Pashinyan will regret messing with me – Robert Kocharyan

12:37 • 13.09.18



Second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan has given an interview to Mediamax, sharing his thoughts over the prosecution against him in connection with the March 2008 post-electoral events and his views on the developments in the Armenian politics.


The interview was recorded early in the morning on September 11, hours before the wirerapped conversation between Director of the National Security Service Artur Vanetsyan and the chief of the Special Investigative Service, Sasun Khachatryan, was posted on YouTube.


Excerepts from the interview are provided below:


Mister Kocharyan, after your arrest media resources that oppose you conducted polls in the streets with the majority of people speaking negatively about you. Media resources that support you have conducted their own polls and the picture was different. Are you ready to make an experiment, walk in the streets of Yerevan, Gyumri or Vanadzor and talk to people to find out what their real attitude towards you is? 


I think such interaction with people will not be quite representative. There are better methods of estimating public opinion, and my team is currently working in that direction. I have never had a problem in terms of going out and meeting with people. I have almost always traveled alone over the past years, met a lot of people, and I haven’t noticed negative attitude towards me. On the contrary, people approach me, take pictures and ask questions. 


The euphoria, which prevails in Armenia, deformed the situation in a way, but I think I have the necessary base for considering further actions. 


I would like to repeat that I am not afraid of meeting with the public, but it will hardly show the attitudes of people towards me. 


You pointed out to the euphoria. It came to replace the apathy in Armenian society, which you touch upon in your interviews over the recent years. Did what happened in April take you by surprise? 

 

No, not at all. I have already said that the seizure of Armenian police station in the summer of 2016 was “a yellow card” to Armenian political system. I was shocked when part of Armenian population estimated positively those terrorist actions. Three policemen were killed, but despite this, people who committed those crimes, received quite wide public support. I realized the level of discontent among people, so the developments in April 2018 did not take me by surprise. I was only amazed at how this turned into the so-called “velvet revolution”. 

 

Were you surprised that Nikol Pashinyan was the one to consolidate people and lead the protest movement without bloodshed? 

 

I think that the developments unfolded without blood not because of Nikol Pashinyan’s peaceful nature, but because the government did not take all the measures at its disposal. The government undertook passive resistance against the actions of the opposition. On the other hand, yes, I was surprised by the fact that Nikol Pashinyan was the one to lead the process – he, the leader of the bloc, which had only nine mandates in the parliament. In my view, they realized the “historical moment”, “caught the wave” and reached extraordinary success. 

 

While I was preparing for this interview, I read many of your interviews over the last ten years and I noticed that your criticism of the Armenian authorities was very similar to what Nikol Pashinyan said. I can see certain irony in the fact that the regime you both criticized has fallen but you and Pashinyan are now in opponents.

 

I always said I would express my opinion about all relevant issues, be that pension reform, constitutional amendments, economic policy. And I did.


Why I am at opposing poles with Nikol Pashinyan today? I don’t have a definite answer. Most likely, he sees me as some kind of a threat.

 

So again the confrontation moves into the personal, not ideological framework? Do you consider Nikol Pashinyan your enemy?


I am not used to applying these terms when I speak about political processes. But I think Nikol Pashinyan will regret messing with me. I do not think that the intimidated judge in the first instance court who considered my case hated me so much that he appointed the hearing at 01:30 am. I understand who wanted it to happen that way.


Tell us about your relationship with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. Did you go from colleagues to friends after your left the office or while you were still serving as president?


We had a very good friendly relationship when I was president and it remained the same way after I left the office. But I never flaunted that relationship or mentioned it at all.


Another favorite topic among your opponents deals with your property ownership. You called the claims about USD 4 billion “absurd”. As you return to political activity, are you ready to tell the real numbers and the sources of your income?


Yes, of course. There are two ongoing journalistic investigations and I think their results will be published soon. I believe the Armenian authorities are well-aware of what my family do and do not have. But the paradox is that the legend of 4 billion is damaging my reputation while being complete nonsense.





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