Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s visit to Aragatsotn Marz
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Today, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan paid a working visit to Aragatsotn Marz of Armenia. Nikol Pashinyan’s visit kicked off in the administration of Aragatsotn Marz with a meeting held with local community leaders.
Prior to discussing economic and agricultural issues, the Acting Prime Minister referred to the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for December 9, 2018: “First, I want to stress as follows: You may know that early parliamentary elections are expected shortly, and we have set a goal for these elections to be the best in our history. By saying this, I mean that the official results of the vote should reflect the will of the citizens of the Republic of Armenia. What needs to be done for this?
1. Eliminate any illegal influence on the will of voters. You know that the most popular method of recent years is the selective bribe, and the police and the law enforcement system as a whole received a very clear task so that any attempt to distribute bribes was severely punished. God forbid that there were attempts to distribute bribes anywhere, and I learned this information not from law enforcement agencies, but from the press, because I believe that the police of the Republic of Armenia should have up-to-date information on any such manifestation and at the level of preventive, preventive measures this problem must be solved.
2. In Armenia, there is an institute of “sending voters”, when owners, heads of companies invite people working in their companies and the community heads invite community residents and use specific levers in an effort to direct them to a specific vote. This phenomenon should also be eradicated from Armenia, because our task is to clearly state that every citizen of Armenia can make his choice without any extra help.
I also want to give my example: for many years I headed the largest newspaper in Armenia, I was the editor-in-chief, and this was an opposition newspaper. Of course, the staff was not very big, but there was no such case that I would ever tell any employee to vote for the candidate of my choice. I think this is disrespectful to people.
The meaning of the political process is as follows: politics is a public phenomenon, people see who the candidate is, read their election programs or listen to their comments and make a decision. Our task is to ensure that this election campaign is held in complete equality, that is, there should not be any obstacles for any political force during the election campaign. If the hall is accessible to any political force, and the law provides for this, then it must be accessible to others.
Today the freedom of mass media is a widely known fact, and television must be equally accessible to all. I do not want to say anything about the Internet, because international organizations have already classified Armenia as one of the countries with open access to the Internet, and we are in the list of the leading countries of the world, which is very pleasing.”
Then Nikol Pashinyan touched upon the current economic situation in Armenia, current trends, recorded indices and further steps. Speaking about the importance of structural changes in the economy, the Acting Prime Minister noted that a positive growth trend was recorded in October: “In October, we had a 3 percent increase in economic activity owing to industry, small and medium enterprises, and we have a 12 percent increase in exports after a decline last month. This shows that in our country a process of transformation of the economy is underway.”
Touching upon the development of agriculture, Nikol Pashinyan said that it is necessary to make serious changes in this area, so that hailstorms, pests and other adverse developments could not have a tangible impact on industry and on the development of the sphere, as a whole.
The Acting Premier talked about the effectiveness of the anti-hail system, noting that he had instructed the Minister of Emergency Situations to study their working cycle and present a conclusion. “Based on the information currently available, it can be said that with proper management, these stations can operate efficiently. Especially if they are locally produced, and we will continue to develop this direction, we will promote local production and get effective anti-hail protection,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
In his speech, the Acting Prime Minister touched upon the problems of the irrigation system and effective water management. Nikol Pashinyan stressed the importance of water conservation and spoke about the “shadow gardens.” “It turns out that there are 20 hectares of gardens in Armenia, which, since 1996, have not paid a penny for irrigation water. I said that there are “shadow gardens” that are not registered, and for this reason, we have had 60-80% loss of irrigation water in our country. This is non-sense, and this problem needs to be solved very quickly,” he said.
Nikol Pashinyan also spoke about the use of water resources by small hydropower plants, noting that as a result of inspections conducted at approximately 187 small hydropower stations, it turned out that 150 of them had no water meters installed. The acting prime minister stressed that the solution of these problems is important from the point of view of increasing the efficiency of agriculture, and their solution is one of the government's priorities, since agriculture has been and remains a strategic industry.
During the meeting with the heads of communities of the Aragatsotn region, Nikol Pashinyan touched upon the investment programs of the government. “At present, an investment package of industrial programs worth 500 million US dollars is being discussed, and should an agreements be reached over the construction of the proposed facilities in 2019, the economic image of our country would change to 180 degrees We are talking about the construction of several factories, and the government will do everything possible to realize all of this,” the Acting Prime Minister said.
Speaking about Armenia’s economic development prospects, Nikol Pashinyan said: “With regard to economic development, our strategy remains unchanged - the promotion of labor. For many years, poverty was encouraged in Armenia, since at that time the current political system was beneficial for people to be poor and take bribes. Our goal is to have the power in the Republic of Armenia that the people want to see. That is why a citizen of Armenia must be prosperous, and we want to encourage work. We need to change the system of social payments so that it encourages people to work, and not be poor.”
According to Nikol Pashinyan, the political changes resulted in de-monopolization and provided equal conditions for all: today there is no such economic activity prohibited in our country. A second sugar factory will be commissioned in the near future. Favorable conditions have been created for a person to earn his living in a dignified manner. “The Bible says: “Earn your bread with your own sweat.” In this logic, after the political changes that occurred in Armenia, we must reformulate our activities. Though we not so many, but we are a great nation. We are setting ourselves big tasks, and we need to work day and night for the sake of our country, for the sake of our children. Our children should live in a free and happy Armenia,” the Acting Prime Minister concluded.
Then the Acting Prime Minister answered questions related to irrigation water, agricultural insurance, cultural programs, etc.
Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the existence of an effective working atmosphere between the municipality of the region and the communities, which is important in terms of discussing further steps to identify and resolve existing problems.
As part of his working visit to Aragatsotn, Nikol Pashinyan also visited the Gourmet Durme chocolate producing company, a poultry farm and a pig farm in Aparan.
During the visit, the Acting Prime Minister familiarized himself with the process of investment programs, production volumes and development prospects. Gurme Durme was said to have completed the construction of a new factory. French-Armenian businessmen have invested 200 thousand euros in the new project. Currently the company employs 32 people. The output is sold on the local market. In 2018 the company started to export products to Moscow.
Nikol Pashinyan was told that 2 million euros had been invested in the local farm, which has some 40 thousand birds and 1000 pigs. The eggs produced are sold on the local market; pork will come to the market later this year.
The Acting Prime Minister welcomed the aforementioned investment programs, noting that the Government is prepared to discuss and support all those projects aimed at economic development and business expansion.
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Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with residents of Ashtarak and Aparan during his working visit to Aragatsotn Marz. In his speech addressed to Ashtarak residents, Nikol Pashinyan stated, in part:
“I am hereby greeting the proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia. These are not just words, because the revolution’s greatest achievement is our political will, civic stance and national pride; because pride and self-esteem is what matters most to us, while the rest is what we call a technical issue.
What has been the problem of our country? In our country the citizen did not feel himself. What has changed in our country? the citizen feels loyal to him. And I do not know what our government will do and what successes will be, but I know that the people of Armenia, the citizen of Armenia, will never overcome this victory.
The prime ministers, the governments, the National Assembly are transient; the surviving citizen is the only surviving, the only surviving children. And never a citizen of Armenia has the right, his dignity, his voice, his power to give up, because the citizen of Armenia is responsible not to the government, the citizen of Armenia is responsible for the future generations.
We used to build and are now building our present day, but we must also build our children’s future. And our greatest problem is to break the sense of despair.
We have broken the feeling of despair, the people have won, the people have won politically, but people need to have a winner’s feeling in economic terms.
We say that this revolutionary revolution must follow the economic revolution. During this time we have filled our souls, the pits of our consciousness. In the near future we have to fill the pits of our roads, the pits of our walls, and make our country prosperous.
But I always stress the same thing and I want to make this record very solid and strong at this stage as the revolution took place. I have had the opportunity to speak and speak for 10 years or more on this platform, and I have always said the same thing: the revolution will take place when each of us makes a move for the sake of the victory of that revolution.
The revolution took place not when I or our political team took some steps because we were constantly making steps, maybe it was a bit uncertain, and we were upset, but after all, The revolution took place when each of you made his own move.
We did not make the revolution, you did the revolution. This is not our victory, this is your victory. We are just glad to have been able to serve your victory because I have always considered my political mission to serve and say and say, our greatest mission is to become a land under the feet of our people that they stand firm upon us, direct their back and walk proudly on a simple front to a mighty state, a happy individual.
And I have come to tell you that you will no longer believe those who try to persuade us that we are a small, poor, helpless nation. We are still a small nation, but we are a great people.
We have been a great people and we will be a great people because our souls are strong and unstable because they have passed through genocide, massacres, poverty, persecution, we have not broken and won, we will not break and win.
We are a great people and we are expecting a great future because today we have managed to make great, we have been able to do that today, when we say to Armenia in any part of the world, they understand a powerful, proud people that without one victim has managed to do something that In other countries, tens of thousands of casualties have been slaughtered.
Last time I said these words during the revolution, but now I will say these words more often in the future. For a long time Armenia has been discussing that people do not believe in any political figure, do not believe in any political force.
I have always said and now I can repeat that you do not need us to believe in you, our problem is not that you believe in us, our task is that you believe in yourself, believe in your strength, believe in your talent, believe in hard work, believe in your power because you are powerful.
We believe that the Republic of Armenia will be one of the most powerful countries in the world just because we will create the necessary conditions for every citizen of Armenia to be able to earn a living with his fair sweat and hard work.
We say that Armenia is no longer a country of poverty; the Republic of Armenia is a land of wealth. We will create the opportunity for a citizen of Armenia to get richer and enrich others, work and create added value, the income we need for our national dreams.
We are small, but we will no longer go shrinking, instead we will grow. We will no longer say that we are few, but we are Armenians, we will say, we are many and we are Armenian, we are strong and we are Armenian, we are the winners and they are Armenian.
The name of Armenia, the name of Armenia every day, every weekday, every month and every year, is increasingly voiced around the world, because we are the people of Narekatsi, the people of Marshal Baghramyan, Tigran Mets and Hovhannes Tumanyan.
We are a nation that we are tired of losing. We are tired of losing our homeland, losing our land, losing one another, losing love and respect.
We will no longer gain and will have new achievements, and for that you need only one thing - each of you realize your power, realize your power, realize your greatness, see what you did.
You did something that all the analytical centers of the world considered impossible. They say that there can not be a change of power in Armenia.
Let us admit, many of you thought so, that they could not be. And our role was in just one thing. we have helped you to understand how powerful you are. And I love you for your might, I believe in you and bow before your power.
So, long live freedom! Long live the Republic of Armenia! We and our children are living and will live in a free and happy Armenia. I love all of you, I am proud of you all, I bow before you all.”
At the meeting with Aparan residents, Nikol Pashinyan recalled the day when he met them while passing by Aparan. “I remember what we talked about and that we agreed to win. We won together. You know, it does not matter, how many months have elapsed since April and May.
Every time there is a chance to congratulate you because many people seem to believe that victory is change the government or the prime minister in the country. It was not the victory, but the fact that you decided that changes should take place and who should be prime minister. The revolution’s pivotal meaning consisted in your decision, and you will do so in the future as well.
Governments will change, prime ministers will change, National Assembly will be changed, there will be no change, after which you will be the prime minister who will be a member of the National Assembly. This is revolution, this is your victory, and your victory is irreversible.”
Touching upon the snap parliamentary elections in December, the Acting Prime Minister said: “I want to say to all the citizens of Armenia, to all the voters: Do not let anyone tell you who to vote for. Follow political processes, campaigns, and make a decision on your own. Our country’s tragedies stemmed from the failure to make a free choice.
We say figuratively that we will cut the hand of those who give bribes. No one should try to humiliate the citizen of Armenia by offering 5, 10 or 20, at least 100 thousand drams, or even 1000 dollars: the Armenian citizen’s vote is priceless. It is an absolute value, and do not let anyone tell you your choice.
No longer will you happen to vote for a candidate but have someone else elected in Armenia. I am not the only guarantor for that. You are the ones to guarantee the freedom of choice because you are the carriers of the future destiny of our country.”
Speaking about further steps of the revolution, Nikol Pashinyan said: “A citizen of Armenia is sovereign, he is the bearer of power, and you are going to form a government. I am now prime minister because you have decided so; otherwise I will not be the prime minister of Armenia. It is ruled out that we may ever try to hold to power because the sovereign power belongs to the people in Armenia. The power is yours and you have to keep your power. And this will be the next important phase of the revolution. Every ballot is sacred, because our citizens are going to vote for the future of the country.”
The Acting Prime Minister noted that Armenia should no longer be a country of poverty, and the government’s task is to help people work and win their bread with fair sweat.
“We must succeed an economic breakthrough just as we did a political revolution: every citizen should work and create a product in our country. We are a nation of heroes and victories. While despair seemed to have the upper hand, our citizens turned out to be winners in the final game. And this is not the first such victory in our nation’s history.
When we faced the Bash-Aparan and Sardarabad battles, no rational man could say that our people had a chance to triumph in those battles because we were supposed to be defeated according to all standards, but we triumphed just as we did in April-May. Analytical centers around the world kept predicting that our people had no chance to win. Nevertheless, we won because we do not care for easy victories anymore.
We want to do the impossible, since what seems to be impossible will henceforth be possible for us. This is our historical and political mission. And yes, we are a nation that is not interested in making easy goals. We will always set great goals. We will always defy the hardest of challenges and meet them because we are a powerful, victorious, free and happy nation. We are not poor wretch; we are not a small people.
We have tackled the hardest challenge: we curbed our poverty; we did away with the despair and defied our ill-luck. Therefore, we are invincible, and no one can beat us neither inside nor outside Armenia,” Nikol Pashinyan said in his speech.