Instead of Introduction
By launching this kind of analysis we have the following aim: we will try to introduce one of the perspectives of future that threats our statehood and society by generally analyzing the situation that exists in Armenia’s social-political life, the attitude of government to it and the policies that is pursued.
We can say that our main aim is to show the essence of challenges that our society is confronted with in the social-political life (if you would like-the civilizational challenges) the solution of which is vital for the preservation of our statehood and the existence and future development of the Armenian element.
In his work ”A Study of History” British historian, historian philosopher Arnold Toynbee mentions that each society and civilization is destined to confront different challenges during its history of existence, and the solution of that challenges given in the opportune moment are the basis for development of that societies. By developing its hypothesis Toynbee mentions that the challenges the society is facing with can solve not the whole society but the intellectual part of it which he calls ”national elite”. Agreeing with the hypothesis of Toynbee and by trying to view our society from his point of view we direct our attention to the internal policy that Armenia’s government pursues. By taking account the undeniable fact that the representatives of today’s political authorities are far from being the elite about which Toynbee mentioned, we have to turn to the ideas of another great intellectual that enjoys international fame Jean-Jacques Rousseau and give our view of those ideas. Thus, if the present authorities are not able or do not want to solve the challenges the society is faced with, in other words they are not an elite, then the solution can be given by the intellectuals that represent social, cultural or scientific spheres and have enough potential to form a new national elite. They are the ones who should take the whole responsibility of forming new elite with the efforts of their organizations, unions, or other groups.
In the main part of our analysis we will try to generally analyze the essence of challenges that our community is facing and that require prioritized responses as well as the internal policy that Armenia pursues, its logic, its consequences and in the end we will let ourselves give the evaluation, maybe a subjective one (the format of the text gives that opportunity), which is-with today’s potential the authorities are not able to and maybe do not want to solve the challenges that we are facing with and which require urgent responses.
Challenges and ”Solutions” Given to Them
- The fact that the authorities that govern the state are corrupted is not a surprise for us, and this fact is not denied even by the representatives of that authorities. The only difference in this question between the latter and the citizens is that they try to introduce the corruption risks as mild as possible. And the fact that nowadays corruption has gone far beyond the border that is considered risky for national security is undeniable. We all know the principle that works in our country when one wants to find job in state sector. The process of finding work in schools, judicial, territorial administrative bodies and in local authority, as well as in different ministries is accompanied with corruption processes. And the worst of this is that all these processes are done with the control and sponsorship of state officials. Thus, as a result we can conclude that state apparatus which should take the responsibility of solving all the challenges that our society is confronted with is full of people who are not competent and do not have state-centric thinking in many cases. This kind of people are not only unable to solve problems that have national importance or even are trivial, but also have the aim to use their position of state officials and bring back the money they spent for getting the post as well as accumulate their own money. The result is the sad reality that exists everywhere in the state sector. Dealing with any state institution for everyday problems or other affairs is not pleasant and in many cases it causes everyone’s disgust. The basic skills of communication as well as the professional skills that are required for someone working in the state sector are unknown to many employees of sector. Even the lowest post is given out of someone’s own benefits based on doing a favor and of course on corruption.
We do not want to reject the fact that traces of corruption exist even in many developed and liberal societies but here we are confronted with the system-exception principle which means that corruption is an exceptional phenomenon in liberal and developed societies whereas in Armenia the corruption is the system itself.
The illustrative measures taken by the authorities mainly in recent times are not able to change general outline of the situation. Despite the need of radical changes about which officials announced no serious change has been noticed and we do not hope to see any in the nearest future.
As an answer to the people who call us pessimists we want to add that the solution is not in persons but in radical changes of working principles of the whole system. And if the authorities hope that only announcing about changes is enough to solve problems they will be largely disappointed. The utmost that they can gain is the temporary reproduction of their authority, during which the continuation of the same ruining policy will deepen the existing crisis and standstill in all internal politic spheres and not giving solution to this in the opportune moment is the same as not giving solution to it any more according to Toynbee. The consequences of these events will be tragic not only for citizens but also for the majority standing in the pyramid of authorities.
- Let us speak about the kickbacks, robbery and waste that are against the state benefits but are widespread in our society. The kickback is an inseparable part of the works (construction of roads, state buildings, etc.) that are funded by state budget. It is widely known fact that the money given from state budget for the implementation of different works is not being used only for that purpose but the half of it is taken by different people at different levels. The above mentioned also concerns all the events funded by international organizations the control of which is in the hands of state sector. The prominent example is the construction of North-South road: the money given for it is almost gone but only a small part of work is done. As a result of this the money that should be used to solve national problems is taken away by many people and the challenges that our society is facing continue not to get any response threatening to shatter the basis of the statehood, the formation of which required many efforts and sacrifices.
- Let us discuss what can happen if the state apparatus is filled with non-competent workers. The civil worker without any professional skills is not only unable to implement the responsibilities he is supposed to but also cannot understand the importance of the responsibilities in the whole state sector. In other words, by employing non-professionals the state apparatus creates the basis for the further destruction of it the steps of which are already noticeable. The second threat is that by taking into account other aspects rather than professional skills the authorities encourage fall of interest towards knowledge and studying within the youth. As a result of this in different educational institutions starting from schools to universities we have a disconsolate state. However, those enthusiastic youngsters who have gained enough skills by realizing the value of education, find jobs only in internal places without having the opportunity to change anything. Another part of this kind of specialists leave their motherlands as they cannot stand their incompetent bosses as well as the unfair environment and go to find better paid and more dignified jobs. These two aspects that are very dangerous for the state are enough for the authorities to understand how dangerous is the policy they have adopted for the society, the part of which they account for.
- Nepotism: as we have not managed to fully give up the tradition of giving priority to our relatives and family members, in the conditions where there is not a state level control the small parts that still exist from the above mentioned traditions improve and become social evil. The so-called friendly behavior of our officials of giving posts to their relatives and friends have become as dangerous phenomenon as corruption. Because of this sponsorship mainly the business sector suffers. Relatives of officials enjoy national fame and for them special advantages are created in the business world. And the result of this is the creation of another social ill-monopoly.
- Emigration: it is logic that all these problems should lead to emigration. According to different statistics during the 25 years of our independence 1 million people migrated from Armenia. Moreover, the fact that the number of population is decreasing is not denied even by the authorities. Taking into account the half war state and the external politic state in which we live we think it is apparent what these tendencies of migration can entail to.
- In order to understand the tendency of enlarging the barrier between the authorities and the society let us turn to the work of Gramsci ”Hegemony”. According to Gramsci, hegemony is the state when the present principles of governing elite are so acceptable by the society that there is no need to find any alternatives. The theorist states that hegemony is based on the productive combination of persuasion and compulsion[i]. Now let us think about this theory for our state. Do the authorities of Armenia manage to combine the two mentioned mechanisms in order to keep their hegemony? We think that at least after the 1st March 2008 they have failed to keep the factor of persuasion. Despite the use of whole their media capacities they have not been able to justify the principles of worldview and lifestyle suggested by them to the alternatives that exist. So, because of failing to persuade they pin their hopes on compulsion. Growth of people in police and other military units prove what we said. Another proof of the above mentioned are the atrocities towards citizens, journalists and the active layers of society. An example of this can be the atrocities towards the demonstrators during the events of July.
What Do We Recommend?
Before coming to our recommendations to the existing state we would like to mention that they have general-theoretic state as there is not enough information on different topics. We will be happy to introduce them in details later. The recommendations we make stem from state benefits and have the aim to solve the challenges our society is confronted with. Later their improvement and introduction in details will be in form of having special strategies for different spheres.
- To start a furious struggle against corruption in all official spheres. The officials that are accused for corruption should not only be dismissed but also all their property should be taken away in favor of the state. Then they must take the strictest punishment.
- To direct the state money only for measures having national benefit. To control all the money that comes out of the budget as well as control the efficiency of its use. The incomes of water and electro-energetic reserves that are considered to be national wealth should go to the state budget. The organization of industry and economy in general should be done by thinking straight and with the help of professionals of their work.
- To fill the state apparatus with youngsters who are competent, smart, have higher professional skills and the ability to think ”for the benefits of the state”. This will be the basic change that will change all the spheres of social and political life. The new state apparatus with its professionals will be able to solve all the problems thus also solving the challenges we are confronted with, which in its turn will create all the conditions for the creation of strong state. As a result, by having the need for skilled professionals the state sector should direct its attention to the education as it must become the main source of making intelligent people. It is apparent what changes our education system will undergo.
- The struggle against corruption also implies preventing the flawed phenomenon of nepotism. We think that state control and the use of fair system will be enough to prevent the above mentioned phenomenon.
- When we implement these measures we are sure emigration will also be prevented. By seeing the healthy and fair environment and sound economic competence our citizens will not leave the country, moreover the ones who migrated will come back.
- By implementing the plan of reviving the economic, state and other spheres the authorities will not have to make people believe in the efficiency of their perspectives. Pointing out the real state will be enough to prove the efficiency of the latter.
As a result the tense atmosphere that exists in social and already interpersonal relations will disappear. The barrier that exists between the authorities and society that deepens daily will decrease.
Today our society is confronted with serious problems the efficient solution of which will decide the future of our state and society.
Although the authorities and the society are in the domain of same cultural, moral and spiritual values between them a barrier has created mainly because of the social problems and that barrier tends to enlarge day by day along with the deterioration of the existing social-economic problems. Along with the poverty in the state there are extreme manifestations that are bad both for the people and the state. Thus, the officials who think they can escape during the ”wreckage of the ship” must realize that the number of escaped people will not be only 500.
And what the others will face imagine yourself.
We do not have any hopes that the authorities will do anything to change the situation so we pin our hopes on our national elite mainly the generation that is brought up with independent soul.
So, we have only one way: we start the construction of our statehood or… there is no other version-further development and strengthening of statehood.
Author: Hayk Paytyan. ©All rights are reserved Translator: Edita Shadoyan
Author: Hayk Paytyan. ©All rights are reserved
Translator: Edita Shadoyan