ArmInfo News Agency’s interview with Artsakh war hero, analyst Sargis Hatspanyan
by Ashot Safaryan
Mr.Hatspanyan, how would you assess the ongoing developments in Armenia? What can you say about the threats and challenges?
The root of almost all the problems in Armenia is the anti-state, anti-Armenian core of the incumbent regime. The regime is based on the National Security Service, which, in fact, seriously threatens our country’s security; the Police, which, in fact, has nothing to do with defending the citizens’ interests; and the State Revenue Committee, which resembles the collectors of the Ottoman Empire’s time. Serzh Sargsyan knows that was elected illegitimately. I think the only solution would be Serzh Sargsyan’s removal from power. Today Armenia’s major problem caused by Serzh Sargsyan’s regime is the intensive outflow of the population. The removal of Serzh Sargsyan and his team from power is the only guaranteed way to stop the migration.
Who of the politicians do you think is able to solve this problem?
We need system changes. I am confident that neither Levon Ter-Petrosyan, nor Gagik Tsarukyan or Raffi Hovannisian can take the country out of the crisis. If we put any of them in Serzh Sargsyan’s place, they will conduct a similar policy as they have been exhausted. All of them are an integral part of the political system in Armenia, which has gone bad. It is not accidental that no presidential elections in Armenia but the one held in 1991 resulted in the regime change. And if elections do not result in regime change, it means that this problem cannot be settled politically. We need a strong civic movement. Fortunately, establishment of such a movement is becoming reality. The available packets of resistance, i.e. the developments in the Mashtots Park, the protest against construction of the high-class buildings in Komitas Street, the fight against the compulsory component of the accumulative pension system may turn into a kind of maidan in Armenia. I think this is a very much possible scenario. Any small case may lead to escalation of tension. The social unrest in Armenia is growing day by day.
Do you think the four non-coalition forces of the Armenian Parliament will be able to change the power in the country?
I think after the March 2008 events the society was disappointed with the political force headed by the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Ter-Petrosyan had no right to "fraternize" with a man, who took a direct part in the March 2008 slaughter. There are many proofs of the fact that Gagik Tsarukyan's bodyguards were given the needed armament. There were numerous publications about that in the mass media. The Prosperous Armenia Party has always been Robert Kocharyan's apple of the eye, which steeped hands in blood of the 10 victims. Only a man far from politics or a crazy man or a swindler can take Gagik Tsarukyan as a politician, and imagine him as a bearer of any high ideas. I think that Ter-Petrosyan understands very well who Tsarukyan is. He said in 2008 that if Tsarukyan broke his ties with the authorities just for a minute, he would turn into a dosser. In the conditions of concrescence of big business and the authorities, of the total control of the power over the big business, the revolt of one of the biggest representatives of the big business against the authorities may have unpredictable consequences for him. One can notice slight hints on it in the statements by "ordinary" members of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia. And the number one oligarch understands that very well. Today's changing of Ter-Petrosyan's position is a result of his powerlessness.
At the 1 March 2014 rally, Ter-Petrosyan said that Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union is an irreversible fact. What kind of message was that?
I think Ter-Petrosyan meant that he would serve the Kremlin better that Serzh Tsarukyan. If you remember, he said that Serzh Sargsyan is unable to use the Customs Union opportunities in Armenia’s interests as effectively as possible. This was a direct proposal to Moscow to make use of Ter-Petrosyan’s services. The question is whether the Kremlin will take into account his assurances or not.
What about the accession to the Customs Union?
I am totally against that decision of Yerevan. The Customs Union does not look promising for Armenia, it will result in both economic and demographic losses of Armenia. Armenia should participate in no integration project given its geographic location at least. We need a balanced foreign policy. I seriously doubt about the true wish and ability of the West to help Armenia to settle its problems. Everybody remembers how enthusiastically the western leaders and heads of European structures were congratulating president Serzh Sargsyan reelected as a result of the rigged election last year. Last year’s election showed the true face of the Western champions of democracy. The Western community has always supported the authorities of Armenia, but not its citizens. And the latest statement by the US ambassador to Armenia, who supported the pension reform, is the evidence of that. The West needs weak and controlled Armenia. Why didn’t they support the pan-national movement in Armenia in March 2008? But they supported the Kiev Maidan. Here we have again come across the so-called dual standards of the West. They can support the anti-Russian Maidan, but when it comes to the overthrow of the criminal regime in Armenia, Europe washes hands of it.
Radical changes in the political system of a number of post-Soviet countries led to the loss of territories. Mikheil Saakashvili’s Georgia lost Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Ukraine lost Crimea as a result of Euromaidan. May Armenia experience a maidan given the unresolved Karabakh conflict?
Of course, there is some threat. But one should not turn the Karabakh conflict into a carte blanche in the authorities’ hands. The conflict should not justify the unlawful acts committed by Serzh Sargsyan’s regime. The Azeri army should by no means be compared with the Armenian one in terms of combat effectiveness. An ordinary Armenian detachment will offer rebuff to any Azeri subversive group, we saw that during the January sabotage attack of Azerbaijan. In addition, one should not forget the ability of our society to promptly join forces against the foreign enemy. Turkey cannot threaten our border either, because the border is defended by the Russian armed forces. The only problem we may face in case of shift in power is the lack of skilled personnel. Any revolution comes across such a problem, but in the course of time the problem finds its solution.