It Was Worse Than Crime, It Was a Blunder

The maxim of the title belongs to perhaps the most famous man in the world of diplomacy – to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand. He told that words on a certain occasion, when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered to execute a young Duke – the kinsman of Bourbon royal family. Throughout the time the words turned into aphorism almost loosing the connection with execution or the memory of the Duke.

The extraordinary statement that President Serzh Sargsyan made last week during the telephone conversation with the Russian President - attracted that much attention on the international scene that congratulations may be extended to him for almost repeating his popularity hit after the cell therapy adventure in Seoul earlier this year. Still if the cell therapy was just a frivolity that the people in Armenia laughed, then the readout of the phone conversation with Russian President was a kind of blunder that Talleyrand had pointed out.

It does not matter what the President Sargsyan and President Putin had really talked about, neither does it matter that the readout was probably written in Russian and then translated from Russian into Armenian and from Russian into English (it’s apparent from translation differences). It doesn’t matter even that the President of the Russian Federation stands short from achieving the Goebbels hysterias, the historians say, but in sense of building propaganda on shameless lies he almost overruns the Joseph Goebbels achievements. Goebbels told, that with psychological understanding of the people and sufficient repetition “it would not be impossible to prove that a square is in fact a circle”. Still it’s unknown if the Third Reich figures acted in today Internet reality - should they dare to call, for instance, the India's Prime Minister like the Russian President Putin did and then issue a readout of the call pretty contradicting to the content and picture the Indian Prime Minister submits on his website. And similarly manipulate the contents of conversations with other leaders.

The Russian tricks are long known to the world, but it doesn’t exempt President Serzh Sargsyan from the responsibility for the message and the formulation delivered from his office: “In that context the Presidents touched upon the situation after the referendum in Crimea and stated that the latter constitutes another case of exercise of peoples’ right to self-determination via free expression of will”. Does Mr. Serzh Sargsyan ultimately care that the official website of the Armenian President isn’t an analyst's blog or social network, neither is it the central square of Nagorno-Karabakh capital Stepanakert?

Here emerges a pretty legitimate question - if not the Crimean Russians but the Crimean Tatars were the initiators of the Crimea pseudo-referendum, if they had similarly applied for help to Turkish Tayyip Erdogan, if he had responded similarly by sending the "green man", by removing the legal authority, then launching a “referendum” within some ten days, in which the Tatars and Ukrainians would participate and with 90%, in some places even more that 100% of votes would determine to join Turkey – what then? Would President Sargsyan in that case similarly conclude and state that people's right to self-determination has been realized, moreover via free expression of will?

By the way President Sargsyan soon may really face this kind of dead-lock as the Crimean Tatars announced about the intention to hold a referendum – surely, with the agenda of remaining part of Ukraine.

Lusine Petrosyan