“There can be no statement by the US or any other democratic state, [noting] that they support armed solutions to problems. However, despite that, we see the issue of supporting rebels against the Assad regime in Syria,” said HCA Vanadzor Chairman Artur Sakunts in his interview with Aravot.am, commenting on US Ambassador Richard Mills’ words about not supporting armed groups, especially “Sasna Tsrer” (“Sassoun Daredevils”).
It should be recalled that US Ambassador Richard Mills said to Aysor.am, “We do not support groups that seek to overthrow the elected authorities illegally. And we unequivocally condemn especially groups such as “Sasna Tsrer”, who prefer violence over dialogue. We do not tolerate the actions of “Sasna Tsrer” and others who resort to violence or threaten to inflict damage on others to advance their political agenda. Last year the actions of the members of “Sasna Tsrer” led to the loss of human lives, and the residents of the nearby community ended up in a terrible situation.”
Artur Sakunts mentioned that it is not unequivocal whether the US Ambassador considers the RA authorities elected. “I do not see it in the text that he considers the RA authorities legitimate or elected. Especially at the current stage, through the shameful constitutional referendum in Armenia and through the groundless and forced constitutional amendments, Serzh Sargsyan ensured the reproduction of his power. And US President Obama previously spoke about this from the rostrum of the UN, indicating that ensuring the maintenance of power through constitutional amendments is anti-democratic. Moreover, recently the Venice Commission has published a special expert analysis, where the reproduction of power through constitutional amendments is considered anti-democratic. I didn’t see it in the text that the Ambassador considers the RA authorities elected. If he does, then it is incorrect and I do not agree with the Ambassador’s assessment. And the fact that problems should not be solved in an armed manner first and foremost is addressed to the authorities themselves, who used the armed forces against peaceful protesters and killed 10 persons on March 1, 2018. [Despite] referring to “Sasna Tsrer” as a group solving problems through arms, the authorities demonstrated the first example of rising to power through arms.”
Sakunts believes that Mills’ words should not be understood literally but according to the whole point. And the whole point, according to Sakunts, is first and foremost addressed to the authorities. In response to the question whether there are supporters of “Sasna Tsrer” and whether it is just a small circle, Sakunts said, “The problem is that we should first understand the reason why at least 3 cases are recorded during a year in Armenia, and a criminal case is initiated for confronting the authorities through arms. It is the consequence of the authorities themselves solving political problems through arms. We do not justify the solving of problems through arms, but the authorities have established an example of that. The fact that no massive public support is visible does not mean that there is no support.”
Sakunts brought the examples of Nazi Germany and North Korea, indicating that when a situation is created in the country where power is maintained through arms, there is no field left for solving the political problems; people fight against the authorities, using the same method. “As long as the authorities maintain their power through lawlessness, trickery and threat of weapons, they are going to face rebellions that use the same methods as a reaction. It does not matter what their name is: “Sasna Tsrer”, “Msra Melik”, “Tigran Mets/Tigran the Great/” or “Paul the Apostle”; they are going to exist. At the moment Mills’ message is clear; political problems should not be solved through arms. However, the Ambassador is a diplomat. He cannot simply mention that it was the authorities who first solved a political problem through arms.” Sakunts asked why the US excluded the RA from the Millennium Challenge Program and has not yet brought it back. “The RA was excluded due to March 1. If the Ambassador gives such an assessment, it seems as if he should legitimize Serzh Sargsyan’s power, but he doesn’t do it. Therefore, what he said is first addressed to the authorities. He can give the example of “Sasna Tsrer”, but what he said is first addressed to the RA authorities, and that is on point. And to try to substantiate Serzh Sargsyan’s legitimacy through this utterance is absurd.”