Prime Minister’s Father Vova Pashinyan: “There are many Nikols in Armenia”
Vova Pashinyan, father of newly-elected Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, lives in his native Ijevan. He’s been in Yerevan, staying at his son’s apartment, during election process. Hetq interviewed him today.
Mr. Pashinyan, you have three sons - Artak, Armen and Nikol. Why the name Nikol? It’s different from the others.
It was my mom who decided, not me. When Nikol was born, I was not in Ijevan, and my mother decided to name him after my father, who went to war when I was four months old and did not return. I was very glad for that.
In 1988, when Nikol was 13 years old, he got very enthusiastic about the Armenian people's desire to gain independence. There were always rallies in front of the Ijevan Cultural House. He was always there, writing patriotic poems and reading them to the people during those rallies. People liked it. At one of the rallies, Nikol called on the Komsomol members to put down their membership tickets on the stairs. And children did it. Then he started writing very strong articles about communists, posting them on the walls of the school. Teachers complained to the principal, and the principal called me. Even when I tried to hold Nikol back from doing it, he continued.
Your son is Armenia’s prime minister. How do you feel about it?
I'm quite worried, since I'm afraid of my son getting harmed. It will be very difficult and hard. Why? Firstly, because they have destroyed the country. Unemployment, emigration, widespread poverty... What kind of strength and wisdom should one have to be able to restore the country?
Of course, the people are very enthusiastic, but they are also waiting for very quick changes, and it will be very difficult and strenuous to manage that hard work in a short run. That’s why I’m worried.
Taking into consideration the unsuccessful movements in the past, were you optimistic this time?
I never talked to him about politics. I did not intervene in his affairs. I watched from afar, thinking about what the resolution would be. I was praying to God that no blood of our people would be split.
Recalling March 1, 2008, where I was present night and day ... I was just terrified of that thought because I knew that they were capable of everything.
What changed in 2018 for the people to wholeheartedly support Nikol Pashinyan's movement?
As the proverb says, the people's cup of patience cup had been filled. It wasn’t possible to stay silent any more. People needed a driving force to protest. How long could people stand that terrible situation?
Nikol Pashinyan always made critical remarks, whether as an MP or a journalist. What was your approach, did you ever ask him to stop?
Never. Whenever Nikol visited Ijevan, I only had one thing on my mind – let my child rest a bit, get some fresh air. We never talked about political issues.
In your interview to the Russian RBC, you said that there are more intelligent people in Armenia who can represent the country.
The journalist asked if I wanted Nikol to be prime minister. I replied that there were many smart people in Armenia, and it was up to the people to choose. Why only Nikol, is there only one Nikol in Armenia? There are many of them.
Who does Nikol take after most– his father or mother?
Mostlymy mother. It was my mother who raised Nikol, and he adored her.
Is it possible that you’ll move to Yerevan together with your family?
Never. I will never leave my Ijevan.
What kind of emotions does the prime minister’s father have?
Same as before he became prime minister. I'm not boasting about my son being the country's leader. Someone has to lead the country. The leader should be a good person, someone who loves the country.
When someone gets a high position in Armenia, it’s always said that now relatives will also get positions. What do you think, will Nikol Pashinyan give his relatives any positions?
Never. Nikol Pashinyan should look for intelligent and professional people - be it relatives, pro-government or opposition people, and I'm sure he'll do it. He will never appoint his relatives. If he suddenly does, I will feel very hurt.
Please name one or two important issues that should be prioritized by your son's government in your opinion.
First, I consider raising our country's defense capacity a priority. Second, justice should be established in the country, so that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.