Interview with Armen Hovhanisyan, blogger
Armen, recent developments relating to the mayor of Gyumri are perceived by many as signs of the collapse of the system. Do you have such an impression?
I agree that the system is moving towards sunset, while the case of Vardan Ghukasyan must be evaluated clearly. There is an unwritten rule: wherever the opposition or the PAP won in the latest elections, the head of the municipality changes. See the example of the head of Nor Nork community. 99 out of 100 obey the internal oligarchic consensus-based discipline and move on. As to Gyumri, I know well, also from my relatives who live there, that Vardanik has always perceived himself as a head of the Russian colony, a man of straw, and for him the capital is Moscow, not Yerevan. The reason of his riot is that some Yerevan which is to him a provincial town of an empire, is trying to remove Moscow’s man. He may be right because if we want to imagine what will happen after full colonization of Armenia by Russia, we should live in Gyumri for a week. The air there is stale and foul, there is a shortage of positive national aspirations, customs and traditions are too imposing, the law is not observed, and Gyumri is a city with a negative atmosphere.
Does the RPA surrender in all those places where the PAP won?
No, other Republicans were appointed in all those places. The question occurs why Vardan Ghukasyan is not reappointed. It is possible that the PAP is a perceived pro-Russian force and this border city must be ruled by a pro-Russian force.
There is a different reality along with the reality of these politicians. The citizens take initiatives. What will be the final result?
All the victories of the civil movements are mere fragmental battles which were won or lost. These fragmental battles will continue unless Armenia establishes constitutional order, the rule of law, a civil state. But the civil forces must feel their potential and self-organize to establish constitutional rule in Armenia because all the problems come from the absence of a state. The Republic of Armenia is not a state, it is an enterprise, an LLC which generates profits for its shareholders at the expense of the population. It is necessary to build a state.
Armen, our society is multi-layered, how can the society be brought together on this issue when we know that if the issue is put forth, not enough people may follow it up.
Earlier I came to a conclusion. The initiative against reopening foreign language schools first put forth local issues, then the amplitude was broadened. Some people understood that this is a systemic issue, and the lack of a state enables to sell the education system by auction. I think many people must pass this way. The core which is often seen during different actions must understand this, and as soon as there is understanding, we will achieve something.
Do you see change of system by way of change of government or is it possible to have this government work to achieve change?
The meaning of a civil movement is to fight for the mechanism of control, not for government or against a person. So, from the point of view of a civil movement it makes no difference whether Serzh Sargsyan is the president or the shoemaker. He must carry out some actions and be controllable. But the issue is that the ruling class is not ready to be controllable and is not ready to work in this manner. These conditions are not acceptable to them because it is tough to make a profit in these conditions, and it is meaningless to be at the top of government.
Believe me, as soon as constitutional rule is established, and the officials do not undergo repression, and they feel free to join that life, most of our prominent figures would not run in the elections. “Why become president and not earn a billion in 10 days?” they will think.
Gagik Tsarukyan says he does not care for his property and he cares for change and welfare in the country.
The society calls every leader, every official, gives some money and an assignment. There will be no real change unless it is done this way.
The worst thing in this whirl is depopulation of Armenia. Armenia is being emptied. I don’t want to cause a panic but it is a fact to face. Go see the indices, our country is losing its population. It is possible that Serzh Sargsyan also wants welfare but the mechanisms of his vision are not advisable in this situation. Some communist leaders of Eastern Europe understood this in much tougher situations and retrieved their country from that plight. Will our leaders understand, it will be OK, if not, there are other options…
However, the experience of these years shows that they will hardly follow other tracks.
When only those people are left in Armenia who do not leave because they cannot afford a ticket or they do not know where they could go, everything will be possible. We are getting closer to that line, this will be a hungry riot which is absolutely destructive, and something terrible may happen. As long as there is a community which is ready for a positive riot, this community must be pushed forward. Soon only people may be left who know that something is wrong in the world but do not know what exactly.
What mechanisms, norms, form of governance will come to replace the oligarchy?
There is a principle which cannot be discussed. The RA has a state, independence, I deny any form of federation with any country because it will exist at the expense of the interests of future generations, I deny territorial concessions, no friendship with any neighboring country at the expense of our historical rights. But it does not mean that we must wage a war. We must follow our interest. Equal constitutional rule and rights for everyone. Garegin Nezhdeh said “everyone is equal before death and law”. As to the rest, the laws must be passed by representatives elected in free elections, the principles must always be at the basis. This is the only way out.