07, 2017

President Serzh Sargsyan’s concluding remarks delivered at the public debate on “Ditaket,” “I have the honor,” “This is me” programs

Good afternoon,

I believe that the fact of holding this meeting and discussion is self-evident. The programs and the public debates come to prove that we are consistently implementing a policy of developing and strengthening the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia.

“Ditaket,” “I have the honor” and “This is me” programs are called to find innovative solutions to existing problems. Of course, these problems did not emerge yesterday: they came forth long ago, and I believe that most of the proposed solutions are appropriate and to the point.

Many of us have repeatedly stated that the Armenian army is a people’s army, and that our army is really the army of our people. The programs suggested by the Defense Minister are supposed to build on what we have now. In this regard, I would like to stress the importance of additional incentives and protection for our servicemen. These programs will help us continuously strengthen our armed forces as an important stimulus for social mobility in our society.

A complaint used to be circulated that the so-called “social elevators” were inexistent in our society. That is, there are no starting opportunities. This is typical not only for Armenia, but also for many other countries. In this sense, our country remains in the context of global trends.

“This is me” and “I have the honor” programs are meant to create new opportunities for youth. They are suggesting flexible and long-term solutions in a bid to provide better conditions for young people, to promote educational growth and keep them bound to Armenia. The Defense Ministry is not the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and its purpose is not to just encourage young people in any way. Of course, much is at stake here as we consider the needs of the armed forces, but the combination of these two factors may prove very useful for us.

I am confident that the proposed solutions will yield positive results. I hope we are not so far off the day when young families will be able to set up a household of their own thanks to these programs. Vigen and I will attend their housewarming functions, and any of you can join us on such a nice occasion, if you wish.

I am confident that in the coming years we will hear about the launch of many new small and medium-sized enterprises, which will be set up by the beneficiaries of this program. Our army will give birth to a new generation of intellectuals, professionals and devotees of our statehood. And that new generation is born and forged in service. The State will of course continue to encourage and pamper its citizens. They will be kept in the spotlight of public care.

Before I came here, I was at the frontline and, naturally, met with many young soldiers and officers. Glory to the people that has brought up such children: they are nothing less than brilliant boys.

During the interview I gave to a TV station a short while ago, I said that our soldiers and officers are very courageous and have an inflexible will-power; nevertheless, bravery and discipline is not enough to deal with military challenges. The combat task in these dimensions may be addressed when you have enough armament. Here, I would like to glorify our people for their readiness to face deprivations and nurture the growth of such a brilliant generation.

Dear Colleagues,

The so-called “fighting” structures can always be tempted to have all their work done in secret, covered by a veil of confidentiality. Even though there may be a strategic necessity in practicing such a scheme of secrecy in these structures, but placing everything secretly on the porch can often lead to some tolerance of flaws and a good pretext to hide problems and shortcomings behind the veil of confidentiality.

I feel we have overcome and rejected this temptation trying to address the issues faced in the army. We must disclose our problems and make them public, because no lie, no fraud can sooth the bitterness of the loss, and the aftermath of late disclosure can be disappointing for our society. This is why we have adopted the policy of being outspoken and sincere in the discussion of any issue.

Discussion is not an end in itself: it is a way of identifying and solving problems. Our experience proves that discussions usually lead to effective solutions. This approach fully reflects our people’s aspiration to freedom, and I am confident that this spirit and courage are the most important incentives for the defense of our Homeland.

“Ditaket” program is meant to explore the situation in the army. For this purpose, opinion polls will be conducted among conscripts with all the necessary measures taken to ensure that respondents feel as comfortable and easy as possible. With this program, we will be able to identify the flaws spotted by demobilized ex-servicemen and develop clear mechanisms for their correction.

The idea came to our attention as we noticed that the active servicemen with an excellent service record kept stating that everything was fine in the army. Indeed, on the one hand, even the most courageous and disciplined soldiers can beware of speaking aloud about the flaws for fear that the commander might not see it that way. One can hardly feel at ease while speaking about shortfalls, if he is still under the strap. Instead, he can freely voice the problems and point to their root causes and remedial action after leaving the army.

I think that all of these three programs are very good. They have the human factor in common as a shared concern. The focus is the human being, the soldier and the officer – the guardians of our national security.

There is no doubt that our army is getting more powerful day by day. New types of weaponry are being purchased. Our armed forces’ furnishing and equipment is at a satisfactory level, and they can cope with any threat. In the aforementioned televised interview, I talked about it as I was asked what I meant by saying during my last April’s interview in Germany that the Armenian soldiers were fighting with weapons dating back to the 80’s. First, the context was a bit different, and second, because there is no army in the world that has the whole arsenal of modern weaponry, and this is true for any army, including the US, Russian or any other armies.

Nonetheless, any army needs a sufficient quantity of weapons and armaments plus its troops’ fighting skills to meet the tasks set before it. Our army is not furnished today with the latest weapons, I cannot formulate it that way, but it has enough supplies of weaponry, armament and ammunition to defy the challenges. Of course, we should not forget that the human factor is a key asset in the battlefield: I mean the Armenian soldier with his professionalism, intelligence and courage.

It has been stated repeatedly and I can reaffirm now that we won all our crucial battles and wars first of all owing to the human factor. There are people in here who know this from experience. Yes, they experienced it in the past and can now testify to it.

We need a sufficient quantity of high-standard weaponry and ammunition plus clever and desperate fighters. This is the pledge of success, and I do not doubt it at all.

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