Armine Avetyan

March 30, 2010

Says the chair of the NA standing Committee on Foreign Relations
Armen Rustamyan

- According to the report submitted by the chief rapporteur of the
UN refugee issues 6226 Armenians found shelter in other countries in
2009. The number of Armenians applying for shelter in 44 countries
increased by 43%. In your opinion what serves a result for this?

- This is the expression of difficult social-economic situation in
the country. And indeed this is the result of the incorrect policy
conducted by the RA government. People here simply cannot find jobs.

They cannot take care of their social issues; neither can they see
any prospect in this country. And the best and most common reflection
of this process is the migration of the citizens. They abandon their
homes and country. The whole world was in crisis and at the beginning
there was an impression that the situation of our counterparts living
abroad was difficult. There were saying that here the crisis is less
and that the Armenians will soon return home. Such exceptions were
created by our government with its announcements. But this showed
that the anti-crisis of our government failed. And people don't have
any expectations from the government. So they find the best option
of the migration. Indeed during these last years the migration rates
have increased. Of course there are difficulties outside and there is
crisis over there too but it turns out that the difficulties existing
abroad are more acceptable, tolerable than the ones here.

- Is it only the social-economic situation that created higher rates
of migration? Have the events of March 1-2 and humiliation of human
rights not served a reason for the people of Armenia to leave Armenia?

- The March 1-2 events and the social-economic situation are
interlinked. In general the three main - national, democratic
and social issues are interrelated. One can help the other to
find solution and the opposite may happen too. The issues may be
multiplied. You can't solve social issues in the country when you have
serious democratic issues imperiling the country. How can we speak
about a legal state when at every step the people's rights are being
violated? As a result of the sum of these issues the migration takes
place. And if the government wants to find out whether its activity
is efficient it should check the migration dynamics.

- Why are you always criticizing the government? Is the issue really
in the high circles? Can the government resolve the mentioned issues
on its own?

- When I say government I mean the whole governmental pyramid because
in Armenia we have a uni-flow government. There is no separation of
power. Meanwhile it is necessary that the NA-President-Government had
checks and balances on each other. We were saying that the economy
and the politics are extremely linked but now we have appeared in
a worse shape. After the resemblance of the state-government now we
are moving to the resemblance of state-party. It is natural that the
situation will have negative consequences. I don't feel it is possible
to solve this.

- If you are complaining so much of the incumbent government then
what ways do you see for the solution of the issues raised by you?

- The way is pretty clear. It is necessary to change this policy.

There are two ways. Either this government should understand that
this stream is destructive and should proceed with changing their
course or yes, there should b change of government. There should be
new political forces, which possess the solution of these issues;
they have more realistic programs and solutions. And the people should
be sure that they won't be cheated again. We have to make sure that
the government just doesn't give promises and renounce those after
being elected. And it's no accident that before coming to power the
political force should be right or left by which they are applying the
social issues and slogans. For making correct reforms the government
should work objectively and in an unbiased way and their staff
should be professional. Instead the current government has surrounded
themselves with loyalists but they are not professional. Currently
the main agony of the economy is the monopolies. Several dozens of
people or even less are directing the economy. The government is
not able to change this situation. The economy is linked with the
monopolies. Give freedom and competition to the economy.

- This issue has existed in the country for years when the ARF was
in the government and Kocharyan was the president. Why were you not
criticizing the government at that time and why wouldn't you demand
free competition?

- Yes, there were such issues back in the day as well but there was a
certain tendency of resolving these issues. But that wasn't enough for
us either. The rates of solution were very slow. Now it is not clear
what direction the government is going to. They are promulgating one
thing but doing another thing. And not only do we not have progress
but also are regressing. We have had complaints during the tenure of
Kocharyan and when we were in the coalition. We have said that the
main worry of ours is the foreign policy course of the government. Now
the government has become so uni-course in the country that you cannot
be a part of the government even if you have 13 ministerial portfolios.

- Wasn't the government uni-course during Kocharyan's tenure?

- In 2003 when we joined the same coalition there were serious debates
and collisions in the coalition. Sometimes the debates may go out
the frames of the coalition and the society could see that. There
were various viewpoints. I don't know if there are any differing
viewpoints? I don't see those.

- Recently the report of the OSCE/ODIHR was publicized on human
tortures, which had criticized the RA judicial and police systems. Do
you share the concerns of these structures?

- I agree. Moreover, it was necessary to speak about these issues long
ago and not just now. In these sectors concrete reforms are necessary.

There cannot be a legal state if the judicial system is not
independent. There is lack of trust to the judicial system. People
are trying to move their cases in foreign countries to win it. The
only achievement that we had is that people now can apply to the
European Court. People are doing everything today to move their cases
to the European Court. This has happened as a result of Constitutional
reforms. That's why I am saying that at the time there were positive

- During the tenure of the previous government the ARF had a high
role and this gives grounds to assume that the ARF wishes to return

- This was spread by the journalists. The ARF says whatever it wishes.

- The president of the Federation of International Defense of Human
Rights (FIDH) Suer Belasen made a special message, by which it urges
the Armenian government to release the political prisoners. HE also
urged the government to objectively investigate the death cases of
10 victims of the March 1-2 events. Do you agree with Belasen?

- We have done the difficult reforms and revised the articles of
the Criminal Code, which relate to political contents. And the last
political step wasn't fulfilled. The amnesty was necessary and if
we condition this with the events of March 1-2 events and the text
of the amnesty said that it was connected with that then the amnesty
should have been applied for everyone. But this wasn't done. And as
a result we have a semi-complete step taken. And this is the reason
why we have the current situation. These issues must have political
solutions. If you wish to close the page of March 1-2 you should take
rapid political measures. As long as we don't have this the page cannot
be closed. The page is not closed because the motives of the events
are not simplified and the consequences are not examined properly. The
circumstances of the death of 10 people are not investigated. This
is a very heavy case and it's necessary to get rid of it as soon as
possible. The necessary political will wasn't demonstrated.