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South Caucasus

Only the beginning of the Armenian - Azerbaijan dialogue, and a parallel review of the entire complex of Armenia’s relations with the entire world - can be the basis for the idea of Armenian statehood to exit out of a grave

Nana Dashyan
Interview with the chairman of Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives Georgi Vanyan

How do you evaluate the current public – political situation in Armenia?

The situation in Armenia: «No changes». The situation didn’t change neither due to the events on March 1stt or the war in Ossetia. The absence of political and public situation in Armenia became more obvious on the background of those events and their developments. It is with regret that I must repeat that our situation is neither political nor public; it’s just a situation. On the internal market, everything is more evident and uncovered, within the limits of the same group (one with the “government” label, and the others – “the opposition”); there is confusion over sorting out the controls of influence, confusion on the basis of separate individuals. On the foreign political scene – we are like a boat in open sea without paddles – we only ascertain on what’s happening with us.

How would you comment the decision of ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Vardan Oskanyan’s to return to big politics as the opposition?

In that context, as the composer Elmir Mirzoyev says, the situation is a lot worse than we think. As a result of an original turnover in power, in 1998, the author of which was the «deposed» president himself, Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s illegitimate resignation occurred. It worked out so not only the elections, but also resignations are illegitimate: the president left, under the law of his own arbitrariness, but his departure was filed as “ the people’s will” with some “defense of national interests” sauce slopped over it. A year later, during a yet another fixed election, the chosen president, the legitimate president of Armenia Karen Demirichyan agreed to take up the post of the president of the Armenian parliament. Back then there was still some hope for some kind of political processes. Further the shooting in the parliament…

Why do I talk about that when the question was about Oskanyan? Because he, not as an individual, the role that is being played by him - one of the personalizations of so-called newest Armenian history, the purpose of which is the fast destruction of the government. The foreign politics of Armenia have dug a grave for themselves and lay into it, during Oskanyan. At the same time we are observing another figure - the head of the parliament Tigran Torosyan, during whose rule a grave was dug for the parliamentarianism, and where is the Armenian parliament today. It’s being lead by Hovik Abrahamyan (nick name - “Mook”) whose biography, intellect and personal qualities are circulated with ecstasy in so-called “fourth government” and the so called “ politically – opinionated” lobby.

And that playing up is being equated with public-political life today, the content of which my fellow citizens repeat with accuracy in festive conversations, in taxi cabs, on the street and public transport, at home during parties and as an old habit in the kitchen. By the way, everyone knows about everything without reading the papers or following the recent news broadcasts. It’s a typical community life. Taking into consideration all that, where does Oskanyan or anyone else plan to return?

And how would you comment the decision of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) to participate in the Mayoral elections of Yerevan, and the fact, that the list of the congress will be lead by the fist president Levon Ter - Petrosyan?

The current candidate for mayor of Yerevan – Gagik Beglarian (nick name - “Cherniy Gago”) also became one of objects for whispering warlike critics: “that person is not worthy of the title of leader of our ancient - cultural heart of all Armenian people.” For some reason the Armenian All National Movement, which for some reason was renamed into the Armenian Congress, with Ter-Petrosyan in the lead, threw a challenge… to Gagik Beglarian. And they will fight… until the end. But a question comes up: for what? It’s interesting that they will have to continue the agitation in the stream of matching functions of the “police of morals” with a hint of “rebellion”. That is a complete failure and bankruptcy in front of the protest electorates, in front of the citizens who are demanding changes. What is it that stands behind another one of Ter-Petrosyan’s decisions, what are his personal motives, or the motives of his team - I don’t know, and I don’t find it interesting to know. But to the obvious, it already begins to look like the all familiar grave digging, in which this time will be buried the civil disobedience. Ter-Petrosyan has not changed his gimmick, and continues to personify very same arbitrary which he begot; he took people out to the square… so he send them right back home, motivating them with the same notorious “national interests”, pseudo heroism: ”the fatherland (Karabagh) - is in danger!” Nothing new.

But anyway, how high is the probability for L. Ter-Petrosyan’s victory during these elections?

I can’t say what kind of trades or agreements have taken place, and what is being planned for the future, but I am certain in one thing, Ter-Petrosyan’s victory is not on the agenda for the authorities.

What kind of results in these elections can have an influence on the public-political situation in Armenia?

This will be another election process with the entire arsenal of tricks that were tested on different levels during previous elections. As usual there is an expectancy of agitation around this process, which gradually “ will zero down” due to a script, which was developed throughout the years.

Are there powers in Armenia, who are for rapid normalizations of relations with Azerbaijan, and how close is that idea to the Armenian community, in its entirety?

If we consider rapid normalization of relations with Azerbaijan as an antipode to the idea of developing and flourishing in conditions of self-isolation, we can safely say that today, not only on the level of ordinary citizens, but also on the formal ideological field, the idea of normalization of relations with all neighbors is already reinforcing its positions in Armenia.

I really hope, that today, there already is a prelude to the beginning for normalization of relations with Azerbaijan - there is a possibility to begin a discussion within Armenia, and within Azerbaijan, only then realizing the process of regulating the conflict. All that’s been done up until now keeps us very distant from a dialogue. On the political field - the realm of a single party when it comes to questions regarding foreign politics and a complete absence of pluralism, and as a result, on the public field - micro projects: round tables which pass by, television space bridges, co-productions containing the parallel presentations of the positions from both sides. The process of the air quake has drained its own potential. And dialogue must replace it. Dialogue assumes that the interest in not only talking but also listening. Dialogue assumes mutual respect, within our societies as well as between our societies, the allowance of dissent, the existence of differences in opinions and convictions.

Dialogue, along with that also assumes the publicly listen, react, argue, convince each other – on television screens, in the press, and finally, in the parliaments of our countries and official meeting from both sides. It’s impossible to cover up the public demand for dialogue, not with the tricks of an informational war, or campaigns of anathematize and ostracize those, who have something to say and are ready to listen to their opponents. Only the beginning of the Armenian-Azerbaijan dialogue, and a parallel review of the entire complex of Armenia’s relations with the entire world - can be the basis for the idea of Armenian statehood to exit out of a grave.

Rustam Samedov