Armenagan-Ramgavar Party’s Second Assembly Took Place


Party leader Hagop Avedikian interviewed on television

By Hasmik Harutyunian

YEREVAN (Azg) — Armenagan-Ramgavar Party Chairman Hagop Avedikian presented a report on Saturday, July 17, here at the Tekeyan Center during the party’s second representative assembly. A few of these activities follow.

After the establishment of the Armenagan- Ramgavar political party last year, during the course of one year, 20 chapters were established in Armenia. Among them, the Youth and Zabel Yesayan women’s branches in particular were very active.

On October 10, 2009, an academic conference on Armenian-Turkish relations took place with the participation of Turkologists and political figures. Suren Sargsian’s books titled History of the Constitutional Democratic Liberal Political Party and Evaluation of Armenagans Political Activists in the Armenian Liberation Struggle, were published. A book dedication took place in recognition of historian Nikolay Hovhannisian’s study in 10 languages on the Armenian Genocide.

The executive body of the party announced that 2010 was the 125th anniversary of the original Armenagan Party, the first political party of the Armenian nation, established in Van, historical Armenia, in 1885, and the first activity was the organization of a gathering with the Van-Vaspurakan Compatriotic Union to discuss events dedicated to the heroic battles of Van. The youth of our political party participated in the initiative of the Union of Russia’s Armenians called “1.5 Million Trees in Memory of Innocent Martyrs,” which began in the city of Martuni, Armenia.

Of the 109 delegates of the party’s present Assembly, 100 were present. Country of Law political Party Vice President Mher Shahgeldian, in greeting the Armenagans, stressed that it was time for work and that effort must be directed at stabilizing the state and constructing Armenian statehood.

Paruyr Hayrikian, president of the Union for National Self-Determination, highlighted the importance of participating in any event connected with the first Armenian political party.

Avedikian, during his report, reflected on a number of topics important for the country.

Presenting the party’s position concerning the Karabagh conflict, he assessed the positive efforts of the government to solve the issue in a peaceful manner, on condition that the right of the people of Karabagh to self-determination be assured, and at the same time, noted the obvious tactical errors. These began in 1994, when the issue became internationalized and the doors became open for the intervention of interested parties.

Avedikian said, “The matter deviated from its true essence, and was transformed into a question of the return of territories. Azerbaijan was permitted to exaggerate the  refugees’ issue and put to the force the demand of return, while the issue of the return and compensation of Armenian deportees remained in the shadows. The Republic of Mountainous Karabagh lost the status of a direct participant in the negotiations.  Yerevan and Stepanakert did not apply themselves to the necessary extent and give the necessary importance to the plan of repopulating NKR, which turned into the most persuasive guarantee of security.”

Attendees at the Armenagan-Ramgavar Assembly

He proposed rearranging diplomatic, political and strategic positions, carrying out a more active and enterprising policy, and also involving the Diaspora. He said, “Approximately one year ago we, together with many of those who are present here now, founded the Armenagan-Ramgavar party not as much with enthusiasm as with the consciousness of assuming a historical responsibility, and not as much with great hopes as with the ardor to take promising steps. We who assembled in this hall of the Tekeyan

Center one year ago — nearly all of us old members of the ADL from 1990-1992 — took upon ourselves the responsibilities of founders, seeing that inglorious state in which our party, possessor of a great history and marvelous ideology, appeared in Armenia and in the diaspora. Our desire, and also determination, was to save the party from complete destruction. Today, one year later, we are able to prove that we were justified in our purpose.

“The Democratic-Liberal Party, in the form of the Armenagan-Ramgavar, today in

Armenia has a distinct presence, and appears not only as that political party, but its predecessor organization, and even earlier, the predecessor of all our traditional political parties — the heir and continuator of the history, traditions, and ideology of the Armenagan political party. During the period of time being reported on, the Armenagan-Ramgavar Republican Executive body held 36 meetings. Three of these were expanded through the participation of representatives of the executives of our branches. The first issue on the agenda of all the meetings was the examination of internal political life. Our primary attention was focused on the formation of new branches. During this period, the executive succeeded in establishing, and reestablishing, 20 chapters. Of these, 10 were in different parts of Yerevan, and the remainder in Masis, Karpi village, Yeghegnadzor, Vanadzor, Gumri, Stepanavan, Martuni and Amasia. At present, chapters are also being established in Ghapan, Tavush (Ijevan), Goris and elsewhere.”

Reflecting on Armenian-Turkish relations, Avedikan said that the political party’s executive group was in favor of establishing diplomatic relations and opening the borders. Concerning fundamental issues with Ankara, it is in favor of solving the consequences of the Genocide and of compensation and providing the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul with the exclusive right of supervision of Armenian Churches, structures and monuments in Turkey.

Avedikian declared: “President Serge Sargisian’s attempt to enter into dialogue with the Turks was useful from the point of view of winning international opinion to our side. Although Ankara aborted the initiative, the government must be prepared for constructive dialogue. The attempt at ‘football diplomacy’ taught us that the Armenian side must not sign agreements of a package nature in order to avoid the exploitation and preconditions of Turkish tactics. During the stormy days of the examination of the Armenian-Turkish protocols, when the president initiated a pan-Armenian position and in various places at the instigation of the ARF [Armenian Revolutionary Federation] was faced with disrespectful actions, the representatives of the Armenagan Ramgavars, in

Beirut and New York, in particular, acted with respect and aided the president’s initiative. Seven out of the eight Armenagan-Ramgavar newspapers in the diaspora unreservedly showed their support and erased the impression that the diaspora was under the hegemonic influence of the ARF. However, the authorities did not properly evaluate the Democrats’ stance.”

Referring to speculation that the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border may take place in the fall, he proposed adding a statement to the resolution that would permit, during the NATO exercises, to forgo the opening of the border with Turkey. Avedikian stressed: “Let the Turks also cross the path that the Armenians go through.”

In presenting the economic condition of the country, Avedikian called attention to the obvious oligopoly, adding that the oligarchs not only have money but they have power to make decisions. This, together with the widespread corruption, is the major obstacle to progress in the country.

After the chairman’s speech, the executive members of the party presented their resignations. A temporary executive board was formed, consisting of the oldest and youngest of the representatives present (Lavrenti Barseghian and Ani Harutyunian), which carried out the election of the assembly’s executive, financial and editorial commissions.

Varazdat Avoyan, secretary of the Republic of Armenia’s Supreme Council, and Deputy Samvel Tonoyan were elected as presidents of the assembly. Representatives  presented the party’s stance and proposals on the Karabagh conflict, Armenian-Turkish relations, domestic political life, economic development, the role of the diaspora, and fundamental educational issues, and they were all unanimously accepted. On the proposal of party members it was decided through a vote to reduce the number of members of the executive from 13 to 11, with three alternate or deputy members. The representatives of the party proposed 16 candidates for the executive, of whom 10 were elected as the new executive body: Armen Manvelian, Gayane Muradian, Artur  oskanian, Susanna Ghazarian, Seyran Gharibian, Aida Andriasian, Samvel Tonoyan, Siro Gevorgian, Suren Sargsian, and Ani Harutyunian. Three alternate members were also elected for the executive.

Through an open and unanimous vote, Hagop Avedikian was elected as chairman of the party. Avedikian said, “I wish once more to remind you of the essence of our ideology. We are neither liberals nor democrats. We are democratic-liberals, Ramgavars: liberalism, in economic and other spheres, and democracy, in all circumstances; twin ideologies, which in their union, counterbalance and spur each other on; equal opportunity for all, with each to manifest oneself in accordance with his abilities. Armenia sooner or later will achieve this. There is no other way out.”

He called for the party members to grow strong in order to participate in the forthcoming parliamentary elections and win.