YEREVAN —Shortly after the surrender by a group calling itself the “Daredevils of Sasoun,” which had been occupying a police compound in the Erebuni district since July 17, the political representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau, Armen Rustamyan commented on the developments in Armenia and the political ramifications of the two-week-long standoff.
His statement, given to Yerkir Media is presented below, with English translation provided by The Armenian Weekly.
We [the ARF] welcome the armed group’s decision to surrender, because it was the only way to avoid more deaths and further bloodshed. Naturally, it was always our main goal to reach this settlement. I believe that this outcome is the result of common sense on both sides; the government’s patient approach greatly contributed to this result.
The members of the armed group—patriots who understand their country—realized that this could lead to new victims, and that nothing is worth further bloodshed and more deaths. This is very much appreciated.
In this situation, the main problem remains the following. The process should take place with the logic we [the ARF] had outlined earlier. No retribution should be carried out against these people [armed group]. Both [the ARF] and the public should closely follow the situation, and do our utmost to ensure that the charges against them are handled properly, and that the mildest approach allowed by law be adopted.
At the same time, we understand that the reasons why these people have resorted to such a desperate step are deeply rooted in [Armenian] society; these reasons must be eradicated. We must do everything to ensure that these grievances disappear.
Therefore, there is a need for well-thought action. While accepting all the approaches and possibilities that can lead us to eradicating these grievances, we do not approve of the methods that may actually place us farther away from reaching that goal. This is the main lesson we—the authorities, the public, and the political powers—should take away from all this. The logical ways to solve the amassed problems of our country are the well-known and accepted methods around the world, through which democracy and the rule of law are established, and human rights are protected; only then can the public’s legitimate grievances and protest disappear.
For this, one needs hard work and a conscious approach, and people who can make it a reality should get to work. This really should be a lesson for us all, so that we can—sooner rather than later—establish such a system, in which no one could violate the rights of a fellow compatriot and distract us from our common national goals.