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‘Let Them Go and Win’: Vahan Hovhannisyan on HAK and Yerevan Cafes

Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun or ARF-D) MP Vahan Hovhannisyan, speaking to journalists in Yerevan today, said he has the following question for the government: why does Armenia’s government with a new tax package oblige the State Revenue Committee to put so much tough and heavy pressure on small and medium-sized businesses?

The MP then cited an example, saying that cafe owners are constantly monitored.

“Constantly monitoring cafe owners, keeping a constant army of [tax] inspectors in their cafes to see how thickly they cut the sausage — it’s not right, it’s an abnormal phenomenon,” he said.

A journalist then asked Hovhannisyan if he is against such coercion of cafes, why did a cafe belonging to an ARF-D member adjacent to Liberty Square close in tandem with other cafes (believed to have been a government order) during the Armenian National Congress’ eight-day nonstop rallies last month?

Hovhannisyan said that is private property and such questions should be directed to the cafe owner.

“If you think that everyone monitors all the properties in different political parties, then you can ask so many questions to the Republicans…why did this Republican’s property operate like this, closed or operated like that — you could ask the same of Prosperous Armenia or Orinats Yerkir [“Rule of Law”] representatives. Now if a Dashnaktsutyun representative has a cafe and doesn’t want that cafe, say, to be smashed into pieces and closes it for some time, you think that happens because of a party decision? If you think that, you’re deeply mistaken. That is private property and each person manages it as he likes, however he finds it convenient,” he said.

On the Armenian National Congress (HAK), the MP said that the ARF-D won’t join that opposition bloc.

On HAK’s statement that if it is unable to get current president Serzh Sargsyan to resign at this time, then it will do so during parliamentary elections by gathering many votes, Hovhannisyan said:

“How does what they said differ from what we said a year ago? But a year ago they were saying what elections, only pre-term elections, now we’re going to get everyone out, we’re going to get 500,000 people out onto the streets. Now they’re talking about regular elections — let them go and win.”

Asked by a journalist whether ARF-D joining HAK is possible, Vahan Hovhannisyan said no, it’s not possible.