Tuesday, 04 August 2020

E Editorial

So that all energy does not "get wasted on a horn"

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In Soviet times, during the period of stagnation there was an anecdote:

One party ideologist is asked: "Why did the revolution train never reached communism?" He replies: "Because all the energy has been wasted on a horn.”

The meaning of this anecdote becomes prominent in today's Armenia as well. After the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a rally on August 17, as expected, a mass wave of assessments, voiced by the speaker of the theses, and, in general, the current situation in the country, arose." It must be said that the degree of rationality of assessments, wherever they are made, has risen sharply. Perhaps this was due to the fact that the ideas expressed by the Prime Minister were quite bold. In any case, we are dealing with the possibility of developing a serious discourse on the future fate of the country, which in itself is extremely important. At least, both the Prime Minister and the public of the country show a tendency not to succumb to myths, wherever they come from.

Neither the pestered myth of the threat of "counter-revolution" nor the myths about the breakthrough successes of the new government in the fight against corruption and the shadow economy are of any concern for thinking people. People are interested in the topic of the reform strategy - and more often than not - the lack of such a strategy. Judging by the voiced assessments, many expected the Prime Minister to speak exactly on this topic. They expected, but heard an unaccustomed strategy of intention, first of all, to establish the institution of direct democracy in the country, and also the intention to apply transitional justice. Many saw in these ideas a threat to state institutions and human rights. Others saw the symptoms of radical changes in state building. But the specifics in the assessment of the government's course have not increased.

It must be said that against the backdrop of the constant exaggeration of the threat of "counterrevolution," the country lacks favorable atmosphere for rational discussions. Any attempt to counterweigh Prime Minister Pashinyan's proposals, especially to criticize them, causes a wave of nihilism on the part of his supporters. For any criticism, the "ears" of the former regime are seen and nothing more. This is facilitated by active statements and evaluations of well-known apologists of the Republican Party of Armenia, forced (by the way, quite correctly and professionally) to inflate the themes of encroachment on freedom of speech and human rights violations. Given the complete devaluation of the images of these figures, all the assessments they express are also being devalued. There is a situation very reminiscent of the historical scheme of the "ruler-jester". Having made criticism of the rulers the prerogative of the jester, the first deprived the ability of any aristocrat to speak the truth about the sins of the ruler. The latter simply risked the image of the buffoon in the face of the public, if he/she intended to tell the truth about the ruler.

The risk of being misunderstood exists for many competent specialists in New Armenia. A constant appeal to the phantom of "counter-revolution" may become a deterrent to progressive trends in the country. The new government can get indulgence for its own failure and inability to work out a strategy of state building. The activities of the government will be reduced to periodic acts of mass events, in which the energy of the revolution will "be wasted on a horn". The public of the country has something to think about.


Manvel Sargsyan

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

Yerznkian 75, 0033
Yerevan, Armenia


+374 10 528780 / 274818




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

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