‘Time to Get Serious’: ARF Holds Rally in Yerevan

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The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia on Thursday held a rally at Yerevan’s Freedom Square that gave a stern warning—yellow card—to Armenia’s authorities to “Get Serious in the Name of the Country” and carry out the promises articulate during last year’s popular movement that toppled the previous regime.

People from all walks of life, and from as far away as Artsakh, had gathered to echo the sentiments of the speakers, who one by one took to the stage to proclaim that the time had come for the people of Armenia to reclaim their rights and demand from the authorities, who they claimed were still under the euphoric state of the early days of the movement, to roll up their sleeves and work toward advancing the platforms on which they the “Velvet Revolution” took place.

“A year later, we must attest that the anticipation and expectations of the people have not be justified, and the promises of the authorities are still up in the air,” said ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Ishkhan Saghatelyan in his remarks at the rally, which was held under the motto of “We are Going to Advance Without Concessions. Get Serious.”

WATCH THE ENTIRE RALLY

“The government of Armenia does not have a plan or vision to develop the country, nor do they have a professional team to resolve the challenges facing our country,” added Saghatelyan who announced that the parties numerous calls for cooperation in order to assist the government with its outlook have remained unanswered.

“We say it again: we are ready to help. We have nothing to gain. We don’t want positions, payments or honors. We have one wish: to spare the country from dangerous situation,” added Saghatelyan.

He explained that the rally was not aimed against any one individual or group, but rather it is a rally against national schism.

“This rally is for the sake of our statehood, for the sake of Artsakh, for the sake of the Republic of Armenia and the entire Armenian Nation,” said Saghatelyan.

Also speaking at the rally was ARF Bureau member Benyamin Bjakdjian from Lebanon who also highlighted the need for the Diaspora’s participation in the advancement of an Armenian Republic based on the aspirations of the Armenian people.

He pledged that Diaspora Armenians were ready and willing to work hand-in-hand with the Armenian people to improve and advance the socio-economic and political life of Armenia, and fight to the end for Artsakh and the sacred cause that the Artsakh Liberation Movement sparked within the Armenian Nation.

Lilit Galstyan, a member of the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia and former member of parliament’s ARF bloc, said that “love and harmony,” the slogan of last year’s popular movement, has manifested itself into divisiveness with some in Armenia’s leadership are labeling people “blacks” and “whites.” She said as time has gone by, this dangerous attitude has become a guiding principle, whereby the authorities are trying to find so-called enemies among the people.

She specifically called on the young officials to put an end to such divisiveness and stop minimizing the threat of war that our nation is facing. “The people had other expectations from you,” said Galstyan.

ARF Bureau president Armen Rustamyan also touched similar themes adding that he did not see guarantees that the leadership of Armenia is treating the threats to the nation seriously.

“The truth is we [our country] at war and are blockaded. It is also very evident that we must develop under the threat of war and blockade without conceding our national interests and achievements,” said Rustamyan.

“To achieve this, we need radical and multi-faceted changes and reforms. There are no alternatives to such planned reforms,” added Rustamyan.

Other speakers at the rally also echoed the same sentiments and the crowd left the square with the conviction that the ARF will continue to advance these issues and extend a hand to help the country to move forward based on its national interests and “get serious” about defending Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian Nation.

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13 Comments

  1. Armen said:

    The ARF is hardly in a position to criticize Nikol Pashinyan after supporting the corrupt governments of Kocharian and Serge Sarksyan for the past 20 years.

    • Preston Bagrationi said:

      ARF also supported Pashinyan.
      What is your answer to that?
      If it was NOT for the ARF, you and your parents would NOT have been born.
      The ARF governments in the 1918-1920s stopped an army of 300,000 Turkish soldiers from finishing off Armenia. Keep in mind that the TOTAL POPULATION of Armenia at the time was a mere 250,000 – 300,000.
      Sadly, we have short memories.

  2. Armen said:

    ARF needs to stop pretending and begin assisting the new government. The actions of ARF are as clear as it can be, and it is shameful. They need to get back to the original values upon which it was founded. The new government has done more in one year them in the past twenty years. Stop working against your own, it is unacceptable.

  3. Sarkis Ghazarian said:

    ARF does not realize that it was given RED Cards by the Armenian people last year in the two elections in which it was not given any seats in the National Assembly nor in the Yerevan City Council since the ARF is now giving YELLOW Cards to the new govt elected by the people of Armenia

  4. Noel Gharibian said:

    I was not born into an ARF family but I joined the ranks in the 80s while attending college. I could function in an out of the party without any loss of identity which is not the case with a lot of ARF members who were born into an ARF family and for whom, the ARF is more than a political party and not unlike religion, a source of self identity.
    I left the ranks in 1991 following the 2nd independence. My justification was that there was no need for a political party in exile following the independence. I believed that the ARF could re- start its political activities in Armenia and fight for parliamentary seats just like the rest of the newly formed political parties.
    However, over the past 28 years , the ARF has never garnered more than single digits in the Armenian parliamentary elections and in the last round, it had its worst result with less than 5% which resulted in no seat in the parliament. I have thought a lot about the way the ARF operated in diaspora and why it had not been able to get more traction in Armenia, given its experience of almost a century running Armenian communities in the diaspora.
    For almost a century, ARF has built schools, churches, Homentmen, The AYF, the ARS and even participated in the politics of countries where it held a significant minority populations such as Lebanon and Iran. These activities however, did nothing to prepare the ARF to present a viable platform in the newly formed republic of Armenia to attract support in the masses.
    Running a country involves at its core, the ability to implement a tax system where the population can get behind, as painful as it might be in the early days of a newly formed country. It also involves presenting infrastructure improvement plans where people can feel the direct benefit and appreciate the role of the government or a party running to form the government in their lives. It involves plans for the energy and other utility improvements and managing the natural resources. Nothing that the ARF did in the diaspora, prepared it to tackle these obstacles that faced the newly independent country. For all its life, the ARF never had to face those kinds of obstacles in the diaspora, not by choice but because it operated within the framework of a foreign country with limited decision making and operational capabilities. As a result, throughout its history in the diaspora, the ARF concentrated and limited its operation around para military activities and survival in the host nations. It never had to discuss plans with the opposition parties and compromise as is the case with parliamentary democracies. Its general, its operations involved around unilateral directives issued by the central bureau which oversaw the activities of the various diasporan communities.
    Rather than use the example of some of the host nations in which it operated in exile for almost a century, it continued with what it knew best in Armenia, namely boasting the Kharabagh independence and continuing with the same type of demands that it had put forward against the Turkish government for decades. These demands, as rightful as they might have been, did not answer the dire day to day situation facing the Armenian people in the past quarter century.
    To my disappointment, it seems that the devastating defeat in the recent election did not create the condition for true self reflection and re-evaluation of their function in Armenia. Rather than embracing the revolution and taking steps to appreciate the yearning of the masses, their answer
    was to double down in their old ways and move their General central committee meeting to Kharabakh for no apparent functional reason but to boast their “we will not give up an inch of land” moto one more time.
    I believe that in aggregate, The ARF has played a big role in shaping the Armenian Diaspora in the past century and with its vast network of political (ANC) and other institutions, it can act as a great lobbying wing of the post revolutionary government in Armenia. It should not continue to act as political party in Armenia just because it was created as one over a century ago but rather concentrate and limit its activities in the diaspora for the betterment of the people of Armenia, something it knows it can accomplish due to its unique and proven experience.

  5. Edgar Zargaryan said:

    Where was a r f for the past 30 years and how are they going to help by filling up their pockets. They said they have experienced in what corruption and money laundering. No thank you a a r f best if you stay out of Armenia. You were the main enabler of search sarkisian if you want to help Armenian people stay out of the politics a r f.

    • Preston Bagrationi said:

      Are you suggesting that ARF are corrupt?
      How would answer to Pashinyans wasting money sending his “girlfriend, common-law wife,” abroad for spending sprees?
      POWER my friend, CORRUPTS.

  6. Garo Yeghichian said:

    I Think Mr. Pashinyan has much better things to do then to pick and Judge people who risked there lives for Artsagh & Armenia.

  7. Zareh Sahakian said:

    A desperate shameful display by ARF. Wheeeeere were you when you were serving your master Serj Sarkissian?

    Who are you kidding?

    First, achieve the winning of the respect of the Armenian citizenry, then and only maybe then, you can start showing your yellow card…the funniest thing is that you cannot, WILL NOT, and never be able to show your so-called red card, because when you show a red card, then you have to act and that is where you will show your utter impotence and total weakness, gaining at best the pitiful backing of 3.8 % of your electoral base.
    Unless, you are doing this to gain the confidence not of the Armenian citizens but one called Kocharian and his ilk, hoping a future collaboration with another vengeful dictatorial comeback of Kocharian. You are advertising yourselves to show readiness for such criminals.

    Who are you kidding?

  8. Andy K. said:

    ARF lost its ability to learn lessons. Levon was a thief and you were in opposition. But I don’t remember meetings like this when the country was being destroyed by Serzh S. and Robert K.
    Before teaching lessons, gain the trust of the people by not stoning Pashinyan but by silently doing your part to clean up the mess you have created when you were in bed with Serzh and Robert.

  9. Tonyan said:

    It is time to stop referring to Artsakh as some appendix to the Armenian republic. Artsakh is an integral part of the Armenian nation .

  10. Preston Bagrationi said:

    Here is the problem that I have with Pashinyan.
    One year into his premiership, and he has done NOTHING for Armenia, but spend what little monetary resources Armenia have persecuting and prosecuting former corrupt regime officials, and all the time sending his “common law wife” abroad for charm and shopping sprees.
    Yet, some people, mostly cowards, attack ARF for telling the truth as it is.
    ARF was always critical of the Kocharyan and Sargsyan administrations.
    We must forgive and move on. We will NOT allow any official, be it Pashinyan or his cronies to attack anyone and everyone they hate.
    Just FYI, I am NOT an ARF member, but a Ramgavar. However, the senseless attacks on the ARF are NOT acceptable to any sensible Armenian.
    STOP IT ALREADY.

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