YEREVAN — A political rally on Tuesday kicked off a season of such public gatherings in Yerevan. The National Self-Determination Union organized the event–which enabled opposition groups to address the public. The rally was planned for Feb. 18 to coincided with the February Revolt of 1921.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Executive Council member Vartan Petrossian spoke about the significance of the February 18 uprising against the Bolshevik rulers in the final days of the first Armenian republic. Petrossian discussed the evolution of historical events since the February Revolt and the consequences of the people’s uprising.
NSDU chairman Paruyr Hairikian drew parallels between the events leading up to the February Revolt and the present situation in Armenia. "Feb. 18 is the day when the Armenian people expressed the will to determine its fate. Our nation was robbed of that basic right–first by foreigners in the form of Communists–and now by its own native sons in the form of the current leadership of Armenia," Hairikian said.
Time has come to stand up to those forces–Hairikian noted–adding that the National Accord should be at the helm of this latest endeavor.
The rally also provided National Democratic Union member and public defender in the "Sept. 25" trial–Vova Hakhverdian–to address the gathering on the latest in the court proceedings. The cases have a political and not a criminal nature–Hakhverdian said.
Rafael Ghazarian of the Scientific-Industrial and Civil Union of Armenia pointed to the current reshuffling within the administration as a sign of the leadership’s weakness. "If someone is doing a good job– why is he removed from his post? And if someone is not doing such a good job–why is he given a new post?" Ghazarian said.
Ghazarian compared the events that have transpired in Armenia during the past several months to politics in an underdeveloped country where despite a high approval rating–the opposition is excluded from the process of state building.
Aram Sargsian of the Democratic Party of Armenia told the gathering that during the past few years of independence–approximately $1.5 have been embezzled out of Armenia. That amount–Sargsian said– is controlled by several hundred people and is not benefiting the people of Armenia in any way since it is being invested abroad.
"The mafia is in the best condition that it could be thanks to one man who is at the height of the governing pyramid," Sargsian said. According to Sargsian–the Prime Minister should be kept out of this scenario because "he has not had ample time to carry out or not carry out his promises."
The final speaker of the day was ARF Executive Council member Rouben Hakopian–who outlined the National Alliance’s future plans.
Hakopian announced that the National Alliance has changed somewhat since the presidential campaign and is looking to undertake broader issues.