Guest Post: on Signed Declarations, Peace in South Caucasus and Appetite

Potsdam, Brandenburger Tor Fotografiert von Di...

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I knew it’s going to be interesting when I read this: “Three South-Caucasian parties – PanNational Movement (HHSH) of Armenia, Georgia’s Republican party and “Musavat” Party of Azerbaijan have  signed a declaration on cooperation in Germany’s Potsdam city.”

I knew it’ll be interesting mostly because there are a number of little nuances in this report few would notice.

Firstly – it’s the fact, that these 3 parties position themselves as liberals.

Secondly – all 3 parties are in opposition to government in their countries.

And thirdly – the document was signed in a conference “The road to peace in the South Caucasus: property – freedom – welfare”, organized by Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

This is where its worth taking a closer look at what’s happening. I am quite skeptical in Liberalism of HHSH and Musavat. I mean, its hard to make me believe, that the party, whose leader divided Armenians in Karabakh and non-Karabakh Armenians in early 2008, and branded its political adversaries Tatar-Mongols, is a bearer of liberal values.

Exactly as I don’t believe that Musavat, whose leader (кстати лидер в Мусават именуется красивым словом “Башкан” :) ) is a former leading figure in Azerbaijan’s Popular Front, dreams of the victory of liberalism in the South Caucasus when asleep.

All 3 parties were at the helms of government at one time or another, but not anymore – for one reason or another.

But now let’s look at what the representatives of these parties are saying about the signed declaration.

“The Musavat party is the oldest political party in the Caucasus and it knows what documents to put its name to,” Ali Khadjili, Secretary of Musavat has said.

If we translate this from political-lingo to human speech, it’ll mean: we know exactly what we’re doing, so back off.

“We are positive about the signing of the declaration on cooperation with the political parties of the South Caucasus, especially since in this agreement all three political parties of the South Caucasus set the goals of integration into the European community and the establishment of peace and democracy in the region,”

Human translation: we were told sign it – everything is liberal here and it calls for peace on earth, so we signed it.

Now let’s look at what Aram Manukian, HHSH Chairman has said:

This will provide a field for activity, will give possibilities to work jointly on promoting international  values. And generally speaking – for implementation of projects, which help reconciliation, formation of civil society, mutual tolerance, help bring down tensions.

Translation into human language: we also support peace on earth, and international values and tolerance.

“Every party has a right to act independently. I do not see anything bad in signing a serious declaration between the regional countries,” Levon Zurabian, Coordinator of Armenian National Congress, to which HHSH is a member of, has said.

Human translation – we know exactly what we’re doing, so back off.

So you see, when looking at all these awkward moves, you finally come to realize – at least as far as the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides are concerned, all they need is to continue working with the Nauman Foundation. Because there’s nothing else coming from their announcements. All they need is grants, trips, meetings and an imitation of intense activity (preferably liberal one :))

Bon Appetit!

PS I know very little about the Conservative party in Georgia, but have suspicions, that they have everything sorted with appetite, as well as liberal values.

About the Author

Ruben Muradian (aka Uzogh) – is an IT oriented knife collector. Tries to find black cat in dark room common sense in Armenian politics.

Russian version of this post is available here.


38 thoughts on “Guest Post: on Signed Declarations, Peace in South Caucasus and Appetite

  1. A number of my liberal friends in Georgia support the Republican Party. Probably, I could also say that many of my liberal friends in Armenia support Ter-Petrossian, and the same for Azerbaijan too.

    Of course, that’s not saying much when you look at the opposition and government forces on the ground. Meanwhile, glad to see such parties in cooperation and communication.

    However, worth pointing out that I don’t support any of them. In fact, never supported or belonged to any party in the U.K. too.

    • Hi, Onnik!
      There’s nothing to do with cooperation and communications, bro.
      Mostly because no representative of those parties have told the public how they would achieve goals, listed in this declarations. That’s why I’m pretty sure, that this is just another grant squeezing strategy.

      I (and I’m pretty sure they – the 3 parties) do not understand, how they will implement those principles. None of them have said what is the common ground for the cooperation besides those ridiculous “liberal values and tolerance”.

      While I believe that there are some liberal ideology supporters in our countries, I’m pretty sure that for Musavat and HHSH simply are not one of them.

      Just to fix the lines: it was HHSH, that jailed Dashnaks, and stole elections in 1996. It was Popular Front, that organized pogroms in Baku in 1990.
      And of course during the war in Artsakh both HHSH and Popular front were in power in our countries.

      I do not see any liberal and tolerant background for those 2 political parties, so perhaps I miss something?

      • Uzogh,

        I am not disputing whether or not HHSH or other parties are genuinely what they tell people they are. That is not the point. The fact is that there are many liberals I know (although actually not many in the countries themselves) that do support those parties, rightly or wrongly, and I’m also not disputing what you have said about HHSH and Musavat in the recent history of both countries.

        And you know I have been very critical of the opposition here, so when I commend them for something it’s not because I support them. It’s just that I believe credit is due where credit is due, especially when it is not exactly a popular move to make.

        However, any communication is to be applauded and I very surprised by the timing of this given 7 November parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. Of course, cynics will argue that Musavat perhaps did this in the hope of support from the West in those elections, but another argument is that this is very dangerous indeed. Opposition candidates there are already being attacked and discredited by accusations of Armenian links and cooperation:

        As for whether the three parties know or are thinking how they can implement those principles, reminds me of some other people who might well need the same question addressed to them — Serge Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev in the continuing negotiations based on a set of principles which have also not been presented properly to the public. Anyway, not sure if this will achieve something, but…

        Communication is better than none at all… :)

        • Onnik,
          But I have said nothing about the cooperation and communications.
          I’m OK with their efforts. Really.
          All those political parties are free to create alliances, if they find, that those alliances will help them. Again – I’ve no problem with this.
          Moreover – I was frankly wishing them to enjoy the benefits of such a cooperation, keeping in mind their donor and financial aid in the last sentence of my post.

  2. Well, up to me, I guess… Uzogh, you wrote a provocative post about a signed document and asked for comments, but you never posted the text of the document. How can you expect informed debate (yes, I know, you don’t expect it…) So for Artur’s readers, here’s a link in Armenian, with the Google Translate English version afterwards (which, though not perfect, came out quite well).

    We, the European Liberal Party member parties ghekavarners, “The Road to peace in South Caucasus. Property, freedom, prosperity “conference participants, realizing for the peoples of our region in this crucial period, we intend to initiate further steps for the establishment of universal values.

    We confirm that today, as ever, democratic principles demanded by our people who suffered long years of conflicts, violence, corruption, human rights and violation of civil liberties.

    We consider necessary for us to cooperate in establishing common principles, the right to life, equality before the law and individual liberty, inviolability of property and market relations, and free elections, state government transparency issues.

    In keeping with the legal and democratic state, the ideas, we consider that the priority of our activity is to create open societies based on rule of law, pluralism and the state of democratic governance, respect for the rights of citizens regardless of their national and religious affiliation.

    We firmly delivered from the immediate release of political prisoners, cease politically motivated persecution, freedom of speech and assembly for the elimination of the restriction.

    South Caucasus future peaceful settlement of conflicts and large-scale and full cooperation, it into a stable and developing region, which is directly linked to the European regional integration, which is why we are exercising our efforts.

    By signing this declaration, we express our readiness to cooperate with all who share our position on democratic forces.

    Isa Ghambar Azerbaijan Musavat Party
    David Usupashvili Georgia Republican Party
    Aram Manukyan, Armenian National Movement Party Chairman
    7 October, Potsdam, Germany
    After actually reading this, we all can see that there was not a word about Karabakh, territorial concessions, Turkey, or any international hot-button issues. Instead, the parties focused on human rights and democracy problems that have sadly been cast aside. By working on these issues, by broadening the power and voice of citizens horizontally, good will can be created that does not now exist and perhaps someday there might be some hope of resolving the messes that bedevil the South Caucasus.

    I also put it to you, if the Armenian government wanted to steal a march on Azerbaijan, what a brilliant diplomatic move it would be to release all the political prisoners, reform the justice system and the police force, collect taxes from the hugely wealthy, and in general start getting its house in order. Because it has become very clear to the U.S. and Europe that the Emperor of Azerbaijan will not willingly do any of these things: he has defied direct requests from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and many others regarding the bloggers’ and journalists’ releases and other human rights violations.

    And after the latest Medicare scam, Armenia is going to need some fresh goodwill gestures, as well as some open jail cells.

    • Dear Ani, first of all I would like to thank you for bringing this document here. I was looking for it doing English search and failed. You’ve got it in Armenian – and it’s great.
      It’s great document and may become a good example of goodwill, if it was signed by NGO’s, or any other entity other than political party.

      When it comes to a political party it raises a lot of questions, and none of them was answered, at lest in Aram Manukyan’s (whose signature is representing armenian side) interview given to Lragir.

      Some of the questions I raised in reply to Onnik’s comment, the others will share with you.

      I will not buy your (and other ANC supporters) statements on existence of political prisoners in Armenia before the ICHR decision on their cases.
      But Dashnaks jailed in 1995 can’t appeal to ICHR. Because Armenia ran by a liberal party hadn’t signed corresponding documents.
      Votes of unified opposition in 1996 were stolen by political party, that today protests against usurpation of power.

      I’ll never mock liberal rhetoric from, for example, Heritage party. Just because I’ve never seen it’s representatives violating human rights. But when it comes to HHSh I feel myself mentally raped, trying to put together HHSh and liberal values.

      While reading your comment, I really wondered when I’ve read the following: “word about Karabakh, territorial concessions, Turkey, or any international hot-button issues”. Please show me the exact place where I have spoken on those issues. This declaration has nothing to do with all those points you listed. Why are you pointing this out commenting on my text is still an open question for me.

      Anyway thank you for your comment.

      • Heritage is an interesting party in the same way as the Dashnaks are. The latter represents itself as a national socialist party, the former a national liberal party. In both cases I would argue that the nationalist leaning in terms of foreign policy is totally at odds with the proclaimed adherence to socialist or liberal values.

  3. Pingback: Global Voices in English » Caucasus: Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian opposition parties in cooperation agreement

  4. Thanks, Ruben. You are correct, you didn’t mention those subjects, but your references to peace initiatives might lead readers to think they were discussed. Several news sources from both Armenia and Azerbaijan have been quick to raise “traitor” “sell-out” paranoic rhetoric in their reports on this event and document, so it’s important to read the actual document to see what was really signed. I hope it stimulates serious debate and some actions; without any governmental power, at least these parties have shown some goodwill. It’s an initiative; let’s see what comes of it.

    • It’s not me, that speaks of peace, Ma’m.
      Words written in italic in my post are citations.
      Musavat representative speaks on peace and ANC representative speaks on tolerance and reconciliation.
      Moreover there are йщквы on peace an reconciliation in declaration itself.
      Հարավային Կովկասի ապագան` հակամարտությունների խաղաղ կարգավորումը եւ լիարժեք ու լայնամասշտաբ համագործակցությունն է` այն վերածելով կայուն եւ զարգացող տարածաշրջանի, որը անմիջականորեն կապված է եվրոպական տարածաշրջանի ինտեգրմանը, ինչի համար էլ մենք գործադրում ենք մեր ջանքերը:
      And of course it’s not an issue of “traitor”. It’s an issue of fundraising. Nothing more.

  5. But it’s not PanARMENIAN, that is naming them traitors, isn’t it?
    So please address your complains to Hayazn youth movement.

    Time has already answered a lot of questions, Ma’m. Mob, that has jailed political opponents in 1995, that have stolen elections in 1996 is now using liberal rhetorics.

    If it takes 15 years period to whitewash the criminal, and turn a usurper into a democracy champion, then you are right – time is the only argument that will rely on.

    • Well, this is PanArmenian’s headline: “ANM leader betrays Armenian people’s interests, cooperating with Musavat” — Suggestive, yes?

      Anyway, love the ma’am, makes me feel like the Queen of England :))

      • PanArmenian.Net is really a pile of shit. Sorry. Great photos, but as a news source it discredited itself, um, pretty much as soon as it started. Totally appalling headline and totally manipulative and exploitive copy.

        Meanwhile, I say again. I applaud HHSH for making this move, as I do Musavat and the Republican Party. Of course, not expecting it will lead to anything, but such moves are natural in a normal country.

        Perhaps PanArmenian.Net simply doesn’t want any of the three South Caucasus countries to be normal. Anyway, the new should have been treated in a neutral fashion, perhaps rounding up multiple views and opinions from citizens and analysts.

        Instead of letting the reader make up their own mind, PanArmenian.Net is telling people what to think and communicating in such a way that prevents anyone from thinking and forming their own opinion. Really, steer clear of the site.

        It’s one of the worst.

  6. Firstly, arguing that a media outlet is biased and slanted because others are is no argument or excuse at all. And you should know that.

    A correct response would be more like, “Yes, it is atrocious, and that goes for media outlets on the other side too.”

    Justifying the situation re. bad journalism in this way is ludicrous and you should know better.

    Meanwhile, PanArmenian.Net is also responsible for pumping out misinformation that serves to perpetuate rather than understand conflict.

    A classic case in point is when it leapt immediately into a story early last year about pogroms against Jews in Sumgait.

    It didn’t check facts, and didn’t even care. It’s mission is to keep the hatred flowing. It also inadequately dealt with the issue when the story was found to be bogus.

    Please, by all means criticize, but not in such a way as to excuse PanArmenian.Net. I mean, really…

    One supposes you have your counterpart in Azerbaijan who justifies sloppy, opinionated journalism there by saying it’s in response to PanArmenian.Net…

  7. is as good/bad as most of the sites carrying similar mission

    BTW: What is it’s mission? To pulish news or misinformation and propaganda?

    If the latter, and it is in practice anyway, do what I do. Stop reading it. :)

  8. Shit hits the fan, while I was enjoying my week-end.
    As far as I understand, people commenting my post spared their arguments on topic, and have begun to discuss PanARMENIAN.Net.
    “Good job!” I have to say to myself.

    So let me clarify some points, listed in comments above.
    1. PanARMENIAN.Net covered the story in post receives a lot of press-releases, and uses information spread in them citing the source. While the source is credited clearly, I still do not understand whats the issue here?
    2. PanARMENIAN.Net cannot want something. Mostly because it is an organisation, and, as my humble English knowledge hints me, organisation cannot want something. A person, of course, can.
    3. While you are guessing what is the aim of PanARMENIAN.Net I am inviting you to read About us section ( where you can find the following: “Launched on April 2, 2000, PanARMENIAN Network’s primary aims are the establishment of a pan-Armenian common information field and adequate presentation of Armenia to the world community through information and communication technologies”. JFYI, guys, there’s nothing in the aims of PanARMENIAN.Net about the satisfaction of delicate taste of Onnik Krikoryan, as well as others.
    4. We, in PanARMENIAN.Net, consider decision of using (and of course not using) our site with full respect. While we welcome comments and criticism from our readers, I humbly ask them (including you Onnik) not to use profanity, if they (of course, including you Onnik ;) ) want to be heard.

    And the last,
    I have a tumbler with Peated Single Malt Connemara next to my netbook, and want to say “Cheers” to everybody!

  9. the words and sound combinations panarm, panarmenian, are put on moderation, because further discussion of panarmenian will be considered by me off topic and unnecessary diversion of interest from prime issue we are discussing here.

  10. I don’t want to turn this into a whole new discussion topic/discussion about the ARF as I’m actually quite tired of discussing them, but I do want to add at least one other historical document to the fray, since Uzogh brought up the ARF several times. Lets take a look at HOW the ARF got into trouble in Armenia:

    The following is an excerpt from a letter written by Serge Sargsyan in 1995, reprinted (i think several times) by HZH – I posted a summarized translation a while back – I’ve put it below:

    ՀՅԴ բարձրագույն մարմին-բյուրոյի որոշմամբ Հայաստանի տարածքում ստեղծվել է այսպես կոչված «ԴՐՈ» տնտեսական հետախուզական կառույց: Այն ստեղծվել է քաղաքական կուսակցության ընդերքում եւ նպատակ է հետապնդել առաջին հերթին կուսակցության տրամադրության տակ ունենալ հետախուզական մի բազմաճյուղ ցանց, որի յուրաքանչյուր անդամ պատրաստվել է օգտագործվելու անլեգալ պայմաններում, հակաօրինական գործողություններ իրականացնելու համար:

    Այն հրահանգները, որոնցով ղեկավարվել է յուրաքանչյուր անդամ, իր մեջ ամփոփում է օպերատիվ աշխատանքի կանոնները, որոնք չունեն նախկին ԽՍՀՄ-ի տարածքում գործող անվտանգության օրգանները: Առանց տատանվելու կարելի է հանգել մի եզրակացության, որ «ԴՐՈ»-ի ստեղծման գաղափարները ծնվել են արտասահմանում, հնարավոր է որեւէ արտասահմանյան երկրի հատուկ ծառայության ընդերքում կամ այն մարդկանց կողմից, որոնք երկար տարիներ ապրել են արտասահմանում եւ կապ են ունեցել հատուկ ծառայությունների հետ:

    «ԴՐՈ» կառույցի անդամները աշխատել են հետեւյալ ուղղություններով.

    – տեղեկատվության ձեռքբերումով ռազմական, քաղաքական եւ տնտեսական ոլորտներում;

    – գործունեություն տնտեսական ոլորտում, օրինական եւ ոչ օրինական ճանապարհներով;

    – սպանություններ, ահաբեկչություն` քաղաքական նպատակներով;

    – թմրանյութերի անօրինական միջազգային շրջանառություն, մաքսանենգություն:

    Վերոհիշյալ ուղղություններից վերջինը պատճառ հանդիսացավ «ԴՐՈ» կառույցի բացահայտմանը: Այսպես, 1992թ. Լիբանանի մի քանի քաղաքացիներ, լինելով դաշնակցության կուսակցության ակտիվ անդամներ, պաշտոնապես դիմել են Հայաստանի Հանրապետության համապատասխան պետական կառույցներին` խնդրելով տալ իրենց իրավունք մշտական բնակություն հաստատելու Հայաստանում: Ստանալով այն, նրանք ստեղծել են գաղտնի օղակ` Հայաստանի մի շարք քաղաքացիների մասնակցությամբ, որոնցից յուրաքանչյուրն անցնելով համապատասխան «դասընթացներ», պատրաստվել է հատուկ ծառայությանը բնորոշ աշխատանք կատարելու համար: Նպատակ ունենալով Հայաստանում ծավալելու օրինական եւ ոչ օրինական տնտեսական գործունեություն, իր առջեւ խնդիր դնելով ստանալ շահույթ, որը պետք է օգտագործվեր ոչ միայն խմբի անդամների անձնական կարիքների համար, այլեւ սներ դաշնակցության կուսակցության լեգալ եւ անլեգալ կառույցները, Հայաստանի Հանրապետության քաղաքացիներից նրանք ստեղծել են մի խումբ, զինել նրանց եւ չեն խորշել ստանալ շահույթ հանցավոր ճանապարհներով:

    Մասնավորապես, 1994թ. աշնանը, նրանք բեյրութաբնակ անձանց միջոցով կազմակերպել են մոտ 5 կիլոգրամ հերոյինի առաքումը Երեւան մաքսանենգ ճանապարհով` այն թաքցնելով տարբեր իրերի թաքստոցներում: Այնուհետեւ Երեւանից Մոսկվա են տեղափոխել 2,5 կիլոգրամ հերոյինը եւ գնորդներ գտնելու եւ վաճառելու ընթացքում ձերբակալվել են Ռուսաստանի Դաշնության անվտանգության ֆեդերալ ծառայության աշխատակիցների կողմից: Տեղում հետաքննության ժամանակ պարզվել է, որ Երեւանում հատուկ նպատակների համար ձեռք բերված բնակարանում գտնվում է հերոյինի 2-րդ մասը, որը ձեռնարկված միջոցառումների շնորհիվ առգրավվել է: Միաժամանակ խուզարկությունների ընթացքում հայտնաբերվել եւ առգրավվել է մեծ քանակությամբ զենք, զինամթերք եւ պայթուցիկ նյութեր»:

    Փաստաթղթի տակ դրված է ԱԱ նախարար Սերժ Սարգսյանի ստորագրությունը:

    By the decision of the highest body of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation—the Buro—there has been established throughout the expanse of Armenia a so-called “Dro” economic intelligence structure. This structure has been established in secrecy at the bowels of the political organization and its primary aim has been to have at the disposal of the party a multi-branched intelligence network each member of which has been trained to be used under illegal circumstances to effectuate unlawful operations.

    The members of “Dro” have worked in the following directions:

    -The gathering of information in the military, political, and economic spheres
    -Economic activities, both legal and illegal
    -Assassinations; terrorism, with political motivations
    -Illegal international drug trafficking; smuggling …

    …Having as its goal the development of both legal and illegal economic activities, with the aim of producing short term profits, which was to be used not only to cover the personal needs of these members but also to supply funds to both the legal and illegal structures of the Dashnaktsutyun, they have also created a special team, armed them and have not shied away from securing profits through illegal operations.

    Specifically, in the fall of 1994 they organized the smuggling of about five kilograms of heroin to Yerevan by residents of Beirut, by hiding the drug in a variety of articles. Subsequently, they moved two and one half kilograms of the heroin to Moscow and were arrested by agents of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation when attempting to find buyers for the heroin and to sell it. During the interrogation in Moscow it became clear that the balance of the heroin was stashed in an apartment in Yerevan rented for that particular purpose. That portion of the heroin was seized in Yerevan following a special operation. The search of the apartment also led to the discovery of large amounts of arms, ammunition and explosive materials which were also seized.

    The document is signed by Serge Sargsyan.

    See HZH, Feb 13 2008 for the Armenian, and for my old post.

    • Dear Tzitzernak,
      To get unbiased information on DRO case you have to follow independent sources. Keeping in mind HZh’s connection to ANC and HHSh, it cannot be considered as unbiased and independent source.

      Here’s a small part from an extensive and very detailed report, published by Amnesty International, and available online (
      This document draws really dramatic picture of today’s wanna-be-liberals’ activities and human rights violations in mid and late 1990s.

      The Dro case
      In the so-called Dro case (known officially as case No. 62200395), 11 men from a larger number originally arrested stood trial on charges ranging from withholding information to murder. They were accused of membership in a clandestine terrorist group known as Dro within a major opposition party known as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF or Dashnak Party). In a televised address on 28 December 1994 President Levon Ter-Petrosyan cited the alleged existence of such a group within the ARF as the reason for ordering the suspension of that party.(25) The case assumed major political dimensions, with many supporters of those detained claiming that much evidence of an alleged terrorist group had been fabricated in order to facilitate the removal of the ARF from the political arena (its suspension precluded the ARF from contesting as a party the elections for parliament in 1995 and president in 1996). The trial began in July 1995, and concluded over a year later on 10 December 1996 when three defendants were sentenced to death and the rest to terms of imprisonment of from three to 15 years.

  11. Uzogh-
    First -the segment you posted does not side one way or the other. Rather, it carefully uses terms such as ‘alleged’ and ‘claiming’ to avoid a clear stance. I must admit, I have not yet read your entire link, and perhaps there is something of more substance there.
    Second- I cannot think of a single country in the world that would allow a political party with headquarters outside of its own borders to be registered as a political party within them. That is, imagine if Germany had a political party based in Turkey, Belize or Israel… or if Russia had a political party based in the US or Japan… Or if the US had a registered political party based in the UK? – wasn’t that (more or less) why there was a revolution in the US – because lives in the colonies were being dictated and controlled by politics and decision-makers in Great Britain?
    At that time, the ARF was based OUTSIDE of Armenia – a reality which cannot be accepted by a truly independent state.
    And with regards to the document – I would like to see Sargsyan deny that he indeed wrote that document.

    • 1. I hope, this passage will give you a lot of food for thought “The case assumed major political dimensions, with many supporters of those detained claiming that much evidence of an alleged terrorist group had been fabricated in order to facilitate the removal of the ARF from the political arena (its suspension precluded the ARF from contesting as a party the elections for parliament in 1995 and president in 1996).”
      2. And it is the way HHSh liberals (and of course their supporters) understand the democracy, Ma’m!
      If something does not fit in their heads, then political parties must be closed, newspapers must be vandalized and shut down, criminal cases must be fabricated, detainees must die before the trials and tortures and ill-treatment must be used. I applause for your honest stance and acknowledgements!
      3. I’m not that Sargsyan, that you are trying to get answers from. So address your complains to the right address.

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