After 10 years of silence Levon Ter-Petrossian spoke, only to say nothing?

Following months and weeks and days of speculation on media and the blogosphere about the possibility of Armenia’s First President Levon Ter-Petrossian’s return to politics he appeared on Yerkir-Media news report on September 21st, the Independence Day to say, that he has not made up his mind yet. “Unless I know, that my steps will be effective, I won’t make the move” the ex-president said. According to Levon Ter-Petrossian, the country is in crises:

“Getting rid of the corruption system, resolution of Kharabakh conflict, putting an end to blockades, establishing of normal, mutually beneficial relations with neighbors, and which is more, the initiative should come from them. We must make the people understand, that by buying the votes for $20-50 from the people, the incumbent authorities are stealing the future of their children, the fate of this country”

Although the former president does not see any solution to Kharabakh problem anymore, the rest of the issues can be resolved by removing the current government, he thinks:

“It is the Kharabakh issue, which in the course of the past years our authorities have led to a hopeless situation. I do not know the way out of this situation”

[]

“The only way to get rid of current government is by uniting all the political forces, all healthy social, intellectual, spiritual forces around one joint candidate”

While most of the traditional media are left pondering how to react to this news (bravo Yerkir-Media for being fast), bloggers didn’t take long:

LTP didn’t say anything, Uzogh says, posting a link to Regnum’s coverage of the news. Interestingly, Uzogh is perhaps the most active among the bloggers to cover the possibility of former president’s return, in posts here, here, here and here. His general position is clear:

I am not worried by the possibility (albeit rather shadowy at this point, but who knows?) of LTP’s running for president. In fact I’m glad. I think that there are a large number of myths going round in our society about him, which should be dismantled, when put into test and discussion on debates, rallies, publications. I consider LTP an ideal figure for the incumbent government and suspect, that they indirectly aid to his running for president.

Impeachment activist Aramazd, who has always been very supportive of the former president, is also glad, that LTP is coming back to politics, but I suspect his reasons are quite different from those of Uzogh.

Our Paskal-Rubo [i.e. Uzogh] is pretending, that he really wants Levon to run for president. But I already feel some people shaking their legs.. we’ll just have to live and see.

Raffi K. from Life in Armenia is openly laughing at the ex-president:

Former President Levon Ter-Petrossian broke his nearly decade-long silence Friday with an unusually harsh attack on the current authorities in Yerevan which he branded “criminal and corrupt” and accused of turning Armenia into a “third world country.”

This statement is only laughable because he was actually set the precedent for criminal and corrupt regimes in Armenia!

Onnik Krikoryan has an extensive post sharing photos and the real-life feeling at the HHSh event in Armenia Marriott Hotel yesterday, where Armenia’s first president made his remarkable speech. The post also looks at the media coverage of the event, along with Onnik’s comments and analyses:

He didn’t disappoint, it has to be said, and made his first public speech in nearly a decade although he stopped short of making any decision on whether to run against the prime minister, Serzh Sarkisian, in next year’s vote. Even so, the packed Tigran Metz ballroom in the Marriott Hotel greeted Ter Petrosian with rapturous applause and chants of “Levon, Levon, Levon…” He might not have made a decision yet, but the event seemed more like the launch of a presidential election campaign than not.

Reporter_Arm speaks in greater detail about the meeting, and, noting, that people like the well known businessman: Khachatur Sukiasyan were also present at the event, finds it noteworthy, that Ter-Petrosyan dedicated a part of his speech to the word “oligarch”, saying this term shouldn’t be used, and that “They are businessmen and pay taxes, perhaps even more then they should. But you know whose pocket these taxes flow into”. The blogger speculates, that at this point Ter-Petrosyan is sending a message to the oligarchs, that in case of his election, their interests will be protected.

A1plus is skeptical and thoughtful, drawing a picture of the sixteen-year-old Armenia, with driven-out inhabitants of the Buzand street “celebrating” the day in front of the presidential palace, while the latter holds a reception… Sudden speech of Levon Ter-Petrossian, and preparation of police and technical staff to evening concert and opening of the fountain in the central square.

I’ll just have to disagree with A1plus, saying the speech of LTP was not sudden – it was very well expected indeed, and I’ll disagree with Uzogh, who says LTP didn’t say anything: indeed, the man has just defined the whole agenda of the upcoming presidential elections! Corruption, Kharabakh, Foreign Policy priorities.

And didn’t anyone notice that well hidden PR move the ex-president made? By saying he will only run when he’s sure of his good chances, this highly deceitful politician, who gave start to corruption in this country, approved the first forged elections, and crushed the opposition in 96, alienated the Diaspora, formulated the lose-lose policy in Kharabakh issue, is now sending a message to the subconscious level of the voter by saying – ‘if I run, it means I’m the winner’, so prepare for that. I have to admit, that politics in Armenia has just become really-really interesting!

Photos and video by Gegham Vardanyan © Armenia Marriott Hotel, Yerevan, September 21, 2007

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant

13 Comments

  1. […] video reports of yesterday’s reception are available here. The Armenian Observer also has an extensive post on Ter Petrosian’s speech at the Marriott […]

  2. Incidentally, I’ve also covered the possibility of LTP’s return extensively in multiple posts on the 2008 Presidential Election Blog:
    http://blog.oneworld.am/

  3. I’m reposting this comment from Onnik’s blog into here, because it fully reflects my attitude and disgust towards the LTP:

    Very intersting post Onnik and I see your point about LTP becoming the main opposition candidate. However, I don’t see what is it that he has to offer the country, and why has he decided to come back?
    While many people justify his mistakes and suffering caused to the people during the years of LTP rule by war conditions, I accuse him for a week personality, for being a bad manager, with very weak people skills: giving too much power to people like Vano, Vazgen, Kocharian, Serzh, as a result of which he was removed from power.
    I understand difficulties of those times, but times are even harder and more difficult today, and I don’t see why is everybody willing to trust once again the person who failed his job the last time?
    Levon has shown himself not as a strategic politician, but rather as a situative player, who is ready to speak of national reunion and democracy on one occasion, but quickly abandon these ideas as soon as conditions change, which is again a sign of weekness in personality.
    I hate this ‘monarch’ appeal around him – and the fact that he used to hold himself like a king (and still does), and I hate the people, who are willing to call back their ‘king’ just because his ‘majesty’ was once a ‘majesty’. Who cares? I want a politician – not someone with royal blood! Can’t people understand, that electing a president is like hiring a skilled worker for an important job?
    And one last thing – I’m really really really sick and tired of the phrase – Kharabakh clan! Reaaally tired!

  4. And my response is posted back on my blog:
    http://blog.oneworld.am/?p=51#comments
    Basically, I don’t disagree although I wasn’t here during LTP’s time for more than 2 days (in 1994 on my way to and from Karabakh).
    However, it also represents what a dire situation Armenia finds itself in politically,
    Interestingly, though, quite a few opposition-minded educated young professionals seem to disagree with both of us on this although it’s hard to say whether they represent a minority or not.
    Ultimately, what will determine LTP’s support in the event of him deciding to run will more likely be hatred of Serzh. It will be choice of between the lesser of two evils and we don’t yet know which is hated more than the other.

  5. Via Bekaisa, a new web site:
    http://www.levonforpresident.com/
    Set up by someone who comments on our blogs a lot and is based in London,
    Strange not to choose a blogging platform for the site though.
    That would have been an interesting precedent for elections in Armenia.

  6. […] Armenian Observer also provides us with a comprehensive review of reactions from the Armenian and Russian language media an… to Ter Petrosian’s speech in which he criticized the state of the country and effectively […]

  7. Of course, intellectually, Ter-Petrossian is beyond comparison to the ruling gharabakhi provincials. He is an appealing, erudite, and presentable person. However, he has a multitude of sins committed against his own people, and people still vividly remember and do not seem to ever forgive him for depriving them of basic necessities under the guise of an Azerbaijani-Turkish blockade, for the sake of making personal profit by artificially exaggerating its consequences, while making massive sale of various commodities, much-needed electricity, and industrial raw materials abroad. These man-made hardships have had horrifying effect on people: demoralized, impoverished them beyond measure, made hundreds of thousands of people ailing, dying of destitution, hunger, and cold, eradicated intelligentsia and intellectuals, weakened the academic strength of the nation, and left the doors wide open for emigration thus de-populating Armenia. LTP’s characteristic snobbish and cynical behavior towards his own people who actually brought him to power is another thing people always refer to when taking of him.
    They also do not forget that the practice of political assassinations and electoral irregularities have started during Ter-Petrossian’s rule. Doing away with those who opposed the Armenian National Movement’s coming to power, or who might have known of Ter-Petrossian’s shadowy biographical facts, or who dared to criticize his government’s wrongdoings in accumulating power and wealth, or those who could have made up an opposition to his regime has become a norm of the LTP years. His decline as a politician has started with the massive fraud instituted at the 1996 presidential election actually won by Vazgen Manoukian.
    It was this earlier practice of electoral fraud that has brought the Armenian people to a situation that we have today. Anti-popular, self-centered rulers and their loggerhead nouveaux rich elites who, no matter how lavishly rich they become, how many luxurious cafés, villas, or disgusting buildings they put up in downtown Yerevan, will remain power- and wealth-hungry for the rest of their miserable lives, with apathetic, disgruntled, and impoverished population struggling to survive under them or leave that Hell for a better life abroad. This is the Ter-Petrossian legacy.

  8. […] a fear that one blogger translated by The Armenian Observer also had when Ter Petrosian made his return to active politics in September. Reporter_Arm speaks in greater detail about the meeting, and, noting, that people […]

  9. Did not LTP rip the country off Armentel and sold it to his brother through a Channel Island Company?
    Come on now? Turkish Press is supporting him. And, the Azeris are rooting for him.
    Says something…

  10. […] A1plus is skeptical and thoughtful, drawing a picture of the sixteen-year-old Armenia, with driven-out inhabitants of the Buzand street “celebrating” the day in front of the presidential palace, while the latter holds a reception… Sudden speech of Levon Ter-Petrossian, and preparation of police and technical staff to evening concert and opening of the fountain in the central square.[…]
    Interesting. They end up supporting him, didn’t they?

  11. […]Ultimately, what will determine LTP’s support in the event of him deciding to run will more likely be hatred of Serzh. It will be choice of between the lesser of two evils and we don’t yet know which is hated more than the other. […]
    This was actually the case. You guys nailed Levon’s motives, too bad you couldn’t convince others of your views.

  12. Interesting piece indeed, Observer. I am surprised how much of what happened afterwards you guys actually predicted. I think you should go over this post again, and single out those predictions that actually happened. For me reading this post and the comments was amazing because you guys just saw the whole thing all the way. Bravo.
    I’ll read the other pieces later.

  13. You’re right. I just had a quick read through what Onnik and I had been saying back then, and am surprised…

Comments are closed.