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HAK Gave Serzh Sargsyan an Advantage Ahead of Kazan Meeting: Opinion

Former Armenian prime minister, representative of the opposition bloc the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and leader of the Azatutyun (“freedom”) party Hrant Bagratyan, meeting with journalists in Yerevan today, emphasized the fact that political prisoners in Armenia were released ahead of the meeting between Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Kazan (Republic of Tatarstan, Russia) on Jun. 25.

“HAK gave a great advantage to Serzh Sargsyan. He goes to Kazan today as a democratic president — unlike Aliyev. Serzh Sargsyan today can speak two or three times louder in Kazan. HAK gave that on account of dividends, on account of his rating — HAK gave that knowingly. Though, why, are we children? don’t we realize that Serzh Sargsyan is also responsible for Mar. 1?” he said, referring to the events of Mar. 1–2, 2008, when national police and military forces, called in to disperse crowds protesting a contested presidential elections, used “excessive force and violence” which left 10 people dead and many more wounded.

Armenia’s former PM said, according to his sources, it won’t be a document on mutual concessions, but one only on concessions that will be placed on the table at Kazan.

“But a thought crossed my mind — perhaps Serzh Sargysan too doesn’t know about the document, neither him nor Aliyev. Then in this case, Serzh Sargsyan can say such a phrase: ‘Our people don’t agree with this.’ He can say that now, thanks to HAK. Because if without this dialogue he said such a thing, they would say, ‘Your people are 200,000 standing at [popular HAK rally venues] the Matenadaran [Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts] and Liberty Square — don’t speak on behalf of the people.’ It’s clearer than clear that we [i.e. HAK] gave this advantage,” he said.

Weighing in on internal political developments, Bagratyan said that he welcomes the possible dialogue between the opposition and Armenia’s ruling authorities, but he tries to keep a certain position inside HAK.

“Yeah, then what? They were ultimately obliged to release political prisoners. Ultimately justice was restored; added justice wasn’t done. That is, our mouth shouldn’t salivate because of this. And the authorities and Serzh Sargsyan must see HAK’s willingness for drastic changes and revolution every day,” he said.

Asked how HAK relates to his given position, Bagratyan said, “What are they going to say? They say, you’re right. No one’s told me you’re wrong.”