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South Caucasus


Georgi Vanyan
Interview Day.Az with the chairman of Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives Georgi Vanyan

How can you characterize the current social and political situation in Armenia?

The situation in Armenia is neither social nor political; it is just a mere situation. On the one hand we had a position and opposition created in the manner of the so-called motto “You are a director to yourself”, and on the other hand in the manner of “extra-citizens”. Now these citizens having being exposed to humiliation and insult, are striving to recover from the shock they suffered which is very difficult to do nowadays under the conditions of continued repression. The decline or increase of this repression is hard to predict.

The events, claiming to be awarded with a social and political title, consisting of the flow of public announcements, articles and speeches, are focused on the events of March 1. The opposition, that is the adherents of Levon Ter-Petrosyan inertially shout “struggle, struggle to the end” and the content of their fight they brought to the appeal of the citizens to continue the protest actions. But Serge Sargsyan along with his coalition is intending to form a new government. This is the situation.

From the point of view of mental and ethical side of the question, is it correct to set the date of inauguration of the president of Armenia on Day 40, that is 40 days after the tragic events in Yerevan during which many people suffered?

It is not correct. But it has nothing to do with the inauguration as such. The day of inauguration is determined in accordance with the Constitution of Armenia. The date of inauguration set 40 days after the tragic events might have taken place within a special national meeting of the Republic of Armenia in the Parliament Building, in the atmosphere where no words of humiliation should be heard with regard to people grieving over the victims. But an exciting festive ceremony is to take place, half of which is to be held in the Freedom Square where the peaceful demonstration initiating the tragic events were forced to disperse. Such events do overstep the limits of mental and ethical standards.

The absence of political processes and personification of politics lead to the fact that the opposition of “inauguration-40 days after the death” became another X hour for Armenia. It reminds of a colourful film depicting intrigues of Feudal Middle Ages.

Do you think it may lead to new clashes and victims and who is to blame?

There exists deep and profound tension which can burst at any moment. There exist fear and distrust. Who is to blame? The blame is to lie with the president who is a guarantor of the Constitution.

How easy do you think the government of Serge Sargsyan will be in consideration of the fact that most of the Armenian society has a negative attitude to him?

Non-programmed and illegal life reached its climax. We reached the point where we have to determine our position once and for all: either it should be an authority of gendarmerie or conformistic society, or the establishment of a constitutional regime. In either case the government of Serge Sargsyan will not be easy.

How do you think will the future political life of the former president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan be?

In my view, the political life of Levon Ter-Petrosyan was nullified by the fact that the former president of Armenia broke a ten-year silence only for the reason of disputing with Robert Kocharyan and Serge Sargsyan on the so-called victory of Karabakh war and making a hot advocate of a union with Russia initially imposed on us. Unfortunately, the bearers of liberal ideas after longstanding inactivity supposedly adhering to the principle “the end justifies the means” unconditionally supporting Levon Ter-Petrosyan, once and for all brought the liberal values to the grave and erected another heavy stone on the path of a possible settlement of the relations of Armenia with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Based on the current mood existing within the Armenian Society, what ways do you personally see in the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

The current mood is a result of our twenty-year national liberation struggle. It is already 20 years I have been following the language of my favourite writer, teacher and my senior friend, Hrant Matevosyan who declared “our temper as an alien horse flees under us” and what is more important is that seventeen out of these years passed under the conditions of the acquired state system.

Are those years enough for us to finally understand that the horse flees under us and to feel that all those years concerning the matter of the settlement of the conflict with Azerbaijan were within morals and ethics of fidaism but not in the level of politics?

Are those years enough for us to understand that we are not conducting a national liberation struggle, but we are building a state? Are those years enough for us to understand that we have not only become the guarantors of the right for self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh people, the guarantor of the safety of people living in Nagorno Karabakh, but also we have made those people hostages without any right for ransom?

The situation will keep developing in the same way unless we consider and consciously overcome our political “short-sightedness”, unless we stop inertially paying our tribute to the “national liberation struggle” provoked by a third force – the resumption and the recommencement of the war will become more real day after day.

Ilya Finezilberg