ARF Opposes Anthem Change as Khachatourian Music is Announced for New Anthem

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–A commission working on choosing a new national anthem for Armenia held a closed session Saturday and in a secret ballot vote chose Aram Khachatourian’s music for the new anthem, but rejected any lyrics. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation did not welcome the commission’s decision, saying the song was utilized as the anthem of Soviet Armenia. An official at the Armenian Culture and Youth Affairs Ministry public relations department told Armenpress that the head of the commission and Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosian urged the government to announce a new contest for the lyrics. Deputy parliament speaker and ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovanessian told Radio Free Europe Monday that his party will "work with our colleagues to ensure that all members of parliament are aware of the situation and do not adopt a new national anthem."Our colleagues in the government are also going to work on this matter, because it was under [the Khachatourian] anthem that people were being exiled to Siberia. In fact, our prime minister went to jail during the time when that anthem was used," referring to Prime Minister Antranik Markarian who was jailed under the Soviet regime for being a dissident. The ARF bloc in the parliament has drafted legislation, which will make "Mer Hayrenik" Armenia’s national anthem. Markarian announced that the commission’s decision will become the basis for any legislation. The parliament has until December 5 to adopt a law on the anthem.

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