02, 2014

Remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan at the 10th Convention of the Yerkrapah Union



Your Eminences,
Dear Battlefield Friends,
Esteemed Comrades in Arms,

I heartily greet the participants of the convention and, in the person of you, all those who are homeland defenders in body and mind.

This convention takes place in a period of neither war, nor peace. The opponent who lost the real war and is plucking the bitter fruits of that defeat, more concisely, the Azeri authorities attempt to make impression in their people’s eyes that the struggle for Karabakh continues. The opponent’s shots kill servicemen and peaceful inhabitants on our borders. Such deed is a bare murder which has nothing to do with war. They have neither capacities nor opportunities to start a full-scale war. These murders the Azeri propaganda presents to its people as a struggle for Karabakh.

Those murders pursue other goals: continuous harassment and pouring oil on the flames of hatred against every Armenian and the whole Armenian people. The Anti –Armenianism is the pivotal idea around which they try to consolidate the new Azeri nation and around which they try to shape the so-called “national ideology.” Armenophobia has become the sinonym for patriotism. For us, this fact is difficult to comprehend because by saying “patriotism” the Armenians mean a completely different thing.

The killings across the borders pursue on more goal. We should not forget that in the official calendar of Azerbaijan January and February are overloaded by “black” days. that the reason why is another matter, but they blame the Armenians and everybody in the world for that, except themselves. The last attempt of sabotage attack by Azerbaijan, which ended ingloriously, was exactly on January 20. I will say only one thing about January 20: the Azeri authorities still succeed in falsifying even the lessons of January 20 for their people. Meanwhile, the reality always has the property of surfacing, and the practice of blaming others is usually short-lived. The culmination of the massacres of the Armenians living in Baku was the burning of the Armenian church in Baku by the mob. It happened at the time when the Soviet Army had not entered Baku yet. This is the reality, and Baku residents know it perfectly well.

Those murders pursue one more goal: to burn the bridges of peace; to exclude the possibilities of mutual understanding between the Armenian and Azeri people; to forbid that the common Armenians and Azeris at last heartily greet each other; to prevent the Armenian and Azeri people from forgiving each other, shaking hands of each other; be ready for peace. I consider this the most dangerous for our two peoples.

Why aren't the snipers withdrawn from the border line? Because murder is the last argument in the debate. Money and murder: these are the two arguments brought by the opponent when relating to us and to the world.

Esteemed Yerkrapahs,

My argument is the right to create on my own land by the sweat of my brow, my argument is the Armenian Army, my argument is you and all the Armenians who are ready to take arms right now. To tell you unequivocally, I am confident that there will be no need for that thanks to the people’s eagerness, owing to the power of that argument. And also because our 20 year-olds stand on the border like once you stood and sometimes (no offence meant) better than we did.

All that talk about the degradation of the new generation, about its being less patriotic, less trained, etc., are just words. Almost every day life offers us disproving examples in the person of our brilliant young men.


Nobody knows the evil called war more profoundly than you do. Hence, you should be the first to propagate equanimity and peace.

We want to live, work and create. We want to live in calm, but it is also obvious that we will not be left in tranquility in the near future. 20 years have already passed since the day when the ceasefire was declared. Throughout this time, Artsakh has cured most of its wounds, lives and develops, and in terms of domestic freedom, is graded higher internationally than Azerbaijan. Here the Azeri authorities do not have material for bold reports and will not have any in the foreseeable future. This is the reality.

The regime in Baku thinks that if we do not hide our losses, we are weak. They think that if we do not mislead our people, we are weak. They think that if we openly and publicly discuss all the difficult issues of our country, we are weak.

They do not understand that our power is exactly in that. Moreover, they can't understand it because those values are unavailable to them.

That is why we do not need to run such miserable propaganda like they do.
That is why we have gained a victory.
That is why our victory is an irreversible fact.

Esteemed Yerkrapahs,

You yourselves witnessed how once in while Azerbaijan fell into its own propaganda’s trap by overestimating its strength. Most of the participants remember how at the beginning of the 1990s the Ministers of Defense of Azerbaijan, and if my memory does not betray me, more than five of them changed their jobs, considered their duty to announce the next day that he, by all means, would drink tea in Stepanakert within a week. But to our excite and to their regret, it was clear that nobody was going to treat them tea in Stepanakert. To our surprise, today we witness the same pompous propaganda. Let them continue, all the same, that path leads nowhere. The misperception of the reality has not done anybody any good.

We have mature men who passed through hardships and brilliant young men. We have free Armenia and free Artsakh that will become freer. We love life. We have a desire to live, especially to live better. Moreover, we will make our desire a reality and will bring back our relatives from far abroad. No murderer can avert the millennial march of the Armenian people. There have been hesitators but their arrows and spears, bullets and bombs, money and intrigues have not been enough. Tomorrow also they will not be enough because we love life and love freedom.

Esteemed Yerkrapahs,

Each of you has given a lot for our country, for our victory and our peace. Many of you have put their experience in the establishment of our pride, the Armenian Army. Honor and glory to you for that.

Today we have another thing to do. Our new fight is for the rise of our country, against any despair, for faith, for every single our compatriot who is caught in the clutches of poverty, for the new opportunities of development and for the establishment of a modern state. Certainly, all these are, first of all, the obligations of the state. But it is evident that the unity and consolidation are the first prerequisites for success.

Bold ideas and far-reaching goals and vigor, consistency and dedication are needed to fulfill those. Knowledge and readiness to learn throughout the whole life, confidence in your own abilities, reverence toward values inherited and to be appreciated, esteem and tolerance toward every compatriot, patience and inflexibility in order to overcome difficulties, wisdom and reason when tasting the fruits of victory and a favorable environment to form and realize these all, and, of course, unity and love.

In our days of challenges and dangers, in our region craving for stability and peace the rise of the country is possible by joint efforts of the Armenians endowed with exactly such features. Just thanks to these features you, as the backbone of your generation, were able to protect the country during the calamity. Just owing to these features the citizen of Armenia was able to straighten back crooked under the ruins of the Soviet Union. Moreover, he created a completely new society, new economic and political relationships and decided to live free and on his own. He was able to make hard decisions and pay the price.

Our people succeeded in pulling this country out of the swamp of the war and direct it to the waters of the big world full of boundless opportunities. That nearly 20 years old path was difficult and hard. The deep river leading to the ocean of opportunities pushed us toward the coast of blockade, sank us into geopolitical gyres, knocked into the reefs of confrontation and pulled down the chutes of crises. Yet, over time the hardships only increased. The feeders filling the whirlpool of provisional transformation multiplied the dangers and brought new ones. However, throughout the years the capacity of overcoming those difficulties has improved. We recovered and learned to sail just in those whirlpools.

The overcoming of the difficulties of the transitional years burdened the shoulders of your generation. Yet, let us also remember that today the young generation could have tasted the losses of fathers and the bitterness of difficulties without enjoying the bright legacy. It could have inherited a completely different, weak and subservient country. Moreover, the victories and achievements might have had not existed, if there was not your deepest faith in the future, the dedication and self-denying struggle of yours and all the guys, the readiness to stand to the last breath and unbending persistence, if there was not the confidence in tomorrow’s day.

And today, coming towards the ocean of new opportunities and unprecedented prospects, our country, our state and our society face the challenge well known to our generation. On the estuary of the whirlpool filling the ocean of opportunities again is the fog of ambiguity which gauzes the future.

We face the old rival - despair and discouragement; the misbelieve in our own strength, the lack of confidence in other members of society; the incapacity to see in the fog and beyond it, the fatigue and indecisiveness. These rivals were our real enemy in the last decade. These opponents ambush us on the road to the future. These opponents will be defeated by us and by the young generation.

Yes, the ambiguities increase, the frame of possible developments expands and the degree of responsibility for our steps and the value of our decisions increase. Our country and society have entered the phase of maturity. A new generation that has not seen the hardships of your struggle and does not have your experience comes into play.

However, this generation entering the stage has been born beyond the swamp of illusions and has been formed and established in whirlpools. The new generation possesses the necessary strength and vigor to face the old challenges. It has new opportunities, the opportunities which we lacked. And more than ever, today this generation needs your experience and wisdom, needs the very firm confidence in tomorrow which at time paved your way in our history. A confidence that filled the pages of our new epic, made you the heroes of fairy-tales and tales of our grandsons and the pride of generations.

Today the state initiates and carries out a list of essential reforms vital for our country and society. Those reforms are called to substantially decrease the strategic uncertainties facing us.

In this regard, the pension reforms have essential importance. They are directed to the welfare of our new generation. And believe me that such reforms are called to firmly tie the man to his own country. Just such reforms intertwine the future of the Armenian with his land.

Nevertheless, the implementation of these reforms requires faith in the county's future, a confidence reserve in the state and persistence to build the future here, beside the compatriots.

The role of our generation in enriching the reserve of faith, the confidence and the persistence of the young generation is invaluable. It is the solidarity and partnership of generations that make it possible to implement the reforms decisive for the state. This is the only way to overcome the well-known challenges, to defeat the enemy which is beside us, with us and sometimes in our mind and soul.

The homeland needs you again in defeating this enemy. Your strength, your wisdom, your spirit of brotherhood sanctified by combat experience, today more than ever, are needed to multiply the strength and faith, the hope and confidence, the love and dedication of the young generation. Today, the voice of homeland defenders should ring boldly, confidently, although, unfortunately, we also have the whimper of separate individuals who say that they have kept the country, shed blood, and now either the pensions shall be considerably raised, or else there will be a revolution. We perfectly know who shed blood, where and how much. We also perfectly know the worth of such people's words and their capacity to act.

Beside the generation, called to take under its care the country after us, should stand the Yerkrapah with his advice and behest. We should give the weak strength and the downhearted hope. We should stand beside the man fallen into difficulties even if we can't offer anything but the readiness to ease his pain. No matter how hard are the circumstances in which the Armenian finds himself and wherever he is,he must be reliably secured. You and we should buttress him at the moment when even the parent, child and spouse abandoned him in despair. This is our law of the battlefield and this is our battlefield today. The state should support the people who can't live on their own. It should support and give the opportunity to support. It should help the young man to help himself after years. The state should, if you want, dispose everybody with a peculiar time machine to give himself a hand through decades. The new pension system is just such a time machine which we should launch today.

The arsenal called to overcome the challenges facing us has been enriched. Throughout years we have learned to propose more effective and vigorous solutions to problems. Nevertheless, more importantly, we have learned to listen to each other. We have learned to make a dialog, mutually respect and take into account each other’s interests. We have realized that before we accept any decision to deal with the issues pertaining to people’s destiny and society's development and before we take each step in peaceful conditions, we should discuss and reconcile them with various parties sometimes having contradictory interests, with businessmen, structures and with the Armenian. Particularly in recent years, we have tried to expand the discussion framework of decisions pertaining to economic development and social progress. We have tried to open and make perceptible the steps being taken to consolidate the security of the country and the decisions being made. No Armenian should feel alienated in his country. No one should be offended by his country. No one should curse his and his country's fate. The Armenian should comprehend and make collective decisions and take part in decision-making. We will not deviate from our path and we will continue to enlarge the limits of respect, confidence and faith. Only inside such large limits the citizen of the country will feel better than inside another exceedingly prosperous country. Only such country is able to tie its citizen to its destiny and keep him in its land.

I am confident that only this way we can shape the country of Armenians searching the sun in the snow and finding blessing in their country. This is the guarantee of modern, competitive, secure and proud Armenia. We are obliged to go that distance.

Esteemed Yerkrapahs,

You are the epitome of strength, courage and victory. We are grateful to you for your glorious past, for the patriotic stance that you have today and for all the deeds that you will still do for Armenia, the homeland of ours and our generations.

As the saying goes, be firm, Guys.

Thank you for your attention. Understanding that there can be numerous questions, I will be ready to answer to them, any of them, after the statements if you have time and if the Board does not mind.

Thank you.


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