Tankian to Sarkisian: End Avalanche of Corruption and Injustice!

In an open letter  to President Serge Sarkisian on Feb 25, artist and human rights activist Serj Tankian demanded an end to corruption and injustice in Armenia, asking the president to unite and inspire Armenians instead.

“Like most diasporan Armenians, I have always been reluctant to criticize your government directly and publicly. But the avalanche of people suffering under your rule due to corruption and injustice is tipping the scale for us all,” Tankian said in the letter, provided below, in full.

A few hours after the release of Tankian’s letter, the president’s website posted Sarkisian’s response.

Serj Tankian during an interview with the Armenian Weekly in 2011. (Photo by Aaron Spagnolo)
Serj Tankian during an interview with the Armenian Weekly in 2011. (Photo by Aaron Spagnolo)


Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on your victory.

Victory means getting the most votes, of course, in a democracy.

Based on the overwhelming reported fraud from many NGOs, irrespective of the OSCE report, it seems like it would be scientifically impossible for even you, Mr. President, to know whether you actually won the majority of votes.

That’s quite funny isn’t it? That you, the President of Armenia are not really sure, deep inside, whether you are the true chosen leader of your people or not.

That would really bother me personally. If I wanted to lead my people, I would really want them to make that decision for themselves, because I respect my people and that is their decision to make. Otherwise, I would take over Armenia and call myself the Governor General of Armenia or Dictator du jour or whatever moniker I felt like sporting that day. Maybe your party is out of control and the oligarchs are running out of caviar or something and they want to make sure that the flow of the good times doesn’t stop.

Whatever the case, it is time for change.

Whether you’ve won fairly or not, somehow you are now President, again.

What does that mean to you?

Yes, Artsakh is important to us all and we have to struggle together for our brothers there.

But what I mean is how are you going to progress the cause of Armenians, in Armenia and around the world?

How are you going to help pull the country out of its economic, social, and political dysfunction and turmoil?

Obama at least offers hope, even when he lets us down.

Years ago, I started a campaign asking President Obama to do the right thing and stick by his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

You too took an oath, to the constitution of Armenia, to protect the country from enemies foreign and domestic. Those who steal elections from my people are domestic enemies that need to be punished.

It should be your duty to enforce that, even if some think it hypocritical. You should also consider dissolving Parliament and being the first Armenian reformist President who goes out of his way to make sure that future elections are fair and representational.

Serzh, everyone who knows me knows that I can’t stand injustice. And like most diasporan Armenians, I have always been reluctant to criticize your government directly and publicly. But the avalanche of people suffering under your rule due to corruption and injustice is tipping the scale for us all.

You need to know that.

Armenia is desperate for the rule of law more than anything else. And no one can be above the law. You can make that happen, now, by example and presidential decree.

Unite us Serzh. Inspire us.

Please take this challenge.

Thank you for your time.

Serj Tankian


  1. From figures of this magnitude in general, sometimes there are certain ways of saying things, some are good and are skilled and some are clumsy and would better shut up. They are easily catched up by demagoguery as well.
    I love what Serj Tankian does as an artist, I also respect his actions for the Armenian cause, but this time I would have preferred him to act maybe a bit differently. He already had the opportunity to meet President Sargsyan in Yerevan in a recent past am I wrong ? Did he expressed his concerns in person? If yes then it’s fine, if not he should have done it. Regarding the recent elections, he could have simply congratulate the President properly without spread, in an offcial letter, and probably go and meet him again and talk face to face.
    While he is requesting from the President to unify us, he is nevertheless creating some animosity…This is my opinion.
    But again I like Serj, I think he must remain focused…
    I think some people will understand me quite well.

    • So you don’t agree that corruption in Armenia should be reduced? You want nothing to be done about it? Have you had to deal with corruption in your life? Were you ok with it?

  2. Pat I disagree with you.

    Serj Tankian has written a respectful letter, while at the same time encouraging needed change. He simply asked the sitting President of Armenia to rise to the challenges before him, to prosecute corruption, and to provide fairness and hope to the people of Armenia.

    What do you find objectionable about this?

  3. Mr. Tankian:

    You calling the duly elected President of Armenia “Serzh” and addressing him as if he is your son shows why he won by a landslide: same uncouth behaviour from Mr. Hovanissian when he met President Sarkisian one-on-one.

    And about 20 years ago when you and your buddies were partying, travelling all over the world, having a great time, President Sarkisian was fighting in muck and dirt. Watching his buddies get shot up and blown to pieces.
    While you and your buddies were romancing the babes, men like President Sarkisian were picking up dead and broken bodies of their buddies.
    If it weren’t for men and women like Pres. Sarkisian, 10s of thousands of them, there would be no Independent NKR.
    And Armenia would be a very small, vulnerable littler republic slowly withering on the vine.

    Mr. Tankian, you haven’t earned the right to call the President of Armenia “Serzh”.

    And what NGOs are you hallucinating about ?
    Their hallucinations are more credible than OCSE and everybody else ?
    Pres Sargisian does know he really, actually, factually won the majority of the votes: 58% of the 1,519,000 votes cast.
    And I doubt very much he is bothered by the irrationality of Mr. Hovanissian and his followers who are convinced – absolutely, positively convinced – that 37% is a larger number than 58%.
    How do I know that ? Mr. Hovanissian had a 1.5 hour meeting with Pres Sargisian where he ‘demanded’ (presumably) he ‘transfer power’ (!).
    He demanded (presumably) that Pres Sargisian call a new Presidential election (!), which would be against RoA Constitution, btw.
    Mr. Hovanissian was talking to a brick wall for 1.5 hours, that’s how I know.
    Someone who has seen death and destruction on a scale the Armenian fighters in the NKR war have seen cannot be bothered by a mercurial, irrational man who shows up to a meeting with the seating President of the Republic he is a citizen of in jeans and deliberately disrespects him.

    Nope, he is not bothered.

    • “While you and your buddies were romancing the babes, men like President Sarkisian were picking up dead and broken bodies of their buddies.
      If it weren’t for men and women like Pres. Sarkisian, 10s of thousands of them, there would be no Independent NKR.
      And Armenia would be a very small, vulnerable littler republic slowly withering on the vine.”

      What reality did this happen in? And WHO THE HELL IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would prefer someone with post-traumatic stress disorder to lead their country rather than someone who, for his entire life, has trained and educated himself for one single purpose? You’re telling me you’d trust your country in the hands of someone “who has seen death and destruction”? I personally would rather have the guy that doesn’t have psychological issues.

      NEWSFLASH: Armenia IS a very small and vulnerable little republic slowly withering on the vine. In fact, the freaking vine is burning at this point.

      Also, SERZH is not below or above anyone.

    • You are very mistaken!!!! There are no 1,5 millions voters in Armenia!Therefore he deserves to be called “serj”,because he admits that his brother ruling and doing what he wants in Armenia

    • Gigo:

      View this video by Immortal Armenian National Hero, Sparapet Vazgen Sargsyan. Hear what he says about President Serzh Sargsyan.
      And get you head out of your a_______.

      [Vazgen Sargsyan – interview (January, 1998) – part2]

      And little mamas boys like you squealing about post traumatic symptom is beneath contempt: if you go to NKR and see an Azeri coming at you with a bloodied axe, you will p___ and s____ your pants and run screaming like a little frightened girl to hide behind one of the MEN that will be standing their ground and taking on Axeri invaders. The same kind of MAN that you disrespect, you…

    • Nicely said. Although Paron Serj Sarkisyan is not the best president, he is far better than the other candidates he was facing.

    • “I personally would rather have the guy that doesn’t have psychological issues.”

      Wow, you guys are like Fox news here twisting the truth until it bends your way. They are for our troops when these troops fight for sponsor corporations and they are at the same time against the “big government” and taxes that pay for these damaged in combat. People like this limit their support to placing a yellow ribbon “Support our troops” on their gas guzzlers.

      And back to psychological issues… Have you been to a SOAD’s concert? Have you talked to Mr. Tankian in person?

      And how were you able to diagnose President Sarkisian as “someone with post-traumatic stress disorder”?

  4. I am in full agreement with Serj and Boyajian.

    Well said Serj,I have been saying this for a while now,we don’t need corruption and injustices dished out by CORRUPT SERZH and his CORRUPT RPA party.

    • Serj Tankian is much more popular on the world scale and more patriotic on the national level than Sragsyan. There is, indeed, nothing to add to this!

  5. 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.

    Serj T. is pointing this out.

  6. Armenia deserved to have better president , than Serge, who can be more nationalist and much more intelligent and well educated, and fight against country’s corrupted justice system effectively with an open hand!!

  7. MK; At the rate people are “voting with their feet,” it won’t be long before our country is ready for invasion and take-over.

  8. Hey Avery,
    You keep referring to %s again and again.Hold it there.We know,like the little girl who completely refuted/refused the other -OSCE Minsk group´s counts!!!!
    Let´s get back to War in NK.You very conveniently forget there were thousands of freedom fighters there with JOGAD leadrs such as Monte,many of them!!!!!!
    As to what actually transpired there(nothing to do with this election stuff ,now), regret fully you don´t have Armenian TV.channels or do you.Sicne a ouple weeks or so General Arkady Ter Taevossian(Comandos,nickname) has exposed that HE on his own as commander ,with followers disobeyed LTP and his Govt. and prepared attack to LIBERATE SHOUHSI AND KHOJALI!!!
    Yes ,nobody dares to silence Comandos,not even Serj Sargsyan,because Comandos has all THE FREEDOM LOVING JOGAD SOLDIERS AND the people lof Artsakh PLUS ALL OF US IN HAYASTAN AND GLOBALLY APPROVED WHAT HAPPNED THERE.
    YOU SEE i BROUGH THIS IN TO SHOW TO YOU THAT never can truth be covered up for long…..
    I am not in agreement with you that Raffi is disrespecting Pres. Sargsyan.He is trying hard to (even apparel wise and many other democratically accepted thigns IN FREE COIUNTRIES) introduce that ALL ARE EQUAL ,no one is above LAW.One more thing.I persoannly (and all ,indeed who wish change)will have to swallow what the POWERS THROUGH their man shove done our throats..but for how long…IS THE QUESTION?????
    Right at this minute on Armenia´s Channel H1 (Govt. sponsored) is repeating above,re Khojali and Shoushi and and interview with…
    So cheer up I do not prompt(am quite reserved and carefull,so you or others will not blame me as inciting REVOLT) far from it BUT PEACEFULLY DEMANDING ,,,,,,,why not????? the democratic (so called)way.don´t worry.Wecannot but do otherwise because a mUCH LARGER CAUSE THAT OF DEFENSE AGAINST OUR BEAUTIFULL ADVERSAIES(ENEMIES???) IS THERE. oNE MORE THING i DO ACCEPT THAT cAPITALIM TRIUMPHED,BUT RECENTLY IT IS SHOWING SOME…..you tell me?
    So I prefer that is my previlege DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM.To make the ones who don´t know it closely it is like in Finland ,Sweden …Armenian poor need to be attended to.Do you visit armenia? I go every year.Go vist some villages, near or far from Yerevan.O.K….please

  9. Sarkissian is a thief like the last guy before him that lined his pockets with hundreds of millions of dollars. Someone please tell me what “armenian lottery” did Kocharian win? Its seems that Armenians, once put in position of power, will abuse that power especially at the expense of their own..

    THis is NOT acceptable.

    • Maybe he should, Pat. We cannot speak for Tankian. But even if he won’t, he’s doing admirable political activism in the US and environmental activism in Armenia. If Tankian runs for president, I sense he’d avoid vote-rigging in his favor.

  10. Forget the last guy and also the one before, even if there are some real points, you err putting the current President in the same package.

    • Pat,
      i don’t believe im in err. Nothing meaningful has changed since the last guy became wealthy beyond imagination as a direct result of the position he was in … Even our current US ambassador recently stated that economic growth is hindered as a direct result of the bribe/corrupt system currently in place…

  11. I was reading the article of the editor “Agos” weekly, who was in Yerevan for this election. He asked randomly to many people from different levels, and the answer was “no” to the Mr. Sarkissian. No one said that, they were going to vote for him. This is very interesting, he was from outside and just trying to find out the truth. So it shows that Mr. Adibekian (soiologist) and Avery were wrong completely. I have no idea that some people are backing this corrupt president and his mafia clan.

  12. An Open Message to Serj…… you are a true role model for the the youth in Armenia and around the world… you are a living testimony that with hard work, integrity and believing in self,. DREAMS COME TRUE….our young generation look up to you Serj..so, please STEP UP THE PLATE… JOIN US for SOLIDARITY MARCH on March 3rd at 11:30 in front of Armenian Church in Glendale…. PUT YOUR WORDS into Action.

    I have sent an invitation email to your manager and hope to see you and others on Sunday.

    Thank you

  13. Nakh arajine uzum em asel: WELL DONE Mr. Tankian.
    Ov, vor kartsum e, vor Hayastani naxagahakan entrutyunnere yexel en azniv u ardar, apa shat e sxalvum. Hayastanum yerbeq vochinch ardar u azniv chi yexel, yete pashtoni masin harc e yexel. Ameninch el kanein, vor pashtoni hasnein. Ankax nranic, te ivijaki en karavarel, amur miacnel irar mi azg, vore tsvrvac e amboxj ashxarhov mek. Yes inqs Hayastan chem aprum, bayc indz tvum e, vor bavakanin haytenasirutyan zgacum unem, vor indz hetaqrqrum e im Hayastani iravijake. Vor vochmi orenq Chi gorcum. Vochmi orenq, est mer hayastani sahmanadrutyane mej kazmvac. Chka xosqi azatutyun. Chka vochmi azatutyun. Voch azat aprel, voch xosel, azat mtacel, azat mrcaqcutyun…. . Orenqe aysor nran e ov dram uni. Orenqe miayn tuylin e patjum. Da e hayastani azatutyun, ankaxutyun ev havasarutyune? Nman karavarutyane es im dzayns chei ta u chem karcum, vor mec mase da arel en. Heriq e!!!!! Popoxutyun e petq!!! Hayastane ev orenqe ujexine chi!! Bolorins e! Joxovurd menq enq hayastane miayn menq. Menq enq patasxan talu mer zavaknerin te inchu enq ays anardarutyune tesnelis duerqners calac lrum. Petq e payqarel mi nor paycar hayastan vortex ardarutyune ktiri.

  14. 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


    • This is why Iranian Turks have an eye on Armenia women in villages, in order to create new harems out of them, just like during Ottomans. Shame on Sergik and those “nationalist” oligarchs, where their pocket is more important than being an Armenian!!

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