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May 5, 2011

ACNIS Looks at National Popular Calls and Political Demands in Armenia

Yerevan—In light of most recent domestic political and social developments in Armenia, the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today held a roundtable discussion entitled “Armenia: Public Demands and Domestic Political Proposals.” The meeting brought together representatives from international organizations and the diplomatic community in Yerevan, leading analysts, policy specialists, and members of the press.

Welcoming the audience with opening remarks, ACNIS Director of Research Manvel Sargsian said he looked forward to a lively and thorough discussion. “Our objective today is to make an attempt at understanding the extent in which the processes taking place in Armenia correspond to societal expectations and the logic of present debates,” Sargsian stated.

The day’s first speaker, historian and ethnographer Aghasi Tadevosyan, analyzed the key elements of the existing discussions among different social strata of Armenia, and pointed to the essence of post-Soviet stereotypes and challenges of independence. Tadevosyan examined the domains of benefits and interests which Armenia’s oligarchic clan, small- and medium-size business owners, innovative-thinking young generation, the “faceless society,” and other groups represent. In his view, some of these groups do understand their individual gains but do not perceive the mechanisms for attaining these rewards, whereas other groups are capable of presenting their vision in a universal and organized manner. “The main challenge for the body politic is promoting the process of stratification, that is, the imperative of transitioning from a homogenous nationalistic culture to a stratified society,” Tadevosyan maintained.

In his turn, Manvel Sargsian looked at the current political developments in Armenia. He underscored that for long years the country’s political elite was “operating” in a local and unbound territory, and making the society’s potential serve toward the resolution of this elite’s problems. But in recent times, as per Sargsian, the Armenian society, just like in the Arab world, has begun to voice its ideals for the country’s development and to pose demands upon the political forces, specifically the opposition. According to the speaker, as a result the argument in favor of forming a government through fair elections was emphasized. “The most regressive phenomenon which has ‘dropped anchor’ amongst the opposition, and which is noticeable amid different opposition circles, is their accusing of one another of serving the authorities and carrying out their demands. And the most astonishing is the fact that the authoritarian perceptions for all types of occurrences have started to become paramount among the opposition,” ACNIS Director of Research argued, adding that the talk about the necessity for a third force is likewise an outcome of authoritarian attitudes.

The presentations were followed by a series of questions and answers, and featured a lively exchange with the audience. The roundtable participants also included attorney Andreas Ghukasyan; vice president Arayik Sargsyan of the Geopolitical Academy; governance expert Harutiun Mesropyan; chairman Edward Antinyan of the Ramkavar Liberal Party of Armenia; chairwoman Arpine Galfayan of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights; ACNIS analyst Edgar Vardanian; political scientist Artur Avtandilyan; and several others.


The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan, Armenia.  As an independent, objective institution committed to conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national and international policy issues.

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am; or visit www.acnis.am.

 
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