Today marks the 31st anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Armenia. On September 21, 1991, the Independence Referendum was held, in which 2 million 56 thousand 758 people participated, which was 95.5 percent of the total number of voters.
The following question was put to the referendum. "Do you agree that the Republic of Armenia should be an independent, democratic state outside of the USSR?" 99 percent of the referendum participants - 2 million 42 thousand 627 people - answered Yes to that question.
The day of the referendum was a real celebration in Armenia, because since 1988 we had voiced all the truths buried inside us, had formulated all the accusations known to us, and had demonstrated all our dreams and it was necessary to say Yes to all of that and we said Yes.
It is clear and unequivocal that on September 21, 1991, if not all the citizens who said Yes, at least the majority, understood that this was not just a note made with a pen on the ballot paper, but a border line beyond which the subject becomes a Citizen, the Motherland becomes a State, the motto becomes Responsibility.
The generation that said Yes on September 21, 1991 fully and dignifiedly bore that responsibility, carrying the burden of war, economic difficulties, and social despair on their shoulders. And today, on the 31st anniversary of Armenia's independence, I first of all want to say my words of reverence to that generation, first of all to our martyrs who gave their lives for independence, for statehood, those people who said Yes also by sacrificing their lives and well-being by the call of the newly independent country.
Our newly independent state rested on the shoulders of these people - volunteers, policemen, soldiers. But not only to them, but to all our compatriots who endured and supported our newly forming army, and not only on the day of the referendum, but every day, every single day, they said Yes to Independence, sometimes rejoicing, sometimes lamenting, sometimes despairing, sometimes proud, sometimes defeated. But the essence of this is that the Yes of 1991 was not a mood, but a decision, and no social and political difficulties, failures could change that decision.
Today is again September 21 and today an independence referendum again is taking place. The 1991 referendum took place, but was not finished, and the Independence Referendum is taking place today.
Our martyrs who gave their lives for the Motherland said Yes to Independence and it is very important that we do not kneel from the bitterness of their loss. The soldier standing at the border says Yes to Independence and it is extremely important that his Yes finds its response not only in our hearts, but also in our deeds.
Every day, every single day, state official or farmer, soldier or businessman, teacher or laborer, whether we like it or not, realize it or not, we are participants in the referendum, the Independence Referendum.
And it is important to say Yes to Independence, to say Yes to Sovereignty, to say Yes to democracy and, as necessary, to reaffirm that Yes in the part of the 29 thousand 800 square kilometer State-Motherland, where that Yes will be most needed. And let's not hesitate, and let's not be afraid, and let's not doubt, because every day, every single day, they try to instill in us new doubts, new fears, and all this is for that we renounce our independence, that we renounce our state.
I congratulate all of us on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Armenia.
Yes to Independence, Yes to Sovereignty, Yes to the Republic of Armenia.