“Today’s most important objective is to provide for stability and security around Armenia and Artsakh” - PM addresses the nation
Proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia,
Proud citizens of the Artsakh Republic,
Proud Armenians of the Diaspora.
I appeal to you again, since especially in these difficult days it is extremely important to safeguard our national pride and our national dignity, because the feeling of pride and dignity is easy to preserve when it is not under attack, when nothing threatens it, but we need to preserve our dignity and pride as they have come under several attacks. Especially in recent days we can see that well-known groups inside Armenia along with external forces - moreover, they have been operating for quite a long time, I mean the external forces known to you - have inflamed the wounds of our national pride and dignity.
Yesterday some people literally initiated a party against the background of false rumors that the Armenian government has ceded territories in Gegharkunik Marz. Such behavior may have a thousand explanations, criticism of such behavior may have a thousand repercussions, some may have meant nothing malicious while joining the tide, but from all this we can see through the key target of the initiators of that party. There are people and groups in Armenia and abroad trying to give an impression of anarchy, an impression that there is anarchy in Armenia, who are trying to sow chaos in the country; they just want to bring the war into Armenia, to make use of machine guns and criminal groups in order to set the country to free fall able to secure their comeback as rescuers.
I wish to state clearly and unequivocally that we will not allow this, not because we cling to power, but because the people do not want it, the proud citizen of the Republic of Armenia, whose pride, yes, is damaged, but not destroyed, whose dignity is impaired, but not dead.
Now I would like to describe in detail what is happening in and around Artsakh. I have already referred to the November 9 statement and the circumstances behind its signing. I do not want to repeat what was said before, but I feel it important to reaffirm my conviction that there was simply no other option in the situation where the document was signed because any other option would be much worse for us.
It still remains to be seen why we came to that point, how did we reach it, under what circumstances and in what period did we reach it, where did that point start, what was its development, what were its destinations? These are questions that must be answered, and I am eager to get the answers most of all. But it will take time to go into the details, while we have burning urgent to address today. I mean, the answers to those questions should be examined and formulated definitively, but today we have primary tasks to deal with and the most important of these questions is to ensure security and stability around Armenia and inside Armenia, and one of the necessary steps is the implementation of the November 9 statement, however unpleasant it may sound.
Condemning the November 9 statement, many of those whose political activity is underpinned by harsh criticism do not say whether they accept or decry the agreements reached there, if so, what is their scenario of developments, and what are the consequences of that scenario? Continuing my thought, I wish to emphasize that what is happening these days is the process of implementing the November 9 statement which, please note, implies that Armenian border troops should be stationed on the state border of the Republic of Armenia in Gegharkunik Marz, on the border known as the state border of Soviet Armenia, I specifically mean a portion of Karvachar region. Moreover, demarcation is not to be determined by an eye gauge, but through GPS coordinates. And as it has already been clarified, the Sotk mine was partly located in the territory of Soviet Armenia, partly in the territory of Soviet Azerbaijan. In general, demarcation is rather a complicated process and, whether we like it or not, it must take place not only with the participation of Russian peacekeepers, but also with the representatives of Azerbaijan.
Any attempt to cause panic, spread misinformation and a sense of chaos in society seeks one purpose. They want to bring the war into Armenia, because they are used to coming to power with blood and holding power with blood. Yet again, we will not allow this; the nation will not let them do that. I would also like to emphasize that the Armenian law enforcement authorities are in full control of the situation, and the law enforcement agencies will not let them do. I wish to thank our law enforcement officers - I mean the National Security Service, the Police, the State Security Service, the Investigative Bodies and the Office of Prosecutor General - for the work done during all this time.
Back to my point, I want you to be sure that we are making every effort to protect the interests of Armenia and Artsakh in this difficult situation. And, by the way, the vision of chaos is spreading for this purpose as well, so that the government could have the opportunity to concentrate on many important issues, and all this aims to create a divide between the government and the people, which they have not managed to do.
True, people have questions, the people, yes, are sometimes getting angry, sometimes –disappointed, but through all that I see the trust of the people and I want to thank them for that trust. There is a lot of talk about people losing trust in the official media, and the reason given is that during the war the government and I provided false information to the public.
The reality, however, is completely different. In all my speeches delivered at the outset and throughout the war, I said practically everything about the war, I said it a little differently, in ways and means specific to the war in order not to give the enemy too much information and undermine our security. Did the authorities not say that fighting was taking place near Hadrut, Martuni, Shushi or Karintak? We said that the Lachin-Stepanakert highway was closed, was it not said about the formation of Syunik self-defense groups?
What did all this mean? Or how else should all this have been said - with fervent screams, calls to escape, panic? Yes, we also talked about about the heroism of our army and soldiers, officers and generals. Was that a lie? Fighting was underway in an area extending from Sotk to Horadiz. I hope you understand what I mean. Although we lost positions in the area from Sotk to Haterk in the first days of the war, they were recaptured later on, and the front line in that area was standing to the last day of the war. The enemy did not have any significant achievement in the section called Yeghnikner.
In the 6th Defensive District, despite the loss of Talish, the landscapes along the Mataghis section were preserved until the last day. The 5th, 4th, 3rd Districts, in fact, held it out until the last day. The 2nd Defense District kept the front line until the end and was regrouped according to the military situation. The same is true with the 1st Defensive District. We cannot call otherwise than heroes those soldiers, officers, and generals who kept the situation under control. What they managed was a victorious deed in fact. Those people waged heroic battles; they are heroes.
I agreed to the November 9 statement to save their lives, and not let them come under siege, because these people served the homeland with full dedication and heroism, made indescribable sacrifices for the homeland. And it was the duty of the homeland to save the lives of up to 35,000 soldiers, officers and generals.
Many of our thousands of soldiers, officers and generals who fought in the 9th Defensive District fought a heroic battle. But, unfortunately, the 9th Defense District was broken, leading to a catastrophe. The General, who at least shares the responsibility for that failure with his illegal interventions, gives press conferences, makes obscure revelations, forgetting to remind that he just wasted USD 42 million in his time. A criminal case has been initiated in the National Security Service on the fact of buying useless weapons on at least one episode, the other episode is under investigation.
He targeted my spouse without asking himself what the Prime Minister’s family was doing in a rocket-torn town which 70 percent of the population had already fled. In other words, was the rocket-laden Stepanakert a Baden-Baden sanatorium? What are they seeking in their attempt to represent it as an indescribable example of the government’s indifference?
Was it a crime to personally deliver bread and water to the residents of bomb shelters? I had just told a member of my family to pay a one-time visit to the command post of the Defense Army in order to provide moral support to the Defense Army in a situation where news kept coming in to the effect that people were leaving their settlements in the rear front. What is the point of making the stay of a member of the Prime Minister’s family in Stepanakert a subject of political manipulation? Some had been called back from Stepanakert in order to set panic through illegal interventions, and this needs to be clarified yet.
But this is not the essence of what I have to say, the essence of what I have to say is that the truth was told to people throughout the war; it was told according to the rules specific to wars. It was said with faith and purpose to achieve a breakthrough in the military situation; we had to cherish the fighting spirit and even declare defeats in such a way that it could not break our soldiers’ fighting spirit, who were invincible until the last moment, who kept their positions and their combat lines.
Proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia,
Proud citizens of the Artsakh Republic,
Proud Armenians of the Diaspora.
It is important to talk about the past, and we will still have opportunities to do so. But today it is much more important to talk about the future, about the problems and goals we are facing today and will face in the future.
An important goal today is to maintain the peace that has been achieved, to make it lasting, and if we can make it permanent, much better. Our primary goal is to ensure stability and security around Armenia and Artsakh, ensure the security of Artsakh, the smooth and safe operation of the Lachin corridor, as well as to provide conditions for the repatriation of Artsakh people, rebuild Artsakh, Armenia, and the war-affected regions.
And for this we need to implement the November 9 agreements. Those arrangements imply exchanging dead bodies and war prisoners, stepping up the search for the missing, which is crucial for all of us as every minute lost in this matter can be fatal. I met with hundreds of relatives of missing and captured soldiers over the past few days. I took note of their concerns and complaints. They are right, and we must act as quickly as possible. Yet again, I must state that unfortunately it depends not only on us.
Yes, there are nuances in the November 9 agreements that contain problematic issues, but active diplomatic work is being done on all these issues, and we will eventually find appropriate solutions. But these agreements also imply the reopening of transport communications in the region – an issue that can change the image not only of the region but also that of Armenia.
Do not give in to fear and panic. Do not let our pride and dignity be trampled on. Do not give in to the preaching of apostasy. Only trust in official information. The others are trying to mislead you every day.
We have never concealed the truth, no matter how bitter it was. Yes, during the war the truth was told by the rules of war. Please remember what was said from day one and you will see that the whole truth has been told, the truth was told according to the rules of war, but the attentive reader could see everything there. By the way, the truth was told during my meetings with parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forces, and I made it clear that I had invited them to tell them everything, since what I told them could not be put on record because of the war situation.
By the way, the forces that used to declare from the first day of the war that it should be stopped by all possible means and at any cost, initiated other processes after leaving the premises, saying let them stop at any cost, and then we will see how to speculate on it for political considerations. They feel bad today and are surprised to see that their plans did not work out.
Nevertheless, our main task today is to build the future. But before that, we must return the bodies of our victims, pay our tribute to them, get our captives back to the homeland, and find those guys who may be sheltered somewhere the war zone.
We have to provide for the smooth operation of the Lachin corridor. We must ensure the return of Artsakh residents. We must primarily resolve the border issues that have been talked about a lot of late. We must go that way. We will inform you in detail about everything as much as possible without doing any harm to our national interests, I mean the interests of the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh.
Please rest assured of one thing: we will be outspoken and honest with you. This does not mean at all that we are perfect. This does not mean that we were right in everything; this does not mean that we have not made mistakes and will not make mistakes. But we are completely honest with you in everything, and we will overcome this ordeal together. My condolences to all our martyrs and their families.
I bid my deep respect to the proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia, to the proud citizens of Artsakh, and to the proud Armenians of the Diaspora.
Our pride is wounded but not destroyed; our dignity is injured but not dead.
Long live the Armenian people!