Leader of Republican Parliamentary Group on 800 Hectares

    • Interview - 28 May 2016, 11:54
Interview with the head of the Republican parliamentary group Vahram Baghdasaryan

Mr. Baghdasaryan, there was a skirmish involving the bodyguards of the minister of transport and communication Gagik Beglaryan. 6 have been arrested, including 4 bodyguards of Beglaryan. Have you been able to learn details of the raw?

I don’t know what information you have but after the news I talked to Gagik Beglaryan who told me that personally he has nothing to do with what happened. Yes, there was an incident but Gagik Beglaryan is not aware of the incident. It is possible that something happened but I do not know the details.

Nevertheless, will the government be more alert to prosecute and punish?

Definitely, every incident that took place, the relevant agencies must give explanations, and those guilty must be held responsible.

The prosecutor general’s office did not confirm the information about the incident, they confirmed the next day only that there had been a raw. They say Gagik Beglaryan was trying to do everything he could to cover up the incident.

Definitely, the prosecutor’s office may make clarifications from the point of view of confidentiality. After all, the law enforcement agencies have not covered it up, and there is no need to force the law enforcement agencies to make statements immediately. They have their processes and there is no need to expect information right away. Some work should be done to let the public know. At least, I am sure that Beglaryan had not been involved because I had a telephone conversation with him.

They say the government has appeared in a difficult situation due to the loss of 800 hectares of territories. And the governor of Syunik region Surik Khachatryan announced: “Who has measured that it is 800 hectares?”

I reiterate my statements, please communicate to the society precisely. I said “there is no need to focus heavily on these territories”, they report “it is necessary to forget about those territories”. They distort everything. Now I announce “a few days ago all the Azerbaijani websites were flooded [with publications] that Aliyev has been able to take special strategic territories, populated territories, which he celebrated like a hero and triumphant tyrant, saying that those are vital territories.” And in order to be able to distract the attention of his own public from scandals relating to his family, he poses as a hero and announces that he asks for a unilateral ceasefire to produce an impression as to how it can affect the actions of our army. Today our army controls the situation along the entire length of the border, and these territories, these positions, these few meters cannot have any influence. I advise those thinking like Aliyev not to put grist to the mill to help him pose like a hero in his homeland. This is a very dangerous thing, and I am saying again that there is no need to focus heavily on this issue. Time will come, political developments will follow, there will be a necessity, we will dwell on these territories by all means. Either we will come back to it in the negotiations or if we are not going to have an alternative, we will do everything that the army needs. Then this was a matter or one or two days, we simply needed to appreciate whether the moment was convenient or not, and what would be the price to return those territories. Every inch of land is important to every Armenian but the time is such that there is no need to make a hero out of Aliyev and cause a panic among our people, our soldiers, as if they had such strategic importance that those are populated territories to cause a panic in the public. In reality, those are wasteland, unpopulated territories as long as they are under the control of the Azerbaijanis.

Mr. Baghdasaryan, those territories are part of Martakert region of the former Autonomous District of Nagorno-Karabakh.

I don’t want to go back to comments again. Because at the moment these territories are under their control, and Aliyev wants to become a hero, we say those are unpopulated and desert areas. It will not escape our attention for a second. And there is no need to forget but there is no need to focus heavily on this topic at the moment, and it is necessary to follow the political developments. Besides, it is necessary to wait for the convenient moment. I think it is not normal to make a hero out of Aliyev and confirm his statements through our Facebook heroes.

The National Assembly will also reduce office cars. Does this mean that so far operations were not efficient? In your opinion, is there a need to cut office cars at the National Assembly?

I don’t know what cars have been provided, only one car has been provided to the Republican Party. The speaker of the National Assembly has instructed to take that step in case there is such opportunity. I want to give one example, if we had big delegations that we must greet and we have often asked our friends or other organizations for help to be able to provide adequate service. However, in our situation when there is a necessity, we may also do reductions, when we can afford again, we will buy new cars and receive our delegations adequately. If we figure out whether we are ready, whether we can receive big events like Euronest, organize sessions, receive delegations, our answer will be no. Our car park is not able to provide such services, and we often ask others for help. We also need to calculate, if we are going to hire cars, will it be more expensive than having cars in our pool. The economists must do calculations, and if need be, do the reductions. The staff of the National Assembly and its professionals must answer this question.

Mr. Baghdasaryan, should the society expect serious steps, in particular, will names of those known to the public as monopolists be pronounced at the end of the three-week deadline?

I am not interested in the pronouncement of the names as much as in having the society experience the change. Such steps must be regular, if they are one-time and temporary, there will be a disappointment. I think there must be the rule of law because governments change, and every next government may have different approaches, and when there is the rule of law, there must be control and confidence in the judiciary, reforms. These steps must be taken.

Davit Harutiunyan has announced that the second stage of changes, reductions will not happen soon.

I have mentioned several times that everything must be done gradually, doing at once is risky. If we hurry, we may spoil everything. It will not be possible to put everything in place at a high level in 1-2 days. Changes must be gradual but in a way that the public feels the change.

Is the government ready for austerity? For example, in many countries officials ride bicycles.

It is a matter of mentality, there is no need to go from one extremity to another. Do you think the culture of riding bicycles occurred at once in those European countries where it exists? It is not part of our mentality. Of course, it is healthy and useful in many ways but this culture must be introduced gradually. It requires tracks, we do not have bicycle tracks. If we prepare those tracks, there are already a lot of citizens who use this transport for their health, for saving. Bicycles are an extremity but I have always supported austerity, for a life that does not harm others over years.