Thursday, 01 October 2020

E Editorial

The method of peaceful education of "elected people"

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In Armenia, there is a situation when the fate of the current political regime was inevitably in the hands of hundreds of parliamentarians. The former president should be appointed prime minister. Since most of these deputies received their mandates not at free elections, but at the will of the leaders of the oligarchic regime, they are called to fulfill the will of the latter and appoint Serzh Sargsyan as the leader of this regime to the post of prime minister of Armenia. No one wants to joke with fate - everyone is sure that their personal life will only gain more guarantees of prosperity. Judging by the speeches of many deputies, they see no special threats to their actions.

However, in the country there is also an opposition to such a program of preserving the configuration of power. A number of civil initiatives urge the people not to allow the deputies to vote in favor of Serzh Sargsyan's candidacy. At the same time, the main stake of these initiatives is on mass actions, aimed at blocking the passage of deputies to the building of the National Assembly by peaceful means. It is believed that the police can not prevent the efforts of tens of thousands of people. Whether the people will respond to these calls and whether the method of struggle is chosen correctly -- time will tell. So far, mass actions have not been able to solve certain tasks of the opposition. But we can recall one important period in the struggle of the Armenian people, when the people were able to solve a difficult task. We are talking about the June 1988 action of students on compelling the deputies to take a decision in support of the demand of the residents of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region on the reunification of the region with Armenia. Then people found a method of "peaceful education" of people's representatives, whom also the ruling communist party appointed and not the people.

In Armenia, the situation was very similar to the current situation. Unlike the People's Deputies of the NKAR, the communist authorities of Armenia did not hurry to support the demands of the people. The appeal of the Council of People's Deputies of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of February 20 on the reunification of the region with Armenia remained unanswered from the Supreme Council of Armenia. Even mass actions with hundreds of thousands of people demanding to convene a session of the Supreme Council did not affect the authorities hiding behind the internal troops of the USSR. The demand for an imperative of a different method of influence on the leadership of Armenia had appeared. This method was found by students of the country. Taking the opportunity when the regular session of the Supreme Council was to be held on June 15, 1988, the students started a sit-in strike on the theater square in Yerevan demanding to discuss the appeal of the Council of People's Deputies of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of February 20 and give a positive answer. The square was turned into an open headquarters, where methods were developed for compelling people's deputies to fulfill the people's demand. The tactic of individual work with deputies was chosen. Individual groups of citizens throughout the country forced the latter to come to the square and publicly commit to the people that they will fulfill their demand. Moreover, they were ordered to sign the text with such a promise. People's deputies alone remained powerless before the organized people and ... trembled. The fear of the Communist Party was suppressed by the fear of the people's determination. Alone or by groups, they began to come to the square and put their signatures on.

But the tactics of compulsion were not exhausted. A group of young people, led by a well-known figure Shant Harutyunyan, went on a hunger strike on theatrical square and delivered an ultimatum to the then first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, Suren Harutyunyan. It was required from him to ensure all conditions for free voting of people's deputies during the session. In the event of his refusal to fulfill an ultimatum, people on the hunger strike threatened to carry out self-immolation on the square. That is, a situation was created when the authorities were left with only one way out: to fulfill the demands of the people. The alternative was the force dispersal of the people, after which the personal destinies of the members of the power camp would not be predictable. On June 15, the session of the Supreme Council fulfilled the demand of the people. The subsequent intensification of repression by the internal troops of the USSR could no longer affect the actions of the Armenian authorities.  As early as December 1, 1989, the same Supreme Council of Armenia adopted a joint decision with the National Council of Nagorno-Karabakh on the reunification of Armenia with the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. The special mass participation of the people in the adoption of this fateful act was no longer necessary - the deputies remembered well the June method of "popular upbringing." No one wanted to try fate again.

Can the people of Armenia today use this experience?

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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