About K. Demirchyan

People about him

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Mikhail ULYANOV
People’s Artist of the USSR, actor.

Demirchyan was not a casual figure who came to power. Being the First Secretary of the Central Committee he did not belong to nomenclature. He was elected for his importance for Armenia just as now when he became the Speaker of Parliament... Demirchyan will always live in our memory. His name will live in the history of the people of Armenia as one of great political figures living in the most critical period of the Armenian history. There were rather many critical periods in the history of Armenia... Every time when I play the role of some historical personality I try to create a human image not a superimage. Each great personality expresses his own ideas, and it is very important for me to what extent he corresponds to his time... And if I came to play K. Demirchyan’s part, the part of a man who represents his nation, who was the greatest, the strongest and a very educated person - I would need talent, talent...

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Anatoli ALEXANDROV
President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

...I have been to all republics of the Union and have to say that regarding Karen Demirchyan Armenia has been well fortunate including its Academy of Sciences. His help to the Academy has been very important. However, even more important is his inclination and craving to use the achievements of science in the direction of creation and development of most prospective branches of industry in the republic and preparation of scientific and professional personnel.

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Yevgeni PRIMAKOV
Prime Minister of Russia. In office: 1998-1999.

At first I didn’t believe my ears, when I heard on the radio: "Speaker of Parliament and Prime-Minister of Armenia are killed". I thought, they must have been mistaken. Then everybody began to speak and the tragical truth became obvious: Karen Demirchyan was among the victims. Strong, clever, resolute - for such people life in politics doesn’t end even with the change of a whole formation in which he was the first person, being the First Secretary of the Central Committee of CP of Armenia. Even when Armenia became an independent country, his people needed him, and again he undertook a leading role... The more I came to know him, the more I respected him for his ability not to give up his prin-ciples and always depend on them bravely. I can say for sure that the only value for him was the well-being of Armenia. But he never viewed those principles through a narrow nationalistic prism. Once we were talking about the perspectives of solving the Karabakh problem. Karen said, "We must solve it in everybody’s interest. Of course a certain compromise is necessary, which will suit Karabakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia"... Karen possessed an infinite charm. Of course, when we met, we spoke not only about politics. He was interesting to talk to, he could not only speak but also listen to you; he possessed a wonderful sense of humour. It’s difficult to write "was".

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Edward SHEVARDNADZE
President of Georgia. In office: 1995-2003.

There are people whose life, even if cruelly and untimely terminated, nevertheless, remains vividly alive in the memory of the living and the nation. And the more unjust, terrible and senseless the will of fortune seems to us, the more pure and dear that memory is. In such a case our consciousness is always more fair and stands out from the capricious fate. I consider the courageous friend of mine, Karen Demirchyan, as one of those close friends whom I have happened to lose… On those dramatic days I arrived in Armenia to condole with the relatives and friends of Karen Serobovich, with his comrades-in arms, with the whole Armenian people. That time I said and now want to repeat that I always regarded him as an incredibly bright, talented and sympathetic man, an affectionate and simultaneously resolute person. Long years he had been the head of Armenian leadership and enjoyed the respect and authority of not only his comrades-in-arms but the whole people. It is not easy for me to speak of Karen Serobovich in the past tense. We were tied up with friendship, long, close and productive co-operation and mutual understanding often not in simple situations. I can say that in the years of sheer stagnation he almost always proved to be able to find the right and demanding brave solutions which were in the interests of his republic. He was a proponent of reforms foreseeing that his native country would very soon stand before the inevitability of radical changes... He passed away from life in that noble post, which symbolises his faithful devotion to his people.

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Nikolai RIZHKOV
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of USSR. In office: 1985-1991.

The man who was wise and possessed excellent personal and civic virtues left this world so tragically. He possessed acute sense of responsibility for the destiny of our people and never changed his convictions in any political situation. The 14 years during which he was the leader of the republic may be considered the best in the modern history of Armenia. He was able to see the perspective and this capability of his enriched our present and helps to build the future. During the years of his leadership Armenia made a jerk to quite a new measurement; it turned its face towards such industries which are highly technological and scientific, at the same time curtailing powerconsuming and ecologically harmful branches. He was able to change the structure of the economics of Armenia according to the demands of our time and the specific character of the republic. During the years of his leadership new architectural masterpieces were created. They expressed the best national traditions and the spirit of Armenia. It was the spirit of Karen Demirchyan himself... Being a man of broad state mentality and not dogmatic, he helped to create the atmosphere of spirituality which gave birth and strength to some generations of talented individualities.

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Vazgen Sarkisyan
Prime Minister of Armenia. In office: 1999.

No matter the age of our statehood, be it 2750-2790 years, or, if God so wishes, 4000-5000 years, Karen Demirchyan will last out in our history, and none could wish for more, but to have the period of his governance and the current period of his leadership bridged. One should never forget the great names of the nation. Our country is rich in great names in culture, but unfortunately, the number of prominent cultural figures in our country is bigger than the number of prominent political actors, leaders. The history of the last 70 years, deliberations on which are rather controversial, is a truly glorious period. And there is a period of 15 years in this glorious 70 years' history, when Mr. Demirchyan was leading the country. I feel privileged to have the honour of being side by side with him, I would even dare to be overconfident and claim, to be a friend of his. We used to have regular contacts since 1992, but for the last 3 months we have been walking side by side, spending more time together than with anyone else. And the contacts of these last three months have convinced me that to be a good leader one must sense with every fibre of his being the culture of hiscountry, one must be able to draw inspiration from the words, prose and verse, music written by the prominent figures of his country. To be a good leader, one must be able to comprehend every message, the soul and the heart of a peasant, standing closest to the soil, at the root of all; one must be able to speak the same language with him. One must have the ability to understand both, the message and the ambitions of prominent cultural figures, because understanding their ambitions is often as hard as understanding their messages. This is where the clue to Karen Demirchyan’s success is hidden. He is able to understand the message of the great names in culture as well as of peasants; he has the ability to speak the same language with them.

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Vladimir RIZHKOV
Deputy of Russian State Duma. In office: 1993-2007.

There is something higher, something more important than ideology, than the right and the left, liberals and communists. There is something much more important - there are laws that play a decisive role over centuries and millenniums. A hundred, two hundred years ago there was no Communist party either in Russia or in Armenia, still even then we were friends. I think that it was this belief that Demirchyan left us as a message. No matter what are the social and economic conditions or the political system or of what kind are the authorities. It is important to remember of much more deeper historical roots, of the tragedy, of the foundations of national existence and to lean on them when making policy. I think that this was the main essence of Demirchyan's phenomenon and the source of his authority and support that people gave him both in the previous years and at the final stage of his destiny and career. People saw more in him than just adherence to a certain party or ideology. He was above that. He was a man of high culture, tactful and respectful to people. He possessed the best features of an intellectual and decent man.

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Alexander BOVIN
Political analyst.

I became acquainted with Karen Demirchyan long ago when he was young and very elegant. We both lived in the same country and were both Party functionaries: he — in the Yerevan City Committee of the Communist Party and I — in the staff of the Central Committee of the USSR... Karen differed from other Party functionaries of that time. He was intelligent, civilized, far from self-conceit and snobbishness. He was able to handle standard situations by non-standard ways, and could find non-standard decisions. Long before the beginning of "perestroyka" he told me that the energy of the people should be set free and that the service sphere, the light industry and some sectors of agriculture should be passed over to private enterprises. He wasn’t the opponent of socialism. He believed, just like certain people did in 1960s, that socialism could be joined with democracy and rational economics. But history chose another way. I think that Demirchyan could accept it, finding milder and more painless forms of entering the new epoch. But Armenia was unlucky as just when it most needed wisdom, experience and even temper Demirchyan found himself out of work due to some intrigues. I saw him last just before the tragical events. Karen came to Moscow as the head of the Parliament delegation. He rang me up and we met in the "President Hotel" where he was staying. We talked of many different things. Armenia was the most principal of them. Karen’s mood expressed bitterness and hope. We decided to continue our conversation in Yerevan... The conversation did not take place. Those who shot at Karen Demirchyan did not shoot at the past, they shot at the future of Armenia. But it will be realized by all means.

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Sos SARKISYAN
People’s Artist of the USSR, actor.

Karen Demirchyan — a skillful political figure, a prominent statesman, a capital person, one of those whose names got into the golden chronicles of political history. Demirchyan was charismatic, leader by birth. A tall man with kind eyes and a sea of charm, enviable embodiment of male beauty with smiling face, well- bred and educated, well-informed; from art to global events, connoisseur of Armenian history who was wise enough to perceive Armenian nature to the core. No power could force him to take a step if it might even slightly harm his countrymen, his state. Few have been persons so balanced and responsible, fewer are they today... Such people’s loss turns to be national disaster like an earthquake with the same tragic consequences...

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Grigor GOURZADYAN
Member of Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

"Karen the Builder" was the title he got into the minds of people with. This was the quality probably inherited through generations from our kings, princes, ministers, the quality so great and useful, the quality of creating constant values... It’s hard to believe that all this refers to the period of one person’s leadership. It was K. Demirchyan’s strong will, firm conviction — He could also hold everybody in strain. ...But people are not very much aware, better say they are unaware of Demirchyan’s passion for science… One can hardly deny his gain in creating cosmic center in Garny. On the thorny way of my life I was lucky to meet and have close acquaintance with great personalities. William Saroyan was the last one. In the sphere of state activities I haven’t had any. Haven’t seen... Karen Demirchyan was the only one. He was a phenomenon. No one can tell when else such a shining star will emerge reaching people in a thousand- year history...

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Edward MIRZOYAN
People’s Artist of the USSR, composer.

When I think of K. Demirchyan my heart, soul aid reason take him in on a large scale for he was really a great phenomenon. He was an outstanding person, a wise and experienced man, who, thanks to his professional and human qualities, was a leader of two quite different formations. And in both of them possessing what I should call "sense of a master", his main goal was to take care of his people. Many times I heard from others that whenever there rose some problem concerning supply of people, Demirchyan used to say firmly, "I want to hear nothing. We are to take care of our people". I deeply took to heart the awful tragedy of October 27. Up to now I grieve for the loss. Vazgen Sargsyan’s death I perceive emotionally, whereas K. Demirchyan’s I feel on a large scale. He was very talented, romantic in the best sense of the word, competent in almost any sphere of life. When he was relieved of his post in 1988, I felt a great pain. After the plenary session of the Central Committee when everyone was leaving the building, I wanted to walk by his side. All kept silent. I said almost in a whisper, "Karen Serobovich, poets are judged by their poems". There was no answer... Still K. Demirchyan considered it necessary to return to the political arena with enthusiasm. During several months of work in the Parliament in quite new conditions he was able to unite all the political forces of the State. I can’t bear the thought of such a wonderful man having left this world. This loss can’t be compensated, especially in the present situation.

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Hrant MATEVOSYAN
Chairman of the Writers' Union of Armenia.

He was a man devoid of physical, mental and spiritual demerits, we can say he was effortless to conceal any drawback... The most necessary and the most optimal variant was found in the name of Karen Demirchyan for us and why not for the whole world, a thing that has no alternative in the present. It was an exclusive gift for today’s meddled parade of ours and it was only the eye of the enemy that would notice him and find it necessary to do away with this individual leaving the parade back up to the devices of distrust and waves of panic. With the mere presence of his we pulled ourselves together, reconsidered ourselves — sons of yesterday's great and kind Motherland, the world so broad-minded, so daring, modest, full of conscience aid trustful love, we found each other, all of us together. Presently heavy horizons gave way to our steps because man was the first creation and Karen Demirchyan’s presence urged us to find the great and true man.

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Grigor KHANJYAN
People’s Painter of the USSR.

During the 15 years of his leadership I have seen and felt warm consideration of the great statesman. Demirchyan proved that we were not a small nation and our dreams can be measured by those of bigger nations. Demirchyan and the whole staff of his government bravely created the 5000 year - old Armenia with no fear to be condemned for chauvinism, he never followed the example of those who threw their hat to “Gensecs”, with his behaviour he reserved his and his nation’s dignity. A short speech will be too small for so many examples but I’ll give one: "Vardanank" was never propagated in Moscow even in art journals and newspapers, the reason was the presence of clergymen in the picture. Demirchyan called and said, "You must paint “Vardanank" in Yerevan, look for a place". Hence, this was a chance for the birth of the Gobelin tapestry that was the 2nd in size in the Union and the three— picture fresco of the "Cascade". For 10 years on from 1988 Demirchyan stayed away from political life of Independent Armenian State but he couldn’t stand it longer before he was nominated a candidate for presidency in 1998. He lost the elections. When the chance turned up I told him, "Victory was yours, you saw and felt the length, the enormity of the people’s love for you personality". It was not only people’s love, cherishing and yearning but also love for a political figure, man of intelligence, dignity, man of art, art critic, since Demirchyan was one of the few political figures who stood close to us, people of art understanding and appreciating the role of art in the life of the Armenian people. That’s why when he was buried in the pantheon of celebrities, we said: "Yes! He is among great people today all sinful and wondering looking at us from the heaven".

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Hovhannes CHEKJJYAN
People’s Artist of the USSR, conductor.

It was actually the period of Karen Demirchyan’s leadership that Armenia achieved economic as well as moral and cultural ascent. Thanks to his efforts and patriotism the Armenian people worked, constructed and created full of belief. The Nournuz bridge, the Complex, the unusual “Zvartnots” airport and the wonderful Metro brilliantly testify to it. People believed in their leader and it was the belief that every initiative taken by Karen Serobovich was crowned with success. The wide scope of his interests extended as far as culture. His acute sense of music, especially classical music could surprise everyone. It was the period of Demirchyan’s leadership that Armenian art crossed the boundaries of the country, tolls of Komitas’ songs reached a lot of foreign countries. All these achievements brought pride to the Armenian people in the person of their leader Karen Demirchyan. The loss of the Armenian people is enormous but the bright memory of him will be alive in the hearts of theirs as a martyr for Motherland.

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Gohar GASPARYAN
People’s Artist of the USSR, singer.

A dear and unforgettable nature. A powerful thinker, a leader reformer who could made people armless with his sincerity, a reliable person of exclusive determination. If you happen to ask people of different spheres each of them will insist on the opinion that Demirchyan was a connoisseur of that sphere, a brilliant specialist, a great theorist. I can tell the same about the art of opera, music and song. I was delighted to know that the head of our republic was not only an exclusively educated master of art, but also a great opera fan and lover of song. Opera was a dear place for him and thus being an art speaker he accomplished the opera house repairs under his own leadership considering it a recreation of national spiritual cathedral. On the opening ceremony of the reconstructed cathedral we presented our king, Karen Demirchyan, with the new patriotic performance of T. Choukhajyan’s "Arshak II" with the whole company present, convinced at heart... The Armenian people has to pay great honours to enlighten the memory of his bright son.

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Ara SHIRAZ
People’s Painter of Armenia, sculptor.

He was baptized by the name of "Karen the Builder". Can a whole nation existing and enduring on the Armenian land over a decade possibly overestimate the flourishing and prospering Motherland with numerous buildings of nurseries, high schools and universities, streets, monuments, various industrial enterprises? Above all this, the citizen was the master of his country and was responsible for it... During the first years of independence he kept in the dark painfully following the hardened breathing of closing factories and plants. Losing his peace of mind he couldn’t but keep an ear to the call of the people and soothe their pain. He was on the way of bringing back the lost hope of life uniting with those who believed in his promises to reanimate the country. There was the feeling that endurable life delayed for years was slowly on the way, the life that “Karen the Builder” the selfsame Karen Demirchyan settled down to, a person who had gained the top of wisdom through his life. But the blow over the life came unexpectedly, savagely and cruelly. The Armenian people was unfamiliar with such a crime. For what was this crime committed? The question will long be left unresponded. For all this, Karen Demirchyan’s name and career have set a deep seal on the most cherished spiritual pantheon of the people who gave birth to him.

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Gagik HARUTYUNYAN
Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Armenia.

...K. Demirchyan made up for the dept of centuries building and rebuilding Armenia that came to our share. He did it generously with pride and dignity. His life was creation, his dream entangled with his native people’s pain for self-determination with the delight of revival and yearning for happy future. Sharing his people’s panic he came back to political arena to announce that making people’s destiny one should first of all realize the simple truth; that all-national interest is far more superior over "my personal and group interest", that national solidarity and unanimity are not immaterial words for preachers, they must be materialized by concrete actions… that the state and state organization are superior values preconditioning the survival of the nation beyond subjective motives of individuals, that the steps of national being and self-assertion must be taken with patience, devotion, hard work, honesty, persistence and dignified posture, that the human individual acquires value when he is self-aware of his national dignity. We can keep enumerating a lot more to give a complete description of Karen Demirchyan’s individual character with seemingly and evident truth at first sight that requires will power for self-sacrifice, talent for self-assessment, and courage to realize convictions in life. These are qualities very few people are gifted with, qualities of people who are historically destined to become leaders with embodiment of conscience, so how can the nation subdue his mourn when losing him?..

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Karekin II
Catholicos of all Armenians.

Everlasting is the memory of Karen Demirchyan, granted eternal rest, who has always enjoyed the unconditional love and deep respect of people. Big is the contribution of the political leader of blessed memory, Karen Demirchayn to the progress of our motherland. Throughout the long-lasting years of devoted work our homeland,-under his governance-was adorned with new magnificent buildings, Armenian economy was revived and the Armenian cultural landscape was graced with new valuable pieces. Karen Demirchyan was back in political arena in the time of hardship for our country. He was back to input every vigour of his soul, his capacities, rich experience and skills to the sacred mission of establishing our independent statehood, to the promotion of free life in Armenia and Artsakh, as well as to the cherished goal of creating better future for Armenian people. With every filial affection K. Demirchyan stayed attached to our national traditions, remained true to hopes of our people. Along with his great contribution he gave his life and every affection of his heart to the revival of our motherland leaving the eternal light of his vivid personality and patriotic endeavours in the hearts of people. We extend our prayer that Almighty God receives in His Heavenly Kingdom and keeps under his merciful gaze, in light and peace the soul of the true son of our nation. Peace, blessings and prayer to the loving memory of Karen Demirchyan.