Minister of Defence Vigen Sargsyan’s speech during the ceremony dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia

28 January, 2017

Honorable President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan,

Honorable President of the Republic of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan,

Your Holiness,

Generals, Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Cadets, Enlisted Personnel,

Special Civil Servants,

Dear Compatriots,

Today we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. The Armenian Army is a greatest occasion for happiness and pride not only in Armenia and Artsakh, but also for our compatriots living in all over the world. Every Armenian knows that thanks to that Army the Armenian statehood reborn on the victorious foundation,  returning us the the most important realization of self-reliance and of the importance of building of our future by ourselves. 

The just and lawful demand for the right of self-determination of the people of Artsakh was countered by violence and massacres of peaceful population. A process started that was later, just 15 years ago in his speech on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia from this very stage then the Minister of Defence Serzh Sargsyan named the First Stage of the Foundation of Our Army - from February 1988 till May 1992. The military security issue of people of not only Karabakh but the entire Armenia became more than topical.

Baku, being encouraged by the inactivity of the Soviet authorities, unleashed military operations, involving inherited (significant, from the Soviet Army) weapons and ammunition. For the years in row Artsakh and Armenia who rushed to support Artsakh, shoulder to shoulder fought a life and death struggle, simultaneously building what was later called the Armenian National Army. In those years many Armenian officers serving in the different regions of the Soviet Union, our numerous Diaspora sisters and brothers arrived to Armenia and joined effort to build the Army. Their will-power and efforts are exemplary for every Armenian.

Though the embryonic Army was bulding its structures from zero, it was vitalized by historic experiences of Avarayr, Sardarapat Battles and the Great Patriotic War. Our Nation shaped by the example of Marshals Baghramyan, Babajanyan and Khamperyants, Admiral Isakov, twice (Soviet Union) Hero Nelson Stepanyan and hundreds of thousands of sons of Armenia bearing the gene of Saint Vardan Mamikonyan, Andranik Ozanyan, Garegin Nzhdeh and Drastamat Kanayan, glorious fidayins, displayed itself with the best characteristics and unprecedented determination.

During a quarter of century our Armed Forces has passed atremendous way from the fatal and turning times of establishment of the “Artsiv Mahapart (“those who consciously go to death for Motherland”) Battalions by the Armenia and Artsakh Hero Sparapet (Supreme Commander-in-Chief, 1959-1999) Vazgen Sargsyan to the strong central-oriented structure including(NKR) Defence Army, Army Corps, Dvivisons, Task Forces and separate Regiments.

During these years a new generation of the military has been shaped which entered the Armed Forces  from our own military educational institutions and who now reached senior and the highest military ranks.

Thanks to our Nation’s wisedom and firmness to keep the traditions, this generation change started and till now goes on smoothly and effectively - combining on one hand respect to the experience and the work that has been done, and interest in innovations and trust in the capacity of the new generation, on the other.

Dear Compatriots,

The Armenian Army’s struggle was for the historic Motherland, and not for territory, for the national identity, and not for usurpation, for the identity, and not for fake history and imaginary geography. And today it contious to serve the same sacred goals.

It is possible to pronouns the famous words of (an Armenian great poet) Paruyr Sevak dedicated to Mesrop Mashtots (the Founder of the Armenian alphabet) for the Armenian Army: “It (the Armenian alphabet) was born, to give us birth, it existed, to make us exist, it become immortal, to give us immortality.”Because indeed, both our current days and future depend on the Armenian Army.

The results of the victories of the Armenian Army are not only the liberated villages and towns, it is not our security only. That is the victorious spirit that our Nation gained, the psychology of the winner and the unwavering confidence in the Armenians’ common power.

During those years crucial for state-building and army-building there were people, even very smart, patriotic ones who were skeptical about determination of the Armenian Army and Armenian people. The sentence “If the war starts again, nobody will go to fight” was a popular phrase and was even silent thought of many, but I am confident, that none of them have the same opinion after last April...

Just to praise our soldiers who countered the enemy in those days, means to say nothing. Our guys surely, professionally and with pride did performed their job. Causing multiple losses in personnel and equipment to the adversary, they forced him to return to the 1994 ceasefire provisions.

During those days the intergeneration merging of conscript and contract soldiers, as well as Artsakh war veterans, freedomfighters, erkrapahs was especially inspiring. Glory and honor to our veterans who stood firm next to today’s defenders of the Motherland with advices and weapons in their hands.

Today, there are many talks about the lessons learned from the April days.

In military affairs after every event, even a planned exercise, it is usual to make conclusions and corrections, it is not even worthy to speak about that after the military operations. We have made several conclusions after the April events starting from equipping the frontline with super modern monitoring equipment, ending with the improvements in conscription processes. I think our society managed to fully appreciate that also during the military parade in Yerevan on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Independence of Armenia.

But for us the main revelation of the April was different, that was our soldier and commander who was running to the wounded cammarade under the enemy’s fire, who was hiding his own wounds and asking for medical support only after the fight, who was keeping silence about his feat and instead telling about the concept of “Honour of the Military Outpost”, and a young man, who has hit several tanks, was wondering why the others make of him a Hero. That is our citizen in the face of students in the queue next to the military hospital to give blood, in the face of pensioners that were sending parcels full of different staff to the soldiers and schoolchildren sending inspiring letter to the soldiers, in the face of businessmen sparing nothing for the frontline. That is our Diaspora with its endless devotion to the Motherland.

Here is the main conclusion of April – we are really a NATION-ARMY and that is our collective power and value.

Another conclusion of the April is the following: this generation – the Independence Generation, will be the owner of their own faith and will create the future of our Nation with dignity.

The Artsakh liberation war enreached our history with the names of the new heroes. We do not call those guys who are not with us today, victims; we do not mark them as absent. Their characters are not of victims, their characters are of winners, and cannot fit them into the frames of sorrow. That is why though it is a tradition to commemorate them in one minute silence; I propose to HONOUR our heroes in one minute joint standing applauses.

Thank you.

Unwillingly, I recollected the words of Catholicos His Holiness Vazgen the First: “To be the same with people, as a biological being, to be the  same with the history and culture of the nation, as a moral-spiritual being, to be the same with the Motherland’s soil and water, as a working and creative being, an finally, to be the same with the ideals that strengthen the Armenian State and create its future, as a willing and building political  being. This is to my opinion, the right character of a Collective Armenian.”

That charatcter of “Collective Armenian” was reflected in these video-messages that are the original wish, oath and devotion of our Nation to our Army. This is the axis of the Nation-Army.

Your Holiness,

Taking the opportunity, I would like to thank for your consistent and wise stepsaimed at supporting the Army by Armenian Apostolic Holy Church.Тhe regiment priests in our forces carry out the most important functions of spiritual shepherds, military psychologists and senior friends.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In the course of these years we have established an effective system of bilateral and multilateral politico-military relations. We continue implementing program of armaments acquisitions with support by our strategic ally Russia with who we have established a Joint Task Force and Unified Air Defense System. We exert joint efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Syria.

Our peacekeepers carry out missions together with partners concurrently in several theatres. Glory to all those who continue to uphold the honor of our country and our people being away from the Homeland!

Dear attendees,

Armenian Army was born out of feats of our Heroes. Our duty is to have an army worthy of glory of those heroes.

Armenian history testifies to the fact that we, as a nation and state, have been starting to weaken and yield our positions in the region when we have stopped being nation-army. Degradation and shattering of our structure have been the main causes of our fallback. Instead we have resolve of becoming powerful and invincible nation-army. There are necessary prerequisites to that end, because at the end of the day, we all, whether an official or private, scientist or worker, physician, pedagogue or driver, have a single mission to perform for security of the country, and are called and recruited for one objective only. 

Since its inception the Armenian Armed Forces were forced to fight an adversary superior in numbers and resources. Countering quantity with even greater quantity is not our way. And this is a matter of prudence, rather than available resources. We have countered quantity with quality and emerged victorious.

Nation-Army first of all means quality. The main bearers of this quality should be officer and NCO cadres who form the backbone of any military. The image of the Armenian officer and commander must be of directing nature for whole our society. The officer who is a devotee to his cause, decent, self-disciplined and demanding towards subordinates, at the same time is competent, and skillful in professional, and knowledgeable in educational senses, should become not only beloved, but also highly revered face of our army of tomorrow.

We will continue making steps towards increasing attractiveness of profession of the military, and will do this through ensuring up-to-date and available housing, bigger social security, cutting edge and available medical care, and competitive military education. Our youth should dream of becoming an officer and compete among each other to that end.

Nation-Army also means an army which does not leave any room for hesitation and indecision. Hence we will severely penalize anyone, irrespective of position, who will try to reach out one’s hand to Army’s budget, and will try to amass a fortune at the expense of our boys standing on the frontier.

Nowadays national defence capability is not measured solely by inventory of armaments and munitions, or population number. Defence capability is first of all conditioned by efficiency and cohesion of public relationships, value-based policy, and universal strive for being true to ones goals and national ideas. 

Thus on the way of becoming Nation-Army we should first understand howwe are going to turn our army from being a “society’s mirror” into that of “school and forgery of creating a citizen.”We will make it a symbol of our country’s progress, a means of setting standards in different sectors, especially in the spheres of human rights protection, equal opportunities for men and women, and integrity building.

We should make a compulsory service not only as a means of fulfilling one’s duty towards the Homeland, then becoming combat-effective reservist, but also as an opportunity for receiving additional education, getting familiar with our history and culture, and being associated with the national ideology. We will do all we can to allow every demobilized soldier to have mastered computer knowledge and skills.

The military-industrial complex of Armenia can and will make serious steps towards recapitalizing scientific fame of our country, introducing innovative technologies and becoming a competitive player in international markets with its produce.

Dear compatriots,

It is a known fact that we the Armenians are a peace-loving people. We have always been dreaming of peaceful existence, free and creative work, and making the best educational opportunities available for our heirs. As a people coming from ancient days, we understand there are no good or bad wars, regardless you lose or win. War is a loss, grief and regress. But history has also taught us you will not avoid the disaster while escaping from war, but will rather increase its bitterness. We strive for peace, but also know that we will not get it for granted; we should earn it by our combat-effectiveness and resolve, and preconditions for these are the faith and morality of our greats, our saints-the most precious and valuable heritage of our people.

Essential companions along the way of strengthening this combat-effectiveness and resolve are democracy, rule of law, freedom and high civic awareness.When democracy and tyranny clashes, it has never been easy for democracy. However, it is known that a true democracy is never vanquished by a tyranny. I am not speaking about short-term turmoils, but I do speak about real victories.

The struggle of Artsakh people is a struggle for independentlydeciding own fortune. It is a struggle for an unshakable human right. Thus we must ourselves be worth that struggle as we are guarantors of not only Artsakh’s physical security and territory, but also its values, freedom, and democracy.

Dear compatriots,

Unfortunately, bearing in mind domestic policy of the adversary-obvious trends of intensifying tyranny, aborted development of democracy, and obvious trends of nurturing aggressionand xenophobia, it’d be naivety to hope for complete peace in today. Hence we should continue to be not just strong, but the strongest in the region. 

Armenian army is often attributed to as “combat-effective.”

While meeting a couple of days ago with demobilized servicemen, the President of the Republic, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Serzh Sargsyan told that this determinant is not adequate for the mission assigned to our army: we need to be not just combat-effective, but rather a mighty army capable of affecting serious strategic outcomes.

So, let us continue to create such a mighty, society-consolidating army together, and become a genuine Nation-Army, thuspaving the way to Armenia of our dreams.

I congratulate our people, Armenians around the world on this magnificent occasion; I congratulate all the servicemen of the Armenian Army and every citizen who is a part of the Nation-Army.

I am proud for celebrating this holiday standing in your ranks.

I have the honor.

Glory to the 25-years old Armenian Army! Glory to its creators!

Glory to our Heroes, reverence to the memory of those who are immortalized!

Glory to the soldier who stands at the frontier at this moment!

Glory to the Armenian people!

Long live the Republic of Armenia!