“The tragedy should not kill us; instead it should save us” - PM Addresses the Nation
Dear Armenian nation,
Dear compatriots in Armenia, Artsakh and in the Diaspora,
Today marks 40 days since the cessation of the large-scale hostilities in the Second Artsakh War. The war had dire consequences for us, many of our compatriots were killed on the battlefield. Three days of nationwide mourning have been declared in Armenia on this occasion.
The past 84 days have undoubtedly been one of the most challenging periods for our people. We are experiencing a nightmare as a nation. Sometimes, it seems that our dreams have been shattered, that there is nothing to be optimistic about, and that the effectiveness of our state institutions are being questioned. As a result, we are left with many unanswered questions: How will we live after all this, which way should we go and what should we do next? What is our objective now? Why did things work out this way, how did this happen?
In my position as Prime Minister, I bear full responsibility for what happened and as I have already declared, I will humbly accept any verdict by our people. Nevertheless, I must mention that if finding a scapegoat is useful for airing anger, or lightening one’s heart, it is useless for the purposes of fully understanding what happened, which is necessary in terms of building the future and not repeating our past failures.
This, of course, does not mean that the circumstances of the war should not be examined, that we should not identify and prosecute those responsible for specific episodes. But we need a deeper analysis of reality, because what happened could not be the result of one man or one group of individuals, one or more years of mistakes. We must face reality and admit that we have made mistakes for many years; our mistakes were systemic, conceptual and substantive in nature. And all of this has led to such consequences that even threaten our state institutions.
Did I realize this during and after assuming the office of prime minister? Of course yes. Did I try to change the situation? Of course yes. Yet now, I am more convinced than ever, that there was simply no time to stop the spinning wheel of history. Although our resistance was desperate, it was not pointless. My strong conviction in making this statement is not meant to show despair in the country. On the contrary, it seeks to instill optimism and hope, even for those who believe that what happened may end our story. The fact that we are turning a chapter in our history is obvious. But the real tragedy will be if we continue to live with the logic of this being the end. My biggest fear is that we will not be able to overcome the psychology of this being the end, and we will continue to hurt ourselves.
Any collapse implies being at a zero point, no matter how cruel it may sound. Yet, it brings about an opportunity to create something new, today and right now, let’s not forget this. I do not mean starting a new life from a new day, just like that. It is still too early to talk about that. But our national tragedy should not kill us - instead it should save us, it is a new opportunity for us to live again. First of all, for the sake of our martyrs, and for their parents, for our bereaved mothers and grey-haired fathers, for the sake of their children, who are waiting to see them again.
In order to do this, we need to thoroughly understand every failure of ours. Of course, this is a matter to be dealt with in the foreseeable future. And in this context, I would like to touch on some urgent issues.
Perhaps the most urgent issue is what is going on in and around the Syunik region. As I have already stated, we are carrying out border demarcation in the Syunik region, and Armenia’s Armed Forces and border guards are being stationed on the internationally recognized borders of Armenia. This will of course bring about changes in the environment we are familiar with, and may lead to complications, inconveniences, as well as emotional stress. There are even allegations that this means surrendering Syunik or threatens the loss of Syunik. However, the reality is the exact opposite. Everything that is being done right now is to ensure and strengthen the security of Syunik.
The danger is that in recent days, there was a high probability of resumption of hostilities in some sections outside the internationally recognized borders of Armenia. The escalation could have spilled over into the Syunik region, into the territory of the Republic of Armenia, with all ensuing consequences.
The deployment of our troops to the internationally recognized borders of Armenia safeguards the security of the region of Syunik, as the current borders stem from a security system, which we are also a part of and where different security rules are in play.
Today, Russian peace troops and other forces are engaged in Syunik, which, in turn, creates a completely new security situation. Indeed, this may result in challenges in the realms of transportation and logistics and may hamper the traffic flow of some roads, but these challenges can be solved and we are making great efforts to address them, including by the means of the trilateral document. I will also be visiting the region of Syunik to better understand the situation on the ground and to ease the fears and concerns of the residents of Syunik. And I am convinced that I can do it, even more, during confidential meetings. And I would like to emphasize that not even a single millimeter of land has been surrendered from the region of Syunik, nor from the entire territory of the Republic of Armenia. And rest assured that any claims to the contrary are simply false and untrue.
Dear Armenian nation,
Dear compatriots living in Armenia, Artsakh and in the Diaspora,
The return of our Prisoners of War, the search for our missing soldiers and the stability of Armenia and Artsakh are the most important challenges we are facing today.
Unfortunately, there are still tension points in both Armenia and Artsakh. Sadly, the return of the Prisoners of War and the search for our missing persons have not yet been fully resolved. Unfortunately, we recently had new war prisoners in the area of Khtsaberd, which does not coincide in any way to the logic behind the ceasefire treaty.
No matter how difficult it may be, all this should not lead us to despair, because our martyrs
died for the survival of Armenia and Artsakh, so that the Armenian nation lives.
Today at 13:00, we will hold a memorial march from Republic Square to Yerablur to honor our martyrs. This is a promise to all of our brothers, to their children and family members, to show that their sacrifice was not in vain. Let it also be a march of reflection, where each one of us, and as a nation, will have to reflect on our past actions and future steps.
Today’s march has no political intention, but it takes place within the context of a specific political situation, and my position remains unchanged towards the resolution of the latter.
The people and only the people can make a decision about the future of Armenia, not the political elite. And in this regard, our biggest challenge is to ensure stability and allow the people to express themselves. In the meantime, the government must work to effectively implement the provisions of the roadmap I published on November 18th, which addresses the country’s post-war challenges and will generally stabilize the internal political situation.
Right before our march today, I bow to the memory of our martyrs, their mothers, fathers, wives and children. This is also a march of promise, that we will do everything that we can to find out about our missing brothers, bring back the Prisoners of War, to restore our hope and our optimism, to live, to create and to rebuild Armenia and Artsakh.
“Let us build Armenia anew” - I had chosen this slogan before the war to outline the strategy to reform Armenia. This is also helpful in our current situation and on how to look to the future.
We must perceive the world in a new way; we must look at what we should do next; we must rethink our role; we must reevaluate our capabilities in a new way, primarily in the fields of education, science and technological development; we must rebuild our dreams in a new way and we must dream in a new way. Our dreams should bring a smile to the souls of our brothers, who died for the sake of our Homeland, to their children and to the nation. Realizing these dreams is what will bring that smile.
Glory to our fallen heroes! Glory to our living heroes! Glory to all those, who have yet to become heroes in realizing the dreams of our people and in winning creative battles!
We meet today at the Republic Square at 13:00 for a march of honor to Yerablur. This will be a march for life, proving that we are here, that we will live and thrive in our Homeland.