As part of the events dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Yerevan Sports and Concert Complex, a bronze statue of the National Hero of Armenia, renowned statesman Karen Demirchyan was unveiled in a solemn ceremony in front of the complex. The sculptor is Sargis Babayan, and the architect is Levon Arakelyan.
The opening ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, President of the country Vahagn Khachaturyan, President of the National Assembly Alen Simonyan, Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister Arayik Harutyunyan, Deputy Mayor of Yerevan Tigran Avinyan, Karen Demirchyan’s sons Samvel and Stepan Demirchyans.
In his speech, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with today’s event and emphasized that the statue of Karen Demirchyan stands in a very worthy place in the capital. According to Nikol Pashinyan, this is the most suitable place for the statue of Karen Demirchyan.
“You know that from the beginning it was planned or there was an idea that this statue should be placed on Mashtots Avenue, in the section of Northern Avenue. To be honest, I didn’t like that place, because I felt a kind of narrowness and distress in connection with it, because I felt that no matter what we do, we will be unable to show the scale of Karen Demirchyan. But I didn’t express this thought loudly, not knowing how our respectable members of the Demirchyan family and particularly Mrs. Rima would take it.
I remember one day, it was a pleasant surprise for me that Mrs. Rima said in a conversation that she thinks that it is not right to put the statue in that place. She made arguments in almost the same way. I don’t remember how and who came up with the idea that the statue of Karen Demirchyan should be placed in front of the Sports and Concert Complex, but I also don’t remember because a consensus was formed around it from the first moment of expressing that idea.
I am glad that we are here today, the regret is that Ms. Rima is not present at our event today, because I know how anxiously and expectantly she was waiting for this event. And I want to believe that she is present at this moment together with Karen Demirchyan.
Dear friends, I was born in 1975 in the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic, the leadership of which was already taken over by Karen Demirchyan. I read Mrs. Rima Demirchyan’s book about their life with great interest. Much has been said about the role of Karen Demirchyan in the development of Armenia, but there is a very important nuance that I want to mention, which is presented very precisely in Mrs. Demirchyan’s book: the fact that from the very first moment of taking over the leadership of Armenia, Karen Demirchyan’s idea and vision was the industrialization of Armenia. His idea was that everything should be done to turn Armenia from an agrarian country into an industrial one.
If we want to deeply understand Karen Demirchyan’s contribution to the development of Armenia, we must keep this in mind, because we must also take into account that industrialization would be impossible without large investment, reforms in the field of education,” said the Prime Minister.
Nikol Pashinyan noted with regret that little was created in the Republic of Armenia after independence than before independence, during the office of Karen Demirchyan. “And this is a problem. I want us to seriously investigate this issue, it is necessary to understand its deep-rooted reasons. I am glad that despite all the misfortunes, today we are able to make large-scale capital investments in the country. And I also want to emphasize that many people do not believe, but the creation of the “Ajapnyak” station of the Yerevan metro is a very serious project and is in the process of implementation, which, of course, is also demonstration of our appreciation and tribute to Karen Demirchyan,” said Nikol Pashinyan.
According to the Prime Minister, in general, if we think about the symbols of the modern history of Armenia, two buildings come to mind: one is the building of the Yerevan National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, the second is the Sports and Concert Complex. According to Nikol Pashinyan, it shows a whole era of people’s development, life, well-being, which started from poverty, and finally reached the point when the country can afford a structure like the Sports and Concert Complex.
“I cannot but emphasize my personal interations with Karen Demirchyan. I told him once in 1996, and he responded with the contagious laughter characteristic of him. I was 20-21 years old at that time, I said, Mr. Demirchyan, we got to know each other years ago. He was surprised, he said, “How?” I said: You came to Ijevan, I was at school, I was in that group of children and I personally gave you a flower in front of the Ijevan museum. He laughed. And I also dealt with him as a journalist. It was very interesting to see and examine the same person from different angles, as a student, citizen and journalist, who also had the opportunity to have personal contacts.
I want to highlight several important points. Yes, Karen Demirchyan is popular among our people until today and for a long time. We have never had a regional visit where Karen Demirchyan’s name was not mentioned with love in some context. I don’t remember anything like that. I want to emphasize the following: Karen Demirchyan was a high-ranking official of the Soviet Union before becoming the President of the National Assembly, I mean the period of his leadership. The Soviet Union had many advantages, disadvantages, and problems, but I want to emphasize that Karen Demirchyan was never a tyrant in Soviet Armenia and during the Soviet years. And this is one of the reasons for the people’s love for him.
I want to particularly emphasize his knowledge and attitude towards culture, science, education. He not only talked about it, but also expressed his attitude towards science, education, culture, his attitude in the context of the development of the state. And it was a very instructive approach. He knew literature, he knew music. He himself used to tell me episodes about the discussions he had with the sculptors regarding this or that sculpture in Yerevan or Armenia. I was really surprised.
And I want to emphasize Karen Demirchyan’s special attitude towards his family. I remember how anxiously he spoke about his grandchildren. It was not customary for people of his generation to express feelings at all, but he was able to express his feelings in a way that was in accordance with the accepted rule, but on the other hand, really sincere and heartfelt,” said Nikol Pashinyan.
The Prime Minister also emphasized the moderateness of Karen Demirchyan and the Demirchyan family as high-ranking people, both during the period of the Soviet Union and when they held high positions in the Third Republic of Armenia. “This is a very important point. I remember, the representatives of the older generation told many times on different occasions about Demirchyan’s sons during the years when Demirchyan was the head of the Republic of Armenia.”
Nikol Pashinyan added that despite all the complications that arose after 1988, the Armenian people expressed their appreciation, thanks and support to Karen Demirchyan in 1999. “Of course, also in 1998. This should also be recorded and we should not hesitate to say that yes, unfortunately, at that time the results of the elections were most grossly falsified, but also at the end of 1999, the truth won and was reaffirmed. I do not want and cannot believe that the hand that shot Karen Demirchyan can have any spiritual, value, human connection with the Armenian people. I cannot believe that anyone walking on this land, drinking this water, or being nourished by it, could have thought of organizing the murder of Karen Demirchyan and Vazgen Sargsyan.
It was not a crime against individuals, it was a crime against the Republic of Armenia. We keep saying, Ms. Prosecutor General is present here and many people expect from us that eventually this issue will be clarified. I understand how difficult it is, because during the review of many well-known cases, we see such a phenomenon that the evidence was falsified at the highest state level. The most recent example is the events of March 1, when we see that the casings of the bullets fired on the spot were collected and destroyed, then the casings fired at the military field were stuffed as evidence and taken away.
Do you understand how much evidence was lost, but I think that it is the desire and message of the Armenian people, including me as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, that it will be very good and will bring great honor to the Republic of Armenia, to the law enforcement system of Armenia, when we can give concrete answers to the Armenian people, to the citizens of the Republic of Armenia of why and how it happened and who are the culprits.
Dear members of the Demirchyan family, it is a great honor for me to share this day with you and to have the opportunity to speak standing in front of the statue of Karen Demirchyan.
Glory to the martyrs and long live the Republic of Armenia.”
Then the Prime Minister and those present bowed flowers to the statue of Karen Demirchyan, paying tribute to his memory.