02, 2017

Statement of President Serzh Sargsyan at the 11th Convention of the Homeland Defenders Voluntary Union

Holy Fathers,

Dear Combat Friends,

Dear Brothers in Arms,

I salute the participants and guests of the 11th Convention of the Homeland Defenders Voluntary Union.

Homeland Defenders movement formed along with the development of our modern statehood and had an outstanding role in the defense of Artsakh and Armenia.
From that time on, the very name Homeland Defenders is used in singular as well as in plural and means a strong individual and a union of bright individuals.

The HDVU has formed traditions and principles at the origins of which was the founder and irreplaceable leader of the Union Vazgen Sarkissian. These traditions and principles are maintained and developed in step with the millennia-long march of our country and our society.

In our society, Homeland Defenders represent an entire stratum. It’s a unique stratum in which the biography of its each member is intertwined with the biography of our country. It is intertwined with the history of liberating, defending and strengthening of our own country. In the end of the day, stories of the people present in this hall represent the collective history of our struggle and our victories.

When the country was in danger, farmers, intellectuals and workers had become the homeland defenders. You carried out your mission with honor. Today, from the decades’ perspective we can confidently call your deeds a “historic mission”. You came back to your peaceful work at the moment it became possible.

You came back with the pain of loss of your combat friends in your hearts but also with the understanding that the ceasefire, which the enemy was forced to accept, was not an ultimate peace yet. You came back with the understanding that there were still many things to do until the ultimate peace was established in our land and serenity reigned on our borders.

Dear Homeland Defenders,

This structure has been carrying out an important job and today too is working actively. You know the details better than I do, but I would like to stress particularly the important role which you have had in the military and patriotic education of our young people.

The bright youth we have today in Armenia is the product of the efforts made by our state and the entire society. The product created by the families but also by the participants of the Artsakh Liberation War, which means your personal example and that of your brothers in arms.

Any tree is judged against its fruits. Let all disbelievers look and see, let them lay to rest their doubts. Our youth, the freedom loving and defiant generation of our independence, reasserts that our tree of life is healthy, strong, and abundant.

The Homeland Defenders have been living for decades under the motto “If necessary, we will go again to defend the Fatherland.” It became necessary last year, in April. And you went again. Many of you now have grey hair, but you went and stood next to our young lion cubs. You went to share their burden but also to give a new spirit and resolve to the new but not less valiant defenders of our land.

For them at that time you already were “uncles”. It never occurred to us during the Artsakh Liberation War. Now, I will address you just like our young soldiers address you.


Let no one doubt that we are devoted unconditionally to the task of defending our homeland, we are ready at any moment to stand at the frontline, in trenches together with our young soldiers, our regular army to defend our Fatherland, we are true to our pledge, and we are loyal to the bright memory of our fallen brothers in arms.

The Homeland Defenders Voluntary Union as a non-governmental organization has a unique status within our society. This fact speaks of your power, speaks of your organizational strength, unity, and a great reputation within the society.

Today Armenia stands at the threshold of a serious reformation and transformation. We are making a transition to the parliamentary model of governance and we have to make the transition painless. In the process, we also have to ensure stability and the rule of law.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to say that the Republican Party of Armenia at the elections will appear as a strong team, with the figures who, in the case they receive the vote of the people, are ready to speak from the podiums in Moscow, Brussels, Washington, through the leading mass media outlets and make the voice of the Republic of Armenia audible from every possible and impossible platform. They will be ready through the daily work to make the Constitution a reality and in any dispute to promote their credo through eloquence and willpower alone. They will not lie to people, will not say that one year from now Armenia will become a paradise, will not lie, will not tell that if they get your vote, they will give free gas and electrical power to our people, will not say that young people will not be drafted to the Army. They will say things they can deliver. They will say that every day our country will make a step forward. We will participate in these elections with well-known individuals but actually a new team and its voice will be strong. By my directive and certainly by his own consent, we have included on that team also our esteemed general Manvel Grigorian. Besides his experience and personal qualities, he is also a prominent symbol for those who will tomorrow be elected to the National Assembly: each initiative, each statement and each voting, even a short remark will be done under the general’s gaze which is an amalgam of the fight for freedom and commitment of our future victories.

Today some in Azerbaijan live under the illusion that Armenia preoccupied with the elections will be distracted and as a result - vulnerable. That hollow dreams may tempt the foe to make certain provocations.

Recently, the official Baku, which adores useless and short-lived PR actions and throws enormous money to the wind to carry them out, declared the Artsakh issue is Azerbaijan’s “internal” affair. Unfortunately, people have short memory. This kind of reasoning, which has neither legal nor moral base, once resulted in the escalation of the conflict and in the war with numerous unnecessary victims and suffering first of all for the people of Azerbaijan itself.

Many of you remember that at the beginning of 1990s, when in Azerbaijan ministers of defense were replaced every week, every single one of them viewed his duty to make a statement that in a week, or a couple of days later he would be drinking tea in Stepanakert. However, as the history shows, through the efforts of the heroic sons of our nation they didn’t drink tea in Stepanakert, instead they lost the opportunity to drink tea in Aghdam, Fisuli, Jabrail, Kubatly, Karvachar, and other places.

We wish Azerbaijan no suffering, honestly, but will allow nobody to dream about causing suffering to our people.

The Artsakh issue is the Armenian people’s business, the national cause: the future of Artsakh will be the way the people of Artsakh will decide, while we all – those present here and those outside this hall are standing like a rock behind our sisters and brothers in Artsakh.

I see it as my duty to declare from the podium of this Conference that every provocation will receive a worthy response. Politics based on illusions have no future and cannot have. Last decades have proven that.

We stand on the premise of a true balance of forces. We are changing the reality making our country freer and more democratic, because we believe that as a result of these changes we will have more efficient governance. More efficient governance will in turn make us more competitive and more capable of defense.

Dear Homeland Defenders,

In conclusion, as always I urge you to keep the gunpowder dry – our struggle is not finished yet. I wish the Convention of the Homeland Defenders Voluntary Union the efficient and productive work.
I am confident that in the course of this Convention, the Homeland Defenders Voluntary Union will manifest state thinking peculiar to its members and sense of responsibility to carry on with honor the mission assumed by its founding chairman Vazgen Sarkissian.

Thank you.  

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