Thursday, July 26, 2007


Haik Aramyan

Lragir, Armenia
July 25 2007

117 years is a respectable age. Even in Karabakh. The people of Karabakh are believed to live long. They say the Japanese scientists have found out that if the people of Karabakh drink less mulberry vodka, they will live longer. Maybe some time in the future the people of Karabakh will start drinking less of this crude drink, and they will live longer. For the time being, 117 years is longevity even for the people of Karabakh.

It is notable that in its 117th year the ARF Dashnaktsutyun turned the last page of its political history in Karabakh, where unlike the Armenian and Diasporan organizations the local organization used to be an important and active organization at one time. The Karabakh organization of Dashnaktsutyun conducted a policy that was in the interests of the nation and people all through the Karabakh movement, the war and post-war developments. The first government of Karabakh proved that this kind of policy is also possible. When the first government in Karabakh was demolished, and the local Dashnaks were persecuted, unlike Armenia where the Dashnaks also underwent persecution and were sent to prison, the Karabakh organization of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun not only bore hardship with dignity but also upheld the honor of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun generally although it suffered more from the shortsighted policy of their party fellows in Armenia and the Diaspora.

The ARF Dashnaktsutyun of Karabakh had an important role in demolishing the regime of warlords in Karabakh and ensured investments in the ruined economy of Karabakh. In the Karabakh parliament of 2000-2005 Dashnaktsutyun was rather active, providing oversight of the activities of the government. However, the state of things changed in the course of time. The ARF Dashnaktsutyun adopted a policy of permanent deals with the government and started "attending" seriously to the organization of Karabakh. The Dashnaks of Karabakh had already started disturbing their fellows in Armenia, especially when the Karabakh organization sued the ARF Bureau Dashnaktsutyun has an "internal" court), accusing it of activities that do not stem from the interests of the country. The ARF leaders, particularly Hrant Margaryan, making another deal with NKR President Arkady Ghukasyan, arranged a shakeup inside the organization of Karabakh, removed the former leaders and replaced them by people who are unable to make independent moves and implement a policy.

It happened before the NKR presidential election. And with the new leadership of the Karabakh organization of the ARF, without having the consent of the party ranks, declined to put up its own candidate and became engaged in the "common candidate" project. Another representative of the ARF Bureau, the deputy leader of the National Assembly of Armenia, said in explaining this move of his fellows that it is not expedient to counteract to the steps of the government because it causes shocks. For instance, he recalled the period of Arthur Mkrtichyan and Georgy Petrosyan when the conflict between Levon Ter-Petrosyan - All Armenian Movement and the ARF Dashnaktsutyun led to grave consequences for both Armenia and Karabakh. Of course, Vahan Hovanisyan's explanation would arouse a smile in people who are aware of the state of things then if it were not so depressing. It is worthwhile to touch upon this issue.

The explanation of the party's stance by Kiro Manoyan, another ARF Bureau member, was much more abject. He explained their choice in answering the questions of reporters about the "common candidate" that it is not important who the "common candidate" is and whether he is able to conduct an effective foreign policy. It is important that the foreign minister is a Dashnak, and he will solve all the problems. In other words, Kiro Manoyan revealed another deal: hence, the Dashnaktsutyun leadership of Armenia and the Diaspora once again staked, we may say destroyed the Karabakh organization of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun.

Anyway, the 117-year-old party made its "choice" and actually turned the last page of its own political history as an independent political organization. And perhaps that was the good thing. At least, the people of Armenia and Karabakh did not suffer heavy losses. Just another party left the real political arena, which was not theirs anymore; what do the interests of "small shopkeepers" have to do with the aspirations of people, as a political scientist put it. All the rest that this party will do will be like a snowball rolling down the mountain side, the weight of which makes it move faster and faster towards fall, and it crushes at first blow.

Meanwhile, people are wise enough to avoid this blow.

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