RICHARD HOVHANNISIAN: ARMENIAN AUTHORITIES SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT
FIRST AND FOREMOST IS INTERESTS OF STATE AND PEOPLE

YEREVAN, MARCH 31, NOYAN TAPAN. The Diaspora sees rather well what
is really taking place in Armenia: everything is falsified, there is
no free press, the authorities have established a strict control over
everything and are exerting pressures. Professor Richard Hovhannisian,
well-known American Armenian historian, Head of the Modern Armenian
History Chair of Los Angeles branch of Californian State University,
said this in his interview to radio "Liberty".

According to him, if it goes on like this, Armenia can have a status
of a failed state. "Watching from outside, we are sorry to see these
violations, pressures. For instance, we would like to have freedom
of speech, thought and not pressures, not persecutions by the secret
Police, not falsehood, which is seen in the state TV broadcasts," he
mentioned. According to R.Hovhannisian, they do not allow to speak
those who want to reply to the falsehood voiced by TV and this is
not a democratic system. "Sometimes we condemn Turkey saying that
a military dictatorship rules there and so on. But the fact is that
the newspapers are more free there," R.Hovhannisian said. According
to the historian, as a result of all this the people has become
indifferent to political processes and does not believe to anybody,
neither to the authorities nor to their opponents. "The Diaspora also,
seeing this, gradually loses its belief in Armenia: personally I know
dozens of people who have decided not to give money to Armenia any
more. They have lost their hope though they avoid criticizing publicly
and maybe this is the consequence of the Genocide: we have suffered
so many losses and do not want to endanger the small territory that
has remained and is called Armenia," R.Hovhannisian said. On the
other hand, as a historian R.Hovhannisian estimates this situation
as morbid and mentions the necessity to find a solution to it:
"otherwise, we will lose the people's belief in our state and will
be called a failed state". "We do not want to be a failed state and
if this state fails as well, we have no future," he mentioned.

R.Hovhannisian considers the fact of closure of the office of the
Zharangutiun (Heritage) party headed by his son Raffi Hovhannisian
also to be a direct pressure. "If Raffi Hovhannisian said nothing,
he he were a "kind" Diasporan Armenian here, they not only would not
close his office but also could always receive him with pleasure,
would always show him by TV, sometimes he would speak on TV. But
when he enters the political field, he becomes a competitor and as
the main communication means are in the state's hands, they can do
what they want". R.Hovhannisian said that the Armenian authorities
should understand that the first and foremost is the interests of
the state and the people and not their personal benefit and glory. He
gave assurance that we will not come out of this situation until we
have such a tender-hearted leadership.