YEREVAN, DECEMBER 10, ARMENPRESS. State Minister of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) Ruben Vardanyan gave an interview to the Artsakh Public Television where he spoke about several pressing issues.
ARMENPRESS presents several takeaways from the interview.
1 month in office:
“Important, but perhaps not very visible work has been done. This allows me to confidently say that we know the state of the economy of Artsakh, the state of the society, we know the most pressing issues and the deep and complicated problems which require difficult decisions from the government and the society. I am now ready to form working groups around these issues which will not simply discuss but will start implementing changes in various directions. We’ve already began making changes in several directions, which are not visible. But believe me, a part of the society that is having various relations with the government has already felt these changes. Perhaps the ordinary person hasn’t felt change, but people who are dealing with the government have felt the difference because we have introduced a very clear culture, strict conditions, emphasizing that our relations will be transparent, systematic, and we will be very demanding towards those who are not fulfilling their obligations to the state.”
On developing and strengthening Artsakh
“What began in 1988, that Artsakh must be Armenian, Artsakh must be a developed and happy country, remains the same. That’s not the issue: I see that faith that this will become reality has decreased. And there is a bigger problem that people don’t have faith in the future, don’t have faith in leaders, and from this perspective it is being doubted whether we can achieve this goal. I am sure that we can achieve this goal, it requires great efforts and work.
You are asking how we will achieve this goal, and that’s the right question. First of all, we must revise the general governance approach, we must restore the public’s faith for their leadership, because at times of crisis if you don’t believe in your leaders you can’t do anything. Second, we must definitely do everything so that people realize that in this situation the only way to victory is in our unity. Third, we must accept that changes are inevitable, and these changes could cause a very painful reaction, first of all among the elites who’ve very often had more opportunities than regular people.
On formation of government
“First of all we want to clearly define the goals, and there are several goals. We’ve already presented this to the President and the Cabinet. By defining the goals we will affirm the approach on how we see the formation of our team, and by which model they will work. It is important that they agree to these goals and do everything for their realization.
This team can include both former ministers, acting ministers and new officials. We are defining the goal and actions which should lead us to success. And we are sure that our team, comprised of both Artsakhians and non-Artsakhians will also be a change because we really want to include people who’ve worked both in and out Armenia. And this gives big opportunities to Artsakh to utilize our pan-Armenian potential.
On Security and the Azerbaijani provocations
“Azerbaijan is doing everything in order to make people in Artsakh lose faith for the future, in order for people to stop believing in success and eventually leave. In this sense, the Berdzor incident and all other incidents show that it isn’t related with my appointment. These incidents were among the reasons that I came here because I consider that it will be possible to break that provocation and approach if people unite here, from Artsakh and from elsewhere.
Now the Azerbaijani provocations have become more frequent, this was expected. If you remember, one of the issues at the first Cabinet meeting was about preparations for winter. We must be ready to withstand various difficulties throughout the winter. I came here to show with my example and the example of my friends who stand by me that we will not leave from here. The only way we see of having some kind of relations with Azerbaijan is that they must accept that Artsakh will be an independent country and we must find a formula – as difficult as it may be – to live side by side, but separately.
The rally in Artsakh was surprising for them in the sense that 35-40 thousand people can get together in the plaza. They were trying to find explanations how that happened. My appointment [as State Minister] was unexpected for them. The generated interest for Artsakh in both Russian and global media and the changes that began were unexpected for them and they had to react somehow. That’s normal, and we must realize that we shouldn’t stem from their opinion, rather we must do whatever we find to be right for Artsakh. And the blocking of the road or the obstruction of farmers in doing their agricultural work, unfortunately such things can happen to us every day. There is no such way of thinking that we can calmly work, learn or live. We must be ready for everyday struggle.
We have martial law that implies that not everything can be done publicly. Martial law requires us to be very careful in issues related to information. Believe me, we are doing everything to protect the interests of Artsakh.
I have made this decision [move to Artsakh] by being a successful man who had the chance to live anywhere in the world, but I understood something for myself: If I want to be respected, If I truly want my children to remain Armenian, I have to do everything I can for Artsakh to remain independent and Armenian. I will not leave until we make Artsakh the place where people can live calmly and safely.”