Sarkisian to Tankian: I Organized the Best Elections

A few hours after the release of Serj Tankian’s open letter to President Sarkisian, the website of the president of Armenia posted Sarkisian’s response (in English and Armenian). We provide the English text below, as it appeared on the president’s website, without editing.

Tankian (R) and Sarkisian
Tankian (R) and Sarkisian


Dear Serj,

My younger grandson is also our namesake. He is too young to know that he was born to descend a proud nation, small, overburdened with issues but still a citizen of a victorious and forward-looking country. He still has a lot to learn. Serj, you and me, all of us, shall report to him and his generation on what we have done, on what kind of a new homeland under Holy Mountain we convey them. Can you imagine questioning eyes of those to whom we shall report? You and me, Serj, all of us. Those eyes are childish and playful but tomorrow they are going to be serious and investigating.

What shall I tell them, Serj? Shall I tell them that I promised my people Secure Armenia, that I organized the best elections (even if with shortcomings, which, nevertheless, could not have had any significant impact on the outcome of the vote) in the 21-year long history of our country, and I could not have been able to consolidate all of our people and show them the path to the future? Shall I tell them that I took it serious and did even discuss “ultimate truths” stemming from thin air that has no relation to the state and statehood whatsoever? That is a mine, Serj, a mine threatening our coming several decades that will lead us to inevitable self-destruction. Our duty is to throw away mines that undermine our path towards development. The agenda of establishing law and order cannot be implemented by illegal means. Such an agenda will come to its end swiftly through similarly illegal ways.

I think little Serzh is going to be fan of your music, and what are we going to tell him when he asks us:

“Was the philosophy of displaced mines the bombing of all homes and villages?”

This is a State, Serj. We have dreamt about it extremely long. This State is yours and mine; it is the State of all of us. It is the State of little Serzh and of wonderful children of the Hovannisian family. It is the State of all our children and grandchildren. We have a paradise homeland, and our duty is to build a strong State. We have to build it together, Serj. The mines planted today will be threatening our children tomorrow, they will become Bellum omnium contra omnes, or the “the war of all against all”. And growing child will ask you:

“Where do you expect us to go when the bombs fall, Serj?”

What is our response going to be to them? Is it going to be that years ago we have been romantic and did not understand it? Is that our response? They will not believe us, Serj. They will read this letter and conclude most certainly:

“You saw it all when you looked forward, why did you go there?”

That is not our path. We are comrades on the matter of the path we embark upon. Indeed, it is time for change. Nobody can be above the law. Falsification and hypocrisy, impudence and hostility will destroy drop by drop and steadily our ability to cry wholeheartedly: “Freedom, we are free”. We need to do that in order to call upon all: “Back To the River Aras!” We need to do that, Serj, in order to embolden ourselves to look into the eyes and respond to the questions of little Serzh and of their generation.

For that exact matter I do need your assistance, and assistance of all of us be they from Glendale or Stepanakert, from Melbourne or Moscow. I believe in our collective victory.

And in conclusion I will address your question. You asked me if I was really sure, deep inside, whether I was the true chosen leader of our people or not. I respond to it that I have always been sure in whatever I have done be that battle command or organization of elections. One needs to feel Armenia, Serj, and it is not possible to feel it siting in an expensive office in downtown Yerevan, even if one sits there for too long. Armenia can be felt standing on the rocky land of a hamlet that struggles to continue its eternal path. Armenia can be felt of the green of flowers planted at a cemetery of our freedom fighters. Armenia spoke up, Serj, believe me.

That is all I wanted to tell you.

Please convey my best regards to your father, and let the proud message of the spring stork prevent us from choosing a wrong path.



  1. Mr. president bobed and weaved around Mr. Tankians letter, without even answering any of the missgivings, of that the letter addressed.
    What did we expect,there was no (election), there was voting only by the 55% of the electrate.

  2. From 2008 till 2012 (during the term of Sarkisian), the foreign debt of Armenia increased from $1.37 Billions to $7.34 Billion. (ref : Obviously, The common people did not benefit from this (with 35% below the poverty line, and more than 100,000 having to leave the country) Where did the money go?

  3. The net result of corrupt serzh’s reign in Armenia is that a minimum of 70,000 per year young Armenians immigrating to different countries,they are voting with their feet against corruption,injustices,fraud,just to name a few.
    At this rate there wont be a young population left in Armenia,there will be only pensioners left.

    The response is just laughable to say the least,he hasn’t answered the main points,corruption,injustices,and fraud.

  4. When an early fire has been extinguished by valiant firefighters, it would be unfair to try to relight it.

    The President’s response is wise, well thought out and fair. and that is to his credit. There is nothing more to add.

  5. Forget all that, how about the fact that this “president” responds to US rock singers but not his own people? He held no debates, no press conferences, very few comments since “winning”. Really?

  6. I want to apologize to the Armenian Weekly for the above misunderstanding. As the editor’s note states before the article, the english version has been posted on the President’s website and therefore, the entire translation is the reponsibility of the Office of the President.
    Therefore I shall address my criticism to his website.
    It is shameful that the President of Armenia publish an article of this poor quality.

  7. On my facebook news feeds, I havent seen anyone supporting Sarsgyan from the thousands of “friends” i have.. I think that really means something..

    • Do not be so surprised !
      Don’t you know the saying : “birds of a feather flock together” ?

  8. People want a compassionate government that understand the daily hardships of the embattled citizen, and works with the people to alleviate and resolve hardships.

    People want to be treated intelligently and equally under the law [enforce laws equally on all citizens].

    People will not leave Armenia if they have equal chance and treated with compassion and equality.

    People want an end to business monopolies, people want an end to oligarchs running business out of the parliament.

    Serj does a good job for Armenia’s security and military. It needs to be balanced with Raffi’s rule of law and government that is formed by the ordinary citizens and works for the well being of all citizens (jobs, health, economy, investments, and above all absolute rule of all on all citizens.

    Raffi needs to appeal to the good people in the Republican party and split the Republicans. Raffi needs to work with people such as defense minister Seyran Ohanian, and other lower ranks in the Republican party to join him.

  9. Mr. President,

    We Armenians like to hear emotional words and we immediately tie dreams to those emotional words and we think they become a reality! I want to see deeds and actions and not dreams in your letter. Armenians have lost leadership for centuries we need to use microscopes to find leaders in our history…
    If you want your name to go in history as a leader who brought the Armenian nation together this is what I will do:

    1- I will bring Raffi Hovanessian as a prime minister or foreign minister.
    2- As an ally to Russia I would ask President Putin to heavily invest in Armenia in creating industries or even job creation programs this should be a drop of water in the ocean for Russia.
    3- There should be so many jobs that there should be shortage of laborers
    4- There should be OPEN reports identifying and pinpointing the reasons of failures for so many investments in Armenia especially diaspora’s.
    5- Armenian foreign ministry and diplomatic corps should be well trained educated, to be ACTIVE in promoting and attracting Armenia. They are boring, uninterested and lost their mission! Active does not mean going from one Armenian function to another!
    6- Open study why so many Armenian citizens are migrating from Armenia? What is the solution to bring them back? I cannot see Armenian villages empty of men! What are the plans?
    7- For 98 years the Diaspora did not create a legal representation body. Even more the Republic of Armenia and the Diaspora TOGETHER do not have a clear road-map of Armenian demands… As of today only Armenia can take that action as a legal entity, I would get a top notch legal team together put a strategy and take Ottoman Turkey and its successor to International Criminal Court for justice & restitution… I will let the musicians, artists and the cultural entities do their part for the 100th Anniversary but I will focus my energies on the world court!

    Mr. President this is only part of my dreams, once you start in this direction with open book without preferential status or selective justice, you will see your popularity and how all Armenians from the four corners of the earth will pour in investments into Armenia…. Until then I want to dream…

    Missak Keleshian California

    • Hi Missak,
      I like your roadmap above. Wouldn’t it be nice if at least 80% of your suggestions Mr. Sarkisian achieves? Him and Raffi actually could work together for the well-being of Armenia. Why not, they can both move forward after the elections and put their heads together as well as their collaboration for the good of theirs and our beloved state. Your suggestions sounds good to me if only they both make it happen.

  10. Well…I am here as one turk here, on this forum addressed me as¨Agh Sakkal¨,which means ,white bearded….
    In may Write that today will go out to our press,whether N.America,.S.America ,Europe,Russia Sydney ,Austrailia ARMENIA etc., is to this effect:-Brief format!!
    and wrote that before reading Serj Tankian´s popen letter to S.Sargsyan.
    ¨Irradiation-splendor,morning of light Year 2013,Feb.18th.Appears it is the Sunset of our persecuted people.We are being cooperative.Great gradnson of Khrimian Hairik,Paruyr Hairikian..A voice reverberated from Erzeroum´s Mounts,where Raffi´s mother is from,yes also Hrant who is the saviour of our farmers w/cracked hands..have risen and will carve the independent REAL HAYASTAN.And no power can pevent our triumphal march,since ours is OURS.¨ Let´s walk Forward…
    Let those who have not as yet grasped the LEGACY handed own to us,stray around ,untill DESPERTAR(wake up)and completely affected.
    Then I reiteerate my advocated grouping into Profession-wise PCA´s Prof.Colleagues ASSoc., become well organized in hundreds of thousands..OUR HUMAN RESOURCES that one and…
    Objectives?? Time is for the following.-
    1. Repatriation,leanming upon ONLY our own resrouces(above)and Economic Power-
    2.Struggle to get global Recognition of Armenian Genocide
    3.Condemnation of the Genocide State(heirs) globally
    4.And finally our Just demand for BLOOD MONEY of our 1.5 million martyrs.
    In short now. The past two decades leadership of our re- independet RA braked the march,becasue of their dream remembering, still excercising with the same on mind( inherited from ex-soviet fake calls of brotherhood) .Time to abandon the destructive ¨equality -brotherhood ¨calls of the past…
    and having. chosen another destructive alternative of thewild free market economy, that ketp the fatherland stationary….astrayed in that direction.
    Let´s return to the REAL Democratic-Socialism (not to mistake with ex soviet one) of the the Scandinavian type… and why NOT ,OUR OWN SUCH …
    Let´s believe only in those who not only SPEAK BUT ACT AS WELL…..
    And also listen to our YOUNG onesw suggestions,as the future belongs to them.
    presented by Gaytzag Palandjian,the KHAYE, the Armenian… Raffi put it NO PREO- RUSSIA AND NO PRO -AMERICA

  11. Raffi is a dilettante.. And those who close eyes on this are going to regret. Pr. Serje Sarkissyan is on the other hand is wise, calm and collected. I am surprized we have even this much people to vote for Raffi.

    • Ani
      What about the horrible corruption and mafia style run government? Or do you think it just doesn’t exist and we are all making things up? Or, do you think that its Sarkissians right to line his pocket with hudreds of millions at the expense of his peoples?

      Which is it?

    • John: do you have any proof that he lined up his pockets with, quote, ‘hundreds of millions’ ?

      If you do post links to a few credible sources, so we can verify it independently.
      Maybe you are right.

      If I said Raffi Hovanissian has denied the Armenian Genocide on at least one occasion – would you believe me ?

    • Ani:

      Somewhat unexpected he got 37%, but not very surprising.
      Mr. Hovanissian ran a good, charismatic campaign: American style.
      He traveled the country, told people what they wanted to hear.
      He also benefited from the fact that Dodi Gago and LTP bowed out:
      Mr. Hovanissian got the huge chunk of the protest vote that otherwise would have gone to those two. There is a protest vote in every election.

      And what other choices were there ?
      A nutcase that ‘campaigned’ by going on a hunger strike in a tent like a homeless man ?
      An unemployed guy ?
      Somebody who got shot in very mysterious circumstances, and who said he got shot by a foreigner, then said “yeah, one of the two Armenians arrested looks like the guy that shot me, but I said foreigner before so as not to tip him off….”. He was gonna invoke his right to postpone the election by two weeks, then he is not, then he is….then he is not.

      Like it not, Mr. Hovanissian was the most sane of those challenging the incumbent. Goes to show you what a circus it was.

    • Avery

      I think it is completely disrespectful calling Andrias Ghukasyan a nutcase; he was the one trying to bring attention the fake elections as you do so yourself now.

      Paruyr Hayrikyan blames the Russian imperialism for the attack. The person who physically shot the gun is besides the point. He could barely campaign due to pain but did not postpone the elections. His policies are far superior and democratic than Raffi’s. However Raffi is a much better speaker and warms to people – a peoples person.

      Unfortunately, Raffi has no idea what he is doing or what his next steps should be. I wish him luck.

  12. I’m actually surprised that Serzh quoted a bunch of SoaD songs in his response. Doesn’t make his response any better, just interesting.

  13. Phony President Sarkisians letter back to Serj tankian is a joke….Ok first. What is he talking about? bomb us? who is going to bomb us? we have neither oil or gold, we have stone monastery’s, museums, rivers, and mountains, The letter sounds like poetry from the mountain of bullshit. If he means Azerbaijan, Sarkisian needs to explain what is it that he’s doing that’s stopping them from doing something stupid, It sounds like he’s just fear mongering in the letter so people can doubt Raffi. Basically saying because I’m here we are going to be safe. Mr. President!!! 10 people have already died because your cronies have killed them in protest. maybe it’s you the people need to be scared of. The first important problem to resolve is fair elections, whatever happens afterwards is not his business alone, Its everyone’s business and every one’s fault or fortune. Because the people have picked who they want by free fair democratic elections. Serj Tankian is talking apples and Sarkisian is on planet mars rehearsing poetry….

  14. I have never come across so much bullshit in my life from this corrupt serzh.

    If they are so happy and he is doing such a good job, how come so many people are leaving Armenia,I see its about 70000 per year at this rate will there wont be an Armenia to talk about.

    Very sad.

    • Where did you get this number? 70,000 per year? When was it? Is it an average for the last 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?

      While some people leave, others come. For example, Gor Ghazaryan, a 21 yo Armenian soldier who was killed by an Azeri Turk sniper last week, CAME to Armenia from Russia where he grew up to serve in Artsakh army.

      He was the only son of his parents. Raffi has four sons. Did they serve in Armenian army?

  15. I hope that one day candidates who run to become presidents of Armenia will be courageous enough to recognize that they have not been elected. Is it not ridiculous to tell people that they have won the election. They were not candidates. Is it not riiculodous that we are giving you back Armenia. Is it not ridiculous for the first president Levon Ter Bedrossian to declare that Raffi has won the election but he has not a plan of action? Is it not ridiculous for us Armenians that people can not be killed in a Mc Donald’s in America when chilren are killed in schools? Is it not ridiculous to compare world’s most powerful country with Armenia? After all are we Armenians or not? When we will learn to respect one another an stop to give lessons to our brothers and sisters in Armenia? PEACE. PLEASE TO ALL OF US WINNERS AND LOSERS.

  16. Serzh’s response shows why he needs to go. He thinks he can keep feeding his people the same lies and expect them to buy it.

    Folks, as I wrote on another post, we the Armenians in the diaspora need to act, and that means getting our voice heard in support of the people in Armenia. They need it and deserve it. As Tlkatintsi wrote earlier, the Armenian Bar Association in Los Angeles has already voiced its support for Raffi, naming him the president. Here are the Hetq articles on their strong statement:

    The rest of us should voice our support as well. We should put pressure on our local Armenian consulates. Letters, emails, any peaceful means. We need to let them know that the Diaspora will not tolerate another stolen election. We should hold protests before the consulates. Tomorrow, 2/27/13, there is a protest before the Azerbaijani consulate for the Sumgait massacre. We can protest before the Armenian consulate afterwards, or the next day, to show that we the Diasporans can voice our anger both against the Azeri murderers and our own thugs at the same time.

    We should also call or write to our local organizations, ANCA, ARF, even the archbishops, to pressure them to make public statements supporting Raffi and his presidency. Our people need our moral support.

  17. Mary, I agree with you, ruling Armenia by such corrupted selfish leaderships Armenia will be obliterate within 20/30 years. I hope I will not see such a terrible obliteration during my life time.

  18. I don’t believe he wrote that letter.That was so poetic and meaningless. He never give the right answer to the questions and always escapes.Basically he was reading his speeches written by his speech writers. He does not have the time and, capacity to do that.

  19. It’s quite annoying how he mentions Serj’s name in the middle or at the end of every sentence. It makes him sound like an angry bully who is having a temper tantrum towards someone who’s standing up to him. Grow up “Mr. President” not everything is about you and you certainly can’t have it all. Now it’s time for you to let go of your childish lust for power and time to see the bigger picture, the reality of “your”, more precisely, our country that is in bad shape. You have had 5 years to your reign to make a change, but you have showed the people of Armenia that you are clearly not the right choice. You have shown no concern about their well-being and future which was proven by the many protests that take place almost every day in the country. That is an indication that the citizens are not happy. Please do us all a favor and to yourself by stepping down and accepting defeat for once. You will learn humility and help your people a great deal in establishing real security and real progress. You will be glad to have done the right thing, and all Armenians will then show you real respect. Thank you.

  20. I live in Australia, (not Glendale – fortunatelay). I’m not sure what is the difficulty of understanding such a clear message. Perhaps he should use an
    American interpreter or better still Armenians should read the Armenian version. (I almost forgot…most cannot read).
    This President is obviously pocketing all the Armenian wealth pouring in from the sales of ARMENIAN OIL, ARMENIAN GAS, ARMENIAN TOURIST ETC. ETC.
    He should be stopped emmediately and all his wealth distributed amongst the common people (just as it is in America the great).
    Now I too feel good and useful…

  21. Armenia Migration Exodus Creates Women-Only Villages

    An estimated 60,000 Armenians are leaving their country each year in search of a better life, and the mass exodus has caused a startling new trend: whole villages populated almost entirely by women.

    A Very Dangerous Situation for Armenia

    During the past eight years alone, between 1992 to July 2010, more than 1.1 million people emigrated from Armenia, according to the Migration service. The majority of Armenians emigrate to Russia and Ukraine, specially to Moscow, but also to Altay, Voronezh (where there are aircraft factories), Kaliningrad, Kaluga, and other regions. Russia offers palatable conditions, gives them homes, offers work, transportation expenses of their belongings and bonus money — a one time deal somewhere between $4000 to $5000 and specially gives them citizenship within a year. It is the Russian law to lure migrants, people unhappy in the Motherland. According to some figures, 70,000 people leave Armenia annually while other place the figure higher.

    To Greener Shores: A Detailed Report on Emigration from Armenia

  22. And many of these women, without men or means to support themselves, become victims of trafficking and end up as sex-slaves in Turkey and elsewhere.This is destroying the very social fabric of Armenia. And people are still asking how Serzh’s regime is destroying Armenia.


  24. “….And in conclusion I will address your question. You asked me if I was really sure, deep inside, whether I was the true chosen leader of our people or not. I respond to it that I have always been sure in whatever I have done be that battle command or organization of elections. One needs to feel Armenia, Serj, …” What exactly does he mean by organization of elections dear police officers!?!?! oopps I guess the truth slips sooner or later!!!!!!!!!!! S.SARKISSYAN SLIPPED AND SAID HE ORGANIZED THE ELECTION!!!!! I THOUGHT HE WAS TO ONLY BE A CANDIDATE AND RUN!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.