Interview with the coordinator of the Armenian National Congress Levon Zurabyan
In the parliamentary election of May 6 the Congress received 7 seats. Had you expected such a result?
We expected it in the sense that we still live in a dictatorship with a democratic face. It appears that competition is enabled but on the last day the results are summed up according to a pre-made scenario. The regime uses live bombs, these are the people who vote multiple times and the people who are coerced or bribed to vote.
In Armenia there are no categories of people which are not related to politics and not because everyone is interested in it. Simply the passive mass which normallywould not vote in other countries ensure falsifications in totalitarian countries. There is an entire network which is managed by brigadiers. They coordinate up to 100 votes, receive money for bribes from the RPA and other ruling parties, collect the passports of citizens to report accomplished work. In the right hour the brigadiers organize voting by the persons under their charge. Different methods are used, including vote buying, proxy voting, open voting which is used in remote villages and military units, coercion. If people on the list vote to another party, not only they are punished but also the brigadier.
Those who voted multiple times use the government’s feeder and are ready to do everything they can.
Do you think people are to blame for everything?
A lot of people are trying to blame the public but we blame the Nazi regime which forces people to commit a mass crime. The government encourages crime, and we must understand that from now on it is necessary to think about national identity, the dismantlement of the regime.
Should the Armenian National Congress be blamed as well?
I am trying to analyze and I cannot find serious mistakes. We were able to waken hope, create an atmosphere where people were ready to vote for the Congress. But the machine was launched on the election day. People were simply cut off. We did everything to prevent breaches – we set up a joint headquarters, tried to cooperate with ARF and Prosperous Armenia. But we did not fight against RPA and separate criminals, we are fighting the criminal regime headed by Serzh Sargsyan. When all the government institutions are involved in the crime – the army, police, prosecutor’s office – it is tough to do something against them. Only revolutions will end this.
Do you want to follow the revolutionary path?
There is such a discourse to follow the path of voting mechanisms or revolutions. We combine them. There are already results – a small platoon of people is in Parliament. We will have 7 fighters who will have certain levers to influence the government. We will have an opportunity to bring up any issue and demand a response. Our final goal is a democratic revolution.
There is an opinion that accepting the mandates will legitimize the elections.
We would like to hear logical arguments. Our mandates are more than legitimate and if the elections were fair, we would have had more mandates. We announce that the mandates of the RPA are illegitimate. Would it be right to reject the vote of confidence of people?
The Congress is accused of cooperation with the PA, they say the ANC thus gave part of its votes to PA.
In fact, without this cooperation, had the coalition formed a common front, we would have received fewer votes and would not reach the threshold of 7%. We broke down this front, split the coalition, and their breakup will continue even if a coalition is formed. Those who think that the game is over are mistaken. And the results which the regime has ensured were not determined by the moods of the public, they appeared in the result of large-scale operations. The joint headquarters was intended to weaken this operation.
The victory of the regime was ensured at the expense of moral and psychological losses. The country hates the regime. All these breaches will be revealed and disputed at the Constitutional court.
As to vote buying by PA, let us confess that if the regime did not buy votes, the other parties would not do it either.
And pressure by way of rallies will be effective only if other parties join. For the time being, we have not been able to ensure the national format of resistance. And responsibility is on us because hardly anyone doubts our decisiveness.
I can also assure that the forces which will defect from the Congress referring to the official election results and the modest return of the Congress will disappear from the political arena. Although the departure of the desperate ones will open up the path for ideological people. The Congress undergoes transformation and the leading positions are gradually occupied by young people with fresh thoughts. Besides, the core of the Congress is becoming firmer.
Will the Congress nominate a presidential candidate in 2013?
The decisions will not be made now. The Congress must run in the elections, and Levon Ter-Petrosyan will remain the strongest candidate of the Congress. There is no disagreement on this. I do not rule out that Ter-Petrosyan will be supported not only by the Congress but also other forces.