‘This Movement is Unstoppable’: ARF Joins Rally on Freedom Square

YEREVAN (A.W.)—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) joined the thousands upon thousands of Armenian citizens gathered at Freedom Square in Yerevan on Feb. 22, with the party’s Supreme Council representative Armen Rustamyan delivering a powerful message of solidarity with the people.

Thousands gathered at Freedom Square in Yerevan on Feb. 22. (Photo by Khatchig Mouradian, The Armenian Weekly)
Thousands gathered at Freedom Square in Yerevan on Feb. 22. (Photo by Khatchig Mouradian, The Armenian Weekly)
ARF Supreme Council representative Armen Rustamyan addresses the crowd at Freedom Square in Yerevan on Feb. 22. (Photo by Khatchig Mouradian, The Armenian Weekly)

After a series of speeches by Raffi Hovannisian’s Heritage Party leaders, and other opposition leaders, civil society activists, and artists, Hovannisian introduced Rustamyan, saying: “Today we are joined by a political figure whose party, our party, the party of my ancestors, in the name of the fatherland, unity, our national interests, the rights of the citizen, and our  state’s sovereignty, wages a struggle wherever it is necessary, from Strasbourg to Ankara to Moscow to Washington…. Please welcome the representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Armen Rustamyan.”

Rustamyan spoke of the ARF’s decision to come to Freedom Square. “For a few days now, Freedom Square was waiting for—and wanted to see—the ARF. And we are now here! We have come here, to this rally, because as we announced earlier, the ARF stands with you, with the people,” he said.

Rustamyan noted that the Armenian people proved on Feb. 18 that it’s impossible to kill justice and freedom. He said, “The people do not tolerate the rotten political, social, economic, and moral environment.”

Rustamyan joined other opposition leaders in their criticism of the statements by international observers, who deemed the elections fair. “Regardless of what the international observers say, it is you who took part in the election, and you know all too well what really happened,” Rustamyan said.

“This is an unstoppable movement to establish the rule of the people,” he argued.

The rally concluded with a fiery speech by Hovannisian.

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  1. It’s good to see that a leading Armenian traditional party joins hands with a rather new force, which has emerged as factual victor in the last elections. But I wonder where they and the other opposition forces were when Raffi was waging his campaign single-handedly? Nevertheless, without wanting to sound too optimistic, It looks to me as if things are beginning to move to the right direction in Armenia. Let”s also hope that Raffi and his party will use their rightfully acquired position wisely and with farsightedness and will not lose their composure when attaining power.

  2. It’s good to see that a leading Armenian traditional party has joined hands with a rather new force, which has emerged as the factual victor in the elections. But I wonder where they and ther other oposition forces were when Raffi was waging his campaign single-handedly. Nevertheless, without wanting to sound too optimistic, it looks as if things are beginning to move to the right direction in Armenia. Let’s only hope that Raffi and his party will use their rightfully acquired position wisely and with farsightedly and will not lose their composure at attaining power.

  3. Serzh fought in the war. He knows how to deal with the Russians and Turks. Serzh is a Artsakh Armenian. He knows how to rule a country. Raffi is a weak leader. He will try to move the country towards the West because he can not communicate with the Russians. This will lead to Armenian concessions to Turks because Russian will turn their back on Armenians. This guy is like Mikael Sakashvilli. He will attempt to talk “big” and then give the Turks a reason to enter Armenia.

    • Yes he fought in the war. However he is a thief like the last guy before him who lined HIS OWN POCKETS with hundreds of millions because of the position he was in and took full liberties to do so at the expense of people of Armenia.. Armenia deserve a better system then this current oligarch, cronyism, intimidation bribe to get anything done system culture… No excuse for this. PS i could care less about other country’s that do this. No excuse.

  4. Whether or not Raffi is the man for the job is to be determined by the citizens of Armenia through free and fair elections. If the election can not be shown to have been fair, than a recount or new election should occur. Public demonstrations in Yerevan may be a hallmark of democracy and may be a way to encourage the people to speak up and demand their rights, but it is no way to choose a president.

  5. Better late than never.A good supportive move by ARF.Hopefully thus the message will find its way home…
    However, confrontation must be avoidede at any cost!!!
    Peacefull demands,demonstrxations may -at the very least-lead to have a TRANSITIONAL-CONCILLIATORY mode of Govt. put in place.
    My suggestion would be to have Hairikian also alongside the two,i.e., Serge.Raffi and paruyr Hairikin.latter had offered to govern as pres. for 2 yrs only.
    A good idea, that of two years and then declare that(nevermind the foreign odar systems) as a REVOLVING amongst the Three.One as pres. next to him again (as per myu suggestion) Vice-President and Third as most important position Foreign Secretary or Foreign Ministre…
    All other contendors can be viewed and considered for relevant posts. In short a shuffling of the Parliament members(some there…are there becasue of their Monwey worth not for their MERITS…
    Thus a Transitional Govt. can by and by settle down to be a New EVOLUTIONARY one that is governed in more TEAMWORK.
    AS to the ARF, I have mentioned on another thread here…that this 122 year old respectable political party ought to revise-go back to-its original stance that of Revolutionary(s)..ies…when it was first perceived and established—best chance now to ask the other two traditional political aprties to jpoin into the (my version now)ARMENIAN EVOLUTIONARIES FEDERATION!!!!I(include S.Democrat hunchagians and if possibñle the Ramgavafrs) thus garnering more Rank & File and mustering POWER!
    It is now thaat the Armenian NATIONM/STATE, more than ever needs such cooperation!!!
    Enough going it alone, my dear co,mpatriots and DO PLEASE ACCEPT A VPOICE COME FROM THE ORDIANRY CITIZEN.We all have a righjt to bvoice our VIEWPOINTS. If the majority accepts it then implement,otherwise drop it.

  6. I am all for ARF. But now I can see what a lost political party it is. First they didn’t have a candidate, then they declared that they are against all candidates and now they are hiding behind Raffi. What a shame that, that big and powerfull party has become.

  7. The ARF is not supporting Raffi. The ARF is supporting the people. The ARF is supporting the idea that in a democratic system, every vote must be legitimate, and every legitimate vote must be counted. I think the party has been clear about this from the very beginning. This isn’t about Serj, and it’s not about Raffi. Nor is it about the ARF. It is about the people’s right to live in a land where their voice is heard without being tainted, their vote is counted and not ignored. I commend the move.

  8. So?
    Armenians are not of one kind??????
    Whether there to support Democracy(my foot).No such thing exists….
    When Democracy has been totally mis represented all over the globe….
    Thence AARF , Ramgavar Hunchag should all gather together under one..at present this young man seems to have taken centre stage…RAFFI..
    Are we to be jealous that he has done so and at the very least attained that objective to be there as one Symbol of ALL OF US????
    OR WHAT AGAIN MORE fragmentation Mr…….
    For all to know i respect them all those Armenian political parties equally..but I opt for NATION/STATE and those who support it por encima de todo. ABOVE ALL!!!!!
    How do we wish to obtain any headway ion international `politics when we opt for this for that ..WE ARE ALL ARMENIANS (AFTER ALL) AS SAROYAN ONCE POINTED OUT…..
    What ARF is to stsage a Revolution??? where in armenia….latter sick and tired of such..we need PEACE AND E V O L U I O N !!!!
    I commended above that , the ARF decision to joiun up was CORRECT!!! OTHERS SHOULD ALSO JOIN UP LIKE THE hUNCHAGS, sARTARAPAAT sHARZHOUM, rAMGAVARAGANS….
    nOW IS THE TIME THAT aRMENKIANS SHOULD SHOW THAT hairenik is above A L L , not factionalism isms……

  9. We had enough of fraudulent elections,3 presidents to date all crooks,the last one being very slippery,a liar,corrupt,and a friend of his crooked Oligarchs.

    The reason why the West and the Russians back corrupt Serzh is because they can each push their agenda on Armenia through corrupt Serzh,if Serzh does not toe the line stipulated by his foreign masters a lot of leaks will start to appear into the public domain all to do with his illegal activities,fraudulent elections, to his casino habits and loss,and the rest, as foreign governments namely US has a large dirty dossier on him just for this purpose.

    It suits the west not to have democratically elected presidents as they can push their dirty agenda much easier.

    The foreign so called observers have fulfilled their goal,this is the name of the game.

    Its time for real change.

    • And what is the change you’re talking about ? Having a Dashnak president like Hovanissian is all but certainly neither an ideal nor positive change for Armenia!

  10. Under Serzh there wont be anyone left in Armenia in 5 years or so, as people are voting with their feet against rampant corruption,fraudulent deals,injustices all over,chronic poverty,treacherous protocols,and the rest.

    If this is what you want than keep him there and good luck Armenia,by the way if anyone thinks that corrupt serzh got so many votes they need to have their brains tested,the votes of serzh were bumped up through ballot stuffing and ballot rigging.

    EPDE: The results of both election participation and election results were falsified


  11. I challenge anyone to name for me any political party that is more of a bandwagon-jumping abyss of an organization than the ARF.

    -pro-socialist, then anti-socialist
    -pro-independence, then anti-independence
    -pro-Serzh (part of governing coalition), then anti-Serzh
    -anti-LTP, now pro-Raffi (LTP’s foreign minister)

    They don’t care about the greater good of Armenians. They care only about their own party. Party over country. Now they are trying to cash in on the work of others.

  12. Hovannissian has played the game very well so far, at the right place and at the right time! I only hope that he will use his new, rightfully attained position with dignity and without getting overxcited

  13. Roger,

    You are talking a load of rubbish,I don’t have time to waste on people like you,you do better to find out what is really going on in Armenia rather than seat in your cosy east or west coast apartment and talk nonsense.

    I don’t care about any party or person,all I care is to have a country where there is no corruption,fraud,there is justice and the rule of the law.

    These lot are a bunch of criminals I have no time for.

    • Oh! because according to naive like you, Hovhanissian is an angel ha ?! and his call for a Revolution will change Armenia in a finger snap. Great!
      So spend your time enjoying sweet dreams my friend…

      Armenia needs leaders not demagogues.

  14. The fish always smells from its head in our case from corrupt serzh.

    You all do well to come and live here in Armenia rather than talk nonsense from your cosy seats in the US,and see how it feels.

  15. PFA Publishes Preliminary Analysis on Presidential Election in Armenia


    Please read how fraudulent this election was.

    The European Platform for Democratic Elections Statement on
    Presidential elections

    14:18 23/02/2013
    Story from Lragir.am News:

    The elections were characterised by a lack of political competition,
    low-key campaigning and a relatively low presence of partisan election
    observers in precincts on election-day. This has to be explained with
    the decision of the three main opposition parties not to nominate
    their candidates for the Presidential elections and consequently not
    to deploy their proxies to the election precincts.

    Election day was characterised by a committed election administration,
    which aimed at ensuring a calm voting process. However, during
    election day civic election observers reported on ballot stuffing,
    multiple voting and intimidation of voters through proxies of one of
    the candidates, which raises concern on the fairness of the electoral
    process. Some of those election precincts where civic election
    observers monitored the voting process showed a significant lower
    voter turnout (up to 25%) than neighbouring election precincts – often
    in the same building -where no observers were present. The precincts
    with inflated voter turnout showed higher voting results for the
    incumbent Serge Sargsyan than for his competitor Raffi Hovhannisyan.
    These observations give ground to suppose that both the voter turnout
    and voting results have been subject to manipulation on election day.

    The new election code provides in general an adequate framework for
    the conduct of transparent and democratic election and includes wide
    competences for the conduct of civic election observation. Civic
    election observation in Armenia deserves special attention by Armenian
    and international institutions. Legal provisions for civic election
    observation should be further improved and methodological support be
    reinforced in order to further develop civic control over electoral
    processes in the country and to increase public trust in national and
    international democratic institutions.

    Full report

  16. Mihran,

    I am in full agreement with you and your argument about corruption,injustices happening in all spheres of life in Armenia,yes and we continue as we are we will have practically all the pensioners left living in Armenia.

    I know how it feels to live in Armenia as I also lived there for a long while,its a nightmare to put it mildly.

  17. Some army units secretly instructed to be ready for dispersing supporters of Raffi Hovhannisian


    Monday, February 25, 14:52

    Some units of the armed forces of Armenia are said to have been secretly instructed to be ready for dispersing the supporters of Raffi Hovhannisian.

    A source close to the army has told ArmInfo that the order was given after Hovhannisian’s unsanctioned rally in Liberty Square on Feb 21.

    “The operation was scheduled for Feb 24 but their next rally was not so dangerous,” the source said.

    The runner-off in the Feb 18 presidential election Raffi Hovhannisianrefuses to accept its results and is conducting rallies all over Armenia.

  18. To all debate conductors here.Excuse me if I do not name all.Like Ani, Alex Roger, Arshag,Pat and Mihran.All have some truth in their viewpoints.For that is exactly what we have here.
    May I suggest to be more comprising,converging and tolerant to ea other´s views.We need to attain objectives in our discussions not continuous contradictions.Come to a conclusion.
    At a crucial time such as this one election has produced,Armenia and Diaspora have to cooperate.All good ideas and advantages well measured and then put to realization. So far fragmentatioon has not been productive at all.
    True the Diaspora in its fragmented mode has given here and there ALMS like to national needs…
    We need to opt for a much more STRONGER DIASPORA.I mean it.Just look around see how another people like us(the Jews) are softly very softly imposing their presence in international politics.With all respect to the Arabs,their wealth and area-wise spaces(viz. from Northernmost Africa to the Gulf Emirates)they cannot cope with that tiny piece of land called Israel!!!!!
    I stand for ARMENIA to be a small Switzerland in the midst of those……
    And for that we ought to by and by re organize our File &Rank…from all current s of our people.Be MIA PAN cooperative.Leave the word United please.
    Each of us ,let alone dogmas of our political parfties the Church denominations have their respective ,selective Dogmas and Charters,The will NEVER BUDGE.We should not mind that,let them carry on!!!
    We, on the other hand here or elsewhere(not pertaining to any of those) and actually the GRAND , MAJOR PORTION OF THE DIASPORA ARMENIANS are non-partisan ,or church goers(the faction that is backed by yet another political party).For God´s sake let them alone!!!
    We form into PCA´s ¨Professional Colleagues Associations¨% on the scen, but again seperate from ea other.My suggestion is to form the !0 more , from Travel Transport to banking and finance etc., then form the INTER-PROF. Colleagues Assoc. THEN ASK ,very cordially the above to join in.The above , mainly reside in the form of the traditional Armenian political parties and the Church backed one of the aforementioend.They will come along and join us ,Just fine.Otherwise let thme go on their way.
    Imagine!!! this AND I MA DEAD SERIOUS NOW(and permit me to say sick of it) One of our BBB´s)Bishosp, bosses and benefators,as per ARA Baliozian, a Canadian armenian writer philosopher) formed a PARTNERSHIP in D.C. ,acquiring Huge imposing Bldg next to Capitol Hill with intention of making it the Armenian Museum of Genocide and A national Landmark.What happens next is very sad..
    The small investor , say a couple million dollars , the other 11 million so are in conflict with ea other…and the whole PROJECT HAS COME TO A STANDSTILL..
    I ask you guys,is this what we wish to obtain in the debate here !!! all and every one or two going their own way NEVER TO CONVERGE AND muster up clout.that is what exactly our adversaries are counting upon!!! they know if we become ONE,they are to loose.
    May I suggest that we try to be more condescending.In my ¨´suggestsions here re elections and outcome has been (I dare say a bit constructive and please pardon me if I say so)For ,I never went against Serge Sargsyan.He has been one of our leadrs in the fight against agressor Axeris. In a situation that now has surged,I suggsted he have a go (never mind what other Euro American countries have adopted to) for another 2 years BUT HAVING TWO OF THE main contendors alongside or make it three.Paruyr Hairikian,Raffi and Hrant Bagratian,eac with their relative abilities and capabilities together to run the country.Pres.stays as S.Sargsyan, Vice President(why not hav e that new position in our Homeland,any objections????then Raffi to be like before the FM, Bagratian with others of his stature or even new Econmists at that post etc., all Parliament members to be re shuffled,Minsitres too.
    IN SHORT A CONCILLIATORY GOVERNMENT with a TRANSITIONAL Stance.Later indeed, when things improve in RA to go for other much more studied constitution,or revise latter to BE the best of its kind.
    Best to all,

  19. Mihran,
    Corruption, injustices are present everywhere, even in developed countries such as the USA, EU.. so?? The path that must be followed regarding our Armenia, is that which lies in the expertise of an intelligent, experienced and wise man. Serj Sargsyan embodies these three points.
    Instead of continuing to criticize him, support him and give him more strength, more love. Because sooner or later you will support our President one way or another. Do not waste your time, his time and our time with your whims!

    On another thread on this forum the debate is on,entitled ¨A New Flood…¨
    I shall be very brief to those like Avery(please Avery don´t get alarmed,just as an example I mention you).Here goes…..
    1.The elections have been sequestrado(I think the English language also uses the word) sequestered??.No doubt about that.Whether officially or extraofficially.
    2. I prefer this colum(thread) entitled ¨THIS MOVEMENT IS UNSTOPPABLE…¨¨
    Something(fortunatley , Not like an insurgency) is happening in Armenia,which might change the MODUS VIVENDI…that to which it had been DIRECTED/conducted by an OLD SCHOLA(Russian word) schooling mentality.
    3.Presently the ( I prefer) CONVERGENCE & CONCILLIATORY MODE IS WHAT SUITS the said movement.Anything not peacefull and violent-like may HINDER IT.Believe you me ,the Mahatma Gandhi Like (now ,MY SUGGESTION) TRANSITIONAL*-CONCILLIATORY , by and by advancing ,much more preferrable and S A F E, for the population and those away.
    We need to compromis and Converge at some COMMON DENOMINATOR!!!
    Thisn, within a period when(don´t forget please)THE MIDDLE EAST IS in Upheavals!!!!
    I trust in the wisdom of a majority of our people that will stay CALM,DETERMINED TO FORGE AHEAD PEACEFULLY.

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