Zbigniew Rokita talks with Raffi K. Hovannisian, leader of Armenia’s opposition party Heritage.
ZBIGNIEW ROKITA: Many people with whom I talked to here in Yerevan as well as the provinces have told me that they didn’t believe that something could change as a result of the presidential elections. How do you plan to convince them that it is otherwise?
RAFFI HOVANNISIAN: We can’t generalise. Interest in the results is rather high. I don’t know who you were talking to, I respect their opinion, but you were here at the demonstration on Wednesday and saw that it gathered around 15,000 people. Excitement was clearly in the air.
Will the fact that Europe has recognised the results of these elections make it difficult for you to question them?
I don’t know what Europe is. Are you European? In the preliminary report issued by the OSCE we read that the elections did indeed take place calmly, but it also stresses that the state’s administrative resources were used to influence the final results. The case in point is, for example, using state funds to support a given candidate. It isn't Europe’s role to decide whether the elections were fair or not; whether they have, indeed, met democratic standards or not, and whether their results have reflected the nation’s will.
These are the questions that should be answered by the people of Armenia. I am not sure if there is such a thing as one Europe. And even if this Europe, which you are talking about, says something, we shouldn't forget that Armenia is one of its sources. Also, Armenia has its own constitution, its own elections which have been forged and taken away from its own people.
We don’t want Europe to refer to the will of our nation without respect, we don’t want Europe, for geopolitical reasons, to issue ridiculous statements about our elections. That is why people still gather here. For over 20 years their voices have been stolen, and they haven't been allowed to carry out fair elections. Armenians are fed up with this.
How long do you plan to continue protesting against the forgery of these elections?
It’s not a protest. We are celebrating the victory of the nation. We are sick and tired of the protests. However, we will continue by showing these gestures of discontent by using all possible legal means to return the power to the people. The power that has been taken away from them.
Raffi K. Hovannisian is an Armenian politician, the first foreign minister of Armenia, and the founding leader of the Heritage party.
Zbigniew Rokita works for Nowa Europa Wschodnia. He is a student of Russian Studies at the Jagiellonian Univeristy in Krakow, Poland.