On the 7th of April, 2023, Anna Vardapetyan, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Armenia attended the conference entitled “Opportunities and Obstacles: Women's Place and Role in Armenia” dedicated to the Day of Motherhood and Beauty, initiated by Anna Hakobyan, the wife of the PM of the RA.


Anna Vardapetyan made a speech during the opening ceremony of the conference, referring to the hate speech and its exclusion in the public and private spheres: a phenomenon, which is incompatible with the image of an intelligent, free and responsible woman.


The Prosecutor General of the Republic noted in her speech the following:


“Dear Mrs. Hakobyan,


Dear women,


Dear colleagues,


I congratulate all of you on April 7.


Today I would like to talk about those challenges, rights and responsibilities that have accompanied me as a woman, and I think accompany every woman during her working activity.


My previous speech was dedicated to my ideal: an intelligent, free and responsible woman. Today I would like to refer to a phenomenon incompatible with the image of such a woman-that is hate speech. Why have I decided to speak about hate speech in Tavush, a small part of my great homeland? The reason is that I had one of the most important experiences of my life in Achajur, where my ancestors come from. The mentioned experience developed a trait that began to emerge in me as an adult when I began working in the legal field, which is a very "male" and "male friendly" sector. That characteristic is tolerance, respect and compassion for another woman.


Why did that feature develop during my years of living in Achajur? Every summer before I turned 20, we went to Achajur with all our grandchildren to spend the summer with our grandmother on my grandfather's strict insistence and my father's tacit acceptance. I assure you that I know all the necessary issues of rural work: starting from cleaning the chicken coop and barn, ending with harvesting cornel and mulberry, taking care of the animals, heating water with firewood.


To say that I did not rebel against this phenomenon is to lie and be dishonest with all of you, because I did not understand why I had to learn to live in the countryside. Later, however, when I started working in the Department of Justice, I realized that the years spent in Achajur had formed an important and inexplicable feature in me to understand another woman, “to be in her shoes”, to try to understand, for example, why a woman said a particular word to me, why a woman looked at me unkindly at that moment instead of getting upset and fighting back. The books of a very intelligent and wise woman, Narine Abgaryan, which I still read often, helped me to understand all these. For example, “Three apples fell from the sky”, “Zulali” and “People who are always with me”. I have met all the women whose lives and fates I have touched at Achajur in those books. That circumstance makes me more determined to be the "shoulder to lean" for every girl who, at first glance, is very shy and timid when she comes to the Prosecutor's Office and says that she wants to join us. Every girl who pronounces this sentence gets the following response: “Welcome, but we have a rule; we work hard and take responsibility for our work. Thus, if you agree with those rules, you can lean on my shoulder to build your destiny.


Why am I emphasizing this today, now and here? I have been coming across with hate speech a lot recently due to my profession and work. And when the contextual term "hate speech" sounds, it seems that it is a wording referring to some place, some other person. Everyone is confident that is no word of hatred in our speech, but unfortunately it is not the case. Therefore, in my work, in addition to the fact that I strive to help, encourage, become a "shoulder" for smart girls, I also strive to teach all the girls and women around me something by my own example: “If I want to live in an environment where people respect each other, I have to respect others first of all”.


When I was being appointed on the position of Prosecutor General, and before that ,in the position of the assistant of the Prime Minister of the RA, the PM asked me a short question: “What kind of Prosecutor's Office will you leave to the Republic of Armenia after your post-tenure?” I answered that I would professional, honest and tolerant Prosecutor's Office slightly fuller of women. Along with that, I always ask all girls who come to Prosecutor’s Office not to manipulate the gender and to be honest. Women have a dangerous tool: manipulation and I have definitely decided that I will not do it, I will not manipulate; I will stand on the "front line" and say clearly: "I am like this. If you decide to marry me, I am this kind of person, if you decide to be friends with me; I am this kind of person. I mean I don't deceive you and I don't manipulate you, so that later we can honestly look at each other and not blame that something has gone wrong”.


Dear women and girls,


Today I wanted simply to tell you about a girl, who was born at the outskirts of Yerevan, who had the happiness of living in a big family, who dared to become a lawyer, who dared to be the Prosecutor General of Armenia and who said that there was no bravery in that all - there was introspection and daily endeavors to be honest with yourself. 


I believe that every woman's path to wisdom begins with self-observation and the ability to respect and sympathize with others, especially other women. In the evening, when I go home, I reflect on: I start to remember my day and mark the points where I went wrong and work with myself to not repeat those mistakes the next day. I used to do like that.


Last time, while concluding my speech, I mentioned that the path to freedom begins with knowledge, today I want to continue my thought and say that the path to wisdom begins with respect and the ability to sympathize others. And, in case Mrs. Hakobyan decides to invite me to such an event next time, I have decided to talk about the image of women in sayings and legends. I am sure that the wise women, who lived before us, as the Sufis say, return from the heights of their journey and begin to help us, ordinary, young, fragile women, to walk the path of wisdom.


I think that my experience will be a landmark for a girl who is currently cleaning the chicken coop in a village like Achajr and does not have time to listen to what I am talking about here today, and she will have more confidence in passing her way than I once had.


I am sure that wisdom is an integral part of women, and if one day we decide that we are wise and not manipulative, surely something important in the universe will change that day."