Exclusive interview of former Armenian President Robert Kocharian to Mediamax, July 2008
- Mr. Kocharian, Levon Ter-Petrosian devoted most part of his recent speech at July 4 rally to criticism against you. According to you, what is the reason?
- It is the loser’s complex speaking in him. He lost twice, and he never had the merit to lose with the dignity of a man. Besides, it is always easy to direct one’s radicalism against the President, who has already left office. In 1998, I did not do the same, since I considered such behavior dishonorable. This is a behavior pattern of a small and embittered person. Sometimes I pity him.
- One cannot but see the placement of emphases in the speech of the first President: the extremely hostile attitude towards you and the transparent hints about the possibility of cooperation with authorities given certain conditions. Do you consider this a tactical step, or a well-considered strategy?
- I am sure that Levon Ter-Petrosian realizes that he lost the elections irreversibly. It seems to him, that he lost to me, but it is not true. Being then the acting President, I just fulfilled my duty, defending the Constitution and reestablishing order in the country.
Levon Ter-Petrosian cannot just leave the field of radical opposition. His masters and creditors will not allow him doing so. And radicalism should have its addressee. So he strains himself. Probably, it seems to him, that the authorities might like those actions and thus he will earn indulgence for himself for the crime, committed on March 1, and, at the same time, will gain the opportunity to freely get on his high horse at the rallies. This is a possible tactical consideration.
From the point of view of a strategy, I do not rule out that he continues seeing me as a main political rival for the future political battles. I believe he will once again miscalculate - both in tactics and in strategy.
- Levon Ter-Petrosian’s speech was rich in listing the shortcomings of your presidency period. The common characteristic of the period was outlined in a way, as if you have destroyed everything possible. How will you comment on this?
- There is so much nonsense in the speech that there is no meaning in giving clarifications as to each of its points. Soon, a book will be published with a set of factual materials on the period of my presidency. It will be pure statistics, without emotions. There are answers to all the questions, related to the efficiency of my work. Any country and any president could be proud of such development speeds. It would be funny to publish a similar book, based on the factual material about the period of Levon Ter-Petrosian’s presidency. Let people compare. You see, he and ANM did not leave anything joyous in the memory of the people, did not build anything to demonstrate today. They are from the type, which remain in the history as effective destroyers. Sometimes Levon Ter-Petrosian loses the sense of measure to such extent that one starts doubting his sanity. Perhaps, his psyche just does not stand the pressure.
- And maybe there is a need from time to time to remind people of what and when was done? Since people, who are now just 18-20 of age, may simply not remember all that.
- This is an issue of responsibility and decency of political figures. By the way, not only the opposition. The temptation to lie to the youth may appear among the authorities as well, just as in the opposition. I wonder whether everything is ok with Ter-Petrosian’s eyesight? When he is participating in processions, where does he look? He does not see a single new building, which appeared in the period of his presidency. Such simply do not exist. Even if he only looks at where he walks, he cannot avoid seeing that he is walking on quality asphalt and in a well-illuminated street. He cannot avoid seeing that there are more and more cars and mainly those are good foreign models. If he takes the trouble to raise his head, he will see the nice windows of the shops, cafes, restaurants and many other interesting things. And if he takes an effort, he may remember that nothing of the mentioned was present during his presidency. The asphalt was all broken, the streets were dark. I do not want to mention the shops, cafes and restaurants, not to spoil the mood of the citizens.
I wonder when the members of his family and the close people walk along the North Avenue, do they tell him about it? I also wonder, does he go to Gyumri for a rally with blindfold on his eyes, or what? Amnesia and “bad sight” for politics is almost a diagnosis.
- Media, which supports Ter-Petrosian, successively mentions the thought that you continue ruling the country.
- That is complete nonsense. If that was true, Levon Ter-Petrosian, most likely, would now already be in jail for criminal activity (by the way, in that way I would correct my mistake of 1998). And the Turkish President would not be invited for a football match to Yerevan for sure.
The country should be ruled by the people, who are prescribed to do so by the Constitution. And they should be responsible for the country. Power and responsibility are inseparable and cannot be shadow. This is my deep belief.