Yerevan/Mediamax/. Armenian second President Robert Kocharyan gave an interview to Public TV of Artsakh in connection with the 20th anniversary of NKR independence to be celebrated on September 2.
Here is the main content of the interview.
About the proclamation of NKR independence on September 2, 1991
- It was obvious that the Soviet Union was collapsing and the appropriate moment for the proclamation of independence was approaching. If you remember the movement began under the slogans of unification with Armenia. Why independence? It created more serious legal grounds for the future existence of Artsakh. There are two circumstances. First, it was more in tune with the laws of the time, and secondly-it meant an actual realization of the right for self-determination, and the right for self-determination is one of the fundamental principles of the international law. This was the reason: the formation of serious legal grounds for the existence of the future republic.
It was a right step in a right moment. I was not alone. A big team had worked over the preparation and the legal basis of the declaration- Karen Baburyan and others, there were two specialists from the
Institute of Philosophy and Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. It was, of course, a very serious political document.
About the responsibility to generations
- In such cases the responsibility is always very great. But at that time we didn't think about our responsibility to the generations. We were simply doing our job, defended our families and our land,
ensured the safety of the people.
Casting a retrospective glance, one can give all this some elements of pathos. But at that time we had a definite task and everyone was trying to do his best to keep the land, feed the people and ensure
security. But the responsibility was big of course. Can you imagine what labels people would pin on me (laughingly) in case we have failed to succeed then. We have taken on that big responsibility at that moment, and not only me but the others too.
The State Defense Committee of NKR
- There was a big need to centralize the power and all human and material resources to withstand the challenges of that time. The State Defense Committee was the highest level of governance of Nagorno
Karabakh then. It was not me who had invented that name. Such structures existed still during the World War II. However, I had defined the whole structure of authorities and I received authorities from the parliament as a chairman of that Committee. It allowed to significantly change the situation several months after the establishment of the Committee.
About the formation of the NKR Defense Army
- The first task was to form an army and to unite various detachments into one army system. It was the demand of the time. If we hadn't done it then, we would have lost everything. It was very hard. It
required strong will. We worked in that direction very consistently and hard, making very harsh steps, but we had no other variants to change the situation.
There were certainly problems, but they were not that urgent. Finally, the Armenians in the Soviet Army used to serve in combat units and many of them were with us, also the officers who had passed a
serious path in the Soviet Army. There was a problem, of course, but the rival had had even more serious problems. We started from a scratch. There was a need to direct all capabilities of these structures to one point- provision of security. It was task number one on the agenda at that time. There was a physiological aspect too: to make people believe. Yes, Armenia was behind us, but there was little
Karabakh, and big Azerbaijan in front of us, there was a lack of arms, ammunition, a blockade, etc.
- Karabakh undoubtedly marks big progress from year to year. But the challenges Artsakh faces today don't give us the right to say that we are satisfied with the situation. I think the moment when we
start saying that we are pleased with the situation is very dangerous. We have to reckon with the reality, a very complicated situation and we have to understand that we need to work day and night to
achieve our goals and demonstrate our endurance and will. I have no doubts that everything will be all right, but I should repeat that we have no right to be pleased with the today's situation.
About moving to Armenia
- It was very difficult, of course. My family experienced the biggest difficulties. My family couldn't put up with this idea. There was a feeling of responsibility. I was elected NKR President and several
months later I received that proposal, that request... The situation in Armenia was very complicated then both in economic and political sense. It was clear that Karabakh would have the most serious
problems alone, without strong Armenia behind it. It was the major reason they used trying to persuade me to agree to move to Armenia. I should admit that these reasons were very serious. I agreed and everything began to develop the way we know. Surely, it was very hard...
About ideals, achievements and failures during 20 years
- We didn't think about ideals during first years. There were such issues on the agenda that there was neither time nor desire to think about ideals. There was a primary task to protect the lands and the
people and everything was concentrated on solving these issues. Then, years after, we gained more experience and during international contacts we learned to better understand the developments in the state construction, began to better understand what kind of state we had to build, what kind of state could ensure prosperous life for our citizens and allow to preserve our national system of values without weakening our capabilities to withstand today's challenges. We faced the task to balance these extremely important circumstances. And today this task is still urgent. This is the reason why the word
"ideal" is not appropriate. There should be a pragmatic approach through which we can find a better model for the development of Armenia and Karabakh today, which, I repeat, will enable us to withstand all challenges, get integrated into international community and preserve our national values, because the threat of losing all this still exists, especially in conditions of globalizing world.
The future of two Armenian states 20 years after
- Everything depends on how we are going to work and what kind of brave decisions we are ready to make today to advance our national interests. I have big hopes that everything will be all right, but I
can't just say that we will have a bright future. I believe that prosperous life is not granted, it is earned by hard work, by determined and complex decisions. There are no simply other options. And
independence too. When you ask about whether it will be recognized or not.... Independence is achieved, it is not granted.
Watch the video here. здесь.