In 2017, Levon Ter-Petrosyan said, “The Tsarukyan phenomenon cannot be explained with political concepts. The people embrace this man. That’s it.” The Tsarukyan phenomenon can, in fact, be explained very well: he is very rational and prudent in his actions. He is perhaps the only politician who constantly keeps Armenia’s socially vulnerable in the center of his attention.
In villages, Tsarukyan gives people tangible assistance in the form of help with harvests and transportation, free banquets and so on. In return the people give him political support. Tsarukyan’s charity is extended to the same socially vulnerable groups that Vice-Speaker of Parliament Alen Simonyan calls “losers”. Tsarukyan certainly does not suffer from bourgeois tendencies and understands that for him politically, the bourgeoisie is worthless, and therefore he does not spend resources on that segment of the electorate.
Thus, spending meagre sums of money on Armenia’s numerous poor, Tsarukyan wins over large numbers of voters. And although the numbers of those votes decreased during the last round of elections, Tsarukyan does not take it to heart, and he has not changed his position after the Velvet Revolution: he still travels around the villages, arranges banquets, and promises to build a school and a gymnasium. If Armenia’s current social policies are not significantly revised, Tsarukyan will become a legitimate political force that will gather hundreds of thousands in the squares and, as he himself hints, will eventually join the ranks of political leaders.