Tsarukian Urges Regime Change as Tensions Escalate

Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian

ARF Calls for Calm and National Unity

YEREVAN—The war of words escalated in Armenia Friday as two one-time allies, President Serzh Sarkisian and the Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian, publicly attacked each other with the latter calling for immediate regime change after the president lashed out on Thursday and relieved Tsarukian from his post in the National Security Council.

Responding to the president’s unusual remarks during the Republican Party of Armenia’s executive council session on Thursday, during which Sarkisian called Tsarukian’s political activities a “circus,” calling him ignorant and incapable of leading, the Prosperous Armenia Party’s leader called on the citizens of Armenia to mobilize and take to the streets and change the current regime through early presidential elections.

“I am taking up the gauntlet and am going to fight till the victory,” said Tsarukian at an emergency meeting with senior PAP officials. “A new situation has surfaced since yesterday and it requires a solution. I believe that the only solution is a complete regime change through early presidential elections,”

Tsarukian said that his remarks were directed at the people of Armenia and not at one individual. This was in contrast to Sarkisian’s statements Thursday, where he claimed that his remarks were directed at one person: “a pseudo-political phenomenon called Gagik Tsarukian.”

The apparent war declared by the two powerful political figures in Armenia has escalated the political turmoil and threatens the fragile domestic situation in the country, which continues to be threatened by attack from Azerbaijan and aggravated tensions along the border.

In his remarks, Sarkisian leveraged his executive powers to direct various state institutions to investigate alleged tax evasion and criminal conduct by Tsarukian. In his turn, Tsarukian welcomed the investigation and said he would expose the Sarkisian regime’s actions, which have resulted in the growth of Armenia’s foreign debt and has forced Armenian citizens to abandon their homeland. He also accused Sarkisian and his supporters of stealing “billions of dollars” from the people

What sparked this tension was Tsarukian’s remarks last week at a conference of non-ruling party members where he called for regime change and accused Sarkisian of using the upcoming Constitutional reforms as mechanism to continue his rule and ensure that his party remains in power. Earlier this week, Artak Khachatrian, a member of parliament from Tsarukian’s Prosperous Armenia Party was beaten, kidnapped and then dumped on the street. PAP officials accused the government of staging the attack.

In his remarks Friday, Tsarukian alleged that Sarkisian had offered him the ceremonial presidency envisioned under the new constitution in return for his and his party’s support of the reforms being advanced by the regime. Tsarukian said that he “categorically” rejected the president’s “anti-state” proposal reiterating his claim that the reform process was a means for the authorities to remain in power.

Following his statement, Tsarukian, who did not specify a date for a public rally, met with former president Levon Ter-Petrosian and the leader of the Heritage party Raffi Hovannisian to discuss next steps in their campaign to overthrow the regime.

Meanwhile, speaking with Yerkir.am Friday, the political representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau Armen Rustamian warned that the recent political tensions have entered a new and dangerous stage and called for national unity in the face of growing tension on Armenia’s borders and the upcoming centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

“The growing political debate is entering a new stage of heightened intolerance, personal attacks, and dangerous confrontations. This greatly undermines the security of both the country and its people,” said Rustamian.

He went on to say that the recent statements of both the Prosperous Armenia Party and the Republican Party confirm the ARF’s grave concerns about the political landscape of the country. He stressed that the separation of business and politics and the proper implementation of the rule of law are necessary in the social and political life of Armenia.

“In these difficult and dangerous times full of both internal and external challenges, socio-economic problems and a tense border situation, each of us has the responsibility to approach these issues in a sober, mutually tolerant, and highly political manner. Today, when our borders are under constant enemy attack and we as a nation prepare to commemorate the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, we are all required to show the world that we are united as a people. We [the ARF-D] are convinced that the present tensions and conflict are not in the best interest of our state and nation. We instead call for wisdom, calm and unity,” concluded Rustamian.

This quickly unfolding scenario in Armenia threatens the tenuous calm in the country. Neither Sarkisian nor Tsarukian have the right to speak about the other’s amassed wealth, because both men, who not long ago drank from the same cup, have leveraged their vast resources to “win” elections and both are responsible for the dire socio-economic situation that is dragging the people of Armenia to ruin.

Rustamian’s call for calm and national unity is prudent and welcome. The ruling regime and the president must understand that they cannot intimidate factions or individuals who are in opposition. At the same time, opposition forces that are seeking change and often speak in the name of Armenia’s population, must abandon the tired rhetoric of demanding regime change and actually put forth viable alternatives that clearly outline their vision for change and set them apart from that of the regime they want to topple.

In the end, the people of Armenia remain the victims of this ongoing power plays. Sarkisian and Tsarukian publically calling each other thieves is not going to provide relief to the lay Armenian citizen who long ago has lost hope for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that the current Constitution of Armenia claims to guarantee.

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  1. Avetis said:

    As a collective, Armenians are utterly unfit for independence, let along partaking in what’s known as “nation building.” In short: Armenians are too materialistic, too emotional, too clannish, too arrogant, too restless, too unruly and too clever/smart for Armenia’s good. The only way to keep Armenians from destroying Armenia is to turn the country into a military dictatorship or simply hand over the keys to the country over to the Russian Federation and allow the burdens of state to be handled by Russians…

    • Armenian said:

      Speak for yourself. There are many educated, intelligent and capable Armenians who want to change Armenia from the bottom-up. It’s people like you– traitors who think that mediocrity and submissiveness should be a hallmark of Armenian identity– who stand in the way of Armenia’s development. People like you are apart of the reason why thugs, mafiosos and backwards idiots like Serjhik and Dodi can survive and thrive. Armenians’ indifference helps breed an environment like the one we see.

      • Sarkis said:

        Avetis is a great patriot. He is easily the best, most rational, most nationalistic, and most informative part of this website. On the other hand, you Kevin Abrahamian, Hratch, and others are self-hating Armenians. I have saved some of the more blatantly anti-Armenian comments you have made in the past, so don’t pretend like you are psychologically balanced enough to perform psychoanalysis on the Armenian nation. Here are some of your worst quotes taken by Asbarez and verifiable through anyone interested in doing an Internet search:

        -”When Russia takes a massive crap on us” (February 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm)
        -“I wish I could see the look on your face when Armenia gets trampled on” (February 11, 2014 at 9:46 am)
        -”Your head is so far up Russia’s ass” (February 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm)
        -”We are literally the laughingstock of the region” (February 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm)
        -”Armenia’s inability to produce anything of value to the rest of the world” (February 13, 2014 at 1:31 pm)

    • Lusik said:

      Ես իմ անուշ Հայաստանի արևահամ բարն եմ սիրում

  2. Hratch said:

    This only goes to show that this circus of a government is all about two men.

    Never mind that we are in

    1. Economic turmoil
    2. Being gobbled up by the new CCCP
    3. Battling Azeri aggression
    4. Fighting for Genocide recognition
    5. Losing the media campaign against the Turks
    6. Emigrating to four corners of the world
    7. Assimilating into foreign cultures
    8. Losing communities in the Middle East
    9. Losing member from the national church

    None of these matter to the mafia oligarchs. All they’re interested is in the size of their palaces, their wealth and the amount they spend on their kids weddings. It’s an utter shame that the Diaspora is working to promote the image of these scums. They have ruined the good name of true patriotic Armenians. So much so that many Diasporan Armenians don’t want anything to do with them or the Homeland anymore. They do not want to visit, invest or even immigrate there. The Diaspora has created an imaginary utopian Armenia in their heads to find comfort and relief. The reality is that Armenia has ceased to exist long ago. There is no physical place called Armenia that matches with the glorified and revered stories that were handed down from generation to generation.

  3. tuyn said:

    Rustamian’s call for calm and national unity is prudent and welcome. The ruling regime and the president must understand that they cannot intimidate factions or individuals who are in opposition. At the same time, opposition forces that are seeking change and often speak in the name of Armenia’s population, must abandon the tired rhetoric of demanding regime change and actually put forth viable alternatives that clearly outline their vision for change and set them apart from that of the regime they want to topple.



  4. Hratch said:

    First we were driven out from our homeland by the genocidal Turks. Later we were denied our homeland by the ungodly communists. Now we are prevented from returning to the homeland by scum, the same scum who are remnant of the ungodly communists. Our tragic fate has yet to develop….

  5. Shahe said:

    Not a single person is allowed to spell out or even think of negative aspects of the leaders and their leadership, rather how to improve on the existing situation reflects healthy opposition leadership. His excellency the President Serzh Sargsian has been, is and will remain the symbol of a brilliant leadership of a state all through the past ten centuries. All those who leave or encourage to leave our motherland are deserters from the ‘civilian army’. These people should not be encouraged to lead the country or even come to stage publicly. Freedom of speech in this case affects negatively on the social fabric characterized by its rich versatility.

  6. Gary said:

    I support and agree with Mr. Rostamian’s call for calm and national unity. I hope this is not an outside game to distract the Armenian centennial commemoration.

  7. raf said:

    Sarkisian is the worst thing ever happened to Armenia. Economy is in shambles, hundreds of thousands of people leave the country annually, almost all the ruling party MP’s are illiterate billionaires while people suffer from malnutrition in villages. Foreign policy is mess, he signed the protocols with Turkey giving them a perfect tool to abuse it in their denialist campaign, his hasty decision to join the Russian led EEU and vote in favor of Russia at UN unnecessarily put Armenia at odds with more hawkish EU members. I don’t trust him even in security, we all saw how he promised he will retaliate when Azerbaijan shot down the Armenian chopper and so far nothing!! His democracy and freedom is fake and only works as long as he has his presidential chair. Tsarukian is far from perfect but he has made it clear before that he has no plans for presidency.
    No wonder that people don’t take ARF seriously, they have turned into a single-issue party which keeps preaching about an ideal evolutionary transition which will never happen.

  8. Joseph mardian said:

    Without regard to who is right or wrong, I find it very untimely for such infighting going in the Armenian Government. You Gentlemen grow up, postpone this until April 25 or after, lets pay our respect to our Genocide victims, and stand in solidarity on the occasion, not giving bones to Turkey to chew on. Please respect our victims and postpone this infighting for a long time, out of respect. I understand the parties were very close friends before; don’t repeat what Armenians are known for ” KEN”

  9. zarkim said:

    O Armenian people, your only salvation is in the power of your unity.
    O հայ ժողովուրդ, քո միակ փրկությունը ձեր միասնության մեջ է.
    Եղիշե Չարենց

  10. GeorgeMardig said:

    IT IS A MUST, separation of business and politics and the proper implementation of the rule of law in the social and political life of Armenia. requesting change of regime, allways within the law and not Al Capone style change. Ignorant and corrupt politicians will end up destroying Armenia, God help Armenians, their future is left in the hands of bunch of As hles

  11. mgl said:

    What a heck? Anyone screaming about regime chance especially at this time of Armenian history is a traitor and as criminal belongs to jail. Stability is the first thing Armenia needs.

  12. Gurgen said:

    Too many bad things happening at the same time. Something is brewing in the country and I suspect its outside forces pulling the strings. They are either trying to punish Armenia for joining the Russian-led EEU or they are trying to have Armenians divert their attention from the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Armenian officials need to put aside their failed “complimentary politics” (which by exposing itself to Western powers has actually kept the country stagnant and politically unstable) and begin cracking down on any entity in the country that is calling for regime change or revolution. It’s time for Yerevan to act like an actual state.

    • Sarkis said:

      I believe you are 100% Gurgen. Nothing in politics is coincidence, especially not in a land like Armenia which has been a battlefield for millennia between East and West. Destabilizing Armenia, whether related to the EEU or to the Genocide Centennial only serves the interest of one group: the Anglo-American-Jewish-Turkish-Azeri-Sunni alliance.

      Yerevan needs to weed out the “regime change” groups from the foreign-funded media to foreign-funded politicians and pseudo-intelligentsia. At the same time, Armenia’s government needs to get its act together and weed out the less qualified officials who are causing much of the public’s resentment.

  13. Jove said:

    Where from and how did this tsarukyan accumulate his Midas type wealth and fortune ? Someone needs to cast a long glance and audit his administration accounting books. People accuse the government of corruption. They want regime change so that another troupe of even more corrupt politicians takes over. Take a look at the opposition party and their leaders, not inspiring at all, a sordid group of failed politicos of below average mediocrity trying to make a lot of noise, and filling up their pockets in the process. Tsarukyan source of wealth needs to be examined. They call him an oligarch, armenia is a small country, and limited in natural resources , for it to have Oligarchs. An oligarch belongs in jail, like the clutch of khodorovskyes oligarchs in Russia.

  14. garbis korajian said:

    The declaration of war between President Serzh Sargsyan and the head of the strongest criminal organization, Gagig Tsarukyan (Dodi Gago) has nothing to do with concern for the people of Armenia, democracy, or for that matter the wellbeing of the country. In the last 20 years, these same two thugs were closely associated in robbing and sucking the blood of the Armenian people to enrich themselves. As a result, they have amassed billions of dollars in stolen wealth which has also provided an extremely comfortable lifestyle to their family and friends while the people live in abject poverty and despair. The core reason of their fight is aggrandization (to increase one’s power status or wealth.) Now that they have robed the country to its last penny and there is nothing left to steal, they are now skirmishing with each other to find a way to justify how to rob from each other. As the common saying goes, “Thieves never fight with each other when they rob or loot, but they only fight when the time comes to divide the booty among themselves.” As is often the case with law enforcers, when two thugs fight, the police stay on the sideline and watch the thieves settle each others scores. This is what the Armenian people or the political parties have to do. Let these two thugs settle their differences alone without outside interference. In the end, the winner will take it all and rule the country for some times to come. However in the end, the winner’s demise will also come as justice will eventually prevail in Armenia. Out of this ugly and dirty war, Armenians will be able to elect decent leaders who will care and work for the betterment of its people. Finally, Armenia will emerge as a free and democratic country, something it has been denied since independence. This is the best gift Armenia can receive on the year of our genocide centennial.
    PS: Has anyone seen the grotesque house of Dodi Gago in Yerevan? It looks like a primitive and ugly palace built sometime during the Roman Empire. The gated dwelling which was built with looted money from the poor has live size statues within the ugly distasteful edifice as to be able to protect the residents from outside intruders. This same callus individual who has no shame of flaunting is stolen wealth in poor Armenia, but has the tenacity to accuse Sargsyan of robbing the country. What a joke!

    • Sarkis said:

      You make an armchair analysis and claims that Sargsyan “stole billions” without citing a single source. What is your aim other than to stir up self-hatred among Armenians. Armenia has been slowly rebuilding itself under Sargsyan’s presidency. Your comment sounds like the unprofessional and embarrassing remarks that foreign-funded traitor Zaruhi Postanjian makes. Please stop embarrassing yourself and stop embarrassing the Armenian-American community.

      • Hratch said:

        Sarkis, I guess describing your beloved Sarkisian as a thug struck a raw nerve. Get over it, he’s as thugish as they get in a thugocracy.

  15. Hagop Sarkissian said:

    Finally, when are you going (The Dashnaks) to join the Armenian people to get rid of corrupt sarkissian regime?
    Don’t hesitate, be courageous and join the people, otherwise you will not be forgiven.

  16. Vahagn said:

    It appears that 1914-2015 genocide is everything Armenians have and proud of. Isn’t it time to stop this genocide? Just don’t do it and that’s it..

  17. Parsik said:

    it is delightful to my heart to see Dashnaks finally after some 120 years of their existence are mastering and maturing out of their own practice of personal attacks on opposition members and short-sighted tactical moves and far-sighted unreachable nationalistic dreams are growing into a force that is more strategically inclined and aims for the benefit of Armenian nation in the whole for the next century incoming

    • Hratch said:

      Mother Russia? are you kidding. They are the raison d’être for Armenia’s thugocracy.

  18. Avetis said:

    As a collective, Armenians are proving utterly unfit for independence, let along partaking in what’s known as “nation building.” In short: Armenians are too politically illiterate, too materialistic, too emotional, too clannish, too arrogant, too restless, too unruly and too clever/smart for Armenia’s good. The only way to keep Armenians from destroying Armenia is to turn the country into a military dictatorship or simply give the keys to the country to the Russian Federation and allow the burdens of state to be handled by Russians…

  19. Jove said:

    This is a storm in a tea cup. Internal family squabbling with dangerous undertones and potentially calamitous consequences if allowed to get out of control. We don’t have a poor government, but we do have a disastrously mercenary opposition. The opposition, including the dashnask, are mired in the long distant past. No one knows what the bland words of the opposition parrots mean, all what one hears is regime change. What regime ? There is no regime in Armenia. The government was elected in an election. It is a democratically elected parliament. If the opposition turns the tables and achieves what the mafia brigand of tsarukyan is calling for, the country will go to rack and ruin. The timing for the stirring of passions and political factionalism is perfectly aligned to coincide with the centennial year. Tsarukyan must be made to depart the political and administration arena. He should concentrate on building more palaces in Erevan and find alternate ways to increment his wealth and riches than sucking the assets of the country. His palatial edifice is a throwback to pharaonic times.