An interview with the Vice-Chairman of the NKR National Assembly, member of “The Free Homeland” faction Artur TOVMASYAN
– Mr. Tovmasyan, how would you evaluate the level of cooperation between the second Armenian state and the Armenian Diaspora?
– First of all, I would like note that one of the points of the program of the Free Homeland Party is the enlargement of all sorts of ties between Artsakh and Diaspora, as far as the strengthening of the cooperation with Diaspora can become a serious stimulus on the path of the state-building. In particular, it is necessary to single out in this context the annual tele-marathons, held by “Armenia” All-Armenian Fund, which are the evidence of the trust by our compatriots from Armenia and Diaspora to the statehood that has been established and matured in Artsakh. I think that trust is a big and dear capital. So the current cooperation befits the natural Homeland-Diaspora ties. However, we should not be contented with what has already been achieved: the work in this direction has to be permanent, going far beyond the financial aid or investments. We can present our position on the Karabakh problem to the world with the help of Diaspora, which is a bridge, connecting us with the world in the political, cultural and other aspects. So we must use it as we should.
– How is the potential of Diaspora used in promotion of the international recognition of the NKR?
– Recently the Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro made a statement during a forum, organized by the Armenia-Uruguay parliamentary group, saying that the only fair solution to the Karabakh problem is the recognition of independence or the temporary unification with Armenia. He also stressed that Artsakh is the historical Armenian land. It is also the position of our compatriots in Diaspora. In many countries the Diaspora, as a whole, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaktsutyun in the Latin American countries, in particular, along with their activities on promotion of the international recognition of the Genocide of Armenians, started carrying out an active work to advance the process of international recognition of the NKR and achieving concrete results. The opinion of the Free Homeland Party on the settlement of the Karabakh conflict is the following: the settlement process should be separated from the process of recognition of the NKR. The Presidents of the both Armenian states should be occupied with the settlement, meanwhile the parliaments, parties, public organizations and, undoubtedly, Diaspora, should be engaged into the process of the recognition.
– We expect mainly the financial help from the Diaspora, meanwhile its intellectual potential has not been demanded in Artsakh so far. Why?
– Let me disagree with you. The investments and financial assistance of the Diaspora are really invaluable for our country: a whole number of strategic tasks of Artsakh are solved thanks to them. But another truth is also without doubt, i.e. culture is an irreplaceable way of consolidation of the nation, dispersed all over the world. So it is impossible to ignore the significance of the numerous pan-Armenian events, which are held in Artsakh quite often. Here we should mention the all-Armenian international festival “Karot” (“Nostalgia”), within which Armenian musicians from the whole world have the opportunity to perform on the world scenes, positioning themselves before the other nations. “Karot” and other like activities become real events for the whole Armenianhood. Within the frameworks of the “One Nation - One Culture” Festival numerous forums, concerts, exhibitions, scientific conferences are held in Armenia, Artsakh and Diaspora. In October 2010 a conference was held in Stepanakert with participation of Armenian journalists from 25 countries. The main goal of holding the conference in Artsakh was to get Armenian journalists acquainted with Artsakh problems just at place, letting them tell the whole world about Artsakh as it should be. The Barcamp-Artsakh 2011, which took place recently in Shushi, was also a good occasion for communication and experience exchange among our young compatriots from Armenia, Diaspora and Artsakh. From time to time representatives of Armenian intelligentsia, scientists and writers also visit Artsakh, and the contacts with their Artsakh colleagues provides best creative fruits, doesn’t it?
– Why does the Diaspora content itself with the cooperation with the Artsakh authorities in the humanitarian sphere, not trying to search for some ways for cooperation with the public sector and not taking steps, aimed at introducing the traditions of human rights protection and democracy in Artsakh?
– Our compatriots in Artsakh are convinced that the rights of the whole Artsakh people are violated by Azerbaijan, and they speak just about it in the international bodies. I am sure that after the recognition of the NKR and adoption of the dual citizenship law they will intensify efforts in the field you have mentioned. In addition, we, as a state, have a lot to be proud of: there are no political prisoners in Artsakh, the healthy opposition has a political field for activity. The Ombudsman, as institute, works, submitting annual reports to the parliament. Fortunately, no case of violation of the rights of the oppositional figures or businessmen has been fixed so far. Referring to my authorities of the Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly, I ask you to notify me in the written on any of such cases, if are aware of them.
– In the relations with the Diaspora, what can Karabakh, the second Armenian republic, give to the Diaspora?
– Strengthening the relations with Diaspora, Armenia and Artsakh do a great job, restoring the ties of our compatriots and their own roots, preventing them from assimilation. The Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia has been established just for that mission. Armenia also adopted the citizenship law, which helps our compatriots to return home. The Artsakh parliament continues discussing the draft of a similar law, and I am convinced that adoption of such a law will be to the benefit of our compatriots from Diaspora.
Pan-Armenian Games are playing an important role in strengthening the trilateral unity. Symbolically, the torch of the Games of this year was lit up in Artsakh, which has become a symbol of the consolidation of the Armenian nation in the last 20 years. The goal of this sportive event is to let young from Armenia, Artsakh and Diaspora get together, and this goal is reached. We should also mention the organization of acquaintance visits, held with the support of our President and Government, helping our compatriots from Diaspora to feel Artsakh from inside.
– How would you imagine the relations between Artsakh and Diaspora in the future?
– One of the achievements of the 20-year old independent Artsakh is the strengthening trinity of Artsakh-Armenia-Diaspora. Thanks to such relations, Artsakh-Karabakh has achieved victories in the battle-field and on the difficult path of the statehood building, recovering the economy, improving towns and villages, every New Year creating a country, meeting all modern requirements and criteria. We have to do all our best in increasing this cooperation further on, understanding that the strengthening of the intra-Armenian ties is the vital direction in our activity.
I consider the idea of creation of the common Armenian commercial network a very important idea, as far as it will stimulate the formation of trade-industrial chambers, business councils, incorporating Armenian businessmen into this process. This sphere requires strengthening of the business ties of Armenia-Artsakh and Diaspora, providing information on the investment climate and new investment opportunities. Thus, new possibilities will emerge for the business cooperation of Artsakh, Armenia and Diaspora, as well as for the investment into the economy of the homeland.