Gagik Tsarukyan's interview to Russian O2TV

Gagik Tsarukyan’s interview to the correspondent of Russian O2TV Philip Leontev has caught the attention of the Armenian blogosphere. I first learned about it via tirami su who has commented short and to the point: “Funny had it not been so sad“(tirami su), Narjan has started a discussion on his blog, to be picked up by David_Sand, who sounds especially unhappy with some of the ideas expressed by the “businessman, oligarch and leader of Prosperous Armenia party”(David_Sand), speculating that the interview must have been paid for by the richest man in Armenia, and highlighting the following answers by G. Tsarukyan:

Question: what is the character of your relations with other political forces in Armenia
I maintain good relations with all of them, I respect them all. At this moment a competition is going on which everyone is eager to win, but that’s work. For now everything is going as in sport, within limits for good manners. We see bad examples – how competition is held in Ukraine and [contrast with] how it is going in Armenia. No, nothing of the sort could possibly happen in Armenia, because our president is following after the situation. If someone tries to do something, he will punish all of them. Our president is very strong, so this won’t happen with us.

Question: who form the backbone of your party? According to my information there are very few politicians and plitical scientists there.
That means you don’t have enough information. We don’t have
Churchills of course, but we do have enough educated and well prepared people. Many of them are the best in their respectable spheres. They are all accomplished candidates.

Harmic at the Blogrel has also referred to the O2TV interview, and has highlighted the following point made by the oligarch:

“We will develop 90 percent of our relations with Russia and 10percent with Europe and others,”
Taken from Gagik Tsarukyan’s Recent interview on a Russian television station, discussing what his party, “Prosperous Armenia” intends to do with Armenia’s foreign policy agenda. I am seriously becoming worried about what the future holds for the nation if this is the extremity with which the party intends to sever relations with Europe.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Chercills? Churchills?

  2. Thanx for help Onnik, I corrected the mistake.

  3. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if he meant even that. Not sure there are any Churchills among any political parties in the world, and not least because he was a war-time leader who was not particularly good during peacetime. Still, as many Armenians here seem to almost deify Margaret Thatcher when most Brits don’t look back fondly on her last years in office, perhaps it’s a former-Soviet thing. Could have been worse, I suppose. Stalin could have been mentioned. Anyway.
    As for Tsarukian’s interview, Harmick at Blogrel also has an opinion here.

    Many speculate that there will soon be a “crunch point” when Armenia will have to decide which direction it wants to sway, US/Europe, or Russia. We all know the merits/disadvantages of each, but with other nations voicing serious concerns about Human Rights and Democracy in Russia, we can hope for little change in Armenia’s situation. Are we on the verge of becoming another Belarus? ( extreme example, but worth a thought….)

    Yet, despite all this, let’s look at the electorate. It’s interesting for me to note that most of the Armenians from what makes up the mass of society here — i.e. those not working for international organizations or civil society — seem to a) either like him, or b) are neutral about him. Regardless of his reputation, he offers one thing that other candidates and parties can’t.
    He has created jobs.
    Of course, we can argue about how many more could be created if he paid his taxes and oligarchal control was tackled and so on, but I don’t think it crosses the minds of most Armenians. Interestingly, some people talk of there being a “slave mentality” here in Armenia. That is, in addition to the experience of Moscow controlling and providing everything in the Soviet era, the idea of feudal lords and spheres of influence is resurfacing again from when it was last practiced hundreds of years ago.
    As for the Diaspora, if I hear another ethnic Armenian from the U.S. declare that what Armenia needs is a “benevolent dictator” I’ll scream. On the other hand, there are those that believe that managed or guided democracy is the only model for the development of countries like Armenia. Certainly, few people here even believe in the concept of democracy as opposed to using it only as an excuse for calling for revolution.
    For now, I wonder if it’s not people like Tsarukian that really represent more to most of the population than any of the other party leaders on offer. Take a look at the other figures, for example, and you can perhaps see why. Artashes Geghamian, Stepan Demirchian? Are they any different with the exception that they haven’t created jobs?
    In this light, it’s perhaps easy to see the appeal of Tsarukian to many among the electorate, even forgetting the “charitable assistance.” Sure, Serzh is not stupid to say the least, and his National Security Strategy is very mature, and Artur Baghdasarian or Raffi Hovannisian are the closes we have to real western democratic campaigning, but I wonder, do most families here even care?
    Geopolitical orientation, Karabakh, European integrations… it’s all irrelevant when the main issue on an everyday basis is survival or finding work inside the country and not Russia. It’s a vicious circle, but is there anyway out? To be honest, when society isn’t ready for democracy and when money controls everyone here, I’m not sure it can be implemented. Still, let’s see.

  4. Actually I was preparing a post about Harmick’s post, as well as your last election monitor, but thanx for the link anyway.
    As to Gagik Tsarukyan’s appeal – I had much better opinion of him before this interview. His comments about Robert Kocharian did it all to me – he refers to him as if Kocharian were the big Godfather or something!!! Can you imagine what will happen after Bargavach wins its landslide victory, which it will? 🙁

  5. Well, the issue of a landslide is an interesting one, and not least because forget about what you or I might think about the end result, there is one other group of people who are arguably more interested and concerned.
    The Republicans.
    I’m still not sure what’s going on here, or indeed, what will be if there is no equal basis for sharing power. Some say that a deal has been struck about makeup of the parliament, we know. However, what if the BHK and Kocharian think they don’t need the Republicans anymore?
    Actually, they might not, but the issue of trust — or lack of it — among the two groupings is still an unknown.

  6. There will definately be a coalition government if nothing unexpected happens – and I don’t think Bargavach will be the front runner after all – I wrote the adjective ‘landslide’ just to provoke comments to be honest.
    I’m still have the feeling, that the Republicans will be to top party – but that doesn’t change anything really. I’m still sure, that neither Bargavach, nor Republicans will be able to form a clear majority in the parliament alone. And I have the strange feeling, that it was part of the master plan drawn by Kocharian in order to retain his influence in the country after his resignation as President. One thing I know for sure is – noone should underestimate Kocharian!!!

  7. Cool find!
    He tends to look elsewhere when answering some questions and he’s constantly playing with his fingers. Both of these can be linked to nervousness and the deviation from truth.

  8. add to that that his Russian is just …funny! 😀 i guess that’s what tirami su meant by saying “Funny had it not been so sad“

  9. Yet, a number of things come up here.
    i) Do most Armenians agree with the country’s pro-Russian orientation. I think the answer is yes, and the only reason the opposition (Artashes Geghamian, Stepan Demirchian, Aram Z. Sarkisian, and Aram Karapetian) will use this against Tsarukian is because the Russian failed to support them. All were considered pro-Russian until they could not see themselves coming to power with Moscow’s backing, and until they (perhaps mistakingly) believed that colored revolutions are manufactured from Washington.
    ii) As I said, most Armenians I’ve spoken to so far on the election, i.e. normal voters rather than anti-government representatives of civil society, are either positive or neutral towards Tsarukian. Even today, someone again repeated what you can hear a lot of in Yerevan. That is, all the politicians are making empty promises in order to come to power so they can enrich themselves. At least Tsarukian creates jobs and pays his workers well.
    iii) If many Armenians go gladly to the polls to vote for Tsarukian, regardless of his geopolitical orientation and whether he’s a good or bad politician, businessman, and even human being, isn’t that democracy?
    iv) This is a parliamentary election where voters choose who they want to represent them in Parliament, although I think most don’t appear to want to go to the polls because they don’t believe in the government, pro-government or opposition parties, and yet the politicized part of civil society and radical opposition are instead only thinking of the presidential election next year. This has evolved to the point where once again, concrete issues regarding policies are not addressed and it’s becoming a battle between those in power against those formerly in power or who want to attain it.
    Like I said, I think the question of democracy went out the window long ago on both sides of the political divide, perhaps with some exceptions, and I think these issues need to be honestly addressed. Call a spade a spade, and not something dressed up in concepts most Armenians don’t understand in order to achieve end goals which would be the same regardless of Armenia’s geopolitical direction.

  10. […] yet the politicized part of civil society and radical opposition are instead only thinking of the presidential election next year

    Sorry, a correction. That should have read:

    yet the politicized part of civil society and radical opposition are instead only thinking of staging street protests immediately after the 12 May vote and hope that the West will support them in another “colored” revolution.

  11. Although polls in Armenia should be treated with some caution given that they can be politically motivated, these results are nonetheless interesting. Interestingly, the ArmenPress news item points out these concerns, but I have to wonder if the results perhaps seem credible given the lack of any sign of greater opposition popularity at rallies and public meetings to date, at least.
    Certainly, I should point out that I have yet to attend any meetings by the People’s Party or National Unity — the two most popular opposition parties 2003-4. What do others think?

    YEREVAN, APRIL 18, ARMENPRESS: Head of a public opinion survey center in Yerevan has unveiled today the results of another public opinion poll, that has found that the governing Republican Party and the Prosperous Armenia of a millionaire businessman Gagik Tsarukian, established only last year, enjoy the highest popularity rate and are expected to win 30 percent of votes each in May 12 parliamentary elections.
    Aharon Adibekian, head of Sociometer pollster center, said to a news conference that according to the results of the survey, the Orinats Yerkir of ex-parliament chairman Arthur Baghdasarian is the third most popular political party, followed by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), the Zharangutyun (Heritage) and the National Unity.
    According to the poll, the five percent barrier will be overcome also by the People’s Party of Armenia, the United Labor Party and the Dashink (Alliance).
    Adibekian said the survey embraced 1,500 Armenians in Yerevan and 29 urban settlements. It emerged also that one third of respondents had no interest in political developments and news.
    He said the sudden death of former prime minister Andranik Margarian, who was chairman of the Republican Party, has added to its popularity and now the share of Armenians who recognize this party is 20 percent higher.
    Mr. Adibekian, a frequent target of opposition’s criticism, who charge that the findings of his surveys are paid by pro-government factions, pointed out a glaring discrepancy, in terms of being recognizable, between heads of political parties and the parties themselves.
    He said also half of respondents believe that the May 12 elections will be free and clean, which Adibekian said is an indication that the army of Armenian voters ‘who will never sold their vote, no matter what they are offered in return” is growing.
    Adibekian also said two thirds of Yerevan residents in Kentron (Center) district did not open their apartment doors to answer his employees’ questions.

  12. Seems like everybody these days wants to sing Russia’s praises. Tsarukian is understandable given the geopolitical reality of the region, but Aznavour?

    ArmInfo, 2007-04-18 12:07:00
    Famous French singer is puzzled why it is difficult for Armenians to live in Russia
    Famous French singer is puzzled why it is difficult for Armenians to live in Russia. The famous French singer of Armenian origin Charles Aznavour is puzzled why it is difficult for the natives of the Caucasus, the Armenians, in particular, to live in Russia. “I do not understand why it is so. Russia is the most important country in the world for every Armenian living in RA, and the Russians always appreciated the Armenians for their intellect, diligence and honesty”, Aznavour emphasized.
    To note, the great singer is going on his farewell world tour. He will give a single concert on April 20 in Moscow, in the Kremlin Palace and will perform the most popular songs.

  13. Interesting updates – thank you Onnik. And Armenians are definitely highly pro-Russian, which is understandable, given the common history, culture, economic interests. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that – but we need to make sure we get the balance right. I think it is positive, that the parties are raising the issue of foreign policy orientations of Armenia, however, much more discussion and analysis is needed to understand where exactly we are going and where we should go.

  14. Some comments from Nazarian:
    Gagik Tsarukian’s interview with is all the rage in the Russian language Armenian blogosphere. I hope that he does not really think what he says. It would be sad if the control of Armenia was given to someone with such a puppy like devotion to Russia. If you thought that Kocharian was close to treason for his devotion to the Russians, just wait till Tsarukian ‘wins’ the elections.
    Here is the English version translated by Google. There obviously are some problems with it but you can get the main idea.
    Our life is linked with Russia : an interview with the leader of the “flourishing Armenia Gagika Tsaroukyan

  15. I think you all are paying too much attention on the “content” of what he said in that “interview”……is it really worth it???
    Is this what Armenia is going to present to the world????????
    I am ashamed!

  16. Well, that is the reality!

  17. Narine – I don’t understand what you mean in this sentence: “Is this what Armenia is going to present to the world????????”

  18. why do we forget “Mr. Tsarikyans” real past and his deeds before becoming “Respected and well known” businessman and “humanist”. Its a shame for all of us that a “Rapist” soviet time police segant “We all know what does that mean” will be seating at our legislative body.

  19. Agas – I’m far from being sympathetic to Mr. Tsarukyan, but I believe he has changed a great deal, and unlike many other oligarchs in this country – he at least tries to compensate for all his misdeeds by doing some beneficial work.

  20. I know how he has “changed” he is still the same “slicky, ass leaking, manklavik in the hands of the same duo Robik and Sertzhik” and you pehaps know better than me who’s really behind all his money” I think he is just a front man and that’s not an axcident that he was so generously forgiven for unforgivable crimes. He was a criminal, he is a criminal now (read the newspapers about the skirmishes he is standing behind of in Armenia) and he will be a criminal all his life. For me he will never be a benifactor, he is just a very little men of Big size with a huge ego and a regular hastaviz without a grain of intellect .

  21. julep chien noninterventionist philoneism ammiolite eteocretes mold neurodermitis
    Report: Syria releases political prisoner

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