accept it as an inescapable reality, but at the same time we shouldn’t sit idle. I would like to remind that we’ve got work to do. We should become the adepts of broadmindedness, humanism, and political dialogue in our country not only in the pre-election period but in general. We should urge to abstain from making personal insults to a person or to each other in street talks and during the political debates alike, we should urge to examine the facts, not the persons. After all, our purpose is not to make judgments but to find solutions, our goal is not to repeal each other but to attract each other in order to achieve positive changes. I’ve said it on many occasions, I will say it now: destructive activities won’t get anyone far, so let’s us build on our achievements, let’s add to it, let’s not shift obligations and responsibility from one another but let’s move forward. Civilized political dialogue – that’s what we need to enforce in our society.
About opposition.
Our opposition can be roughly divided into three groups, and the division is, of course, provisional:
Our first group comprises forces which are genuinely concerned with the destiny of the country and the nation, forces which ask questions, sometimes very pointed questions, raise issues and sound the alarm whenever the authorities are running late. We are grateful to these individuals for their honesty, rapidity, for keeping us alert, and pointing out our mistakes. We respect these forces, and we always consider their say while developing our programs. All those, who consider the political course of our Party and coalition partly right and partly unacceptable, can be counted in this group. It’s another issue that deficiencies of our work may slow down our advancement, but the chosen course, I am confident, is right.
The second group consists of the individuals who see the resolution of all issues, which our country and our people face, exclusively in the change of power. They say, “as soon as we take over the stirring wheel from Serzh Sargsyan, everything is going to be all right. As long as he is the President, everything is and will be bad.” This simple formula has been in circulation for years. Blaming the President of the country for all failures, as well as the promise to solve all problems fast and easy, have, I trust, exhausted themselves. Total inability on their behalf to say something new on one hand and living by the principle “everything is bad” on the other, resulted in proclaiming the ideology of Tseghakron – infinite dedication to the Armenian nation advocated by Garegin Nzhdeh not more, not less than “racism”. To through dirt on the Republican Party, and the members of the Party speak Nzhdeh’s name, means to through dirt on Garegin Nzhdeh. As you see, a very simple “logical chain”. But we also speak the name of Hovannes Toumanian…As well as the names of many, many other great people. We will continue to follow the greats of our nation with no fear that during the next gathering another monstrous label will be attached to their brilliant images.
The Republican Party will not become Nzhdeh’s lawyer. He doesn’t need it at all, unlike nowadays blabbers he has things to tell his people and in conveying his legacy and ideas the Republican Party has its own humble role.
In a nutshell, for the representatives of this group, the earth revolves not around the sun but around presidential chair. However there are also individuals who from time to time make smooth transition into the third group; sometimes they certainly move back, but more often stay there.
The third group, which is fortunately not too large, has declared itself the opposition. I am not sure whether it’s been done deliberately or not, but they have been steadfastly implementing a distinct program of deprecating the Armenian nation, Armenian statehood and most of all, the Armenian Armed Forces. And it’s been done consistently and methodically, with certain calculations, with the employment of financial resources, and use of the vilest political technologies. Moreover, very often we find their precise wording in the Azeri and Turkish propaganda materials. I would like to underline that this is not about the substantial talks which touch problems existing in our army. We consider such criticism natural and important. Through the understanding of that very importance our Armed Forces are becoming more and more open and transparent for our society. In this particular case, it’s a totally different matter. We don’t consider members of the third group to be the opposition, we have another name for them.
However, it should always be kept in mind that the opposition is an asset for our country and our political realm, one of the most important motivators for our development, while a well-organized opposition, united around the “for Armenia” ideas is simply good fortune. It is great that such opposition in our country exists and builds up.
Dear Members of the Party,
The Republican Party celebrates its 20th anniversary proud of its past, determined to accomplish more for the motherland, realizing that there are numerous problems which have to be addressed. We understand all too well
that Armenia’s post-crisis economy has not yet taken up;
that many problems enrooted in our economy haven’t yet been addressed properly, while enhanced competitiveness of our businesses, competitiveness and modernization of our entire economy require new and resolute steps.
We also realize that even by increasing constantly and considerably the social programs, we haven’t been able to mitigate negative developments for the vulnerable groups of our society. We clearly see the burden of price hikes conditioned by global unfavorable developments and climatic calamities on our people, but at the same time we know about the unacceptable work style of some entrepreneurs who artificially raise prices in the volatile situation to grab a couple more of profit money.
We do know about these and many other problems. We know and are ready to undertake new steps, to work more vigorously and to adopt more resolute decisions.
While we have been and will continue to display utmost tolerance toward dissent, there will be zero tolerance toward corruption, bribery and squandering of budget money. Many people have things to do in this area; however I am confident that it is first of all the political responsibility of the Republican Party. Arrogance and corruption must be punished harshly, and party affiliation or any other connections must be dismissed.
When we talk about strengthening democracy, firm implanting of the European standards, these are not just slogans or idle words meant for other audiences. It is Armenia which needs them foremost, not Europe. This is our conscious course and our conviction. European democracy and rule of law are demands of our society, confirmed firmly on many occasions - at the elections, in criticizing the political forces, or in encouraging the same forces.
The European standards - from the produce displayed in the shop window and up to the state and legal structure, must become exemplary for us. Today, the issue of becoming a full member of the European Union is not yet on our foreign policy agenda, however I would like to repeat that the European rules of the game and European standards must take roots in our country because these are high and time-tested standards. We need these standards to make considerable progress, to change lives of our citizens and to build up the organizational strength of our society.
There is no discrepancy between this reality and Armenia’s being the CIS and CSTO member and Russia’s strategic partner. Our close and multifaceted, I would say in many instances exemplary cooperation with the Russian Federation can not disagree with the values which are proclaimed by Russia itself. Furthermore, I am confident that our friends – Russia, the West, and all others, will be only happy for our success.
And finally, the Republican Party celebrates its 20th anniversary with a clear comprehension that the most vital issue for our country and our nation, the Nagorno Karabakh problem, has not yet received its final, internationally accepted solution, and that Azerbaijan has not yet recognized Artsakh’s right for self-determination.
Our position regarding the peace resolution of the NK issue is well-known: Azerbaijan artificially feeds the tale that the Armenian side is weak, while the Azerbaijani side is very strong. It may look like such perceptions are not dangerous because they are not true. But we know that in the past the war would resume again with the enhanced severity because the abilities of the Armenian and Artsakhi forces were underestimated. Certainly, that propaganda balloon will blow up immediately, if God forbid there is another war. However our goal is not to win the war, we have already done it. Our goal is to find a just solution, and we are unanimous on the ways to find it. It has been stated by Armenia, as well as the countries involved in the settlement, and the important international organizations. In the recent months, we have presented from all key international stages and to all involved parties the boundary beyond which we will not negotiate.
Dear Friends,
The Republican Party of Armenia is a national conservative party. Our conservatism pertains first of all to the preservation of the system of values.
Our conservatism is the dedication to the individual entrepreneurship and liberty and in that our people are unsurpassed. Our conservatism pertains to the dedication to the family which is everyone’s stronghold. Our conservatism pertains to the resolve to develop and strengthen the institutions of the Armenian independent statehood since it’s the most important tool for creating our nation’s history.
Today, our Party is a solid structure of many thousands, which can truly be considered a commendable political institution. But most of all we are inspired by the fact that our Party has started to attract young people. The influx of young people into the RPA is our greatest achievement. It means a lot for us, and I want to assure our young people that they will not be disappointed. Attention toward their social and political advancement, extended opportunities for self-expression and toward the youth issues in general will never dwindle, but on the contrary, will increase daily.
The role of women in our Party increases daily as well. As a conservative party, we hold in the core of our system of values strong and healthy family. However, it doesn’t mean that women’s call in life is limited by married life, children and household issues. We underscore constantly the necessity to increase women’s role in all areas of our public life and making it more prominent. Today too, I believe that the women’s role at all levels of Armenia’s state and political structure should become stronger. It’s no secret that women’s participation in the political life heightens public awareness. It’s no accidence that in the countries, where women are actively involved in the political life, corruption levels are low. Thus, this tendency toward the increased participation of women in the Party’s life will, undoubtedly, be maintained.
The Party’s role in our society’s life also increases day by day, as well as in bringing positive changes to the lives of our citizens and reversing negative practices. We have raised the bar not only regarding the Party activities and anticipated results but also the bar of the requirements regarding the Party members and their actions. Every one of us, every Republican is responsible for the things he or she has or has not done; responsible not only before the Party but also before the country. Furthermore, he or she is responsible not only for their personal conduct but also for the conduct of their subordinates and family members. It wouldn’t be redundant to warn that I don’t understand the procession of bodyguards that can be observed in our country. My position is clear: bodyguards may be present only in the cases stipulated by the law, in the numbers and fashion stipulated by the law. I am confident that the legislature has things to do in this area.
Those of our partners, who have been entrusted by the people to solve their problems and entrusted by the members of their party to uphold their good name and dignity, those who have assumed high positions bear hundred times more responsibility.
Efficient work, shortcomings and faults will definitely be discussed. We don’t need unscrupulous officials.
The Party will not become an umbrella for any of its members. The Party is not a structure for promoting anyone’s personal agenda. On the contrary, we must promote the implementation of the Party programs.
If there are problems and questions, gossip and intrigues are not the ways to address them. The Party office is set up to solve problems and its doors are always open for all, not only the members of the Party governing bodies but for all. If there are problems which relate to me personally, you all know that every week, almost without exception, I can be found at the Party office and am ready to discuss any issue.
Responsibility shall be the same for all members of the Party, much more so for the members holding high positions, much more because many look up at them and follow their example.
At this point I would like to touch upon another issue which probably requires additional explanation. Some are trying to comment on our consciously taken steps, and do it particularly, which is, of course, their own business but to explain it is our responsibility and obligation. What I mean is that it’s not only RPA members that we appoint to high positions. I trust that only and only a very strong party can do that allowing, thus, many thousands of its supporters, who for whatever reasons have not become the members of the Party, but have been with us all along and implemented our programs and our policies. We will carry on with that course. Whenever we see that the given job could be done better by a non-member, we will do that.
Dear Republicans,
I have already mentioned these three correlated things in the past:
1. The leading role in the development of the Armenian statehood has been executed by the political force which has the greatest responsibility before our nation and our country, i.e. the political force, which has assumed the leadership of our country, the Republican Party of Armenia, of course, along with its coalition partners.
The RPA accepts its historic and honorable responsibility for shaping our country’s future.
We stand by our promise to serve our statehood and our state.
We will also continue to serve for the realization of the Armenian national goals, serve the noble goals of the preservation and strengthening of the Armenian Spyurk.
2. The Republican Party, which has assumed the responsibility for Armenia and for our generations, is obliged also to assume responsibility as the leader for the political, social and economic modernization of the country, while the leading force should also be the most exemplary, the healthiest, and contemporary. Only force like that can demand the same from its allies and opposition. The modernization of the Party starts with us, from me, from you, from our fellow members. And again, those of our members, who have been entrusted with the high positions, must be the frontrunners of the modernization or leave their work to more diligent members.
The member of the RPA constantly purifies and gets stronger.
We will start the change from ourselves.
3. Social, political and economic changes in our country are possible only if those changes concur with the programs of the leading force and are steadfastly implemented by the state authorities. People want changes like these; they reverberate in the people’s hearts and get public support, become invariable and irreversible. So far, the RPA has manifested political will and persistency.
The Republican Party will be persistent in the realization of each of its initiatives.
As long as we are true to our values, we will not perish.
We must have trust in our abilities. No one will build the Armenia of our dreams for us. We will do it, all together.
I once again congratulate all the Republicans on the 20th anniversary. I wish us all to have even more productive years ahead for the glory of our country, for the glory of the people of Armenia and the entire Armenian nation.
Thank you.

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