Tuesday, 19 January 2021

E Editorial

Fear of Sovereignty

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On this 102nd anniversary of the First Republic, we republish our view of the centennial of the May 28th celebration.

The ceremony of celebrating the centenary of the formation of the Republic of Armenia in the Sardarapat memorial complex caused various emotions and discussions among the county's public. Mainly, the focus was on a sharp contradiction between Prime Minister N.Pashinyan's speech and the ideological nature of the ceremonial events. Moreover, not often used in official speeches the concept of sovereignty and self-reliance, caused not only the inspiration of many, but also, the traditional fear of "the world." And it was precisely the expression of such fear that became the scenes of dances under Russian songs of the period of the Second World War. The directors of the event allegedly apologized to Russia for their love of freedom. In general, this holiday has become a mirror of the complex spiritual state of our society.

True, it is necessary to take into account the circumstance that the holiday coincided with the victory of the people in the struggle against the corrupt regime of Armenia. The directors of the solemn event, of course, were the traditional followers of this agonizing regime. And what is the political outlook of this regime, is not hard to guess: "Might gives birth to the right - we are weak - the world is against us and unjust - we can not fight the whole world - we do not have patrons". This is not even a world view, but a moral code of people who do not accept the idea of freedom - people who fall into panic from the mere word sovereignty. To believe that in a short time people can overcome this state of mind, would be too reckless. Many events that have passed the hundred years since the formation of the first Armenian Republic are proof of this.

The first steps towards the formation of this republic in 1918 are striking testimonies of that time's politicians’ fear before sovereignty. Even the understanding that after the collapse of the Transcaucasian Seim in 1918, the first thing to do was to adopt a declaration on Armenia's independence with clear definitions of its strategic purpose, territory, etc., in fact, was not done. On the contrary, the whole years of judgment were reduced to who to deal with - with Russia, England or Ataturk? That is - in whose projects it is expedient to fit in. The idea that arming with a sovereign national strategy through self-determination can seriously affect the positions and actions of any powers, by forming a balance of power around a sovereign subject, has never been established in the minds of the political elite of the first Armenian Republic which was formed "by the will of fate".

The behavior of the first authorities in the period of the formation of the Republic of Armenia in 1991 was not very different. Against the backdrop of the existence of a decision on the reunification of the Republic of Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh, the principle of protecting the Republic of Armenia from any politico-legal responsibility for problems that go beyond the borders of the former Armenian SSR entered the public policy. But there even was not enough will to accept the declaration of independence of this republic. In political and legal terms, the Declaration of 1990, which does not claim to be the fundamental state-forming document, remained.

In both cases, from the principle of building an independent state on the basis of self-determination, the Armenian authorities switched to the principle of "independence in agreement". We are talking about giving priority to measures coordinated with Russia and other countries, where any actions that do not have the consent of external forces are discarded. Thereby, in the state policy there was a tendency of voluntary refusal of the rights for the sake of the coordinated safety.

As we see, until now the fear of sovereignty is deeply embedded in the Armenian society, in particular, in subsequent political elites. But let us hope that the "Sardarapat holiday of humility" will be the last expression of this fear. Those who in 1918 gave their lives for independence deserve a different attitude to their memory.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the Center.

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