Supermarket and Media: Different texts with the same logic

In the Armenian revolutionary reality the manifestations of the epistolary genre have become quite active and regular. Letters are written to the government by different individuals, political forces and collectives. During this time two interesting collective letter – applications were also written, which we will examine from a few angles.These are very important and typical texts in their essence for understanding the spirit of the new times.

It is about the letter-applications of big trade networks and media representatives addressed to the Government of Armenia. These letter-applications were drawing the Government’s attention to several “important” issues, which in fact being the legacy of the old government, do not have the ability to be realised under the new conditions.

The first example is the letter-application of the supermarket officials, where the authors were urging the Government, in the person of Nikol  Pashinyan, to review the new policy of the SRC and release them from VAT, thus keeping the rules of the former game. In the message they also mentioned the dangers of closing jobs and food security issues: “Both the stable activity of trade networks and job placement problems are under danger, taking into account that almost 10.000 citizens work in the mentioned network”.

In parallel and almost at the same time, in particular a couple of weeks later, another interesting collective sent a letter-application to the Prime Minister, the editors of Armenian leading news websites and print media. The general content of this letter was also dissatisfaction by new realities, in contrast with previous experiences and rules. According to the editors the Government has adopted a new informational policy with a tendency to push traditional media into the background. Thus, members of the Government and the Prime Minister himself, using social media, live shows and videos, have activated and made it a more important informational platform to the damage of the traditional media. The media representatives thus were complained about the Government’s new informational policy and claimed that cleaning the “information garbage” and bringing “sponsored” media out into competition field is the Government’s task, and all this is a direct damage to free speech, the press, and informational security. Here is a quote from their letter: “In dealing with the media field, the government should be guided by the idea of creating full equality for all media outlets. It should operate on formation transfer,journalists’ accreditation, newspaper sales, advertising, tax policy and all other matters”.

Moreover, the media is complaining about the “explicit and dangerous intolerable, hateful attitude and aggressive manifestations of hostility” especially in social media from“the supporters of the government” and “a small part of the society”.

Particularly interesting are the symbolic and context similarities of these texts with those statements by political opposition representatives that say that “the 37th year” has started.

The contextual and stylistic analysis of these texts show that both in their essence and philosophy lead to a number of key issues:

  • the reality of not fitting the new game with old instruments,
  • the question of having more policy (that interrupts, regulates, coordinates),
  • one-sided monitoring of the issue,
  • absolutely neglecting their own shortcomings.

Yes, the contrast of the old and the new, ignoring their status and activities, are the passive stances that condition the new conditions and the collision of old philosophy. And this is just the fact that combines areas that are far from each other at first glance (trade network and media) and their functional issues.

  1. In both cases there is complaint about the new format of Government – private sector relations.
  2. Both speak about the importance of the role of the state and the worst consequences of the initiative:
  3. Both mention about the importance of the state when creating the rules of the new game and enthralling them to the individual.Both emphasize that the state, in the person of the Government, is obliged to take into account the old morals.

If we depart from the reality and return to pre-revolutionary Armeniacan we imagine that the representatives of these same trade networks or mass media could send a similar letter-application to the previous authorities? Even the uninformed viewer would understand that these are in their nature blackmail to the state blackmail to the letter addressee: the Government.

These two letters, both in their style and in their content, are similar to the film’s hero, who lives in a post-revolutionary country, however, having no personal experiences with a new changed reality and not adjusting to these new facts, continues to live with the old model. This is the situation the trade networks and media representatives have found themselves when they announced that they refuse to accept the new circumstances and moreover they demand the new authorities to make exceptions for them. Exceptions are what disrupt the new style, the new rules and force certain elements of inertia to be preserved in this transitional period. The authors of these letter-applications announce that they refuse to adapt to new conditions, new realities, and, on the contrary, require treatment in the old way.

In reality, the problem here is not the issue of supermarket profits or media sales and the decrease in the number of followers: they are always full of demand and opportunities, thanks to capitalism.The problem is the public struggle of the old against the new. The old, which does not even avoid being presented as old, but explicitly required to maintain its rights inherited from the old order andto get an opportunity to use them under the new conditions.

If there are anti-revolutionary or regressive elements, which seek to conserve and reproduce the old system, than these two texts are the indicators of such perceptions and their embodiment. In their “innocence”, even if they hadn’t realised it, what they expect and demand from the authorities (although we should not underestimate the other’s intelligence and adaptive qualities), these are important indicators and can serve as a clear signal, that transition from the old to the new will not be easy, it will require at least consistency and effort.

Author: GorMadoyan© All rights are reserved.

Translator: Armine Avetisyan