Friday, 21 June 2019

E Editorial

31 years later: Are the fateful distortions reparable?

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The thirty-first anniversary of the beginning of the Karabakh movement is celebrated for the first time in conditions when the political elite of independent Armenia generated by this movement left the political arena. The symbolic expression of the present moment is the coincidence of the 60th anniversary of the birth of the tragically deceased first chairman of the NKR Supreme Council with the days of detention of the first president of NKR. This coincidence reflects all the controversial history of building of Armenian statehood. Perhaps now is the time for an objective analysis of the significant distortions of the state-building process in Armenia and Artsakh which took place in previous years. Indeed, even a fleeting glance at the state of the most crucial circumstances of state life is surprising how superficial our attitude towards this life was.

Let us dwell on the most confusing topic in the history of the formation of the statehood of Armenia and Artsakh - we are talking about the adopted state acts and the dates of their celebration. It may seem curious, but the dates of the adoption of the most important state acts and the days of the celebration of these acts diverge. Thus, the NKR Independence Day is celebrated on September 2, whereas on this day in 1991, the Declaration on the formation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was adopted. The Soviet Constitution still operated during this period. And only on December 10, 1991, a referendum on independence and elections to the Supreme Soviet were held in Artsakh. The NKR Supreme Council adopted the Declaration of Independence of NKR on January 6, 1992. According to the tradition of international practice, the independence day of any state is celebrated according to the date of the adoption of the act of independence. In Artsakh, for some reason, it turned out differently.

The situation is no better in Armenia. Its Independence Day is celebrated on September 23, while the Declaration of Independence was adopted on August 23, 1990. In fact, this declaration proclaimed the act of the formation of the Republic of Armenia (also, as part of the USSR). A special Declaration of Independence following the referendum on September 21, 1991 was not adopted. The declaration of 1990 remained in force, where the Republic was proclaimed on the territory of the former Armenian SSR and NKAO, although there was no referendum on the territory of Artsakh. In fact, the Republic of Armenia does not have a Declaration of Independence in its generally accepted form.

The story of the birthday of the Artsakh Defense Army is equally confused. This day is May 9 (the day of the liberation of Shushi). In fact, the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army was established by the decision of the NKR Supreme Council of February 24, 1992. Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan was appointed the army commander by the decree of Artur Mkrtchyan, the first chairman of the Supreme Council. The date formed later in the government of the Defense Committee (chaired by Serzh Sargsyan) also does not correlate with the celebration of the Day of the NKR Defense Army. And this is when in Armenia, in this case, the day of the Army was determined on January 28 (on the day of the adoption of the 1992 decree “On Defense of the Republic of Armenia).

By what logic such decisions were made -- is difficult to say. Probably, the above aspects of state-building are not so principled, but the fact remains that the fundamental political and legal acts of the Armenian statehood are unceremoniously ignored. For a country with the rule of law, which the Republic of Armenia has declared itself, this is no laughing matter. It turns out that the political elite and society do not take very seriously what was stated. Perhaps something else is true: many did not like the real story...

In any case, in the new conditions, a rethinking and reassessment of the existing realities is necessary - legal flaws are not so harmless.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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