Former Armenian president and opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan ...

Image: Former Armenian president and opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan greets supporters during a rally in central Yerevan, June 20, 2008. This is the first mass opposition rally since March 1 violent clashes with government forces when several people were killed. REUTERS/Photolure/Hayk Badalyan


While they are not the only one, Armenia’s opposition in its new protests continues to polarize the society in the smallest ex-Soviet republic by making racist statements about the current government.


According to a transcript posted on an opposition website , former president and opposition Levon-Ter Petrosyan called Armenia’s current administration a “Tatar-Mongolian” regime, a euphemism for “invading Turks,” just seconds into his speech on Friday, June 20, 2008.


By calling Armenia’s leaders “Tatar-Mongols,” Petrosyan is not only insulting his own nation, the fight for Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia’s society, but also millions of people around the world who have Turkic origin. The worst thing is that this kind of racism doesn’t turn the thousand protesters off. So is Levon just a racist himself or is he catering a racist audience?


Bitter, oppressed and poor people often find scapegoats. But how long are we going to tolerate this kind of racism? What right do we have to mock Azerbaijan – where the word Armenian is purposely spelled with a lower-case “a” and condemn its institutionalized racism – when our own “leaders” accuse each other of being a Turk?