‘I Woke up in a New Armenia Today’

An Interview with Lilit Galstian

Armenian Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian sat down in Yerevan today (Feb. 19) with political commentator, former parliamentarian, and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) member Lilit Galstian, to discuss the presidential election held yesterday. Excerpts.

Lilit Galstian (Photo by Khatchig Mouradian, The Armenian Weekly)

Armenian Weekly—Talk about your impressions from yesterday’s election.

Lilit Galstian—I woke up today in a new Armenia. I woke up full of hope that despite the stale political environment and fruitless political culture that engendered negative prognoses and pessimistic appraisals about the future of Armenia, we are today turning a new page in Armenia. If we look at the election result, with President Serge Sarkisian receiving 59 percent and Raffi Hovannisian 37 percent, and we take into account the enormous administrative resources that for objective and subjective reasons were employed in support of the incumbent, the support he received from the country’s oligarchs, and the distribution of election bribes, we are filled with hope for a new Armenia. Moreover, only 60 percent of the electorate went to the polls. This, in itself, is a statement, an indictment of the ruling elite.

For months, I have repeated that the prospect for a new Armenia was ripening, and that the political environment was untenable. Yesterday inspires hope that we have taken a significant step toward a new Armenia. Kudos to those who did believe that this was possible, because many didn’t and they did not take part in the election out of hopelessness and resignation. Hovannisian woke them up.

Of course, we have to be honest and acknowledge that when three leading political parties, Prosperous Armenia, the Armenian National Congress, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, decided to sit out the election, many among their supporters saw in Raffi the daring political figure running against all odds, and voted for him. I am therefore happy for Raffi, but first and foremost I am happy for Armenia.

A.W.—And when you say “new Armenia,” what do you envision?

L.G.—For me, a new Armenia is a democratic Armenia where the human being has worth, human rights are defended, there is a clearly defined national agenda. In the 22 years since independence, we have lived in an Armenia where rights are trampled upon, the criminal oligarchic elements have taken hold of power, and the central tenet of democracy, elections, has never served the purpose of shaping the branches of government.

We should love our country. I might not be talking right now in political terms and categories, but for me, it’s as simple as that: It is imperative to love the homeland, the state. The person who loves his country doesn’t bribe its citizens, doesn’t destroy its forests, and doesn’t disrespect its architecture and cultural heritage. I am talking about ethical categories, ones that have been alien to our political life over the past 22 years, but the right decisions are invariably the ethical ones.

We need a revolution in values. The commercialization being injected into society through its corrupt leadership is one where the child grows up not wanting to become a good scientist or a good writer, but to drive a Jeep, have bodyguards, eat out at fancy restaurants, and be above the law.

We are living in an environment now where one cannot remain silent. Silence is now synonymous to betrayal.

A.W.—Sarkisian still has the votes to stay in power…

L.G.—True, Sarkisian has won the elections if we look at the numbers, of course. But this is a broken victory. In his camp, it’s Zeitnot [time trouble]. And that’s because there still are citizens who, despite being in abject poverty, told the authorities, “To hell with your 5,000 dram [$12] election bribe.” In Armenia we now have a significant number of citizens who are willing and ready to fight for their rights. It is now up to the political forces to step up.

A.W.—How do you see that happening?

L.G.—The people have spoken. First, I assume the current leadership will think about reforms, if they want to maintain stability in the country.

Second, Raffi Hovannisian’s role will be crucial in the context of figuring out the best way to invest this capital. After all, Raffi himself underscored the fact that this was, first and foremost, the people’s victory. Will Raffi and the people launch a concerted effort to create a participatory democratic agenda that can be pursued relentlessly?

Third, the political forces that sat out during the election have to take on the challenge and revise their conduct. Only time will show how they will behave, but I doubt that they will not have the wisdom and judiciousness to take part in propagating this positive energy for the betterment of Armenia. The victory is Raffi’s, to be sure, but those political parties will have to invest in this movement in the name and for the sake of Armenia.

I personally wasn’t expecting this success. At best, I thought Raffi would receive around 12 percent of the vote. I am disappointed that my estimate was off! [Laughs] I am glad I was wrong! After all, we do not have the right to not believe in the future of Armenia.

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

Khatchig Mouradian is the Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist at the Library of Congress and a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. He also serves as Co-Principal Investigator of the project on Armenian Genocide Denial at the Global Institute for Advanced Studies, New York University. Mouradian is the author of The Resistance Network: The Armenian Genocide and Humanitarianism in Ottoman Syria, 1915-1918, published in 2021. The book has received the Syrian Studies Association “Honourable Mention 2021.” In 2020, Mouradian was awarded a Humanities War & Peace Initiative Grant from Columbia University. He is the co-editor of a forthcoming book on late-Ottoman history, and the editor of the peer-reviewed journal The Armenian Review.
Dr. Khatchig Mouradian

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  1. Is she describing the US? The UK? Oh, Armenia…another country run by bandits of rich. In the old days they had masks and said, “your money or your life”. Now they steal from the populace right in the open. Good luck to the new Armenia. It would be well on its way if there were more people like Lilit speaking out to make a difference.

  2. Very well said but unfortunately our current government officials will never relinquish power because power equals money unless something drastic is done. This was a very good show by them to show the world that elections were democratic and we had an actual contender this time. All well paid in theory but realty stays the same, they hold the power and the money in the country and this will not change in the near future unless people rise up against these greedy criminals. Arab world is rising up why can’t we do the same, situation has been ripe for this for some time. Armenia can be a thriving rich country with so much money that enters our tiny nation but yet most of it goes into the pockets for these criminals.

    • Alex: People rose in 1996 backing Vazgen Manoukian against LTP. People rose again in 2008 backing LTP or whoever against Serj Sarkissian. In both cases the people were ruthlessly silenced. And, sadly in both cases, the Diasporans haven’t supported the people’s uprisings against their oppressors. Now you call for the people to rise up again against greedy criminals? But, my friend, when they rise up, the Diaspora normally tends to support the current government. Is it not hypocritical?

  3. Arab countries’ revolutions are very bad examples. For God’s sake please talk about something else. Armenia needs social peace and stability first of all, and I believe in Armenian thoughtfulness, awareness and ability to go forward to right direction.

  4. When she says “we should love our country”… for whom is she addressing this hope?? Not to the diaspora I hope but to the fossilized crooks who are destroying our homeland. “New Armenia” with the old oligarchs??? I don’t think so!

  5. So she admits the results of elections, she admits the legitimacy of S. Sarkisyan. Everyone in Armenia (I see Ms. L. Galstyan in this count) knows, that the presented results of the elections were false and Sarkisyan’s real percent is extremely low. A leading member of a “Revolutionary” called party doesn’t care about the fact that the current autority of Armenia forcely continues to rule, using every method.
    Yes, the Armenian nation is wonderful, it was approved on these elections also and I’m more than ever proud to be Armenian.
    So, first of all I refer to the Armenian Revolutionary Party, as one of the oldest and whichs role is the hugest in the history of Armenia – this is very crusial moment for our nation. Now the people in Armenia hope and believe that can restore the justice, they are ready to stand for this, they choose the values of democracy rather than slavery. But I afraid this is the last time, if the opposition parties will not be faithful to their principtles. One more disappointment will lead to a new, more powerful wave of emigration, which can be fatal and very soon can raise the problem of national security.
    Don’t loose the chance to realize, I would say, your historical function – join your people, help them restore their violated rights…I think the only method is revolution.

  6. Thank you Mr. Mouradian for publishing this interview with Lilit Galstyan, She is a very lucid intellectual and a savvy, dedicated stateperson. It is unfortunate that her name was not put high enough on the Dashanktsoutyoun party list for last year”s elections.
    The type of inspiring vision she projects is what our Fatherland needs, and it gives me hope.

  7. Well said Lilit. But I want to ask Micheal, Isn’t the US or UK run by the rich Corporations. Armenia they are called Lefig Samo, Nemetz Rubo, or Dodi Gago, in the west we call them Coca Cola, Mc Donalds, BP, Shell, the financial institutions. I have lived in the west most of my life and in Armenia for the last 15 years. Armenia is not perfect and as far as the rest of the world is concerned, it’s not perfect too. Thank you Lilit for the hope that you inspire and I agree with you 100%.

    • Nigol,very well put.Diaspora expects 100% clarity,democracy & all that.Armenia with all its imperfections has done quite well in the 2 decades since independence.We should never forget the difficulties that we faced & are still facing.
      However,we should always congratulate our leadership for keeping a very strong army & supporting our brothers in Artsakh.

    • Nigol, keeping a strong army and supporting our brothers in Artsakh are not the only functions that a public-spirited government—if we ever are fortunate enough to have one—should do. Jobs for young and middle-age generations, pensions for elders that could provide for living, curbing emigration, civil society development, healthy economic competition not monopolization of the market by a few semiliterate thugs, proper education, dedication to matters of all-national concern, are also matters of a responsible government’s concern. If you direct your attention only at keeping a strong army disregarding other pressing social and economic needs, you’ll have emigration, poor education, and widespread social apathy, that is: a situation that exists on the ground now. There should be an all-inclusive approach to management and, of course, there should be more capable, more accountable, less corrupt, and more patriotic people to do the job. “I Woke up in a New Armenia Today” is an emotionally appreciated but nevertheless ourightly overstated statement.

  8. It is so sad to see what’s happening in Armenia. In 1915 we were mascaraed by the Turks, in 2013 our democracy is being mascaraed by bunch of selfish Armenian politicians.

  9. Regardless of the election results, regardless whether one takes them as the truth, the question remains how will this groundswell of popular sentiment for real change be harnessed and used. What do the traditional parties in Armenia, the other “opposition” forces that did not participate in the election now have to offer in the way of democratically engaging the 600,000 or so voters who did not cast a ballot for Serzh Sargsyan. The tried and failed top-down approach to actually changing the reality in Armenia must be discarded. There is the real potential to forge true people power in Armenia. Will Raffi and the other so-called opposition forces be up to the task. Are those 600,000 (more like 1,000,000, if you factor in the vote rigging that took place in favor of the incumbent) ready to unite and organize around every day issues that affect them on a personal level? Hopefully, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

  10. BTW the 600,000 or one million votes were not cast to Rafii, I am sure 70-80% was a “no to Serge” vote. Despite the fact that there were another 500,000 votes that were not cast was “Serge is going to rig the elections anyway”. I still agree with Lilit that we woke up to a new Armenia.

  11. In the absence of other alternatives and in view of the inaction of the main opposition forces, people aspiring for change saw in Raffi a possibility for casting a protest vote. I think Raffi can rightfully boast of victory or as he puts it, People’s victory. He is now way ahead of other opposition parties and has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. It looks now the political equations in Armenia are going to change and this in itself is very heartening.

  12. Arshag is right.The equations are beginning to set in…
    However,it is as yet to be seen if these will persist.Like some up above mention,it is MUNDIAL…i.e. worldly..few countries like Sweden,Norway and Denmark, Finland are REAL Sociallly Democratic.I call these Demcraticallu Socialist countries. Friend of mine a Swede,son of a Swedish industrial giant told me ion europe, my father’s co. *example( if he makes 10 million a year near 80/90% is paid as tax to Gov.t hence there are nmo beggars or homeless people in our country .All educational .,health and other Public facitilites are government subsidized….
    Armneia plus those other ex soviet 14 republics should have followed the Scandinavian ruling systems not the one they chose ,which has turned to be a Wild Free market Economy…oriented…..
    However the bygones are the bygones..the wheels cannot be turned around.
    We*Hayastan, in in that Free market system now and hopefully those who are at the helm/top will realize one thing.Armenia is not situated at the Northern part of Europe,it is in the Middle Eastern section and next to countries that have the wild free market econmoy system ..
    Thence, it would be a pity if our present rulers in RA do not by and by begin to think of REATING A MIDDLE CLASS ,which would easen up the situation of the people and stop the OUTFLOW/immigration…
    Latter will harm Armenia and those who will be responsible are the ones who did not articulate a middle of the way system of governance…
    it may be too late if they delay the TRANSITION TO A MODIFIED STANCE.Repaet what are political parties will have to think of there,,,is join up to by and by implement a DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM IN OUR HOMELAND.For which ,indeed the time is of the essence.Has to be done asap.

  13. This will be like a call to our traditional political parties:-The Raqmgavar, Dasjnagtsutyun, and Hunchagians…
    When the ARF was born it was called ¨¨Armenian Revoluionaries Federation¨
    .They dropped the plurality of it a dn some who were not disposed to do as the hardliner Dashnags wished,,,parted ..
    I shall refer to this in my new ¨´paper¨¨ to many soon.
    For like any other people we also need to ADAPT TO REALITIES, especially at a time that is detrimental for the future of our people,NOW A STATE/NATION,THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA WITHA POWERFULL DIASPORA.lATTER DEFINIOTELY NEEDS TO DO THAT SO AS hOMELAND WILL LASO FOLLOW SUIT AND undergo essential CHANGES AS ABOVE!!!!

  14. For those who suggested that Armenia is ripe for a colored or an Arab style revolution, please! We do not need outside interference in our country. Past experience has shown that any candidate remotely close to the taste of western powers is doomed to fail. On the other hand it seems to be difficult to find candidates outside the circle of oligarchs who have experience in politics and in governing. Sarkisian successfully projected a strong image of a man who had at heart the defense of Armenia and Artsakh, even he goofed badly with the infamous protocols with Turkey.

    A big portion of Raffi’s vote was a protest vote against Sarkisian, because no other opposition candidate could be found who could deliver passionate speeches about their love of the country without notes. But in my opinion he remained a wild card and unpredictable in his actions. His last year’s hunger strike as a potential presidential candidate…?! what did it achieve? His visit to Baku, self-portrayed as bravery, ended up being a diplomatic fiasco. Shouting and yelling in diplomatic circles is never recommended, because it doesn’t make you look presidential. His lack of experience in government didn’t help either (he barely lasted 11 months under Ter Petrossian in the nineties).

    The people have indeed spoken, which is good news. But we are in severe shortage of good candidates for the next round.

  15. For those who compare the McDonald’s in the U.S. to Nemets Rubo in Armenia, when I go to McDonald’s in the U.S., I don’t expect to be beaten to death by some oligarch’s bodyguards. The kind of impunity that exists in Armenia, if any high-ranking official tried that kind of stuff in the U.S., someone would make sure he ended up in jail. Those who equate Armenia and the West are helping the thugs in Armenia keep their hold on power. With all the talk about how “imperfect” the U.S. is, folks in Armenia leave their country and prefer to live under the U.S. system. Create the right system in Armenia, and they will stay and make the country stronger and prosperous.

    The people in Armenia need to push for real democratic change. It’s not about changing one official or another, they need to change the entire system. And we the Diaspora should give our full support to our brothers and sisters in Armenia to take their country back.

    • I suppose you are talking about The US of 1950’s. We are in the 21st century with the US waging wars and bullying countries thousands of miles away destroying economies to bring in immigrants (cheap labour) to work in your Mc Donalds. The Arab uprising for cheap oil. You forget homelan sicurity,(missplled). How the police treated the New York Sit-in. I don’t want to go on but you should “wake up to a new America”.
      You want Armenia to be perfect, so do I, me and many of my friends moved from the US and Canada to our homeland to work and make it perfect why don’t you join us.

    • To Nigol: When you repeat the same-old anti-Western propaganda points that’s spewed out by Kremlin and other world thugs, you are neither hurting the U.S. nor helping Armenia. When someone proposes how to make Armenia stronger and powerful by following the example of the strongest and the most powerful, and you respond how “imperfect” the U.S. is, that’s a classic loser’s response–irrelevant and self-defeating. Kocharyan killed bunch of protestors in 2008, and you are talking about the NY response to the sit-ins? With all the “imperfections” of the U.S., countless Armenians still prefer to live in there than in their homeland. For every one of your friends who moved to Armenia, tens of thousands leave the country because they know that they deserve better. I highly doubt that you and your friends alone will be able to save Armenia when noone else is left.

      Thanks, but no thanks, I have no intention to move to a pathetic country like the “Republic of Armenia” where my safety depends on the whim of some official thug or his bodyguard. I am OK where I am, in the U.S., where noone tells me who I can vote for. I don’t want to make Armenia perfect, just as good as a decent developed democracy. Our people deserve that much. It’s good that you are “working” to make Armenia better, though I have to ask, how did you find your “work,” when many other’s are jobless? Maybe you found a way to be useful to the ruling criminals, well, not everyone is as lucky as you.

    • Vahagn:

      You wrote: “I am OK where I am, in the U.S., where noone tells me who I can vote for.”

      Do you want me to prove to you that you are, subtly, told who you can vote for in America? The fact is that you and other disillusioned Americans are just brainwashed to believe that you’re not told who to vote for, but in reality, my friend, whether you vote for this or that presidential candidate essentially doesn’t matter, because both candidates are just a smokescreen of democracy. Both are nominees of the behind-the-scene supragovernmental manipulative forces, and note: unelected, unaccountable, and unrepresentative forces. One example of this democracy show is the 2004 elections, in which both candidates—George W. Bush and John Kerry—were the members of an influential Yale University-based secret society “Skull & Bones”.

      Whoever you vote for, the establishment won’t change. But if you’re OK with the role of a voting dupe, then I have not much to add.

    • John, first, I am not disillusioned, please look up what it means, I am a proud Armenian-American. Second, just because I don’t believe in conspiracist nutjobs like your professor Epperpepper hardly makes me a dupe, in fact, I would say you and other followers of such nutjobs are being duped by their exciting (and unproven) claims. I believe in evidence as opposed to paranoid sensational garbage. Of course, you have the right to believe in your fantasies, it’s a free country.

      Nothing in your post “proved” that I am told who to vote for. Unlike in our homeland, no one intimidates me or threatens me to vote for this or that candidate, and that is what matters. Just because Bush and Kerry were a member of the same student organization does not mean they get orders from some secret conspiracy. Just because professor Peppercorn says that Skulls and Bones secretly controls America doesn’t mean there is any proof of that, it sounds like a cool Hollywood plot, but that does not mean it’s the reality. As for “supragovernmental manipulative forces,” there is nothing secret about them. Special interest groups, whether ANCA or AIPAC, are part of the American democracy designed into the system. The founders called them factions and believed that they were necessary for the functioning of the democracy—to prevent a tyranny of the majority. Any group of people, including influential people, have the right to organize and lobby a government. Democracy does not mean a simple majority rule, it’s a complex system of checks and balances. When I say “democracy,” I am not talking about some theoretical system, I mean the system that exists in the United States, with all its imperfections.

      Now, as I said many times before, it does not matter whether you believe in conspiracies or not, the truth is that the system in the U.S. has worked, and numerous people, including thousands of Armenians, prefer to live under that system. And even assuming that citizens are ‘duped,’ it does not matter as long as they have faith in the system, and that is what makes a country strong. Our brethren in the homeland would dream to live under such system as opposed to the one that exists now. And by the way, in the absence of democracy, Serzh and any other president in Armenia will be much more dependent on those “sinister” forces, because they depend on them and not the voice of the people. The proof—the protocols and Serzh’s recent idiotic statement equating “Yeghern” with “Genocide.”

    • Last time I checked, Vahagn, “disillusioned” meant “disappointed in something that one discovers to be less good than he or she had expected”. As a proud Armenian-American, are you not exhibiting such a trait with regard to Armenia?

      [Nothing in your post “proved” that I am told who to vote for.] I did not intend to do it in the post you’re referring to. Do you have a reading comprehension problem? I said: “Do you want me to prove to you that you are, subtly, told who you can vote for in America?” I see now that I’d better not. With the level of your obsession with the official propaganda crap, it’ll be like p**** against the wind.

      The founders did not call special interest groups “factions”. Please look up what the term means. The founders called political parties “factions” and, for your knowledge, did not anticipate or desire the existence of political parties, viewing them as dangerous to the public interest. By the way, this is not a passage from Prof. “Epperpepper”’s work. These are views put on the paper in The Federalist Papers. As proud Armenian-American, do please look into the writings by John Adams, James Madison, among others, as well as into George Washington’s farewell presidential speech.

      If Prof. Epperson, among many, many other bright alternative view scholars and historians whom the American Establishment conveniently calls “conspiracists” are nutjobs and we, provincial uneducated fantasizing laymen, are being duped by their “unproven” claims, do please take a minute to read the statements of prominent politicians and scholars below and determine for yourself who among the two of us is the fantasizing dupe:

      “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society. And we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. […] For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. It’s mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. […] —John F. Kennedy’s address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, 1961

      Is JFK a nutjob, Vahagn?

      “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt

      Is FDR a nutjob, Vahagn?

      “The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” —British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in his novel “Coningsby”.

      Is Disraeli a nutjob, Vahagn?

      “From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States), this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing.” —British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his article entitled “Zionism versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People”, 1920

      Is Churchill a nutjob, Vahagn?

      “There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the Radical right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with […] any other group, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records.” —Carroll Quigley, professor of history at the Foreign Service School, Georgetown University, and President Bill Clinton’s academic mentor.

      Is Prof. Quigley a nutjob, Vahagn?

      “You know, by the time you become the leader of a country, someone else makes all the decisions. […] You may find you can get away with virtual presidents, virtual prime ministers, virtual everything.” —President Bill Clinton

      Is President Clinton a nutjob, Vahagn?

      Lastly, and for your information, “Skulls and Bones” is not just a “student organization” or a “fraternity”. It is an undergraduate secret society at Yale. Bush admitted this by stating at Meet the Press with Tim Russert in 2004: “It’s so secret we can’t talk about it.” As did Kerry: “It’s secret”. Don’t you think that if both the President of the United States and former top Democratic contender, US Senator, and a State Secretary nominee are devoted members of an Order, the public, in the American democracy, ought to know about it? Don’t you think that, in the American democracy, the mission of Skull and Bones should be known before we elect a member of this mysterious enclave to lead the nation or represent it in the Congress and in the foreign affairs? Has it ever occurred to you that something must be fundamentally wrong with the American democracy if two members of the same secret society are being put forward as contenders for the position of the President of the United States? How can they compete against each other if they’re bound by a secret oath and membership obligations?

      Who is the dupe, Vahagn?

    • Vahagn,

      I posted a long comment ridiculing your arguments (the one stating that Skull & Bones is a “student organization” amused me most), but moderators for some unknown reason (there was nothing derogatory in the comment) chose not to post it. I have no time to re-post it, but be aware that the post contained the quotes of many prominent statesmen, scholars, and philosophers (including several US presidents) who admitted the existence of international conspiracy meddling in the sovereign affairs of states. One such US president, John F. Kennedy, paid dearly for acknowledging and condemning this conspiracy after he made an address at the American Newspaper Publishers Association in April of 1961.

      Continue to live in a fantasy world, Vahagn. I wish you luck.

      P.S. By the way, do please educate yourself of the fact (look up in The Federalist Papers and in George Washington’s Farewell Address, if you will) that the founders did not call special interest groups “factions”. They called political parties “factions” and, for your knowledge, saw great danger in them (Adams, Madison, etc.).


    • John, buddy, my reading comprehension is fine. Do you have anger issues? If you meant to say that I am disillusioned about Armenia, the proper phrase would be “disillusioned Armenian,” not “disillusioned American.” If you have trouble clearly expressing your thoughts, do not blame others.

      You actually ridiculed yourself, with your hysteria and rambling. I don’t think the moderators cared much about what you wrote, your rambling post probably simply got lost in their files.

      I usually ignore your conspiracist rantings, since you seem to be in favor of change in Armenia. But since you are craving for some attention, I will play with you alittle.

      Your quotations are either bogus or out of context, which is typical of how conspiracy theorists argue, as they don’t rely on evidence. But first, I don’t see why any Armenian would quote Disraeli or Churchill as authorities. Disraeli was a Turkophile who prevented Armenians from getting any justice at the Berlin Congress. Churchill prevented the return of Kars to us after WWII. Armenians are not the only people victimized by him, the Poles consider him a common scoundrel for his role in their tragedy after WWII. The fact that you quote Disraeli and Churchill as authorities only shows that you have been duped by conspiracist nutjobs to the detriment of our people.

      If you do a simple google, you will see that the Disraeli and FDR quotes are bogus or dubious at best. Churchill’s quote is from 1920, at the height of Red Scare hysteria. He was accusing the Jews and Communists for conspiring together, which was not uncommon at the time. This was before the “Protocols of Zion” were proven to be a Russian forgery. Being a nutjob is a matter of time and context. Since then, most of the intelligent people have moved beyond such wild theories. Unfortunately, some, including some Armenians, have not gotten the message.

      The rest of our quotes are ridiculously out of context. JFK was talking about the Communist conspiracy of Soviet Union and its satellites right after the Bay of Pigs invasion, which was not uncommon during the Cold War. He was not talking about a world conspiracy to control the U.S. Clinton was making a joke during a meeting with workers in Ireland about virtual signature and his obligations to sign things. As for Quigley, I checked him out alittle. While he researched secret societies, he did not consider them a world conspiracy to control the world, and he actually criticized conspiracy theorists for misquoting his statements. I suggest next time you check the context of your quotes instead of copy-pasting them from some bogus website.

      And no, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with American democracy if two candidates have come from the same secret student organization., and it certainly does not mean that they cannot compete with each other. Just because they took an oath of secrecy does not mean the oath was about controlling the government. Maybe they swore to perform civic duties, or anything. As always, conspiracists like to invent facts where there is no evidence. People in the U.S. have the right to associate–i.e. form organizations, and they have the right to privacy. Yes, Americans have the right to ask questions, and if the candidates refuse to answer, the voters can decide whether they care or not. Apparently, in this case they did not care, and that is their right. If this is a shocking revelation to you, it only shows how long you have been used to swallowing what nutjobs like prof. Coppletop feed you instead of using your brain.

      As for factions, I am familiar with the Federalist papers, which is why I know how the founders dealt with factions. By “factions,” they did not mean political parties, as there were no political parties at the time of the ratification of the constitution (1787-89). The founders were talking about citizens who have some common interests–which we call special interest groups. Armenian-Americans are a faction, the environmentalists are a faction, the gun lobby is another faction, and they all have the right to exist. The founding fathers were not avoiding factions, they considered them necessary. What they considered dangerous were large factions, which could lead to a tyranny of majority, and so they encouraged multiplicity of factions–i.e. smaller factions that would unite when necessary for consensus and compete on other occasions. That’s why they divided the government into various branches and kept the country divided into individual states, so no single majority would control the nation. It was a political genius, as they understood, contrary to others before and after them, including some Armenians, that unity is not always desirable, and diversity of opinions is important to keep a country free and strong.

      In a democracy, people can organize into any peaceful group they want, including lobbying groups or think tanks. Think tanks, such as CFR, are necessary for the functioning of a government, as our elected officials often do not have time to research and analyze different policies. Armen Ayvazyan’s Ararat center is another think tank in Armenia, and this is not against a democracy.

      Now, as I have said before, if you want to believe in your conspiracy theories, that’s your right, and it really does not matter. Even assuming your theories are true, the American system has worked, and so democracy can work in Armenia as well. Your heart is in the right place, since you want change in Armenia. Which is why it’s surprising to me that you are wasting your time defending conspiracy theories when important changes are occurring in Armenia.

    • Continue to live in a fantasy world, pal. I sense that doing so is more convenient for uninquisitive, obsequious individuals. Do, however, at least try to understand things beyond nutshell. For the start, try to look at events from a different perspective instead of stigmatizing them outrightly as “conspiracist rantings”. You may find out—while playing with your kitty—that the alternative view of history and politics is the one best supported by evidence.

      The Disraeli and Churchill’s quotations–as any person with no reading comprehension problem would easily grasp–did not intend to have any relation with the Armenian issues. Irrespective of their stand on Armenian issues, both individuals are widely known as renowned political figures.

      No need for me to do a simple google to look for Disraeli’s or FDR’s or Churchill’s quotes. I have enough evidence written by them or about them to make my own judgment. Most of the intelligent people would understand from Churchill’s “Zionism versus Bolshevism” that he was not simply “accusing the Jews and Communists for conspiring together” but that he drew a line between honest and loyal “national Jews” and “international Jews” whom he called a “sinister confederacy”. In fact, had you actually read Churchill’s article, while pointing out that Zionism and Bolshevism are competing for the soul of the Jewish people, he argued that this conspiratorial group had been the mainspring of every subversive movement in Europe since the times of Adam Weishaupt.

      Each of the rest of quotes is right on the money to help most of the intelligent people understand that JFK could not be talking about the “Communist conspiracy of Soviet Union and its satellites”, because there was no such a thing as “Communist conspiracy of Soviet Union”. There was an open standoff between the two world systems at the time and the goals of the Communist camp were made clear openly and constantly. Most of the intelligent people would pause and think as to whether the following words could pertain to one country with a bunch of its satellites:

      “For we are opposed around the world [AROUND THE WORLD-john] by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence.”

      Clinton was not making a joke when he said: “[…] You know, by the time you become the leader of a country, someone else makes all the decisions.” And he was not referring to virtual signature and his obligations to sign things. In August 1998, in Ireland, Clinton siad this when responding to a question as to what would he do if removed from office through impeachment?

      I have Prof. Quigley’s book, I obtained it with much difficulty and it cost me big bucks. I’ve read this 3000-page monumental work and noone, least of all you, can tell me that Quigley did not consider secret societies a conspiracy to control the world. Here’s a quote from the book:

      “The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the worlds’ central banks which were themselves private corporations. The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers and the indirect injury of all other economic groups.” — Carroll Quigley, “Tragedy and Hope: A History of The World in Our Time”.

      About presidential candidates coming from the same secret society. That “student organization” has now transformed into “secret student organization” is noted. Not long ago it was just an innocuous “student organization”. You’re progressing… When two presidential candidates are bound by the oath of secrecy and allegiance to some subterranean secret society whose activities are so secret that none of them can reveal them to the American public, you do have a fundamental problem with democracy, because the electorate has the right to know what allegiance other than to The Constitution of the United States and The Holy Bible a presidential candidate might have. “Maybe they swore to perform civic duties, or anything.” Oh, cry me a river, pal… For that they descend into a tomb and take the oath of allegiance after dreadful rituals? What, they conspire to feed the hungry? Spare me…

      Political parties-factions. Exactly, there were no political parties at the time, that’s why the Founders called them “factions”. Citizens who have some common interests and unite to advance them represent political parties as nowadays or factions as in the days of the Founders. Repeat: the founding fathers did not call the special interest groups—lobbyists, corporations, banks, etc.—“factions”. They used the word for political parties as we know them in our days and saw great danger for democracy in them.

      Yes, in a democracy people can organize into any peaceful group they want, including lobbying groups or think tanks. But when a lobbying group or a think tank becomes a supragovernmental, supranational entity, such as the unelected, unrepresentative and thus unaccountable CFR that controls a country’s domestic and foreign policies and the legislature, you no longer can call that country a democracy. By the way, CFR is not a think tank similar to poor
      Armen Ayvazyan’s “Ararat Center”. Vahagn, would you stop insulting my intelligence?

      The American system might have worked in America, although the way it works certainly is not what was envisioned by the Founders. But it doesn’t necessarily imply that exactly the same system can work in a third country in its entirety. Every country is unique and every nation chooses to have a system that suits it most in terms of a nation’s historical, geographical, cultural, economic, and political uniqueness. Most of the intelligent people get this.

  16. A watershed election. I think everyone, including the oligarchic/mafia elements in power realise that things cannot continue in this vein. Major upheavals and political turmoil, on the other hand, could be as damageing and dangerous to Armenia – especially given its extremely vulnerable geo-political environment – as the continuation of the current rut. There is hope that this watershed election will start a much needed, welcome and positive change and reform process that within the next few years will give us legitimate authority/government, respect for the Constitution and the law, independent courts and judiciary, and a taxation system/Inland Revenue which is fair and progressive and serves the long term interests of the nation rather than the selfish short term interests of a rich and corrupt elite. Failing to carry out these urgently needed reforms will be catestrophic for Armenia and too scary to think about.

  17. Vahagn, it’s called a PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, and Raffi promises to move Armenia towards it. This system will take away a president’s power to hire and fire judges. Once there is an independent judiciary, many other problems will be solved fairly!

    • Anything (whether parliamentary or presidential democracy) is better than the current system in Armenia, though personally, I prefer the U.S. presidential variant, due to its longevity and stability (and of course the obvious result, i.e. the strongest country on earth). The European parliamentary system can at times be unstable due to coalition governments and endless prime ministers (e.g. Italy, Greece). But it’s still better than the current laughable constitution of Armenia, where it seems the authors picked and chose the worst aspects of other systems (you have freedom of speech unless you offend the “dignity” of some official). If the parliamentary democracy proves inadequate, at least the people will have a choice to amend it into something better.

  18. Prior to the election, Sargsyan’s son in law misappropriated “Gallup” and issued phony pre election results with the same phony percentages that Sargsyan issued after the election. Sargsyan then issued a world wide press release with these numbers. The impotent sorry excuse for a press parroted this press release as a done deal, again prior to the election. FRAUD … spell it … and I urge the Diaspora to NOT accept FRAUD. We either stand with the citizens of Armenia who overwhelmingly voted for Raffi Hovannisian or we fail another generation and very likely lose what is left of our motherland.
    Whether you want to stand up and do something, or accept the lies, please know for a fact that Sargsyan did NOT win this election! Join Raffi’s Facebook page and see his website for more accurate reporting than in most of the media, including the state fed Armenian stations.

  19. Another election brazenly stolen by a regime intent on staying in power at all cost. Does anyone here actually believe that Serzh Sargsyan garnered 800,000 votes legally? from RA citizens who actually support him and his band of criminal cronies and thugs? Who cares if 60%, 80% or even 100% of Raffi’s vote was a protest vote. What remains is how he will use this popular mandate. At the rally in Yerevan on February 20, Raffi called for others to join the struggle. I didn’t see the so-called opposition standing with the people at Freedom Square. Where was LTP and his HAK people? Where was Lilit Galstian and the rest of the ARF leaders? The only opposition representation came from Nikol Pashinyan and members of the Sardarapat Movement. People in the diaspora excoriated Serzh Sargsyan over the Protocols, but when he and his criminal regime STEAL yet another presidential election those same diaspora forces call for calm and a reserved response. Luckily Garo Ghazarian from the Armenian Bar Association was at the rally and spoke the truth – the people said no to another five years of Serzh Sargsyan.

  20. Whatever harm is done is done. Time for the Sargsyan administration to recognize the citizens’ demands and get rid of those oligarchs completely. I’ve seen the palaces of these oligarchs in Armenia the likes of which which you cannot find in the US. The time has come to surround himself with politicians who put their country first and not their pockets. Why can’t he follow the example of President Barack Obama who appointed his opponent, Hillary Clinton, as his Secretary of State, and appoint Raffi Hovannisian his Foreign Minister, unless of course, Raffi does not want to work with him.

    • Mariam,

      Never make a mistake believing that the POTUS can appoint anyone to a high position by themselves. After John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, all the successive POTUS are essentially marionettes in the hands of several supragovernmental groups and secret societies, such as, for example, the Council of Foreign Relations.

      Serj cannot get rid of the oligarchs completely because he is their creation and embodiment. The moment he, miraculously, starts surrounding himself with politicians who put their country first and not their pockets, he’ll be overthrown, because the evil globalist forces that keep corrupt presidents on the thrones are not interested in politicians who put their country first and not their pockets. In point of fact, politicians who put their country first are more accountable to the needs of the people, whereas the evil globalist forces wish politicians to be accountable to them and follow their sinister agendas that have nothing to do with the welfare of the people. This should be clear already.

  21. A fresh anecdote from Armenia.

    Obama, Putin, and Sargsyan are travelling on a plane to a leisure site. Suddenly, both engines stop. It turns out there’s only one parachute on board. The three decide to vote who’ll get it. Sargsyan wins and jumps out. Distressed Obama asks Putin: “How could Serj manage to get 20 votes in a one-pilot plane?”

  22. Let Armenians overseas keep debating the finer points of politics in Armenia in the pages of the diaspora press. Meanwhile, events on the ground in Armenia are developing independently of this cacophony of voices and viewpoints. In all honesty, it would be best if all of you continued on your merry way and let the people in Armenia decide what is in their best interest. You can agree or disagree with what is now going on on Armenia, but please do not presume the right to dictate what we in Armenia should do.

    • Some of us are citizens of Armenia, Tikatintsi.

      Since you suggest that RoA decides what’s in her best interest, then, logically, RoA has no right to decide on matters related to genocide—such as defeatist protocols or parroting of “medz yeghern” by Serge and his clique—because most of the descendants of victims reside outside of the republic. Fair deal?

  23. So, what are you exactly complaining about, Mr. T? And what are you suggesting? I thought you wanted change in Armenia, and you wanted the Diaspora to be by the side of our brothers there. Noone is dictating Armenia what to do, but we the Diasporans, having lived in developed democracies most or all of our lives, know a thing or two on what a functioning state should look like. We have the right and will make suggestions as to what Armenians in Armenia should do. They can either choose to listen or continue their miserable existence, fumbling from one failed election to another.

  24. In a comparison test of Sargsyan and Raffi, on the one hand there’s an oligarch sucking the blood of the citizens, stealing the election and predicting it’s results way before it happens via a phony GALLUP poll worldwide press release, misappropriating the name of GALLUP who has now threatened to sue for such misappropriation. Please don’t forget what plagues so many of the post Soviet smaller countries – the same Soviet crooks became the oligarch mafias of present day. Also, keep in mind how Sarksyan was baked –

    Acording to his internet FB page, “Sargsyan’s career began in 1975 at the Electrical Devices Factory in Yerevan, … until 1979 when he became head of the Stepanakert City Communist Party Youth Association Committee. Then served as … the Stepanakert City Committee Propaganda Division Head, the Nagorno-Karabakh Regional Committee Communist Organizations’ Unit Instructor, and finally as the assistant to Genrikh Poghosyan, the First Secretary of the Nagorno-Karabakh Regional Committee.”

    As someone who despises any tyranny, and intimately knows the Soviet variety, I can tell you I am not surprised that he then went on to amass personal wealth without any shame or limit, and still can’t get enough, at the expense of the majority of the population. He is neither the first nor the last of his kind.

    The above are just a few of the things Raffi is not. Raffi IS the best thing that has and can happen to Armenia now. He is extremely intelligent, leaps and bounds beyond the thugs. He is very well educated and has all of the characteristics of a natural and well polished leader. He is highly presentable as the face and moral fiber of Armenia before the world, he has extensive knowledge of history, economics and the geopolitical present, the ability to process same and do so quickly and aptly, is devoted without reservation to the preservation and restoration of Armenia, and his charisma make him invaluable as the leader of the nation. Oh, and last but not least … HE IS HONEST AND HONORABLE – how refreshing!

    So let’s for once drop the armchair philosophical nonsense and take advantage of this gift or miss the one hope that the freezing, starving, and otherwise hopeless of what’s left of Armenia so desperately need. You have to have been there to walk in the shoes of these people. Raffi and his wife have been devotedly there and serving the downtrodden, not making any personal fortunes, for 20 of their most productive years.

  25. Dear Knar Mouhibian,
    I heerewith second what you describe above.Adding that I have gone to Raffi´s wife´s initiative the ORRAN youngsters Benvolent centre.There very poor and some from the streets of Yerevan are being hosted,educated and taken care of.
    As to Rafi,I know him personally and have met him 3 /4 tiems in Yerevan.At his Centre for Strategic Studies,at the Opera park ,just this last past summer, where he delivered discourse.Few people then there..but he is persistent and decided to FORGE AHEAD. Trustable???? INDEED SO!!!!!!!!
    Ahundred times more than those some mentioned up above.His descendency??? I have prof. Richard G.Hovahnnissian near all hispty and Genocide related books.IOne of his Mother as well, w/rgd to Karin(Erzeroum) wehr she ahails from or nearby town/vilalge.My father is also from Erzervoum.
    What I wish for Armenia is a PEWACEFULL TRANSITIONAL ,CONILLIATPORY MARCH TOWARDS A MORE EQUITABLE mode of governance. To begin with a mildly Socilaist,(I dub that as Democratic socialism) like in Sweden, Finland a couple more.
    The present Wilf free market Economy,ought to be thus BRAKED!!!!

    • Dear Gaytzag and all above,

      Thank you for sharing your personal experience of what the Hovannisians are striving for. As for the rest of my compatriots, please find out for your own self who Raffi and Armine Hovannisian are, and what their character and intentions are. If you investigate for yourselves, you will see the light.


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