ARF Has No Decision or Agenda on Cooperating with Kocharian, Says Bureau Chair

ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian speaks to

ARF Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian speaks to

YEREVAN—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation has “neither a decidion nor an agenda to cooperate with [Robert] Kocharian, said the party’s Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian during an extensive interview with when asked whether the party will cooperate with Armenia’s former president, if he enters the political limelight in Armenia.

Below is an English translation of the interview, a video of which is also provided.

Azatutyun: There’s talk that Robert Kocharian is thinking about actively returning to the political stage. Is the ARF considering cooperating with Kocharian?

Hrant Markarian: We are considering cooperation will all forces.

Azatutyun: Including Kocharian?

H.M.: With everyone. We are ready to cooperate with all Armenians. We do not have a decision or an agenda to cooperate with Kocharian specifically.

Azatutyun: Evidently you are not ruling out cooperation with Kocharian and are you willing to cooperate with him?

H.M.: What should I rule it out? I am neither willing nor am ruling it out.

Azatutyun: Has there been such a proposal?

H.M.: No.

Azatutyun: Are you thinking about making such a proposal to him?

H.M.: No.

Azatytyun: Are you expecting that he will return to active political life?

H.M.: I don’t know what he is going to do. I really don’t.

Azatutyun: Given the events of March 1, 2008, do you find it possible to cooperate with Robert Kocharian?

H.M.: I don’t have a personal assessment of the March 1 events. I know that the incident occurred. The blame for those 8-10 victims, regardless of who shot at them, lies with everyone: with Levon Ter-Petrossian and also Robert’s [Kocharian]. It doesn’t matter who opened fire. What matters is who created that situation. At that time we warned both the [Ter-Petrosian-led] and Robert Kocharian not go down that dangerous path but they didn’t listen to us … They deliberately opted for that and got what they got.”

In discussing Kocharian being charged with breaching the constitutional order in Armenia, Markarian said: “It is unbecoming of our country to denigrate the institution of the president.”

H.M.: It doesn’t matter to me whether Kocharian can defend himself or not, nor do I get any benefit in defending him. I am defending the principle… The principle that the institution of the president must be respected in our country, even if we must pay a price for that we must pay a price for it. In 1996, Levon Ter-Petrossian unleashed tanks onto the streets. If we are being objective, why aren’t we looking into that? I am not saying we should. I am saying we shouldn’t jumble the past in such a way that it poses a danger to life today and tomorrow.

Azatutyun: Mr. Markarian, 10 years ago some bloody events took place in Armenia and no one has been called to accountability for it.

H.M.: I am not opposed to investigating, but that investigation must be such that it inspires trust, regardless of its outcome.

Azatutyun: Shouldn’t the president at the time be questioned?

H.M.: Yes. They must interrogate and conduct an investigation. They must do everything but in such a way that an atmosphere of trust is created and it does not leave the impression of a political persecution. I am merely talking about the perception it creates. I do not know about any political persecution. Robert Kocharian himself will talk about that.

Azatutyun brought of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s comments in Tavush where he said the ARF was free to decide whether to remain part of Armenia’s current government after the party issued an announcement warning that Kocharian’s arrest “can be interpreted as political persecution.”

Pashinyan said last weekend: “I want to make clear that there is no [governing] coalition in Armenia. That’s a misunderstanding. We tried to form a government of national accord. Whoever feels left out… We are not holding anyone captive.”

H.M.: Nikol Pashinyan is right. He can force us to stay. We can leave whenever we want. He is right. But there’s another thing: he’s the one who invited us to join the national [accord] government. We didn’t push our way there. He invited us and we accepted his invitation.

Azatutyun: Is the ARF getting ready to leave the government?

H.M.: To tell you the truth we are not getting ready, just like we weren’t getting ready to take part in the government. We weren’t getting ready to take part in the government. Based on Nikol Pashinyan’s appeal we took part in the government. Today, we are there because we still have hope… that we are able to be a true interlocutor and address concerns to save him and to save Armenia. If I am unable to meet with and have a conversation then I must speak publicly. What else can I do?

Azatutyun: Are you saying that you have asked to meet and he has declined to meet with you?

H.M.: They haven’t declined, they also haven’t accepted. But this how this government is: an embodiment of disarray.


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  1. GabeKorajian said:

    Mr Markaryan, you are a poor manipulator. During the Presidencies of Kocharyan and Sargsyan, you openly supported these THUGS like tyrants by collaborating with them. You benefited from their illegal activities and never said a word when they were abusing the public. Until the 11 th hour, you were supporting Sargsyan and condemning the youth movement. When Sargsyan failed, you immediately changed sides and went to Pashimyan’s support, to keep some cabinet posts for your party. Once you found your way around, you started silently working with the Republican Party, possibly collaborating with Lavrov as well. Your recent debacle, supporting Rober Kocharyan proved to be a serious mistake, which has irreversible consequences. You planed Coup d’état to sabotage Pashimyan’s Government has failed miserably. Now, with no shame, you come out and support Pashimyan once again. You say you always supported Pashimyan, but you want to keep an eye on him. How come all of sudden you worry about social justice? Where were you all these years, sir? You are a hypocrite and a very poor politician. Where were you when Presidents Kocharyan and Sargsyan were beating, slapping, arresting and killing peaceful demonstrations? Where were you when these two THUGS like creatures robing the country? We never heard from you, then. It is possible that you and your party was collaborating with these presidents to commit crimes and rob the poor people of Armenia. Just to mention, the people know about your involvement with the Iranian business dealings of Sargsyan. You are now talking because you don’t want Pashimyan in power. You are silently revolting against him because you want the old order back. Just a dream; this will never happen. Just remain silent and don’t insult the intelligence of the Armenians. The Armenian public has matured a lot in the last few years. Unfortunately, you have stayed the same and continue to underestimate the intelligence of the people. Based on your report card, your and the other ARF party members have lost their credibility and the trust of the people. Therefore, it is very unlikely, you and your friends will be elected for public office, particularly in the Parliament of Armenia. After you are gone, the ARF Central Committee will try its best to work with seasoned politicians and recruit capable candidates for the upcoming elections.

    • Azad Barsoumian said:

      Mr Gabekorajian,
      Based on your reply I’m just going to be as clear as you were,
      1st Mr. Markarian was not in support of Kocharian and there are many articles out there proving that all he was trying to do was be in the government to stop injustice. as for the rest of your uneducated and just out of the blue respond i would just like to send you some links to interviews previously done with Markarian Condemning Kocharian

  2. Masis said:

    Asbarez gets to be commended for providing objectivity to this interview despite being an ARF supported paper. To be frank, the ARF Bureau chairman sounds completely inept and asinine in his responses. They are about as clear as the opening of Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities. He’d be better off saying nothing. He seems to support an investigation but wants to hold all former presidents unaccountable regardless of the results of the investigation.

    Another interesting remark, “…we are not getting ready, just like we weren’t getting ready to take part in the government.” What in the world are you planning to do. You sound like a drunk alcoholic walking down the road. (Not to say that all drunks walk, or that there is even a road).

    • Azad Barsoumian said:

      Mr. Massis,

      If that’s what you understood from this interview, I have to ask you to watch it again but this time analyze the current situation of the country and realize why he said things the way he said them.

  3. Harry Derderian said:

    Why the incompetent bureau chair ( reflecting the organization) would participate in an interview with such a controversial topic is bewildering. No way to win in a situation like that.
    Couple that with rambling, double talk and an OMG last sentence leads me to say that Markarian/ARF should learn to walk past a microphone and stop seeking publicity. The Armenian phrase that applies translates to “empty barrel”.
    ARF rolls along with immature thinking and related bad press , reflecting ongoing incompetence.
    Dashnak has a proud history but since independence and its reality ( rather than theory), its agenda is clueless, going nowhere. Since independence, all we have heard is what ARF was. The youth of Armenia and diaspora care about today and tomorrow.
    This is the worst of a long list of “year after year immature ARF pronouncements”.
    This ain’t your daddy’s ARF.

  4. Mher Vartanian said:

    My father was a devoted member of Dashnak’s and fought a lot of battles in his day for Armenian causes. But these present backstabing Dashnak low lifes are a disgrace to my fathers dreams for a better Armenia.

  5. Norin said:

    The ARF is done in Armenia, Armenians don’t tolerate flip flopping. Supporting Serzh until the last minute then jumping ship to Pashinyan was a PR disaster for the ARF. Amazingly after that blunder, they go and show tacit support for Kocharyan. The end goal has always been to gain seats in parliament , but their days in government are over, and the people of Armenia will not soon forget the ARF’s antics.

    • Harry Derderian said:

      Norin et al:
      The seats in parliament are to give appearance of inclusion, a “collective accord”….no influence whatsoever.
      Perhaps there are some young , forward thinking people who can create a velvet revolution in the ARF.
      Otherwise,the party remains a fading distinctive chapter in Armenia’s history.