By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Aram Sarkisian, the leader of Armenia’s most radical opposition party, made late Wednesday another pledge to carry out an anti-government “revolution” and urged his estranged allies from the Artarutyun bloc to join the effort.
“We are not saying, ‘Join our party.’ We are not saying, ‘We must be the leaders,’” he said in a trademark passionate speech before hundreds of Hanrapetutyun party activists. “What we are saying is ‘Guys, let’s take to the streets, let’s solve problems, we can’t carry on like this.’”
“We very much want them to join. But if they don’t, we will assume full responsibility,” Sarkisian added to rapturous applause. “We will accomplish that on our own. But remember what I say: one month later they will cry out the word ‘revolution’ more loudly than we do.”
The Hanrapetutyun gathering in Yerevan was meant to reaffirm the party’s uncompromising stand against the Armenian authorities and underline its differences from the rest of Artarutyun which is ready to support their draft constitutional amendments on certain conditions. Artarutyun’s softer line on drew renewed sharp attacks from other Hanrapetutyun leaders.
One of them, Suren Sureniants, warned that Hanrapetutyun will leave the bloc if the latter agrees to cooperate with the ruling regime on constitutional reform. However, Artarutyun and its top leader Stepan Demirchian in particular appear unlikely to endorse the latest version of President Robert Kocharian’s constitutional reform made public earlier this week. Some of Demirchian’s earlier pledged to use the planned constitutional referendum for another push for regime change.
Smbat Ayvazian, another Hanrapetutyun leader, said the “revolution” should start even before the referendum expected in November. “We are not going to crack skulls or spines,” he told the gathering. “That’s easier than creating something. But we don’t think that the property which they illegally acquired can not be reclaimed.”
However, the latest Hanrapetutyun calls were dismissed by Vazgen Manukian, a veteran opposition politician and a senior member of Artarutyun. “The people will rally if they see a consolidation of political forces,” he told RFE/RL. “They won’t follow a single force.”
“The problem is not that some politicians say that there will be no revolution,” Manukian said. “The problem is that by constantly talking about a revolution some politicians don’t bring that change closer.”