The Independent: Armenian President says ‘ready to stand between police and protesters’

As one of the scientists behind the Tetris computer game, Armenian president Armen Sarkissian says he often reverts to logic models for political guidance. But there was little in his country’s dramatic revolution – or “democratic change” as he puts it – that he could have predicted with mathematics, The Independent writes.

“Humans are not machines. They are much more complex,” Mr. Sarkissian told The Independence in an interview.

According to the paper President Sarkissian was thrust onto centre stage, becoming an important mediator between Armenia’s ling-time President Serzh Sargsyan and protest leader Nikol Pashinyan.

“It was quite hard work bringing the sides together,” says Mr Sarkissian. “I did things that are not usually expected of a president, such as going into the crowds. But you couldn’t do your job by simply sitting in an office.”

The president’s 21 April visit to a protest rally in Republic Square was a turning point in the protests. Mr Sarkissian says he enjoyed a “fantastic” experience on the square and describes his relations with the protest leader as “constructive”.

As the two men shouted into each other’s ears, the president promised to arrange a meeting with Mr Sargsyan for the very next day.

“The one thing I emphasised was that this must be decided by dialogue and within the constitution,” he says.

On 22 April, Mr Sargsyan and Mr Pashinyan met, but they failed to reach an agreement. Later that day, the situation threatened to get out of control when the protest leader, two fellow MPs and 200 supporters were plucked from an evening rally by police.

President Sarkissian says this was not a development he welcomed. The next day, he convened a meeting with Mr Sargsyan and his leading officials in his modest residence in central Yerevan. There, it seems, Mr Sargsyan’s future was decided.

“Confidential meetings will remain confidential, but you can make your judgments from the results,” says Mr Sarkissian.

“Straight from the meeting, the deputy prime minister went with a warrant to release the parliamentarians. And a couple of hours later, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned.”

Armen Sarkissian says he intends to stay on in his role for the foreseeable future, casting himself as the father of a young nation of “survivors”.

“We are all learning, and I’m ready to get involved again if things go wrong,” he says. “I’m ready to stand between police and protesters if I have to.”

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