YEREVAN (Realist English). The moral and value inconsistency of all authoritative national structures led to this: political, religious, mass media, public, including community, with their irremovable leaders and, most unpleasant of all, the Armenian state itself has stopped generating national consolidating ideas and does not provide acceptable consolidating programs.
The history of the new statehood, the available results, revealed the inefficiency, archaism, provinciality and pettiness of the approaches to the management of the Armenian world. That is why, at the very first encounter with the crisis situation of the 2020 war, the entire structure collapsed like a house of cards. We ourselves, without external interference, due to natural conformism, created the appearance instead of the real thing, pushing each other to complete mutual distrust, at the same time, the degree of conflict on all floors of the Armenian world is off the scale – everyone is in conflict for any reason, even the skill to listen to each other is lost. If someone still manages to unite, then temporary unstable unions come out, which in the short term still crumble.
The three notions have become the new standard of relations in society: lies, hypocrisy and deceit, behind which unbelief can be seen, and in the field of citizen-state relations, indifference and mutual antagonism have become the standard against the background of chaotic emigration flows and growing poverty…
At times, it seems that there is no united Armenian people, instead there are geographically distant from each other, local manifestations of Armenian culture with their own sub-languages/dialects and their own autonomous subculture. Alas, there is no single fabric of the Armenian people because there is no common national agenda except for historical memory, there is also no single community with its own scale of values. For example, let’s turn our eyes to what cultural and ideological fractures we got:
- Compatriots in Armenia
- members of a large number of communities around the world
- millions of Turkish crypto-Armenians
- thousands of representatives of different religious denominations and beliefs
- Middle Eastern communities on a partisan basis
- various semi-closed geographically-formed communities
- mixed interethnic families
- compatriots who do not know their native language and traditions
- the split church: two Catholicos
- two republics (!), etc.
You can add other examples of cracks.
What does it all mean? These are people who live their own lives, without connection with one another, communities, because the task is to find the motivation to recreate, gather compatriots into a single nation, and in this process –establishment of a truly sovereign, truly unified Armenian statehood.
You ask, is it time now?
The answer is this. It is at such critical moments that it is time to start returning to the roots, because at such moments the weak and strong sides of the national character, worldview and ideas are particularly clearly manifested, false and true priorities are visible, and as a result, decisions and actions are performed. At such moments, the true human nature manifests itself, it is clear who is really worth what, with whom one is on the same way, and with whom – not. At such moments, it’s time to create social mechanisms for the separation of healthy forces, dissociation from failed political groups, various national surrogates, pseudo-compatriots, and sometimes just Armenian-speaking enemies. We have not implemented many things in a timely manner in history, we have simply lost even more. It’s time to start taking care of abandoned ancestral lands, dynastic heritage, forgotten and devoted gods, etc., because all this is coming to us from the depths of centuries.
The task of uniting the Armenian people was solved in its own way by the holy Trinity: Mesrop, Sahak and Vramshapuh, it was solved beautifully, even elegantly, betting on the knowledge, on the language and on the intellectual elite. This is exactly what we have to do, repeating the experience of the geniuses. True, they had the king Vramshapuh, but we don’t have one. There is no leader in the Armenian world, therefore, it is necessary to start with the formation of social elevators for the promotion to leadership positions of educated, enlightened patriots, morally strong, motivated, as was done in the Vth century, because we lack just such an enlightened, educated patriotism. The time has come to isolate a morally stable, patriotic core, which will become the driver of social processes in the Armenian world.
How can this be achieved in the absence of a single consolidating force, without a leader?
This can be started through the launch of a real mechanism of local self-government. Armenian communities could follow the path of self-organization into small self-governing communities with their authoritative leaders, in which, knowing each other, their members would jointly control each other’s behavior, bear reputational responsibility for each other’s actions, and thus would be interested in nominating only the proven, the best ones from their community. This is precisely the mechanism of the mini-community that is effective, it is in fact available in a surrogate form in various dynastic, regional, friendly, business circles. This mechanism eliminates the likelihood of antisocial and even treacherous behavior, personal gain and other negative manifestations that are very characteristic of a certain part of our people, and on the other hand puts up the worthy, the proven ones. We are talking about the reconstruction of the historical traditionally Armenian system of communal self–government by reuniting small self-controlled cells into larger ones, and those in turn into even larger ones, etc. This system eliminates the main scourge of our people – the lack of a code of collectivism, natural individualism. With such construction, the “pyramid” will be based on a strong foundation of local self-government, consisting of individuals, and not as it is now, when everything is built from above, under the interest of the authorities.
Please note that even the Armenian military formations were built according to the fraternities or, as they say now, according to the territorial principle. It was such a system that proved itself perfectly during the first Karabakh war, this is how the Musalerites fought off, this is how the Fedayeen detachments were formed. I am not calling for the formation of the armed forces in this way, but this is the way the fabric of the Armenian world should be recreated in order to filter out Armenian-speaking non-Armenians, people with Armenian surnames who do not love their people, their language, and so on. It would be advisable to gather motivated, patriotic communities into a separate stratum, betting exclusively on them, and not on everyone who has surnames or knows the language. It is important to form such communities not by words, but by deeds, by biographies, by the personally completed life path based on the system of social ratings. After all, in the present situation of the nullification of national structures, there remains only one legitimate subject of the Armenian world, one competent link – this is each of us by himself, physically, personally, each individual is the president. This means that we will have to rebuild the fabric, the framework of social and communal relations, of the state institutions, but this time on the new principles based on national values and on the historical experience of our ancestors, with a footnote to what has taken place in recent years. There is a task of unprecedented scale to be solved – to recreate a single matrix of the Armenian world, torn apart by a series of events of the last 100 years. It is in this matrix that the pledge of our sovereignty lies. But this is possible only if a real institution of local self-government functions. The one that exists now is rather symbolic, formal, urbanized in nature and does not reflect the true essence of this public institution, as the primary, basic link in building a society of individualistic persons, of course, along with the family and the hearth.
The whole paradox lies in the fact that with all the richness of the shades of our national existence, cultural, social, public traditions, organizations, surprisingly, the Armenian world lacks two of the most important structural links that would ensure the stability of the construction of the social whole, due to the absence of which it is constantly crumbling – the lowest and the highest management links. What do I mean? On the one hand, we lack the institution of effective, local, literally “on the ground”, self-organization – local self-government, and on the other, the need arises to form no less than an all-Armenian, nationwide unified governing body of the Armenian world. That is, on the one hand, without real self-government, we are deprived of a binding to the earth, we are in limbo, we stand uncertainly as if without legs, and on the other hand, without a single national governing body, synchronization of the processes of the Armenian world, as blind parts of an absent whole, chaotically dangling in time and space without a single head, a single program actions.
Let’s take a closer look at the two above-mentioned public institutions.
It forms its own governing bodies from its own composition. It is on the basis of this institution that polling stations should be formed, candidates should be nominated. From this level, the rise and political career of civilly active persons and political figures should begin, carrying out progressive and step-by-step growth, first showing themselves on the ground, in real situations. At the same time, for example, the system of political parties, in my opinion, has long ago historically outlived itself and has not even justified itself, driving the Armenian people into a catastrophe at the beginning of the twentieth century. Firstly, we do not have so many political ideas to contain dozens of parties, secondly, the party system is disconnected from the local community, does not reflect its interests, but only party, corporate, and thirdly, it is built on an ideological principle, and only on its basis – territorial. As a result, it turns out that some regular chick that is not controlled by society shoots up, who has no obligations on the ground, and whom few people know and no one vouches for him, he is not responsible to anyone, moreover, reflects the interests of only his party associates, and the power turns out to be in the hands of a separate corporation with a more efficient administrative and financial resource.
I adhere to the position that the multiparty system has not brought any benefit to the Armenian world, and in fact, we are really a people-party and our party has one goal – reunification into a unified people, into a unified state. For this purpose, it makes no sense to propagate political parties and is even disastrous. By the way, for people with an active civic position there is a variety of institutions of public organizations, interest meetings, non-political parties, etc.
Thus, without real local self-government, we are hanging in the air, as if torn off the ground, becoming the subject of manipulation by various political adventurers and crooks, and we do not influence anything, because there is no mechanism of influence. We need a firm foothold on the ground through the self-organization of the lowest levels of society, through local community self-government, which is the institution of formation and influence on the actions of the elite.
A nationwide governing body.
Because of its absence, each community lives autonomously with its own local agenda, not being part of a unified whole, part of a unified Armenian people. Therefore, it seems urgent to form a single supreme collegial governing body, to develop a unified national ideology of the global armeniancy, which will be implemented by a nationwide system of governing bodies synchronized with the governing bodies of the mother Homeland in the name of a common goal, and not competition with each other.
How to form such an body?
At this stage, the only possible way to form it is to convene an all–Armenian constituent assembly with the participation of the only legitimate participant – each of us personally, i.e. a meeting not of representatives of organizations, parties, officials, communities, but of people, like a gathering, a “veche”, at which leaders, a new real elite, will be re-elected to replace the current ones. How technically can such an entire Armenian assembly be convened and held? There are considerations. At such a meeting, anyone can nominate his candidacy personally and there will be a direct open vote for him, so that each voter knows who he is voting for and of whom he will specifically ask, i.e. not on a list, not partisan or factional basis, but namely in the personal, reputational capacity.
Such meetings were held in the history of the Armenian people and were called Ashkharazhokhov, where people came and voted regardless of their social status and position in society. It is known, for example, that in ancient times, in the days of the Navasard holiday, ashkharazhokhovs were held, at which absolutely everyone was present, starting with naharars, sparapets and priests, and ending with shinakans and azats, the holiday and the national assembly went hand in hand at the same time. The political scientist and historian Sarkis Tsaturyan reminded about this form of meetings earlier. I support this idea, I see potential in it, this institution is our natural one, not adopted from “Europe and the Americas”, and it has justified itself in history. Through the institution of Ashkharazhokhov, one can completely purge oneself of the ballast of false elites and form a real one, isolate a nationally oriented class of intelligent and educated people, as Mesrop and Catholicos Sahak Partev previously managed, so “there is no need to reinvent the wheel”, but look at the genius of the ancestors who saved the people from destruction, rely on the intellectual and patriotic elite.
But before convening a nationwide Ashkharazhohov, the meeting should be held first in a small format on the ground, and then an all-Armenian global Ashkharazhohov, so that the Diaspora could participate in it, so that Armenia and the Diaspora would finally become a single organism and move away from mutual antagonism, reunited in a single nationwide management system, reunited into a single integral people. Thus, ashkharazhokhov is a natural form of social self-organization of the Armenian people, not introduced and justified itself in time. Today, only the results of such a meeting can legitimize the new elected and determine who is, who is the real leader, and who takes someone else’s place.
The decisions of such a meeting should be binding on everyone, and the Republic, the Government and the Parliament of the country should take part in the decision-making procedure. We have a vision of how this could be organized. This format is also acceptable because it removes from the agenda the issue that I raised back in 2014 – about a bicameral parliament. In the case of Ashkharazhokhov’s convocation, the voice of the diaspora is expressed through this institution and will not require raising the issue of revising the structure of the Armenian parliament. The only question that arises is about the name of the country’s parliament. It seems logical to rename it from the National to the Republican Assembly, just as in Artsakh, since they are formed by voters as part of the population of the republics and for the republics, and the institution Ashkharazhokhov is essentially national, it is even more, it is a nationwide (transnational) body.
Thus, it is time to start working on building an integral fabric of the Armenian world, a single HAYK, and it is quite realistic to go this way. Only the will is required. Now is the time to rise up and walk the path that has not been traversed, to correct historical mistakes so that our children do not have to take over another page – a tragedy in modern history.
Ruben Kirakosyan, a philosopher