Interview with Levon Barseghyan, head of Azparez club of journalists of Gyumri
Mayoral election is coming up in Gyumri. Mr. Barseghyan says this is the first time he has doubts that the Republican candidate Vardan Ghukasyan will win unlike the elections of 2002, 2005 and 2008. He thinks the army of the poor cultivated by him through all these years and the administrative resource he has will help him to win. On the other hand, the possible candidates of PAP Samvel Balasanyan or Martun Grigoryan will be real opponents to him.
What is the reason of weakening of the RPA?
I don’t think the reason is the wakening of civil consciousness. Most probably, it is the consequence of bad mistakes made by Vartan Ghukasyan, the crisis of governance. In Gyumri a mini-Stalin system of local government has been established, the Council of Alderman was not even accommodated in the City Hall. Besides, the people of Gyumri have not yet seen the hand of the ROA in state building and solution of local issues. In the past five years poverty has increased from 22 to 47%. A couple of houses will not compensate for unemployment and mutation of values, and it will not bring them votes.
Besides, there were no elections as such, as well as an atmosphere for freedom of expression. We do not know the real public opinion and division of votes.
Should change be expected if suddenly the PAP candidate wins?
I think the PAP has matured as an independent party. Its birth is linked with Robert Kocharyan but it is not ruled out that Gagik Tsarukyan is trying to act independently. The party will continue to vote for the projects of the RPA, maybe with some reservations and excuses. I do not think that Robert Kocharyan will be so inadequate to decide to run in the election since the public has not forgotten about what he did. On the other hand, I tend to doubt Serzh Sargsyan is more inadequate, I have a feeling that he wears pink glasses or looks at the world through the camera of the news program of First Public Channel. Unfortunately, I think he is not aware of the depth of the problem. Some people may say that he is destroying the country on purpose but it is not true. Either he does not understand the problem or he cannot resolve them. The focus is shifted to the invented conflict between the RPA and PAP, Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan. A strong opposition would make one of them retreat, while the other to concentrate efforts on the fight for power. In the meantime, the government blossoms while the PAP has not found the force to declare itself opposition.
What was the impact of the incident of Harsnakar on the position of the government?
Do you think the government has lost cals and is thinking about it reputation? In a democracy such incidents would impact the rating and the election results. But in our society power has been usurped, and Vahe Avetyan’s death was simply perceived as an unpleasant incident. The oligarch nicknamed Nemets is one of the pillars of Serzh Sargsyan’s regime, and he cannot chop this branch. Oligarchs feed the regime, and this incident proved that they do not have institutional respect toward their boss otherwise there would be a code of conduct, they would not cause such tragedies and let down the boss because now they criticize Serzh Sargsyan more than the murderers. I think the criminal and oligarchic system is imperfect otherwise they would keep the “father” not only through elections but also among them. Or maybe the “father” is someone else, incognito, somewhere behind the cordon or a mystical animal, a dragon, fed by Serzh Sargsyan and others. Hence, I don’t think someone will be dismissed from parliament. Gagik Beglaryan was not held responsible, not even charges were brought, and now he is a minister. This time Serzh Sargsyan will not repeat the mistake. He will not remove to return later. The man died, they will bury him and that’s it. Yes, and they will help his family.
May the PAP candidate win the upcoming presidential election?
I think it is science fiction. Who will be the candidate? Vartan Oskanian with memories of March 1, Robert Kocharyan who violated the Constitution and perpetrated October 27, March 1, and so on? If the opposition fails to nominate a strong opponent to the criminal oligarchic regime and the venal resource, there will be no miracle, and Serzh Sargsyan will stay for another 5 years. Levon Ter-Petrosyan is a philosopher who likes seclusion in a barrel, and the methodology of 1988 is not effective for such regimes. Unfortunately, the Congress remains an obedient boy. Hence, here is a pessimistic scenario. If there are no regional impulses, it is hard to predict change. And they will not disappear from the clash of clans, one clan will eat the other and win. There are no miracles.