''Everyone says Armenia will become completely different from tomorrow''
About how the Armenians celebrated the resignation of the prime minister — through the eyes of Alyona Mikhaylova, a stylist from Kazan
Alyona Mikhaylova, a stylist from Kazan, arrived with her friend on vacation in Yerevan almost at the very moment when Serzh Sargsyan announced his resignation from the post of Prime Minister of Armenia. The girls caught the city at a historic moment — something that people had been pursuing for 10 years has finally happened. In an interview with Realnoe Vremya, Alyona told how Yerevan was celebrating the resignation of the prime minister, what people think about their future and why this event is comparable to a national holiday.
''We were most impressed by the unity of people and their common joy''
Did you arrive just at a time of celebration of the resignation of Prime Minister of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan?
We arrived at 3:30 PM local time, while we were going to the exit of the airport — a taxi driver, his name was Tigran, caught us. He advised us where we could exchange money just near the airport. In the banking department of the airport, we asked what was happening in the city. We were told that now Yerevan was being unquiet, but in a few minutes everything would end as the prime minister was going to resign. We left the bank, and the happy taxi driver said he would take us for free because there was joy — the prime minister had announced his resignation!
How did the people react to the resignation of the prime minister?
We were most impressed by the unity of people and their common joy, which equalized everyone! People of different ages and professions left all their works and took to the streets to congratulate each other and all passers-by! They were giving flowers, signaled, danced! The taxi driver from the airport signaled to all passers-by, screaming that this was a great joy for them and the victory they had been waiting for 10 years. Everyone went to the republic square with flags, music. Tigran also offered to take us there to see this historic moment. Everyone was violating traffic rules, driving on an oncoming traffic, everywhere there were flags, shouts ''Victory!'' in Armenian. Everyone was sticking out from the falling doors of cars (men, women, children, old women). The taxi driver said that everything was allowed that day! This is the same as if the Russian team won the World Cup. Although no, it's even greater!
What is the mood in Yerevan?
In the streets until late night there was the feeling of a great holiday! A similar we can see only in New Year, it feels like a national holiday. Even on the metro's escalators people were applauding while going and smiling at each other.
Did it feel like people protested for ten days? No anger?
There was absolutely no anger and aggression. There was common joy everywhere! People were happy! They were opening champagne and dancing right on the streets, walked with drums, constantly honking.
There was absolutely no anger and aggression. There was common joy everywhere!
''The police together with ordinary people was celebrating this event''
Where do people gather to celebrate the resignation?
Everyone gathered in the centre, the crowd was gathering from all over the city during the whole day. Everyone was with pipes (like football fans have), many were just standing on the street and embracing, sitting at restaurants, singing national and patriotic songs, drinking and congratulating each other.
Were there many police officers in the city?
The police together with ordinary people was celebrating this event. Tigran, seeing the military, said: ''Just a few days ago they were against us, but today we are celebrating the victory.''
Shops, cafes — everything was open or employees were also celebrating?
Yes, even in the centre the restaurants were open. What was happening in the shops — we didn't have time to notice because we went out later. But pharmacies, grocery stores, stalls — everything was open. Museums did not work because Armenian Genocide Memorial Day also started at midnight, and the two events overlapped, so the citizens simply forgot about their work. Tigran said that three or four days would not work as usual. Although we saw that even public transport was working.
Can this day be compared to a national holiday?
Yeah! This is truly a national holiday! Something reminded us of May 9 or the New Year.
''Armenian Genocide Memorial Day also started at midnight, and the two events overlapped, so the citizens just forgot about their work.'' Photo: vk.com/id83238675
What do people say about the already former prime minister? What do they think about the opposition led by Nikol Pashinyan?
They are grateful to this man for his courage! Because he took responsibility and led. Everyone says that Armenia will become completely different from tomorrow, but there is no definite plan yet, and this confusion is understandable for the first day…
Are people making plans for the future or just rejoicing?
There is the feeling that everyone is just rejoicing. To the question: ''What do you expect?'' no one answered clearly yet. Everyone just says: ''The main thing is that it's over!''
What was your first impression of the Armenians? Are they friendly? What do they think about Russians?
They're very and very friendly! They taxi us everywhere for free, help, treat. As if we were long-awaited guests here, although just came to get acquainted with the country. Emotions are running high! This is really a historic event, which they will want to tell the grandchildren about. Tigran jokes that they've been waiting for our arrival for the prime minister to resign.