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Hello and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong. We’ll be talking about the demands of the political opposition in Armenia for a provisional government to lead the country out of the crisis following the catastrophic loss in the war in Artsakh.
This episode was recorded on Thursday, December 17, 2020.
Following the trilateral Karabakh ceasefire of Nov 9, the Armenian opposition has nearly universally condemned Nikol Pashinyan’s agreement to the deal.
The largest opposition grouping, called Movement of the Salvation of the Homeland (Հայրենիքի փրկության շաժում in Armenian), composed of 17 political parties including the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), Prosperous Armenia, and the Republican Party, are demanding Pashinyan’s immediate resignation and the appointment of their unified candidate, Vazgen Manukyan as interim PM.
This group has been holding regular protests featuring a growing number of participants, with the latest gathering Wednesday, December 17, estimated to be 20K in size.
Today, we’ll be talking with a representative of one of the political forces behind the movement, to better understand the internal political developments in Armenia and specifically the goals of the Movement of the Salvation of the Homeland.
To talk about these issues, we are joined by:
Arthur Khachatryan, who is a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF Dashnaktsutyun) Supreme Council in Yerevan. In the past, he held government posts such as Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Development, Governor of Shirak, and Minister of Agriculture. Currently, Arthur is a professor of finance at the French University of Armenia and lectures on Leadership at the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia.
What made the ARF Dashnaktsutyun join forces with the 16 other political parties and what is the broad position of the movement, and the ARF specifically?
Especially during the earlier days of the protest, we heard that many of the organizers of the protests were being detained by police and national security forces. Can you say that police intimidation is still taking place and how has it affected the leadership of the protests?
Nikol Pashinyan criticized this movement for being an “elitist protest”, not representative of the entire Armenian populace. How would you respond to that?
How does the ARF differentiate from the wider opposition goals, especially during the “provisional” 6–12-month period that you suggest? Specifically, we’ve heard Vazgen Manukyan express a position on foreign funding of Armenian NGOs for instance. Is that position also shared by the ARF?
What do you think of the government’s proposal and effort to change the electoral code? Is this a change that should be prioritized in the interim period?
The Alliance settled on Vazgen Manukyan as the interim Prime Minister to head a provisional government and lead to preterm elections. As the politics evolve in Yerevan, if the situation requires that a different potential candidate be nominated, would the ARF support that? What are the red lines for the ARF about who might or might not be acceptable as an interim Prime Minister?
During the 2018 elections the ARF didn’t receive sufficient votes to gain any seats in the parliament. What are your party’s plans for becoming a relevant political force, represented in the parliament in Armenia? What is your party’s vision for Armenia over the next 5-10 years?
That concludes this Conversation on Groong. We hope it was helpful in your understanding of some of the issues involved. We look forward to your feedback, including your suggestions for Conversation topics in the future. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook Page “ANN - Groong”, or in our Facebook Group “Groong - Armenian News Network”.
Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week. Thank you for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.
Armenia, Artsakh, Karabakh, Opposition, Salvation of the Homeland, ARF, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Dashnaktsutyun, Arthur Khachatryan, Stepanakert