Ter-Petrosyan: Congress suggests following Constitution instead of preaching “ethno-religious ideology”

Armenia’s first president, now leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) Levon Ter-Petrosyan has put an end to the dispute about what ideology is being offered by the opposition instead of the “ethno-religious Njdehism” of the ruling Republican Party. (A reference to the philosophy of Garegin Njdeh.)

At the 7th convention of the People’s Party of Armenia, an ANC member, which took place on Saturday, Ter-Petrosyan responded to critics who accuse the ANC of lacking an ideology. He said that the ANC had, indeed, united parties of different kinds - from liberals and socialists to nationalists and conservatives. And the ANC, he said, guarantees full independence of these parties.

But, in Ter-Petrosyan’s opinion, the unifying idea is the desire to save the country from disaster, dismantling of the “gangocracy” (a term coined by Ter-Petrosyan to describe the current administration) and restoration of the constitutional order.

Ter-Petrosyan said that the Constitution is the most sacred thing of any state and that all ideologies are supposed to serve it.

“Who needs liberalism, socialism or communism if the Constitution is defiled or not working? In putting out a fire it doesn’t matter where you fetch the water from. Is there an ideology more relevant than the Constitution for a country rolling down into the abyss? An ideology more relevant than ensuring the security and welfare of the people, the rule of law, human rights, democratic freedoms and fair elections, the balance of powers, judicial independence and the inviolability of property, free enterprise, and peaceful coexistence with neighboring countries and others? All this is enshrined in the Constitution, and it is restoring this that the ANC has set itself the task to restore,” stated the opposition leader.

At the latest ANC rally on November 9, Ter-Petrosyan accused the ruling Republican Party of teaching the ethno-religious ideology, in other words, racism. That accusation elicited a strong reaction from the Republicans.

“Those who compare ethno-religion to racism either know nothing about science or deliberately seek to throw mud at the national values of the country,” said Republican spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), which quit the governing coalition about a year and a half ago over President Serzh Sargsyan’s policy on Turkey, advocates social nationalism and holds that Armenia must build a social state based on national values.

The second largest parliamentary parliament in Armenia, Prosperous Armenia, does not advance an ideology at all and acts through the way of “aggressive charity” as it was described by one Armenian newspapers.

Judging by the numerous charity actions of Prosperous Armenia, which are being actively advertised on TV, its leader, tycoon Gagik Tsarukyan believes that people should be given what they don’t have - some need money, others need TV-sets, still others need medical care. In one of his early speeches Tsarukyan even would say that being an oligarch is good because when a person is rich he can help others.

Ter-Petrosyan thinks now it is not time to argue about ideologies in the classical sense. “We say - you have usurped power and hold it by force, and we hear in reply – you lack an ideology. We say - you violate human rights, freedoms, and they say to us – you don’t have a program. If it seems to the authorities that this pathetic tactic will help them to escape and reduce the popularity of the ANC, they are sorely mistaken,” said the opposition leader.