The events currently taking place in the political sphere of Armenia, confirm that it will take a long time to eradicate the negative consequences of the legacy left by the former regime, which ruled the country with a heavy hand for twenty some years.

Last week, the body of 38-year-old Georgi Kutoyan, former Director of National Security Services, was discovered in his home with a weapon identified as his own. This tragic death naturally prompted various public comments and analysis. Some were inclined to believe in the suicide hypothesis, others did not rule out the possibility of murder, especially as this incident follows the death of former RA Police Chief Hayk Harutyunyan just a few months ago, under similar circumstances. If the Police Chief had a clear connection with the “March 1” trial, he would have been summoned for questioning as a witness. In Koutoyan’s case, he was not part of any ongoing investigation.

While law enforcement agencies pledged that they will spare no efforts to uncover all the circumstances surrounding this incident, officials in the former government and their supporters in the media have treated it as an opportunity to attack the current authorities, blaming them for creating and encouraging an atmosphere of intolerance within the society and dividing the people between “blacks and whites” and other nonsense. Moreover, they demanded that Prime Minister Pashinyan make calls for unity and reconciliation and to take steps in that direction.

Although the slogans of “unity” and “reconciliation” have positive connotations, there are significant differences between the unity and solidarity imagined by the opposition and the expectations of the great majority of the citizens, which need to be looked at more closely. The former regime wants to forget about the loss of lives during the tragic event of March 1, 2008, to end the trials and release former President Kocharian and other co-defendants from all responsibility and to stop all legal proceedings against those who have stolen from the state treasury, which has caused hundreds of thousands of people to fall into poverty. The former regime would also like for all illegal activities and election fraud to be ignored, which took place over the years under their rule. In one word, they believe it is necessary for the bribe takers and corrupt officials to enjoy the tremendous wealth they have accumulated, to let them use it in their efforts to achieve a counter-revolution in the country. On the other hand, the people demand from their government, that all the criminals and corrupt officials be held accountable and the stolen millions be returned to the State.

Since the Velvet Revolution, no current office holder has made statements of personal hatred against former regime members. All criticisms were aimed at shedding light on the crimes and wrongdoings that were committed against the country and its people. As far as the “harsh and offensive” comments posted by regular people on social media, they are in response to the arrogant behavior and false accusations made by former officials like Ashotyans, Sharmazanovs, Minasyans and others.

Unity and solidarity are important, but there are preconditions for achieving them. The former ruling party and its leaders, who have caused so much damage to the country and its people, must first acknowledge their mistakes, express remorse and willingness to be held responsible, return the stolen wealth, and publicly apologize for their crimes. Only after similar steps are first taken, can a new chapter be opened with Armenia moving forward into a new era of reconciliation, unity and solidarity, which we all need.

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