Ruben Vardanyan announced about his decision to move to Artsakh and create the Artsakh Security and Development Front. He called upon the Armenians worldwide to join the struggle for Artsakh, as he considers it «the root basis of Armenian nature.» “For us, Armenians, the existential Sardarapat has come. You do not feel it, like radiation. But if we all do not stand up shoulder to shoulder, we will lose our foothold,” Vardanyan said.
He also said that he renounced his Russian citizenship to go to Artsakh as an Armenian citizen, «because it is the right thing to do.»
In addition, Vardanyan addressed Azerbaijan, urging them to stop compressing the spring: «We will not allow you to gradually squeeze the Armenians out of Artsakh. It’s impossible.»
Ruben Vardanyan thanked the Russian peacekeepers in Artsakh. “I think that the peacekeepers’ mandate should be clarified, and the terms of their stay should be increased until we can ensure the security of the people of Artsakh on our own,” he added.
Vardanyan also drew the attention of the world community to the inadmissibility of ethnic cleansing.
Ruben Vardanyan’s video message of September 1 was recorded in Artsakh, near the 2000-year-old Tnjri tree, one of the most ancient trees in the world.
The Statement Text
I am making this recording in Artsakh, near the unique Tnjri tree, known throughout the world as one of the most ancient trees. This tree symbolizes life. It is a symbol of the occurrence that, despite all the winds, life goes on if there are roots that hold up the tree. Artsakh is the root base of all Armenians. And this is where I want to say a few words to all of you.
I decided to move to Artsakh. Today, the people of Artsakh are experiencing a severe psychological crisis, they are unsure about what tomorrow holds. The inhabitants of the republic, who survived two wars and lost their nears and dears in the struggle for independence, feel totally abandoned and forlorn as no one needs them. I think that after the war of 2020, we, the Armenians of the whole world, must be together with the people of Artsakh. We must not only support them symbolically, but help them in practice. Artsakh is the centre of all Armenians, which has always been a place of real power for us, and we cannot allow that everything our ancestors created for millennia should vanish into oblivion.
Therefore, I decided to renounce my Russian citizenship and move to Artsakh. This decision was not easy for me, but I am confident that it is the right one. I hope my Russian partners and friends will accept this decision of mine as the decision of their friend.
I want to address Russia. I am grateful that Russia is present in Artsakh today, that Russian peacekeeping troops are protecting the security of the people of Artsakh. Likewise, I consider that the peacekeepers’ mandate should be clarified, and the terms of their stay should be increased until we can ensure the security of the people of Artsakh on our own.
I want to address our neighbours, who often use aggressive rhetoric. I wish to say: stop compressing the spring! This is a dangerous and short-sighted path, and the applied force will one day strike again like a boomerang. You must understand that we, Armenians, will not allow ethnic cleansing to happen in Artsakh. We will not allow you to gradually push the Armenians out of their land. This is impossible, as this is the historical homeland of Armenians, this is the cradle of Armenian identity. Here, Mesrop Mashtots the creator of our alphabet, founded his first school, where children learned Armenian letters. This is the place where the ancestors of a huge number of Armenians had lived for millennia.
I want to express my gratitude to the ambassadors of France and the United States in Azerbaijan, who did not go to Shushi and Hadrut, and clearly indicated that the status of this territory was not defined. I am convinced that only the international community, in which the residents of Artsakh, Russia, France, and the United States of America must necessarily be represented, can jointly determine the future status of Artsakh.
I want to address the global community. Today, conflicts occur everywhere in the world, and people get worried and experience emotional blows mainly for those who are closer to them. But what is happening in Artsakh concerns everyone. This is not just an ancient land and ethnic group; it is one of the cradles of civilization, and one of the cradles of Christianity. Both cultural and ethnic cleansing is impossible and unthinkable here. This land has preserved countless unique Christian monuments, and monuments of historical and cultural heritage of all mankind. Eventually, children grow up here, and we want them to live, and even more, to be healthy, educated, and happy, as the children of their age in developed countries.
I want to address my compatriots. Today, we have almost the same situation as one hundred years ago, when the Armenians, having gathered their strength, and having no weapons, miraculously stopped the enemy in Sardarapat. Sardarapat is not just a battle, it is a symbol of the revival of a nation, and their ability to defend themselves in the most difficult and critical moment. Now, it is the time of another existential Sardarapat for all Armenians. A new Sardarapat! It is not a battle, it is unseen and intangible like radiation, and therefore, nothing seems to be happening. In reality, radiation destroys all the living. We must wake up. Each of us must do everything possible to stop this catastrophe, which will be fatal for everybody, wherever we live.
Two weeks ago, I proposed creating the Artsakh Security and Development Front to unite all Armenians and all those people who are not indifferent to our fate. I want to emphasize once again that this front is not about war. Are you an entrepreneur? Open a branch of your company in Artsakh. Are you a student? Come and work as a volunteer! Are you a teacher or a doctor, or a lawyer? Deliver online consultations. Are you a journalist or a blogger? Write and shoot a film about the life in Artsakh.
Today, the authorities clearly do not have enough resources or desire to solve the problems of Artsakh. Only together, consolidated into a united front, shall we be able to stop the creeping war that has been going on for several decades. Only a strong developed Artsakh, whose people believe in their future, can become a place where shots will never be heard.
By my example, I want to show how important Artsakh is for me and for all of us. I wish to call on everyone who believes and hears what I say: join us, Artsakh needs us! Together, we must create a specific plan for the development of Artsakh, and make it a reality, systematically and professionally translating our visions into actions. Otherwise, we will lose what the backbone of our nation is.
We must do our best for Artsakh to be strong, secure, developed, and a happy to make it a world centre and the centre of all Armenians. And I am confident, we can handle it. I am convinced that we have all the opportunities and all the resources for this because we, Armenians, can do that.
I believe in us and that we can make it happen!