Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Armenian News... A Topalian...Pembrokeshire - Press Release:St Davids Cathedral

Wales was the first Nation to recognise the Armenian Genocide of 1915 by the Young Turk Organisation!

A statement issued by the Toronto Armenian community

The Armenian Community Centre of Toronto issued a statement saying it and “all of its constituent organisations are deeply saddened and disturbed by the senseless deaths and injuries”. It is unclear at this time if the suspect was associated with the organisation. 

Press Release from the Armenian community in Wales
24th April - Tuesday - Pembrokeshire - St Davids Cathedral 

It was, therefore, a true privilege for the Welsh Armenians to be present to hear the unique liturgy written by Canon Patrick Thomas and Srpazan Vahan Hovhanessian for the Church In Wales Recognition of the 24th April as Armenian Genocide day.

We have much to thank Canon Patrick for not only organising this event in the Mother Church of Wales but that on 24th April 2019 he has arranged for the Armenian FLAG to be flown on St Davids Cathedral

The Church in Wales recognition of the 24th April as Armenian Genocide Day (again thanks to Canon Patrick) has far-reaching implications for future genocide recognition events which should not be underestimated.

18 year old Diana Adamyan from Armenia has been awarded 1st prize in the senior division of the 2018 prestigious Menuhin Competition
April 21, 2018
18 year old Diana Adamyan from Armenia has just minutes ago been awarded 1st prize in the senior division of the 2018 Menuhin Competition – in Geneva, Switzerland.

2nd prize was awarded to 20 year old Nathan Mierdl from France/Germany.

3rd and 4th prizes were awarded to 20 year old HyunJae Lim from South Korea and 17 year old Tianyou Ma from China.

Listen to her performance in the final by clicking on

A student of Professor Tadevosyan at the Yerevan Conservatory, Diana is a former prize winner at the Russian Nutcracker TV Competition and the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians.

This year’s senior division Arte Concert online voting prize was awarded to Nathan Mierdl.

This year’s senior division audience prize was awarded to Diana Adamyan., Armenia
April 24 2018
France President on Armenian Genocide: We will never forget 

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday issued a message to President Armen Sarkissian of Armenia, on the 103rd anniversary of Armenian Genocide.

“We remember, at your side, April 24, 1915 in Constantinople and 600 Armenian intellectuals’ slaughter, which attests to the beginning of the first genocide of the 20th century,” the message reads, in particular. “We will never forget those killed men, the women and children who found their end on the roads of exile—from starvation, cold, and exhaustion.

“Back on May 25, 1915, France, together with Great Britain and Russia, had described these massacres as a crime against humanity and civilization.

“The recollection of genocide and the meaning of its lessons refer to each and every one of us.”

April 24 2018 14:57:00
Turkey has ‘responsibility’ to share Armenian pain over 1915: Erdoğan

Turkey has a responsibility to share the pain of Armenian citizens over the “1915 events,” according to a statement signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and read at an Armenian memorial held in Istanbul on April 24. 

“It is Turkey’s conscientious and ethical responsibility to share the historical pain of our Armenian citizens,” read the statement at the Istanbul Armenian Church on the 103rd anniversary of the mass killing of Ottoman Armenians during World War I.

“We will continue to share your pain and try to resolve your problems in the future,” added the statement, which was read out both in Armenian and Turkish.

Extending his condolences to the Armenian community, Erdoğan also expressed “condolences to the Turkish nation over loss of lives of millions of Ottoman citizens due to wars, migrations, conflicts and diseases during the same period.”

The statement also called on the Armenian community to not allow those “who are trying to ignite hatred and hostility by distorting [our] shared past.”

The Turkish president has issued a statement on the issue on April 24 every year since 2014. The 2014 message came as a surprise at the time, with Erdoğan lamenting “shared pain” over the killings, which he described as “inhumane.”

‘1915 debate’

In contrast with the stance of Armenia, its diaspora and numerous other countries, Ankara does not recognize the 1915 killings as "genocide," emphasizing that there were casualties “on both sides.”

Turkey’s official position has long stated that there was no organized campaign to wipe out Armenians and no evidence of any such orders from the Ottoman authorities in the historical records., Armenia
April 24 2018
Istanbul governorship bans holding of Armenian Genocide remembrance event 

The Governorship of Istanbul, Turkey, has prohibited an Armenian Genocide commemoration event.
The Human Rights Association Istanbul Branch had planned to carry out an event devoted to the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, at Sultanahmet Square, on Tuesday at noon, according to Evrensel newspaper of Turkey.
 But learning that the term “genocide” will be used during the event, the Governorship representatives prohibited to carry it out and suggested doing it without using that word.
Its organizers, however, refused to hold this event without the term “genocide,” and decided to put off this public assembly until 1։30pm and hold it at Taksim Square, instead.
They noted that there will be figures from France at Taksim Square, and therefore Turkish authorities will avoid interference.

April 25 2018
Turkey rejects Trump interpretation of Armenian genocide

The Turkish foreign ministry has issued a rebuttal of U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement on the Armenian genocide.

“We reject the inaccurate expressions and the subjective interpretation of history in the written statement by Mr. Donald Trump, President of the USA, released on 24 April 2018 regarding the events of 1915,” it said.

“In this context, we remind President Trump that during the same period more than 500.000 Muslims were slaughtered as a result of the events in which Armenian insurgents took part.”

It said that Turkey was offering to establish a Joint Historical Commission to research the historical period, which Turkey does not recognise as a genocide.

“Besides all these points, we think it is in line with common sense that the statement made by the US President remained within international legal norms and did not refer to baseless genocide allegations,” the statement concluded.

Open Democracy
April 25 2018
Armenia’s “permanent revolution”: why do the protests continue in Yerevan? 
Mikayel Zolyan 

With the resignation of Armenia’s prime minister, it looks as if Armenia is line for radical change. But the Armenia’s entrenched network of power is not giving up so easily.

On the evening of 23 April, Armenia celebrated the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan, the man who had ruled Armenia for ten years as president — and for a week as prime-minister. Strangers hugged and congratulated one another, cars honked their horns, and shops ran out of champagne. Everybody celebrated in their own way: some put tables in the streets and marked the occasion traditionally, with vodka and a barbecue, while others danced to Berlin-style techno music in bars. Still, the happiness seemed universal.

Today, on 25 April, the protesters are back on the streets. As one of the protesters said to Radio Liberty correspondent on the station’s live feed: “We have overthrown the tsar, now we need to overthrow tsarism.” 

Formally, the protests have a new target — acting prime-minister Karen Karapetyan, who represents the (still) ruling Republican Party, which at least at the time of writing, possessed the majority in Armenia’s parliament.
Apparently, the Republicans are hoping to form a government and secure power for the transition period before a snap election is held. This is understandable, since it was mostly administrative resource and election bribes that allowed Republicans to secure a majority in the 2017 parliamentary election. If RPA lose access to government, their electoral result will be significantly lower. The Republican Party has in recent years become a kind of a trade union of bureaucrats and businessmen, whose only reason to be in the party was access to government resources. Losing power may result in RPA’s fragmentation and demise. Even though the party sacrificed Serzh Sargsyan, the Republicans are extremely reluctant to let go of their hold on power.

None of this seemed even remotely possible even a month ago. The success of the protest movement has been a surprise not only to analysts, but even its leaders
However, it is unlikely that Armenia’s opposition, led by charismatic former journalist Nikol Pashinyan, will stop halfway. Pashinyan’s supporters are demanding to the formation of a provisional government under the leadership of a “people’s candidate” (it is obvious that they mean Pashinyan). They argue that only a provisional government is able to ensure that the elections are free and fair and the will of the people is respected. Pashinyan is increasingly acting like the future head of Armenia’s executive branch.

On the evening of 24 April, he held a press conference that was attended by international press, met with ambassadors, and is making statements on both internal and foreign policy. Thus, in the press conference Pashinyan was careful to stress that the movement he represents was focused only on internal affairs, and that if he came to power there would be no major changes in Armenia’s foreign policy, whether in relations with Russia, EU or USA. Several political forces have already declared their support for Pashinyan, including those that used to play role of the “systemic opposition”. Even if a small number of Republican members of parliament defect to Pashinyan, he will have enough votes to form the government. The Republican Party will be able to withstand this pressure and keep its hold on power for some time, but it is obvious that the political system so carefully constructed by Sargsyan will not outlive its creator for long. The protesters have already reframed their main slogan from “Reject Serzh” to “Reject HHK” (HHK is the name of the Republican Party in Armenian).

None of this seemed even remotely possible even a month ago. The success of the protest movement has been a surprise not only to analysts, but even its leaders. Arguably, when the protests were starting, the most the protest leaders could have hoped for was to unify the opposition and complicated the transition to parliamentary republic, thus harming the legitimacy of Serzh Sargsyan. But as often happens in authoritarian regimes, when the protests passed a certain threshold, the government was no longer able to stop them.

One of the reasons why these protests have been so successful lies in the broad coalition that Pashinyan and his team have been able to build. Apparently, Sargsyan and his plans to remain in power indefinitely were so unpopular with the majority of Armenians that the protests united people across the political spectrum — people from different social classes and with different lifestyles. On the days of the protests, one could see bearded hipsters and “rabiz” guys in tracksuits (the Armenian version of “gopnik” subculture), “glamorous chicks” and short-haired feminists, people on old Volkswagens and people in Mercedes jeeps, all taking part in the same protest actions. At the same time, the most active force of the protests were the youth, university and even high school students.

“We have overthrown the tsar, now we need to overthrow tsarism”
In addition, this was also probably the most gender-balanced protest in Armenia so far. While usually protests in Armenia are dominated by angry young men (or depressed old men), this time it was different: there were almost as many women on the streets as men, and at certain points the women even outnumbered men (especially given that men were more likely to be detained or beaten up by the police). The protesters were creative and technically savvy and at the same time less prone to violence than had been the case in the previous protests, which meant that for the police it was more difficult to justify the violent repression.

The protests have also been decentralised: Pashinyan and other protest leaders acted as initiators and coordinators of the protests, but unlike the previous protests the opposition did not have a clear hierarchical structure. That is why, when on 22 April Nikol Pashinyan and other leaders were arrested, the arrest had the opposite effect of what was intended. The government most likely hoped that the arrest of Pashinyan would have on the movement the same effect that detention of Levon Ter-Petrosyan during the March 2008 protests that accompanied Sargsyan’s rise to power. According to this scenario, after the protest leader’s arrest, protests would lose leadership and slide into chaos and violence, justifying state repression.

However, things played out very differently this time. After some initial shock, supporters of the movement started going out to the streets. Improvised protests started all over Armenia. In the evening ,the largest rally throughout the protest took place in Yerevan’s Republic Square. It was probably then that the ruling elite realised that things were over. It was obvious that only repression on a massive scale could stop the protests at that point, but Sargsyan had neither the international, nor internal support for such a move. And so, on 23 April, Sargsyan issued a statement that contained words that immediately became legendary: “Pashinyan was right, I was wrong.”

Whether Karen Karapetyan will make a similar statement to Sargsyan is up to the people on Armenia's streets — and more specifically, their numbers.

The Washington Post
April 24, 2018 Tuesday
A blow to the Putin model

SERZH SARGSYAN, who ruled Armenia as president from 2008 until this month, was a faithful client of Vladimir Putin. In 2013, after meeting with the Russian president, he abruptly dropped negotiations with the European Union and instead joined Moscow-led economic and security organizations. During a visit to Washington a couple of years later,he frankly told us that his small Caucasian country of roughly 3 million people had little choice, since Armenians working in Russia supplied one-fifth of the country's gross domestic product and Russian companies monopolized its energy supplies. "Armenian cognac can't really be sold in Paris," he explained.

Mr. Sargsyan underestimated his own citizens, however, when he attempted to emulate a classic Putin maneuver. Limited by the constitution to two terms as president, he pushed through a constitutional amendment transferring most executive powers to the prime minister, and then - having denied for years that he would do so - had the parliament name him to that post. The result was 11 days of mounting mass demonstrations that, on Monday, prompted Mr. Sargsyan to give up the position. "I was wrong," he said in a statement.

It's not clear whether Mr. Sargsyan's departure will prompt a genuine change in Armenia's government or its servile stance toward the Kremlin. Thanks to manipulated elections, the ruling party has a
commanding majority in parliament, while the leader of last week's protests, veteran dissident Nikol Pashinyan, controls just nine of 105 seats. The popular revolt nevertheless is a blow to the authoritarian political model promoted by Mr. Putin, which has spread not only to other former Soviet Bloc states in Russia's orbit but also to Turkey, where ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hoping to complete the transition from prime minister to all-powerful president in June.

No doubt Mr. Putin will misunderstand the rebuff. Consumed by cynicism, the Russian ruler and his clique are incapable of accepting that spontaneous political uprisings by outraged publics are possible. They assume that they must be, like Russia's own interventions in
Western democratic elections, the result of state-directed conspiracies. Mr. Putin blamed the CIA and other intelligence agencies for the revolts that overturned pro-Moscow governments in Ukraine and
Georgia, and when thousands of Russians protested election fraud and his own shuttle from prime minister to president in 2012, he held Hillary Clinton personally responsible.

In truth, it's safe to say that the Trump administration had nothing to do with events in Armenia. The only U.S. response to the demonstrations was a weak statement from the embassy in Yerevan asking the government for "restraint" while calling on the protesters to "prevent an escalation of tensions." What drove Armenians to the
streets was not foreign provocations but the fact that Mr. Sargsyan's bet on Russia failed to deliver. During his decade in office, the economy stagnated. About 10 percent of the population abandoned the country, while 30 percent of those who remained fall below the official poverty line.

Mr. Putin can be expected to squeeze whoever succeeds Mr. Sargsyan as prime minister; in addition to its economic levers, Russia maintains a military base in the country. That, however, won't improve the lives of Armenians. More likely it will increase their resistance to the thuggish, corruption-ridden and economically failed model that is Putinism.

[this article appeared before the PN's resignation, nevertheless it contains interesting insights into the thinking of the interviewees]

The 9 opinions included are by a myriad of individuals from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds

While Repat Armenia Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization which remains impartial and objective, those who deem themselves repatriates do have personal opinions on all that is occuring in the country right now. We have gathered a few subjective thoughts to help our readers get a better understanding of the mindset and emotional state of those living in Armenia. The 9 opinions included are by a myriad of individuals from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds. They include repatriates from Canada, the US, the UAE, Russia, Syria, and Lebanon.     

Sara Anjargolian - CEO and Co-founder of Impact Hub Yerevan

I repatriated from the United States in 2012. This movement is an incredible opportunity for those of us living in Armenia to be part of a fundamental shift in socio-political culture. Shifting culture has been one of the most difficult undertakings here in Armenia. Yes we can build roads and schools with bricks and mortar and money, but shifting mentality and culture is like wading through mud. It is a slow, deliberate process. And that is exactly what we are seeing here.

No matter what happens in the end, and regardless of which political leaders you may or may not support, what is happening on the streets of Yerevan, and in pockets across the country today, is a classic example of a maturing culture of civil disobedience for social change ... a culture of "owning" your country ... and of believing in your singular ability to build a better future in Armenia. It is no different and just as powerful as what happened in the United States with Martin Luther King Jr. or with Gandhi in India. Yes, this may be much smaller in terms of numbers, but the inherent message, and the underlying purpose is exactly the same. 

Namely, that the residents of Armenia have a fundamental right to express their discontent with those who govern them though methods of nonviolent resistance. It is an education we read about in history books but seldom get to experience during our lives. What an incredible opportunity for those of us living in Armenia at this point in time.

Hagop Kazanjian - Web Developer
I repatriated from Syria in 2006. I think the protests were to be expected due to the situation of the country. What is pleasantly surprising is the level of organization and peacefulness, which has been recognized by the authorities. I am not a specialist in such matters and cannot suggest the best solution, but as a citizen, the solution for me starts with the departure of the corrupt authorities from power, followed by - the more important step - going through real democratic processes to elect new authorities for Armenia. The role any repatriated individual has in this process cannot be expected to be more or less than that of any other citizen of Armenia. However, repats in general, as people coming from different locations, backgrounds and walks of life, can bring some diverse approaches to the political equation, as they have already been doing in the social and economic sectors.

I have been supporting these protests from the beginning, because, since day one, the organizers have been offering a new approach, and as I mentioned above, an incredible level of organization and self control. I also participate because of my belief that Armenia and Armenians deserve better. Although I'm trying not to keep my hopes high, I still expect a daily increase in numbers of citizens who are aware, who will continue to break the stereotypes of fear and indifference and will start to speak up for their rights, not just during the protests, but every time those rights are violated.

Aren Apikyan - Business Consultant 
I repatriated from Russia in 2009. I find it very encouraging that the population can come out and protest, defending their rights and fighting against the president’s third rule. I simply hope that this does not lead to worse circumstances and actions taken by the government. I wish it would have a peaceful conclusion, but I do not yet see a path to this nor a clear direction to take. Nikol Pashinyan and his followers have yet to provide a roadmap of steps to follow, while that is what the people are clamoring for most. It is too early to say that this is a zartonk or enlightenment of any type; I do not like to title things before it becomes clear. But as a movement, we shall soon see what it really is. 

Raffi Elliott - Founder,
I repatriated from Canada to Armenia in 2011. I have since started two businesses here, gotten married, and welcomed a daughter into this world. I have been closely following, and engaged in Armenia’s civic, cultural and political life since I moved here, as  all repats should do.

I served as an election observer during the controversial 2015 constitutional reform referendum, in the village of Hakhtanak, where the number of organised election violations by the ruling party convinced me that this vote didn’t reflect the will of the people. As I was the only observer in the entire village, and due to my physical intervention, my polling station was the only one where the “no” vote passed. It was clear that the Republican Party was determined to push through the necessary legislative changes to further secure its grip on power all the while maintaining the veneer of constitutional legality and electoral legitimacy. 

The government was mistaken in its conviction that apathy and despair would make this a smooth transition. The Independence Generation has awoken, and is determined to defend its democratic values, and individual rights against such a shameless ploy by an unpopular government  to continue its legacy of inept rule past its 10- year limit. For this reason, as a repat who has chosen to live in my ancestral home and to raise a family here, I feel it is my duty to stand with those who defend the revival of the spirit of the Armenian people. I encourage other repats, and Armenians in the diaspora to join us in securing democratic maturation, strengthening of individual and property rights, and developing free markets to ensure prosperity in our homeland. 

George Tabakyan - Executive Director of Arar Foundation
I repatriated from the United Arab Emirates in 2011. While we are living through difficult times for Armenia, there is so much more than that. From one side, I was expecting the changes which started after April 2016 to result in a new Prime Minister; but that didn’t happen. On the other hand, many of us are convinced that hitting the streets is not the solution, knowing what has happened in Ukraine, Syria, Georgia, and other such countries. While I hold the utmost respect for all those young men and women who have been protesting for the last week or so, I only hope that this won’t have a bloody ending.

Raffi Niziblian - Creative Director/Communications Expert
Born in Jordan, lived in Kuwait and then Montreal, and finally moved to Armenia in 2003, I have seen so many different types of societies. The most recent and closest to my heart is the transformation of the Armenian society – going from socialist-soviet to democratic. Over the past decade, following the 1999 shootings in the Parliament, so many civic actions have taken place. It doesn’t matter if I do or don’t agree with these or who is leading them, it is more important to understand that as part of the democratic process, citizens must be allowed to voice their concern and understand that the elected civil servant works for them. Citizens have the right and responsibility to hold them accountable. In the case of this movement, it was interesting to see so many younger protesters asking for a better future. 

What is that future? It is unclear. Why? Because the current government has created a political vacuum where they have eliminated any opposition, from buying them, to discrediting them, to blackmailing them and even threatening them. The oligarchic alliances and gains are far greater than any political will. What is clear to me from this demonstration is that a great majority, especially the younger generation is not content with the status quo. 

Where do repats come in? Repatriation is a political process where each of us made a conscious choice to build a new home in Armenia. We may not agree on many things; in a healthy society, we shouldn’t. However, we should not disrespect opposing opinions. What should happen is a creative discussion that may lead to clever and feasible solutions. We all come from different societal constructs. We each bring our baggage. There is good in that baggage that can be combined and used for the benefit of this society – the new one we are building alongside our fellow Armenian citizens.

Mher Almasian - Structural Engineer 
I repatriated to Armenia from the US in 2016. Serzh Sargsyan's decision to stay on as Prime Minister, and the protests that have ensued, are extremely unfortunate. This is because they create further distrust, division, and disillusionment in society. Furthermore, they make the public more oblivious to the progress that Armenia has made in recent years. That progress includes the fact that the entire upper echelon of the Armenian government has gradually changed, and that significant advancement has been made in key measures and programs. 

Individually,  Deputy Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, President Armen Sargsyan, President of National Assembly Ara Babloyan, Vice President of National Assembly Arpine Hovannisyan, SRC Chairman Vardan Harutyunyan, Transportation, Communication, and Technology Minister Vahe Martirosyan, and every other leader of the government are highly respected individuals. They are considered very competent and respectable technocrats and professionals. They are a result of Serzh Sargsyan's gradual and strategic removal of ultra powerful corrupt individuals over the years.

Moreover, key statistics, like tax collection per GDP and exports per GDP, have risen significantly in recent years. Furthermore, significant progress has been made in the last two years in strategic projects and developments that will the lay the foundation for future growth.

However, much of the general public, which understands or cares very little about the details of politics and economics, remains oblivious to them, in no small due to the massive distrust that exist in society.  The 2008 and 2015 recessions have made feeling those results even harder. And with Serzh Sargsyan staying on, that phenomenon will only become more amplified.

I personally do not support Serzh Sargsyan’s decision to stay. If he is simply staying on to further remove corrupt individuals from power, and to mentor Karen Karapetyan or Vigen Sargsyan in foreign policy, as he claims, I can at least see the reasoning in his argument. However, that does not seem to be his main concern. He seems to fully intent on staying for a full term. I also do not support the fact that the general public received very limited consultation in his decision to stay on.  Serzh Sargsyan enjoys around ten percent popular support in Armenia, and him staying in power creates more disillusionment and apathy in Armenia. This in turn decreases trust in the political and judicial institutions, and encourages emigration, as well as participation in radical political action. 

However, I also do not support the protests that are taking place against him because of its leaders and their objectives. The protests taking place against Serzh Sargsyan are led by unsavory figures. They are largely leaders of political media and political watchdogs organizations funded by western governments and organizations. These individuals in their regular occupation, criticize the Armenian government, and create apathy and disillusionment in the general public, while claiming to be impartial in the process. However, the same individuals, are very much active figures in the political process. 

Furthermore, I do not support the protests because their goal is not the stepping down of Serzh Sargsyan, or even being granted partial rule in the form of two or three key ministries. Their goal is complete government overthrow. And there are endless examples throughout history as to why this is ill advised if your primary concern is national welfare. The average person in Ukraine today earns half of what they earned four years ago before the Ukrainian revolution. The Ukrainian currency is worth less than one third of what it was worth before the revolution. And Ukraine has lost land roughly equalling the size of the Republic of Armenia. 

The correct path forward would be working towards the 2022 election. For those who don't support the ruling party, their path forward should be organizing and fundraising for Yelq, the main opposition party, for the next elections.

While the methods in Armenia are more crude, essentially like everywhere else, elections in Armenia are decided by money. Yelq itself believed it would have required only one million dollars to have been very competitive in the most recent elections. That is not a figure that should be difficult to attain. Only working through the political system does lasting and institutional political change occur. And while revolutions might be easy and exciting, they almost always make things much worse.

Annie Akkam - Student at YSLU
I repatriated from UAE to Armenia in 2008. Ever since I moved to Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan has been the president. What has he done besides corruption? What has he done besides taking advantage of his power? What has the republican party done besides brainwashing university students to take part in their events to support them? 

As a student of Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences, I have seen how the student council blindly supports the corrupt political party. Only a few days ago, one of our professors was being scolded at our university for bringing political ideas into the school. Extremely ironic, I'd say. Our student council is programmed to worship the republicans, vote for them, post pictures online praising their actions. When a member of the opposition enters the university, all of a sudden, it's a politics-free space. 

People have a lot to say about Nikol Pashinyan. Some don't agree with him, some think he himself is corrupt, and some think he's Serzh's puppet. Joining the protest led by him doesn't mean we want him as our PM or president, it means we all agree that Serzh's time is up. We are protesting for a cause. We are taking part in civil disobedience because we are done being citizens of a corrupt nation. We don't need Serzh, Serzh needs the people. The velvet revolution is not going to stop. Armenia needs change, and change starts now. 

Sergey Abelyan - Director of Iravaban24
I repatriated from Russia in 2016.Armenian citizens have freedom of speech and that voice needs to be heard well. I am convinced that this civil disobedience have a purpose and not simply to misbehave but that change the way the wealth and social assistance is distributed. Aside from the name of the country or the party ruling it, what concerns the populace the most is being able to live a safe and average life, with enough food on the table. Safety should be looked at from all facets; a starving citizen poses  great risks. To speak about emigration is unnecessary, if of itself. I’m not a fan of the populist beliefs that the government should create workplaces. 

The government is not a businessman, it is a manager and coordinator. This means that it should ensure the people work in an environment that allows for a good standard of living. The measures should be taken to allow that citizen to create, the foreigner to invest, and existing businesses to expand. I do not speak only for businesses here, but for institutions in all fields, because we cannot see a sharp increase in any part of our socio-economic sector at the moment. I do not have the right to offer legal insight. All I can say in that respect that from the beginning of this civil disobedience, our company has put out notices stating we would provide free assistance to those who have need of it due to these protests. 

As time passes, we will see people blame one another for each step taken or not taken. If the velvet revolution doesn’t take place, there will be those who say that while they agreed in theory, certain steps taken were unnecessary. If it does, we will have a new reality. I will also add that there is a tradition to constantly change your workplace and career paths in certain countries, in order for both the individual and the post itself to be most effective. Stability also comes from a generational switch. Stagnation does not equate stability; on the contrary, it often leads to regression over time. 

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