Sunday, 12 July 2020

E Editorial

The Army's Number One Enemy is the “Conspiracy Theory”

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The losses of soldiers in non-military conditions, which have become more frequent of late, have stunned society.  It seems that suicides, unfortunate incidents, and killings in “still inconclusive
circumstances” have turned from exception to the rule itself, and it is impossible to pass by this phenomenon with indifference.

These days we come across various opinions and versions as to the reasons for a soldier’s death, from observations wrapped in “conspiracy theories” all the way up to the unprofessional and
moral-psychologically weak oversight of the commanding officers. Others note the “non-constitutional” relations, the criminal subculture of tensions among “blacks” and “whites” which some conscripts bring in from society to the army.

As for the conspiracy theory, according to one set of sources it is being spread by certain interested circles to discredit the “revolutionary leadership” in the eyes of the people.  Or, on the contrary, that this is the work of the government, so that they prepare the people for their plot to make concessions on Artaskh.  These are a couple, not all, of the “theories” circulating currently in society.

And so, against the background of the public’s deep anger and the social media’s robust response, where everything receives a political hue all the way up to an Armenia-Artsakh standoff, the government was compelled to call a few consultations and as a result certain high-ranking military officials tendered their resignations.  That is to say “the guilty” had been found, and in the public domain the peaked passions began to subside.  It is, however, difficult to ascertain what kind of overall disaffection might again arise if, God forbid, new peacetime tragedies take place in the army.

The government did indeed undertake certain measures, but the public was not presented any comprehensive report on the armed forces' problems and their solutions; no conclusion was drawn.  Fine, let us put aside the matters considered “military secret” and focus solely on the main questions relating to society—clearly in the army-society chain the latter has its fundamental part to play.  The current relations within the army are not its alone.

A range of solutions is being offered in the social media.  For example, the two-year period of forced conscription, of keeping the soldier away from his family, is being discussed.  Some find an
effective reference in the Israeli experience, in which vacations are more frequent and the active ties with family and society serve to soften the psychological edge connected with service and help mitigate the interpersonal tensions that arise from common living and overcome the moral-psychological obstacles.

These are questions in whose solution the family and society assume a pivotal role.  The army in its turn must be as open as possible before the public, and more creative in the regulation of “shows of honor” of its soldiers and officers.  Of course one cannot avoid problems, including undesired occurrences, in the army.  We are talking about lowering the risks, so that we do not have unnecessary losses in the army—and of statehood.

In this context, the most dangerous is the “conspiracy theory,” which can psychologically destroy both the concept of statehood and the stability of the army.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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