Past, Present, Future: Legacy, and lessons of the Kocharyan years

President Robert Kocharyan inherited turmoil. Ten years later he leaves turmoil behind him when he turns over the Presidential Office keys to Sergh Sargsyan Wednesday.

When, in 1998, Kocharyan took over, Levon Ter-Petrosyan left him a republic divided on the issue of Karabakh and badly in need of resolving the issue for the sake of internal security and regional stability.


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13.10.2008 03:02
I find John to be an objective reporter, depicting events as they appear, without exaggeration or understatement... Because of people like CA, no foreigners can bear living in Armenia..
13.04.2008 23:36
To John Hughes: End your irrational bullshit and stop censoring me, you are acting like a little pathetic tyrant. As a good American you should be giving me my "freedom of speech," even if I use it to call you a foreign agent. Realize that many have that opinion of you, anyway. Nonetheless, also realize that your manipulative crap won't work with Armenians, you are not dealing with some sub-Saharan African tribe. Take your "democracy" and your US State Department agenda and get your ass back to Hicks-ville Alabama. You have overstayed your visit in Armenia. Disregarding the self-hating vermin and young ignorant ones in our society, Armenians in general realize that entities such as ArmeniaNow and Radio Liberty are political tools Washington DC uses to meddle into the internal affairs of vulnerable nations such as Armenia with the hopes of driving a wedge between Yerevan and Moscow, and turn the masses against the struggle for Nagorno Karabagh, our sacred homeland of Artsakh. Guess what asswipe, it won't happen. Armenians know that accepting financial aid from the West, specifically from Washington DC, is like taking money from the mafia, once you do they own you. Armenia needs to learn to do without western handouts. Officials in Washington DC should concern themselves with keeping 'their' house in order. The nation with the most blood on its hands today is the USA. The nation with the most corrupt public officials today is the USA. The nation that is most hated and feared today is the USA. So, who the fuck gave you criminals the right to judge any nation? Why do petty demons like you have to oversee anything? Keep your "financial aid" (which are nothing legal forms of bribes) to yourselves. And take your deceiving and destructive concepts of "freedom and democracy" and shove it up your filthy asses. You will never succeed in breaking Armenia away from Artsakh. You will never succeed in breaking Armenia away from Russia. Your street whores in the Levon camp were soundly defeated. Face it, you lost. Now get your ugly ass out of my country, John. The fledgling Armenian Republic needs political evolution - not an artificial revolution. Armenia's future lies with Russia. Levon and his treasonous team of usurpers need to be hanged for their crimes against the Armenian nation. Levon supporters, be it individuals or organizations, need to be persecuted out of existence. Sometimes accurate articles appear in ArmeniaNow only because it's directors wants to be seen as a balanced and fair media outlet. However, ArmeniaNow's agenda, as well as Radio Liberty's, is quite obvious - they strictly follow the dictates of the US State Department. Also, the dubious nature and character of individuals such as John Hughes, the British born Onnik Krikorian and the American born Richard Giragosian are very obvious as well. Nonetheless, these types of entities and individuals are established within vulnerable nations as a means of manipulating public sentiments. In the Armenian case, it's no secret that the West wants to break Yerevan away from Russia and Iran and the West wants Armenia to bend over for Turks/Azeris so that the West can realize it's agenda to exploit central Asian oil/gas and undermining the Russian Federation and Iran. Sadly, due to Armenia's numerous domestic problems, the West has found willing partners in the treasonous Levon camp and that is why they are blowing Levon's trumpet today. And that is why the Armenian authorities today are left with no choice but to crackdown hard on Levon supporters and their western backers. Moreover, we do realize that you are not alone, John. You have a lot of help - Richard Giragosian, Onnik Krikorian, Van Krikorian come to mind, to name a few of the obvious ones. We also realize that you operate in a vast, well organized and well funded network under the guise of promoting human rights and democracy in nations where the West has financial and/or geopolitical interests. In the 60s and 70s CIA agents posed as Peace Corp volunteers and backpackers/travelers. Today they are internet bloggers and champions of "freedom and democracy". One would think as "freedom loving" westerners the first place you should be promoting your noble agendas are within nations that are your closest allies, who also happen to be the worst offenders in the practice of human rights and democracy - namely, Turkey, Israel, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Albania, etc. IN final analysis, the fault lies with us Armenians. The likes of you have an agenda to perform, it's natural, it's your job. The problem is we allow you to do it by our collective ignorance. Thus, I can't blame you John for doing what you are told to do. However, I CAN blame our people for being sheeple. Incidentally, John, since you have been very concerned and involved in Armenian society and politics, would you be willing to release your personal tax returns in the United States for the past several years for public viewing? Would you also be willing to subject yourself to an in-depth background investigation? Are you truly this concerned about Armenia or are you simply doing your job? By that I mean, leaving sunny California and hicks-ville Alabama for a foul dictatorship in Caucasus like Armenia?! Heck, you must either be a saint or a demon. Anyway, I know the answers to these questions, I just want to hear them from you...
10.04.2008 08:57
compared with others, citizens of Armenia have no grounds to complain... at least Mr. Kocharyan can pronounce "nuclear"!
10.04.2008 01:18
CA is annoyed to be censored here?! But the fact, that hunderds of thousands Armenians in their own country don't have the freedom of speach is obviously OK to him.. If the financial aid from US is the same as taking money from mafia, why robert and serj keep on taking these "bribes"?! Right, because they get weak as soon as they see cash. It's interesting, that CA is able to accept the fact, that there are numerous problems in Armenia. But even more interesting is the conclusion he draws from that - so, instead of solving at leastr part of those problems during last ten years the only choice they have now is to crack down opposition, kill and beat demonstrating people and put hunderds of non-conformists into the jail. What about agentomania, I would be rather concerned about those high-ranking officials in Armenia, who are agents of FSB and Islamic Republic of Iran. Whereas their masters don't even hide it anymore. If CA wants to connect his future only with Russia, he should better leave for Russian Federation, where he might become one day one of those regular victims, who are killed weekly just because they are Armenians..
09.04.2008 08:57
"Shortages will be divided among the peasants." snyone for a joke? Group paranoids have no sense of humor anyway. New regime, be sure you divide them.
09.04.2008 06:35
First - thanks to the author, a very good article! For his homeland Karabakh Robert did much less, than "artsakh-enemy" (H1) Levon. And for the security of our common motherland Armenia he did even less. For the democracy in Armenia - last 10 years we were constantly rolling down at are now at the lowest point of the democracy in our newest history. Economic growth - very doubtful issue... Third was construction (i.e. money laundering), whereas mostly in the center of Yerevan (which is already at its limits). At least another third of that "growth" are money transfers from migrated Armenians (UN takes official statistics, the real volumes of those transfers are much higher). And the rest - Kirk Kirkorian's 100 M., US aid and daily work of middle and small business, who did their job despite the extremely unfavourable conditions (tax policy, corruption etc.). And, almost forgot, artificially strong AMD, which was good for the budget statistics. The whole saga of "weak $" in Armenia last years can be qualified just as a new tax on labour migrants. There is a lot to write, but one more thing, how we are going to remember these 10 years - blood, blood and blood in Yerevan...
07.04.2008 04:35
not CIS but CIA sponsored and anti Armenian "Radio Azadutun" rather than free media trusted by people
07.04.2008 04:30
90% of news media are controlled by politcal parties and are NOT objective... so called " opposition" has its own "hay lurs"- in some way even worser than "hay lur"! Armenia lack "investigation jurnalism" I read regularly Armenianow. I hope Armenianow will remain objectiv and committed to a democratic and unified Armenia and Arzak (Nk) however We have to admit that the actions of Levon Ter-Petrosyan has made even many ordinary Armenians aggresive and intolerant towards each other .. peopel often are using a rude language and are making wrong accusations I hoppe this will remain exception There is no doubt the current authorities (system) have a lot of shortcomings but still we should not give the intolerance and enmity preached by Levon Ter- Petrosyan any chance ! This is sad when we have a CIS sponsored and anti Armenian "Radio Azadutun" rather than free media trusted by people
05.04.2008 21:27
Agree with u, Henry. One versus another is not a discussion that matters now. It is Armenians for Armenians not against that matters today.
05.04.2008 17:56
To everyone: One of the reasons I like to participate to Armenianow discussions is that their level is high. I have checked many on-line Armenian forums and news sites and the level of discussion and language is quite low. Poeple are essentialy cursing Levon or Serj. Armenianow very quickly got over the Levon versus Robert/Serj duality discussion.In fact, I think it never fell into the trap. John, set the tone himself in a very early article. So, why are we constantly bringing up a subject which is not a subject at all: comparing Levon and Serj? None of these guys are a gift to our nation. Common everyone, we can do better than that.
05.04.2008 17:47
To Viva Armenia, You make a good point. Allow me to nuance it a bit: Iran: The population of Iran is growing overall quite fast and its age structure has gotten younger since the revolution. It has exported part of the over-population. Turkey (Anatolia): Turkey's population is also exploding. They are "exporting" the overpopulation massively to European countries. Armenia: It is the "overall" population which has dropped by exporting 33% of it. This is catastrophic.
05.04.2008 15:19
Excellent words. Putin's Poodle leaves a legacy of haves (those lucky enough to be abroad) and have-nots (the rest of the population). I doubt there are even 1.5 million in the country at any given time, which makes the entire economy (and its so-called gains) roughly the size of a small town in the west--without the comforts or freedoms. As he watches his so-called successes ebb away, perhaps he will finally get it--sucking up to the Russians in order to line your pockets is a fool's game--and time is not on your side, it is on the rest of us.
05.04.2008 03:10
To Henry, If we like to change something for better we should at least agree that the migration process was put by Levon Ter-Petrosyan into operation. The same applies the rule of Oligarchs! Nothing will change if LTP becomes President tomorrow! WE/people like a better system (rule of law) than Levons or Kocharjan system! beside this migration is not good for armenia but this is not only a problem of Armenia 80% of youths living in Anatolia like to live Turkey the same applays to youts in Iran.. only this people can not go so easy aboard!
05.04.2008 02:57
John, Very nice article, as usual. Thanks. If I was to put a coefficient to each of the parameters you used to assess Kocharyan's performance, on a scale of 0 to 1 I would put 0.9 for population drain. If more than 30% of the population has left the country, it doesn't matter anymore what Yerevan's trafic jams looks like or how nice the buildings are. Armenia's main asset is its people (not the buildings and not the supermarkets) and its balance sheet has registered a 33% drop in Assets. So has its overall value. The rest of the speculative bubble will burst sooner or later. Thanks Robert, You were just a lousy President with blood on your hands.
05.04.2008 02:31
@ sorry in my last mcomment there was a mistakeI mean raising money for the constriction of GYUMRI, KELBAJAR; STEPANAKERT; SHUSHI highway 1 not Yerevam,Stepenakert
05.04.2008 00:15
To "just" I have only one comment - all others are already properly addressed in good details. My comments is related to point 3 of your 4-point plan: One CANNOT OPEN something one did not close.
05.04.2008 00:06
@Vigen I agree with you ... But Not a single “Azeri refugee “ should be allowed to return to NK who was brought or forced to moved to NK by the order of Stalin and authorities in Baku after 1935! All “Non Armenian refugees” who lived before 1935 should be allowed to return to their homes in NK after a final peace is signed and authorities in Baku have committed to end all their hate campaigns! Today, in CIS countries all “forced resettlement “of people during and after Stalin is regarded as a crime (even by PACE/EC and US) this policy should apply to the thousands of Non Armenians who were forced to move to NK too!! International peacekeepers will in no way be able to guaranty the security of NK and its people, Baku Azeris/turks are not Serbs... Nationalists in Baku will find ways to scare international peacekeepers to leave , when it is the "right time" even now Baku is threatening adn blackmailing OSCE!!!beside this after "security belt " is returned authorities in Baku will try to blackmail countries joining international peacekeepers ... aim of authorities in Baku is to BALKANIZE NK after return of "Azeris to NK" and to have a pre-text to attack NK .. Not a single UN or NATO peacekeeper will try to prevent authorities in Baku to implement such a criminal plan (this is Balkanization of NK!) Armenia/NK have sent wrong signals to authorities in Baku better to say authorities in Baku have misunderstood Armenia and NK ,while Armenia/NK were talking of a “compromise solution” Therefore: --Next Armenian Telethons should start raising money for the constriction of Yerwan, Kelbajar , Stepanakert, Shushi highway which was planed long ago but is put on hold for some reasons - Every Armenian tourist (Diaspora Armenia) visiting Armenia should pay extra $5 for the building of civil infrastructure of liberate territories - Armenia/NKR should only agree to return of Agdam and parts of territories bordering NKR with Iran in exchange for parts of Nachicevan bordering Turkey!
04.04.2008 23:45
Based on Levon's past history as well as his current political rhetoric/platform - this is how I see the Levon camp solving Armenia's and Karabagh's problems: Abandon Artsakh to make peace with Azeris. Abandon Genocide Recognition (as well as land claims and reparations) to make peace with Turks. Break away from Russia and Iran to make peace with the West. Replace Karabaghtsi oligarchs with Yerevantsi oligarchs. In other words - replace criminals with criminals; abandon all your short-term longterm national interests; abandon your only two regional friends; and bend over to your enemies. Levon's political platform is nothing short of national suicide.
04.04.2008 23:38
Responding to Just Are you out of your mind? Your suggestions that the surrounding areas get returned to Azerbaijan are so ridiculously naive I had hard time believing somebody could seriously fathom those. Who do you think we are dealing with here, a loving and cozy neighbor? Don't you know the hatred that the Azerbaijanis breed towards Armenians and that the first chance they get they will attack and try to strangle Karabakh from all sides? Don't you know the saying "Uzheghi mot misht el tuyln e meghavor?" Stop being naive and look at the reality with open eyes. First of all, those surrounding areas ARE historical Armenian territory and just the fact that the Stalin annexed them to Azerbaijan to please the Turks doesn't mean that they stopped being Armenian. Secondly, ANY territorial concession would be a big mistake to Azerbaijan as it would weaken Artakh's position. The only real solution for NK for now is: 1. Return of territories surrounding NK, 2. Bringing in international peacekeepers, 3. Opening borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey, 4. Leave status of NK for further negotiations without threat of war.
04.04.2008 21:30
please people, if you don't have any knowledge of military strategy and geopolitics don't make any comments on the liberated territories. the armenian and nkr armed forces liberated those territories out of a necessity, in order to stop azerbaijan from attacking nkr from both sides, west and east. only through liberating those territories were the armenians able to gain an upper hand and free nkr from azerbaijan. and only due to preserving the liberated territories have the armenians been able to stop azerbaijan from even considering to resume the war. look at the map and see what will happen if we surrender the liberated territories. we will not be able to defend nkr or syunik, armenia's southern province bordering iran. once syunik is conquered turkey and azerbaijan will have a common border and armenia will have lost its border with iran. there is no guaranty that azerbaijan will not attack armenia some time after the return of the liberated territories. the peace keepers will not remain there for eternity and in fact how reliable have they ever been? turkey's and azerbaijan's geopolitical goal of uniting will not cease to exist, once the liberated territories are returned. kocharian's achievement has been that the territories have not been returned during his tenure, despite massive pressures by the west, but his failure has been the fact that the civil infrastructure of these territories has not been rebuilt so as to allow it to be repopulated again. hopefully serge sarkissian will take on that task. i just want to remind everybody of the recent conference organized by the TUFENKIAN foundation in kashatagh where the RA and NKR governments, major armenian NGOs and almost all major diasporan armenian organizations (AGBU, ARF etc.) participated to discuss the rebuilding and repopulation of kashatagh province in artsakh, which makes up more than half of the liberated territories. the province of kashatagh does not fall within the borders of the former NK autonomous region! it is part of the liberated territories, and as i said, makes up more than half of those territories. there is a big concensus in Armenia, NKR and the diaspora today, that these liberated territories have to be repopulated by armenians again. its official RA and NKR policy now to preserve and repopulate kashatagh with the financial and moral help of the diaspora. if you want more information on that google it! or check out this news article called: "Joint effort of Armenians for development of Kashatagh". url:
04.04.2008 19:44
@just A big part of problems in Armenia have noting to do with NK and closed borders with Turkey. You can repeat election in Armenia every 3 months but if there is no political culture (e.g respect for opponents ) and dialog nothing will change One shouldn’t forget Turkey has not only “imported” some of European fashion and laws but a Turkish version of Nazi ideology has become the state docterin/ state ideology of Turkey. The same Nazi ideology is being implanted in Azerbaijan step by step ... Nothing will change if your 4 point plan regarding NK is implemented. Azerbaijan , Turkey and Israel are after something else. All four are pursuing less or more an aggressive Anti Armenian policy in order to achieve their geo-political goals… Currently Armenia has to deal with Israel, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Bus Administration This is not a secret when it comes to Armenian issues all of sudden Ankara becomes the capital of USA (there are many examples for this, open you eyess!) Even Kurds do not trusth US any more! EU/ Armeina cooperation should be forced BUT Armenia has to consider some kind of federation /union (having equal rights) with Russia and more close military and security ties with Iran , unless USA is going to change its policy regarding Turkey and Armenian Genocide, annexation of Armenian Territories by Turkey and its double standard regarding NK and Kosovo Security Problems of Armenia demand new approaches to challenges a head of Armenia and Armenian nation in a whole
04.04.2008 16:55
To Anarchist, The only real solution for NK for now is: 1. Return of territories surrounding NK, 2. Bringing in international peacekeepers, 3. Opening borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey, 4. Leave status of NK for further negotiations without threat of war. This solution is more secure for both Armenia and NK, because this will eliminate risk of war and on the other hand stop isolation of Armenia. While negotiating status of NK, economy of Armenia will not get harmed, because the borders will be open and as there is no threat of war, more investments will be brought to Armenia. Anyway, all the presidents including Kocharian and Serj hinted that they are going to return the surrounding areas and this is not a surprise for anyone. So why not to return them with less harm, than later? This will mean there is no pressure on Armenia to agree on the status of NK as soon as possible. This will reduce expenses on military and there will not be any pretext to burden democracy in Armenia.
04.04.2008 14:56
Can somebody explain to me why remittances to Armenia from expatriates are looked down upon as a type of economic activity? If armenia is importing stuff to consume, it has to export something else to keep the balance of trade. It is exporting labor vs exporting stuff. I am no economist, but exported labor keeping remittances up (eg, "xopanchiner" remodeling their apartments, or buying houses in Armenia, or buying cars to drive in thier retirement)suggests some faith in the economy and futures of Armenia, no?
04.04.2008 13:05
Dear Hagop, 1- How would you solve NKR issue ? 2- Why LTP didnt use "diaspora money and aid, remittances" to get some results ? 3- " Human rights " ? Have you heard of Guantanamo? Abu Grabe? Katrina? HALF A MILLION killed Iraqis? Kidnappings of innocent "terror suspects" all over the world by "civilized" US and UK ? Warrantless wiretappings ?
04.04.2008 12:00
Kocharyan's achievements in the last 10 years in the following areas: 1-Karabagh issue: almost NIL (politically NIL, socially-economically a little) 2-Ecomonic Growth: SOME (basically due to diaspora money and aid, remittances and boom in 2 sectors, real estate and construction) 3-Internal Life: NIL (crimes on the rise, below standard human rights record, no reforms to state bodies and systems-including the army) and concpets like justice, democracy, freedom....close to NIL to read the legacy of kocharyan u can go to and chose the human rights reports on Armenia from 1999-2007...probably 2008 will be the worst a vicious, corrupt dictator is leaving good riddance!
04.04.2008 11:54
Jirayr No one from what you mentioned below (Levon, HHSh, etc) "betrayed" you or Armenia, or Artsakh...especially Armenia..all what you are trying to do is cheap anti-Levon propaganda, if you are a real patriot then u have to determine which is more important? Armenia or your personal feelings (of jealousy and fear) ???
04.04.2008 10:16
Dear Sir, Well said - excellent writing. I'd have added that what RK did, five weeks before his stepping down, were things that have not been done in Armenia since we got rid of the Soviets, if not earlier! It is so unfortunate that his whole legacy is probably going to be defined by what he did on March 1-2. If not tomorrow, maybe the next day most Armenians will live under better conditions. Better homes, cleaner streets, nicer cars, fatter pay-checks. Things might even get so good that we may go to Baku for vacationing. RK's 6 years of double-digit economic growth will be lost among all that. What we will remember, however, are the dark days of March 1-2, and the State of Emergency that followed. Those days will become the reference point for all future public servants of that country, and perhaps even the region. And that is utterly sad.
04.04.2008 09:46
p.s. to a peace that is
04.04.2008 09:44
When some uneducated people talk about "not solved" NKR issue,its normal,we have enough "geniuses". But lately i'm starting to hear about it from some jurnalists and respected editors. What in the world are you talking about people? How do you see Azerbaijan sitting and signing a Peace Treaty with us without getting all of NKR ? If anybody has an idea give me a teoretical map, please.
04.04.2008 08:25
I used to beleive LTP from day one, but when his immature political actions became dangerous, I quit his divisive camp and moved on. Here is a man whose legacy is mired in corruption, political immaturity, agitation, destabilizing of Armenia, dividing Armenians along county(Marz) lines, as if Artsakh Armenians are not viewed as Armenians, helping the enemy(Turkey/Azerbaizan), trying to reward Artsakh to the Turks, ratting on his friends(manuel grigoryan and others). This person has become such a monumental danger for my tiny country that he needs to go and go he must. There is no secret, that LTP betrayed his country, betrayed the people(like myself) that beleived in him, I joined the protests only to find out that they were encouraging us to become violent and use force, betrayed Artsakh, and last but not least, betrayed his closest friends, the likes of shugaryan, bayburtyan and Grigoryan.And this...a former president of Armenia.Scary........ God bless Armenia. Let us give the president-elect a chance. PS: One more thing, you people in the USA, should absolutely not support Tavacan LTP.Enough is enough.
04.04.2008 06:23
WHAT DID HHS (levons party) in the last 10 years for Armenia? Do they try to bring a better political culture in Armenia ? Even a so called opposition should take responsibly for the country! hhs (Levons team) was just pleased and glad to see authorities making mistakes etc and waiting for next election to make some noise , I never approved the home policy of Kocharjan but one can hardly call such an group Levons- team/"opposition" I would label such a group rather fifth column As I worte in my last coomets on NK: Believe me Rebublic of Armenia with its small resources was more successful in foreign policy than Bush administration in the last 8 years !! Azernaijan/Baku is nothing but a tool in the and of Ankara and a out post of Ankara! I didn’t like the home policy of Robert but I agree with Robert it is time to recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh or just declare NK as part of Armenia. Baku is not interested on return of Agdam and Fizuli (etc) so it is time to change policy... there is no need to secure Aliey dynasty anymore ! Armenia should no longer help Aliev dynasty to stay on power !! We better start with the implementation of Stepenakert, Kelbajar, Yerevan highway!
04.04.2008 06:20
Shouldn't you have a some kind of a rule that the same post can be made only once. This imbecile comments every single post with the same bullshit. I am not a Levonakan myself, but this idiot makes me feel like burning cars and breakiing up shops. Of course he might be actually a Levonakan mocking the Serzhists arguments, and trying to get more people to hate Serzh, then he's pretty smart and doing a great job, I have to admit.
04.04.2008 03:00
Finally a good article that tells the truth. Is it a coincidence that the author is probably not an Armenian citizen? I guess not. In the banana dictatorship that Armenia is becoming, you can afford telling the truth only if you have a foreign passport. However, even this is not a gurantee, let's wait and see how long it takes the government to throw critical foreigners out of the country.
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