Opposition leader and former President Levon Ter-Petrosian accused the government on Wednesday of effectively destroying Armenia’s national independence that was gained during his rule.
Ter-Petrosian claimed that the country is now heavily dependent on foreign powers as he celebrated with supporters the 20th anniversary of its declaration of independence.
“Unfortunately, 20 years after the restoration of our independence we are faced with almost the same problem,” he told them at a reception in Yerevan. “Today we have to reconquer our independence because deep down the people who now govern Armenia do not feel independent.”
“They continue to consider themselves foreigners’ serfs,” charged the top leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK).
Ter-Petrosian, who served as president from 1991-1998, did not name those foreign nations. He said instead that Armenia will not be really independent as long as it is governed by President Serzh Sarkisian.
Sarkisian invited Ter-Petrosian and the other former Armenian president, Robert Kocharian, to attend official ceremonies, including a military parade, marking the independence jubilee. Aides have said that Ter-Petrosian turned down the invitation because he continues to believe that Armenia is ruled by a “kleptocratic” regime.
Kocharian has likewise shunned the official celebrations, ostensibly because of his absence from Armenia.
Ter-Petrosian poured scorn on government officials and other pro-establishment dignitaries taking part in the festivities. “Many, many of them not only had nothing to do with our independence but also did everything to fight against that independence,” he said without naming anyone.
Kocharian and Sarkisian were key allies of Ter-Petrosian when they led Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s. They both were promoted by him to high-level government positions in Yerevan.