Robert Kocharian became the President of Armenia.  He is an Azerbaijani of Armenian descent. And after this, they say "Constitution!", "10 years of residence in Armenia!"
 
After the shooting in the Armenian National Assembly, I cannot understand anything. Particularly since I am in Russia. "The hero of Karabakh War", "honest-to-goodness", "I knew him well." [says of Russian opinion leaders on the late Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian] One could talk this way somewhere in Italy or in Norway, but not in Russia. Good luck to you, Shamil Kocharian and Khattab Sarkisian!1
 
"When he organized a death squad, I blessed him myself and gave him arms."
                                                                                                            Greta Sarkisian, mother of Vazgen Sarkisian
 
"He sacrificed himself for the people. As Jesus sacrificed himself so did my son."
                                                                                                                 Natella Galstian, mother of Nairi Unanian
 
Aram Sarkisian, BROTHER of the late Prime Minister, became Prime Minister. What is this? Well, the rural physical education teacher fought well [in Karabakh]. Armenia loves heroes. But who is HE? Why should he run Armenia? Well, the Armenian defense establishment wanted to console the brother in his grief. Not bad as gift, but not to such a degree. President Kocharian put his paws up. He who almost illegitimately became President a year ago, is not in order to show his moral possibilities. The deputies are even easier to understand. In May they became the possessors of a good job, excellent salaries, and cars. In a hungry republic such "own property" is not to be thrown away. Is there a shortage in Armenia of pro-Russian politicians? Why the BROTHER? Stupidity? A manifesto from the mafia? Another phenomenon of the Armenian mentality?
     On the radio I heard how a Parliamentary deputy spoke about the rumors: they say that the brother of Prime Minister Sarkisian must become Prime Minister and the son of Speaker Demirchian must become Speaker. I thought this was fiction. There always are so many silly rumors. We are not living in 1970s. However it turned out not to be fiction.
 
In the broadcasts of Radio Liberty for October 27-28 in the background of the tragic reports of Armenia for some reason musical excerpts were playing from Shevchuk's "Autumn" and from Orff's cantata "Carmina burana." This was probably an "improvisation" of the European employees of the radio station.
 
"The Prime Minister of Armenia was shot from the press box"
     "Was the Prime Minister of Karabakh involved in the terrorist act in Yerevan?"
     "The terrorists had accomplices"
     "President Kocharian was left alone"
     "Armenian vacuum"
     "Peace was killed in Karabakh"
     "Freedom-loving terror"
     "However you twist it, there's a upheaval"
     "Marginalized people are becoming terrorists"
     "Unanian and his comrades just wanted to 'frighten' "
     "Who guided Herostratos's hand?"
     "Murder on TV"
     "The people are unfulfilled without them"
     "We started with good wishes"
     "Is Karabakh already divided?"
 
I didn't think that I would be forced to cogitate that much about those days. After Vazgen was replaced by Aram, I should  forget completely about the misfortunes of Armenia. No way, I can't forget them. In the course of two or three days I videotaped many events. Later I will select only those that concern Armenia. But how pleased the Moscow observers were! Always Chechnya and more Chechnya: bombs, trenches, interviews... and suddenly such information "happiness" (I don't know what I could write in place of "happiness," I'll think about it. Perhaps "information luckiness"?)
 
"The Center for Sociological Studies of the Armenian Academy of Sciences published the results of a public opinion poll: almost 57% of the respondents agreed that there was violence against the authorities and the state, however 26.8% of those polled considered that this was an attempt to bring the country out of a serious social crisis."
 
"POLITICAL EARTHQUAKES IN ARMENIA AND NAGORNO KARABAKH MAY PRODUCE COUPS D'ETAT" So write the Moscow newspapers. These days the Russian papers have written a lot of this stuff. Sometimes it is laughable to read all this. The foreign papers usually write this way about Russia. The Moscow papers write upon rumors sometime what Armenian acquaintances say; sometimes they combine Georgian and Caucasian problems and present them as Azerbaijani problems.
     But these days I think with horror about Armenia. I never had optimism after Karabakh. Chechnya and Armenia became mixed in my mind. The Armenians thought that it was possible to take a piece of foreign territory and it would not disturb anything. What matter the refugees? Blockade? OK, they took it. They wrote books, erected monuments, named heroes, implemented the position of Foreign Minister of Nagorno Karabakh, obtained the latest tanks and anti-aircraft rockets, activated the Armenian lobby in the US Congress, agreed to accept military bases for 25 years, violated the Constitution at the presidential elections, opened a nuclear power plant, grabbed "excess" territory around Karabakh, tactlessly squandered worldwide assistance after the earthquake, created a virtual medicine for AIDS. And much more.
     After Karabakh and the gaining of independence Armenia lost its future. For centuries we dreamed of a free Armenia. How many scientific studies, tracts, and manifestos were written about ways of freeing the motherland! And here it is, Freedom! The rarest event in the history of national liberation movements: without a single shot, without a single victim, the trains were running, humanitarian aid arrived regularly! But no luck, we brought down new problems on our head.
     I am sitting already for twenty minutes. Can't continue. Thoughts come, but I'm uneasy about talking about this aloud. Each time the same thing: it's clear what I wanted to write, but I am unable to continue. I can say one thing: Armenia uses two of the most unreliable instruments: engaged friendship with Russia and the help of the Diaspora. The Diaspora cannot help for ever, and the policy of Russia may change, i.e. until it finds a common understanding with Azerbaijan, both Russia and Azerbaijan have common interests.
     If it were a normal country, we wouldn't care how much we had from countrymen abroad, but we have already gotten used to seeking help from some and with readiness to serve others. Sometimes it seems that Armenia is somewhere on another continent and not in the Caucasus. Before October 27 there was lots of talk about oil pipelines, Ceyhan, Aliev's press conference, Shevardnadze's interview, the Silk Road. As if there were only two states in the Caucasus.2
     Now I am like those Russians who live in the West and sometimes come to Russia to manage their financial affairs and incidentally give advice on how organize life in Russia. And then they leave Russia and go back to their countries. And they consider this behavior to be in the order of things, and even they feel proud to give such a wise pieces of advice. Don't blame me for anything. I have nobody to talk to, much less advise.
 
The Armenian people remembers the Genocide for the 85th time.
     I don't like our lobbyists to knock on the doors of the parliaments of various country, saying, "Recognize the fact of genocide." They felt offended when the French - parliament or Senate - did not agree to recognize it. But the Americans seemed to have promised a positive outcome. Great! And Russia will recognize. Great!.. Of course we need the recognition of great powers, but the sad fact is that it was just these largest countries that in various years were involved in "small pogroms", but pogroms nonetheless. Do the French have the conscience to talk about the infringement of the rights of another people after what they did in Algeria? And the Americans? And Russia? If only the Russians talked about genocide a couple of years after Chechnya...
     "Genocide" is a strange concept.  It seems that all honest people should speak about it. A whole country is destroyed helicopters, tanks, volley rockets, "pinpoint strikes". But while protesting, the international organizations speak not of genocide, but of improper conduct of military actions. They speak exclusively of the infringement of human rights.
      And how do the Chechens look at this?
 
In distinction from Russia, Turkey THEN [in 1915] was fighting with external enemies and lost much of its territory.
     During the Karabakh War we, beside Karabakh itself, seized a solid chunk of foreign territory. A chunk bordering with Iran. While there may be a dispute about Karabakh - ours or not ours the territories seized were clearly not ours. We seized them "just in case." They may be useful for territorial bargaining. We always complain that at various period outsiders seized our territory. It seems that when we have the chance we behave like the OTHERS.
     We must finally understand what we are like the OTHERS or like EVERYONE. We take down a monument to Lenin and leave untouched a monument to Lenin's Armenian comrade-in-arms. A former writer, a human rights defender, a parliamentary deputy, a minister of internal affairs, and the mayor of Yerevan are fugitives from justice.
     We murder the Prime Minister in Parliament.
     We gather signatures in support of a Russia-Byelorussia union.
     Half the population has left the historic motherland.
     The place of the murdered prime minister is occupied by his brother. The place of the murdered chairman of the party is occupied by his son.
     What stupidities was it still possible to think up after Armenia finally obtained independence? Consider neighboring Chechnya: for the sake of independence they destroyed the country for many years to come. Armenia received independence on a silver platter. Not one building was destroyed, the factories were operating, the subway and television were working, and to throw ALL THIS to the wind...
     It is awkward for me to pass judgment on Armenia while I sit in a warm Moscow apartment. I am sincere saying that.
 
On the Armenian TV channel they shown an incident where a traffic cop chased a driver who had committed an offense. The cop caught him up, stopped the driver's car and asked him to show his documents. The driver got out of the car and instead of the usual procedure, attacked the cop. After beating up the cop, the traffic offender calmly drove away. The most interesting fact was that the TV audience, calling in about this story considered that the driver acted properly. That he should have beaten the traffic cop even harder. They considered that if there is lawlessness everywhere, then this is the way to behave.
     It is so painful for me to touch an "Armenian" theme.
     One of the Moscow newspapers printed a report from Transnistria in Moldavia. This report was In a way that things are going better in Transnistria than even in Moldavia itself.3 What can one say after this? Why then the Russians are annoyed at the nimble Chechens. Karabakh can be called "Chechnya" in Azerbaijan. The Russians then helped a lot with both tanks and anti-aircraft installations. The Chechens are aided by a few hundred volunteers and this is a reason for bomb attacks. I am not talking about Russia. If Russia doesn't understand these things, there is not worth to talk about. I am still talking about Armenia. We shouldn't go to war. Armenia is emptying out.
      I'll shut up.
      I don't have the right.
      I haven't.
 
Varuzhan Karapetian.
     "Spiritual Force", a museum center for Varuzhan Karapetian, has been founded in Armenia.
     An Armenian, detained in a French jail since 1982. More than a million signatures have been gathered for his release, including, how they call it, those of outstanding representatives of science and the arts.
     But who is this prisoner?
     He is one of the participants of a terrorist act in the sector of the Turkish airline company at the Paris airport. I somehow thought that after last years October events in the National Assembly in Yerevan and then the attempt on the life of the President of Nagorno Karabakh (from ours too!) we should reconsidered some notions on terrorism. No such luck.
     The mother of one of the shooters in the Armenian Parliament said that her son did this for a long-suffering Armenia, and the terrorists proudly shouted that they had killed the "bloodsuckers" of the Armenian people.
     I started to select words, but no normal conversation emerges. I am already very much, and not for the first time, falling into grandiloquence.
     While we are writing plays and producing them, writing poems and publishing them, erecting monuments, opening museums, and composing petitions, terrorism will be one of the basic moving forces of our mentality.
     (Each time I think whether I should write "our" or "Armenian"). Of course "our people" is closer to me, but anyone can criticize, saying, "why are YOU sneaking into our affairs?"
      And they will be right...


 
1) Shamil Basaev and Khattab are the best known leaders of Chechen terrorists. Vazgen Sarkisian, former fighter of the Nagorno Karabakh War and Prime Minister of Armenia, was killed on 27 October 1999 in the chamber of Parliament of Armenia by terrorists headed by Nairi Unanian. Beside him, there were 7 politicians killed, including Karen Demirchian, the Speaker of Parliament. 
2) Ceyhan, an Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey oil pipeline project. Geydar Aliev - President of Azerbaijan; Eduard Shevardnadze - President of Georgia.
3) Transnistria is a self-proclaimed (i.e. illegal) pro-Russian republic within the Republic of Moldova. From the Moldovan point of view, Transnistria is what Chechnya is for Russia. 

 

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