About K. Demirchyan

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The first secretary

image The first secretary. On November 27, 1974, the 15th plenum of CC CPA elected Karen Demirchyan the first secretary of the Central Committee. Below is how Demirchyan describes that day in his memoirs: "The conference hall was filled with smiles and sympathy after my election. Firstly, I was young, while leaders, at that time, were usually aged, and secondly, probably my enthusiasm, plans and activities inspired people. Now, looking backward I can tell for sure that I've accomplished the main task of my life successfully and made no mistakes".
In 1975 Demirchyan presented his first report as a leader of the country. It was a comprehensive report encompassing all spheres of social and economic life of the Republic. Demirchyan introduced a clear vision of further activities and the ways of eliminating the existing shortcomings. While doing this he, however, didn't belittle the achievements of previous leaders. Demirchyan managed to gain support from Moscow for implementation of his plans: resolution N300 of the Council of Ministers of the USSR "On further economic development of Armenia". The resolution envisaged an absolutely new phase in the economic life of the Republic. Pollution free, less raw material intensive, less power consuming and hightech industries were declared top priority. Demirchyan demanded from the industrial enterprises to adhere to the principle of "3e"-s: ecology, energy and efficiency. Due to this policy the industrial output during Demirchyan's tenure increased for around 3 times, with the energy consumption level remaining unchanged. (read more). The ecological problem of lake Sevan was one of the main challenges. The construction of Arpa-Sevan canal had been launched in the years of Yakov Zarobyan's tenure (the first secretary of CC CPA in 1960-1966). image At contruction of Yerevan subway. By the time when Demirchyan entered upon the office the construction works had been frozen because of lack of financing and complicated drilling work. In September 1978 Demirchyan succeeded in persuading Moscow to adopt the resolution "On preservation and rational utilization of the natural resources of lake Sevan". Construction works commenced and were completed in 1981. When it became obvious that Arpa-Sevan wasn't sufficient to maintain Sevan's level a new resolution was adopted according to which the necessary amount of water from Vorotan river was to be redirected to Arpa (year 1981). For the improvement of the ecological situation of lake Sevan, number of other initiatives were carried out, including creation of the National park.
Demirchyan was convinced that there couldn't be a developed country without effective agriculture. During 1975-1987 number of large scale projects were carried out covering rationalisation of land use, improvement of the irrigation system, expansion of cultivated land parcels and land drainage. During the construction of water storage reservoirs fertile soil was transported to other regions so that it shouldn't be left under water but used for agricultural needs. Much due to this method it became possible to establish and develop the new agricultural region of Baghramyan. If by 1975 Armenia ranked among the last in agricultural efficiency, then in 1980-s it became one of the leading republics of the USSR in the agricultural sector. (read more).
For 13 consecutive years 13 the Republic under Demirchyan's governance was awarded the all-Union Transferrable Red banner for its social and economic achievements.
The second half of 1970-s is also remarkable for some events of great national importance. For the first time in the history of Soviet Armenia a minute of silence image Laying of wreath to the memorial to the victims of Genocide in commemoration of the victims of 1915 Genocide was officially declared on April 24, 1975. Also it was for the first time that the first secretary addressed the nation on TV with a speech dedicated to the event and an official mass street procession with a wreath laying ceremony was held. For the first time the Communist Party official newspapers "Pravda" and "Izvestia" published articles where the massacre of armenians in Turkey was called a Genocide. In 1978 after intensive efforts Demirchyan succeeded in convincing Moscow and in the new Constitution of the Republic Armenian was fixed as the official language in the territory of Armenia.
Following Gorbachev's election as a Secretary General in 1985 Demirchyan's relations with the central authorities started to get tense and complicated. Being a convinced adherent of comprehensive reforms Demirchyan, however, didn't accept Gorbachev's methods of implementation of of reforms. He considered Gorbachev's policy of reforms to be precipitate, unsystematic and fraught with irreversible negative consequences. Demirchyan's disagreement with the central authorities intensified when Nagorno-Karabakh conflict ratcheted up. Demirchyan was for the political solution of the problem. After Sumgait massacre he insisted that Karabakh could no longer stay under control of Azerbaijan. As a realistic solution to the problem at that stage he considered the immediate protectorate of Moscow over the region with its status left unidentified. Moscow, however, was accusing him of having nationalistic ambitions. The controversies became insurmountable and, finally, brought to Demirchyan's resignation.At the age of 56 he left the office with a wording common for those times: "because of the state of health". For three years he remained unemployed. In 1991 the new authorities of independent Armenia appointed him director of the largest industrial enterprise - "Armelektromash".

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