An interview with Armenian national hero and third president Serzh Sargsyan just premiered on ArmNews TV. He was interviewed by Mher Mkrtchyan.
Here are some highlights that I edited from the live tweets I did on my Twitter account (quotes are all Sargsyan’s unless otherwise noted):
ABOUT THE APRIL 2018 COUP
Sargsyan says he didn’t lose to “these guys [Pashinyan], I lost to much more powerful forces.”
ABOUT “NIKOL WAS RIGHT, I WAS WRONG”
Sargsyan says that the infamous line, “Nikol Pashinyan was right, I was wrong,” was a reference to Sargsyan being wrong that Pashinyan wouldn’t have risked the lives of others and that Pashinyan was right that he would indeed do anything to achieve his end: power.
ABOUT KAREN KARAPETYAN
Mher Mkrtchyan: “Why wasn’t Karen Karapetyan nominated from the get-go to replace you?”
Sargsyan: we agreed that it would be best that we continue with me as primary negotiator re: Artsakh as PM and he remains in his position essentially running the economy; Karapetyan agreed.
Sargsyan says Karapetyan asked him to remove laudatory statements about him (Karapetyan) in his resignation text; Sargsyan acquiesced.
Sargsyan saying he continues to hold Karapetyan in high esteem, contradicting rumors that have circulated that Karapetyan was in cahoots with Pashinyan.
ABOUT THE USE OF FORCE
Sargsyan says that he was not ready to use force and for people to die in order for him to hold onto power.
ABOUT PASHINYAN’S TIME IN POWER
Sargsyan: “These past three years, all they [Pashinyan and his government] have done is destroy.”
Sargsyan: “You must be responsible for your actions: your good actions and your bad actions. Aren’t people going to ask how we lost over 70% of the second Armenian republic? Aren’t people going to ask how we lost so many lives?”
Sargsyan:”Irresponsible people are the most dangerous.”
Sargsyan: “In the April War, we lost 75 soldiers who fought valiantly and lost 400 hectares and we were responsible for that but they lost [a majority of Artsakh] and 5000 lives and they’re not responsible?”
This is an allusion to Pashinyan’s unwillingness to take responsibility.
ABOUT ARMEN SARGSYAN
Mkrtchyan: “Armen Sargsyan, why? Why did he become president?”
Sargsyan: “He had the capability and knowledge, according to me…but, as they say, nobody is perfect…a person’s essence appears in times of crisis…Armen Sargsyan wasn’t able to distinguish himself. It’s a shame.”
Serzh Sargsyan very critical of Armen Sargsyan for not using the powers endowed to him by the Constitution of Armenia to oppose Pashinyan at several junctures.
About the rumor that Armen Sargsyan is a British citizen, Serzh Sargsyan says that he asked and Armen Sargsyan said he didn’t have it.
ABOUT SOROS AND SOROS-FUNDED AFFILIATES
On the question of Soros and its affiliates, he says that Open Society Foundations was established in Armenia in 1997.
Sargsyan rejects the idea that Soros organized the coup in 2018. He again references “more powerful forces” that had the technological ability to conduct the coup.
Mkrtchyan: “Why didn’t you ask for help from Russia?”
Sargsyan: “It never crossed my mind to ask our strategic partner for help to hold onto power.”
Sargsyan: “I asked for weapons [from Russia] and they were provided; I asked for loans and they were provided; I asked for economic assistance and it was provided. But it would be dishonorable for me to ask for help to keep power.”
ABOUT ALTERNATIVE OUTCOMES
Sargsyan: “If we organized snap elections, it may have devolved into a civil war given the circumstances at the time [April 2018].”
Sargsyan: “People would have blamed us if a civil war started – they blame us now for allow Nikol to come to power. Fine, we accept responsibility. Let us be guilty. But let people wake up and realize what’s happening.”
ABOUT ARTSAKH ISSUE’S RESOLUTION
Sargsyan: “We wanted the Artsakh issue to be resolved peacefully, without a war; that Artsakh’s status be determined by the people of Artsakh; and, yes, we were ready for concessions but that Artsakh’s people decide. We wanted the UN to recognize the rights of the people to do this.”
Sargsyan: “What were we ready to give to them? In exchange for peace and our conditions, five regions were supposed to be given to Azerbaijan while Karvajar (Kelbajar) and Berdzor (Lachin) would be left until the rest of the plan was implemented…Shushi was never on the table.”
Sargsyan: “The agreement would have to be signed by all parties as well as the UN Security Council.”
Mkrtchyan: “Mr. President, do you feel guilty? Do you feel guilty that Nikol was able to come to power and that a generation of young men was lost?”
Sargsyan: “Yes. Yes, I feel guilty.”
Mkrtchyan: “Are there foreign spies in Armenia today?”
Sargsyan: “I don’t know…but those spies you’re asking about is what they looked like 20-30 years ago, not what they look like today. Someone can serve foreign interests simply through their stupidity.”
ABOUT THE FUTURE
Mkrtchyan: “Is Nikol permanent?”
Sargsyan: “I am sure you’re aware of the story of Solomon and the story of the inscription on the inside of the ring that reads, “this too shall pass away.” We need to be wise and patient. This too shall pass. For me, Armenia is permanent – and good work.”
Adapted from a thread on Twitter on 30 April 2021.