Tuesday, 20 October 2020

E Editorial

In Armenia, there was more than a mere change of power

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Immediately after the formation of the interim government, discussions began in Armenia about the nature of the April events, as a result of which this government was formed. Most often the notion of velvet revolution was used. The former Minister of Defense Vigen Sargsyan expressed his disagreement with this assessment, pointing out that what happened was a change of power, and only the process of changing the political and legal system of the state can be called a revolution. With a classical approach, such an assessment can be accepted. However, such an assessment is somewhat superficial. It proceeds from the assumption that the existing state order in the country has not changed. That is, it is allowed that in the country there was law and order in accordance with the Constitution - that is, the constitutional order. In fact, the constitutional order in Armenia was declared, but in fact a different order was rooted - criminal-oligarchic. In April 2018, the foundations of the latter were undermined by the efforts of society. Can this be called a simple change of power? As it seems, not quite so.

For this, let's see what we had during the years of independent Armenia. In 1991, the program of building a law-governed state was declared in Armenia. This implied the formation, first of all, of the institution of free elections and the justice system. Through these institutions, the formation of representative and executive power and the rule of law were implied. In 1995, the Constitution was adopted, where the entire program was legalized.

What really happened? In 1995-96, the mechanism of free elections did not work - the state government was usurped by the power ministers. The justice system wasn’t formed.

In 1997, the political sphere was usurped by the military oligarchy in the form of usurpation of the Republican Party of Armenia. In 1998, through the removal of the president from power, the military oligarchy usurped the system of state administration. At the same time, as a result of the murder of the leader of the military oligarchy (the shooting in the parliament on October 27), the positions of the latter were weakened. An authoritarian regime was established in the country, which began the process of usurping national wealth through the redistribution of property. The class of large owners was formed.

In 2003, following the results of the parliamentary elections, most of the mandates were usurped by large owners. A contractual oligarchic regime was formed on the basis of the Treaty on the establishment of a Parliamentary Coalition. By introducing amendments to the Constitution, it was turned into a mechanism for legalizing this regime, as well as in the mechanism of pushing society away from any opportunities for influencing public life.

In 2008, the first clash of the oligarchic regime with the society took place - the regime defended its positions by openly using weapons against the demonstrators. The system of justice and free elections were paralyzed definitively. The criminal-oligarchic regime acquired the form of a privileged caste. The regime made repression, bribery and lawmaking manipulations the main mechanism of its support.

In 2018, the described regime fell under the onslaught of society. Classical assessments of the changes that have taken place in Armenia, such as revolution, change of power, rebellion - can not give their exact characteristics. It can be confidently asserted that the essence of what happened in Armenia is a nationwide operation to dismantle the criminal-oligarchic regime.

The fact that the army and the police supported citizens shows that as institutions, they succeeded. Moreover, the division of representative, executive and judicial power was objectively carried out. The Constitution has worked, at least, as the only mechanism for regulating the dispute between the oligarchic regime and society.

So, in Armenia, something more has happened than a mere change of power. Apparently, in the 21st century there are fundamentally new socio-political phenomena. As a result, a real opportunity arose to construct a full-scale constitutional system. This is the task of government and society.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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