Serge Sargsyan Responds to Levon Ter-Petrossian

Prime-Minister Serge Sargsyan responded to some of the points made by Levon Ter-Petrossian during the opposition rally on November 16, 2007.
Speaking of the 3 year time period, Levon Ter-Petrossian said he needed to put things in normal and then resign from politics, Serge Sargsyan remarked: “Perhaps he thinks, that 3 years are enough to surrender Karabakh. For me the thoughts pronounced in his speech were very strange, but then, it is up to each one of us to decide, what to say and what suggestions to make“.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a pity that Serge Sargsyan decides for himself “what to say and what suggestions to make”, because when he does it, it’s usually not coherent (remember the lapse about Armenians being the easternmost Christian nation in the world?).
We were just discussing the recent speeches with my collegue, Ashot Melikyan, the Chairman of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Speech, and he was remembering, how, Levon Ter-Petrossian spoke about freedom of speech in the times of his rule, whereas ARF-Dashnaktsutyun 13 media outlets were shut down during his time for their political orientation.
Similarly, Serge Sargsyan, Prime-Minister, a political figure who should be best prepared to answer with facts, figures and political prognoses, prefers to respond by claiming, that Levon Ter-Petrossian will “surrender Karabakh”, which is a dirty trick, to say the least, because at this point we haven’t yet heard Ter-Petrossian’s new proposals about Karabakh, and nobody has any ideas, what exactly LTP will propose as regards the Karabakh issue, as to the old suggestions, which were stated in the article “War or Peace”, I can state, that concessions and compromise do not necessarily mean “surrendering Karabakh”.
It really is a pity, that the quality of political debate is so low in Armenia, and it seems, that issues will once again be the last thing on candidates minds when campaigning for the 2008 Presidential election.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Here is a video from Hailoor where Serzh speaks

  2. […] favorite Serzh Sarkisian has responded to criticism of his government, The Armenian Observer is not impressed with either. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a pity that Serge Sargsyan decides for himself “what to say […]

  3. oh, come on….. what a *cheap* shot on behalf of Serj Sargsyan…
    I haven’t heard many of the speeches by SS, but from what I heard I can tell that even I can structure a sentence that is more grammatically correct than this guy’s. But apart from poverty of grammar and vocabulary, there is also a poverty of substance in his thoughts. So poor in fact that one feels sorry.
    If the competition is narrowed down to LTP vs SS, it’s going to resemble a contest between a political titan and a dwarf. It could become very similar to Al Gore vs Dubya Bush — i.e. concrete serious constructive proposals vs populist reductionism, oversimplifications and demagoguery. And Bush won only because of the election frauds — but “this kind of things never happen in our country”.
    I think after this televised comment by SS the stereotypical images of the potential candidates are beginning to solidify: LTP is the “nerdy voice of reason”, and SS is the “populist folkish dude appealing to the rabiz underclass lumpenproletariat”.
    After reading LTP’s speeches, I need to say that I’m not too enthusiastic about where LTP is heading with his critique of referenda and plebiscites, combined with play of words of “concessions” and “compromise”, so it is definitely early to judge… but Serjio is really taking the biscuit. I guess he has no experience of dealing with mass media other than with a muscle.
    I hope LTP doesn’t descend to SS’s level… ultimately it’s a question of what kind of substance and of what quality will be commonplace on Armenian political stage.

  4. Kronstadt, speaking of SS’s level – there is an excellent interview with Stepan Safaryan, member of Hertiage faction at available both in English and Armenian, consider this:

    One more question about the relations between Heritage and Serzh Sargsyan. Why does the prime minister respond to the questions of your faction in an apparently tense way during the questions-and-answers session of the government?
    We have the right and obligation to demand from the government to be responsible for their words. One cannot deliver speeches and raise issues only for campaigning purposes. We have been just registering that the government is not being responsible for its words. We would be very glad if Serzh Sargsyan stopped talking with us in an ironic manner. It should be mentioned that he does it not only to Heritage. He has been doing it in a very subtle way. However, I think that it is not permissible to relate to the National Assembly in such a style and vocabulary.

  5. RFE/RL reports that Vazgen Manukian continues to refuse to support Ter Petrosian.

    Opposition leader Vazgen Manukian on Tuesday again ruled out the possibility of supporting former President Levon Ter-Petrosian in the forthcoming presidential election, saying that his longtime rival is not fundamentally different from Armenia’s current leaders.
    “These authorities must go and that is inevitable,” he said. “But who should replace them? I fear that we would get more of the same [with Ter-Petrosian’s return to power.]”
    Manukian, who himself plans to for run for president, indicated that he will not endorse Ter-Petrosian even if the February 19 election goes into a second round pitting the ex-president against Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian. He expressed his readiness to back other opposition hopefuls and even the presidential candidate of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, a junior partner in the governing coalition.
    “They are putting the people in a very difficult situation because the majority of the people do not accept either party,” Manukian told a news conference. “There are people who consider Levon Ter-Petrosian the lesser evil but there are also many, many people who consider Serzh Sarkisian the lesser evil. And I don’t exclude that if Levon Ter-Petrosian and Serzh Sarkisian go into the second round Serzh Sarkisian will emerge as a legitimate president.”
    “I think [Ter-Petrosian] should not have nominated his candidacy in the first place,” he said.

    Basically, I think a lot now depends on Raffi Hovannisian. That is, if his candidacy is not accepted will he support Ter Petrosian, another opposition candidate such as Artur Baghdasarian or Vazgen Manukian, or urge a boycott.
    Certainly, although a serious campaign might win support for Ter Petrosian, without the support of Hovannisian, Baghdasarian or Manukian, he stands no chance. The arguments about whether Ter Petrosian represents an alternative to the system he was partly responsible for creating are also valid.

  6. From RFE/RL’s Press Review:

    “Aravot” analyzes opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s latest speech, saying it contained both “strong and weak” points. “In his speech Levon Ter-Petrosian correctly pointed out that the parliament has become a ‘spineless and wretched puppet’ but did not say that the National Assembly has been like that since 1995,” editorializes the paper. “It is that parliament [elected in 1995] which was first penetrated by semi-criminal elements. It is there that button-pressing individuals devoid of intellect first constituted an overwhelming majority.” The paper insists that both the current and former Armenian authorities have ignored voters’ opinion. “Ter-Petrosian has a lot of reason to repent on this issue,” it concludes.
    “Azg” questions Ter-Petrosian’s assurances that his key aim is not to win back power but to turn Armenia into a democratic state. The paper is especially suspicious of his claims that he is not intent on bringing his entourage to power along with him. “If you are not saying who you are bringing to power and are saying instead that your cronies will hold no posts and that you will oust these [authorities], isn’t this nothing but adventurism and a bid to condemn the state and the people to anarchy and chaos? And if Ter-Petrosian is lying and wants to come to power with his supporters, it would be more honest to make that clear.”

  7. thnaks Observer, very interesting
    By this kind of response SS is basically demonstrating that he is a political thug. I mean, putting aside everything that we know about him already, is this the kind of person that one would like to see as the face of Armenia on international arena??? I mean imagine the blups that this guy is going to come up with when interviewed in UN or any other such occasion.
    I think these ellections are also a question of Identity!
    When I was young and we had LTP, I was proud of our president because he projected an image of a clever and intellectual leader on international arena, thus distinguishing Armenia from the rogue governments of Azerbaijan and Georgia. As I said, I was young and naive back then. Yet in these presidential elections there is also a certain element of choosing your Image, Face and Identity that you wish to project to the international community and be proud of.
    In my case, I would not wish to project my Armenianness through any chosen figure embodied in the person of the president, but rather through a reference to and a mental association with a uniquely democratic system of power. Have you ever heard how proud the Swiss are of being Swiss??? and yet Swizerland is composed of 3 dominant nationalities, plus various ethnolinguistic groups. And the most fascinating thing is that after they’ve declaired their pride for their country, when you ask them who is their president, they pause and stumble since in most cases Swiss don’t even know who their current president is (because presidents are not embodiments of political power and change every 6 months)…
    In effect, what we see in case of Swizerland is not an allegiance and pride that is inherently Monarchical (ie centered around the cult of a given persona) and not Nationalistinc (ie in reference to an exclusive etholinguistic group) but Participatory (ie the citizen takes pride, association and self-identification in the uniqueness of the political *system* of his country — he takes pride in the unique democratic achievements and liberties, which are also her/his achievements). I hope that one fine day I would be able to be proud of my Armenianness precisely in those terms.

  8. SS should not talk in public and stick to what he knows best – beating the crap out of the opposition and falsifying elections.

  9. You mean like Levon did when he was in power?
    I guess Serzh learned from the best. 😉

  10. The quality of the video… hmmm.
    I have a special antenna on my laptop that allows me to capture television signals (and then upload them to YouTube or whatever.) I wish someone would just record all of the Armenian news stations and send them… hmmm…

  11. Incidentally, following on from pro-Ter Petrosian activists using Facebook, those in opposition to Levon have now started as well:
    Levon Ter-Petrosyanic zzvoghner:

  12. And now there’s a Levon Ter Petrosian support site on Facebook:

  13. did you notice that there are people who are members of both groups? 🙂

  14. I agree that a lot depends on Raffi Hovhanissian. Given the deadline for submisssions (6 Dec) I don’t think Raffi is going to sort out his citizenship criterion in this short time. Some basic gut feeling tells me that he doesn’t want to do anithing with Baghdassarian.
    What would be interesting to see is if Hovhanissian would back Vazgen Manukyan — that would quite interesting development to observe.

  15. Well – with Facebook – you don’t always join a group because you support this or that cause or point of view. For example, with the two above mentioned groups: I’d join both just to see/be notified when there’s something going on in the groups.

  16. Kronstadt – to make life easier for everybody I suggest you to continue the discussion about Raffi and Vazgen on the recent post about Heritage, what do you think?

Comments are closed.