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19 06 2008 - Ter-Petrossyan Supporters Sabotage Armenia's Progress

"We wonder how many people are going to suffer this time?" ominously lamented Hayots Ashkhar (The Armenian World) daily nearly three weeks ago about the upcoming June 20 unauthorized demonstration by the supporters of the failed presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrossyan.

According to various sources, Ter-Petrossyan's supporters began publicizing 15 days prior to the illegal event without having applied for the necessary permit from the Yerevan Municipality.

Reportedly Ter-Petrossyan boasted that the "demonstration will take place in any case", "under any circumstances" and "regardless of anything."

Several observers insist that Ter-Petrossyan's surrogates have been preparing a certain course of action; and that several key participants know beforehand as to how the chain of succeeding events may unfold.

"After all, is there a topic or an issue that the revolutionaries are unaware of? There is: The day and the time of attacking the Presidential Residence. The attackers were waiting for the answer to this question during the demonstration-series organized at the end of February. It's quite possible that a relevant instruction will be given at the end of June," underlined Kima Yeghyazaryan of Hayots Ashkhar.

"It is absolutely insane to allow LTP [L. Ter-Petrossyan] to organize another demonstration! Who's going to pay for all the deaths, all that damage they've caused on March 1?" wrote Armineh, a reader of

"I am surprised at our peaceful, silent majority, who watches everything, complains but doesn't do a thing. Why don't they organize a demonstration themselves, go in front of the Parliament building and demand that LTP stop harassing them? Why don't they go in front of LTP's residence and scream how tired they are of that traitor's terrorist actions and scream 'SHAME, SHAME, SHAME' at his face? We let Levon get away with everything and that's our mistake. Had we brought him in front of justice for his crimes of the early 90's, we wouldn't have had the 'October 1999.' We wouldn't have had the 'March 2008.' And now we sit and wait and see what he is going to come up with next," concurred Ashot, another reader.

Ter-Petrossyan's supporters are making tremendous efforts to characterize him as "the leader of the opposition in Armenia," knowing full well that a sizable segment of the opposition in Armenia is not aligned with their candidate. Even one of his close allies, another former presidential candidate, Stepan Demirchian recently pulled out of a political partnership with him.

On June 13, Eduard Sharmazanov, the Press Secretary of the Republican Party of Armenia stated: "Ter-Petrosyan's team is not the only representative of the opposition. There is an opposition inside the Parliament, and there is an opposition outside the Parliament which, by the way, supports neither the ideas of Mr. Ter-Petrosyan nor the activities of his team. So, let's not consider them merely as representatives of the opposition. They may be labeled as an extremist opposition."

During a recent press conference, Mr. Sharmazanov was asked: "Not satisfied with the 'March 1', the opposition declares of its intention of 'seizing' the Freedom Square and then coming to power at any price, regardless of the decision of the Mayor's Office. How do you estimate this objective?"

He responded: "There is only one way in the civilized world. That is, to initiate reforms in a normal way, through evolutions. All the reforms should be implemented in compliance with the Constitution and our international commitments."

The insistence of Ter-Petrossyan to hold the June 20 demonstration in the Freedom Square is reminiscent of his March 1 obstinate position to hold the demonstration in the center of the capital city as a means of becoming the center of attention by the international community.

Ter-Petrossyan's supporters' intention to illegally challenge the municipal authorities in Yerevan, reminds the Armenians that Ter-Petrossyan continues to be the number one national security threat to the stability in Armenia. (Click here to watch a related statement by "Armenian Americans For Stability in Armenia").

During the heated political debate that followed the tragic events of March 1, some opposition-leaning readers claimed that "the problem is not about Serzh Sarkissian or Levon Ter-Petrossyan. It's about the social and economic disenfranchisement of an important segment of the population in Armenia."

All those non-Ter-Petrossyan oppositionists now have the opportunity to prove their real independence of the failed former presidential candidate by refusing to participate in any illegal activities that his supporters may engage in. The genuine oppositionists can make enormous contributions to the betterment of Armenian governance by engaging in a constructive political dialogue.

While the Sarkissian administration is credited for reaching out to the opposition, Ter-Petrossyan's extremist opposition is increasingly blamed for sabotaging all efforts for a national dialogue and reforms implemented by the Sarkissian administration.


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