Saturday, 10 April 2021

E Editorial

When hunt for the guilty is at the heart of political life

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Before 2018 and, especially after it, it was the people were and are blamed for all the problems. It was the people who were accused of  allowing the elections to be rigged, it was the people who were accused of  voting in 2018 elections and bringing to power more than 70% populists from streets and faceless biomass with no management experience, and it was the people who were accused of  not rebelling after the defeat in Artsakh war and not removing the crowd of adventurers and powerless from power.

As we can see, it is the people who are to blame for everything. But since the people are a collective entity, it turns out that no one is personally guilty. And the most interesting thing is that the accusers are the representatives of the political parties in the conflicting camps, and it does not matter at all that they did not enjoy the trust of the majority of the people when they were in power.

Thus, it is the rhetorical question "who is to blame?" rather than "what is to be done?" has become the core of our political life. The first implies indulgence for the political opposition and a way to turn it into political stagnation, while the second - "what is to be done?"not only opens a  perspective of development and pushes the political life to a creative level, but it also creates a precondition for forming a national elite.

It is clear that a ruling elite cannot be tailored unless there is no such agenda. A political and cultural elite might only be created based on the search for the answer to the question "what is to be done?" Therefore, if there is no such agenda in the core of political and public life, there will be degradation of the elite, that is, what we are witnessing today.

But first of all let's agree upon what is meant by the elite. By saying elite, some refer to people with moral and intellectual qualities who are trusted by the public to rule the country. This definition is a bit flawed. By "elite" is meant those who, as a result of sorting out certain circumstances and spontaneous (automatic) processes, find themselves at the levers of government and make crucial decisions for the country.

When there is no question "what is to be done?" in the given environment there naturally might be no creative pluralism in the ruling elite, that is, political life and prospects for the future. In Armenia, since 1988, the pluralism of the elite as a mechanism of political competition has been regularly destroyed.

In the initial stage of the independence period, the Armenian National Movement destroyed the communist elite, which though was morally defeated, had experience in ruling. In the next stage, the political wing of the Armenian National Movement was defeated, and it was the the power wing which went through the war led by Vazgen Sargsyan that came to power. It was not accidental that Vazgen Sargsyan included the remnants of the former communist elite in his team and  that Robert Kocharyan came to power by including in his team the power wing that went through the war and was persecuted by the Armenian National Movement: the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, National Democratic Union and others. That was an attempt to unite the out-of-game political elites with the system of government. It was a good opportunity to form pyramids of two elites that would compete with each other. But, alas, it did not happen because of "October 27", 1999.

There were a number of changes over the last thirty years, each of which would have caused deep shocks for any country, even if it had happened every hundred years. In our country, these shocks take place during the life of only one generation, when the composition of the ruling elite has changed at least twice, but at each new stage the old "disease" has arisen, the hunt for the guilty has continued.

Now we are also in that circle and once again the ruling "elite" is just a group of ruling people, and not a qualitatively real elite.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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