Nikolay Melkumov
CRM Project Head, Philanthropy Infrastructure Project (PHILIN)

Sometimes comments on a particular work are born easily and quickly. Sometimes they are not born at all. I tried to search for the reasons for this in myself, but I did not reveal the system. Perhaps this is due to the work that needs to be done to comprehend the text: what is easier to learn, is also faster to comprehend and evaluate.

What was Difficult for me While Reading?

The main thing is the sequence of sections and their volume. What do I mean? For my taste, it would be logical to start with a historical overview, then provide an analysis of the current issues, selected (possible) areas of development and relevant projects that, to one degree or another, work to achieve these goals. In the text, all this is present, but not always consistently. Sometimes, after some theses already stated, there is a return to some previously discussed topics. This complicates the perception.

In general, simple and transparent theses are easier to grasp. We are not talking about Trump-style populism, of course, and not about the Bolsheviks’ slogans “All power to the Soviets, factories to workers, land to peasants,” even though that extremely simplified rhetoric was the key to certain successes.

To the same glut of the text, I would include the inserts made on the basis of, as I understand it, previously published articles, interviews, etc. The most redundant fragment that caught my eye was the story of asset succession, and charity (pp. 139–141).

In addition

There is one observation and a point that has concerned me for a long time.

The openness and democracy of Salvador Allende ended with the Pinochet junta. Lee Kuan Yew and the Singaporean miracle, as noted in the discussion paper, also have a complicated relationship with democracy on the flip side of the coin. Peter the Great dragged Russia into Europe and pulled it to the advanced world at that time, but it was an absolutely undemocratic model. Although it used the methods of creating new institutions to the fullest extent, involving the most energetic layers of society and youth in the construction of a new world, teaching advanced knowledge, European education, etc.

Yes, success was achieved in these cases. But at the center of success was a personality (leader) and a tough, and sometimes cruel, model. And this is a risk. What to do with this aspect?

And one more thing. Following closely various IT projects, taking part in many of them, I came across one peculiarity. It is sometimes very difficult to reproduce the success model of predecessors or other successful companies/persons, since any new project, a new place of application of effort is new circumstances, new conditions; you do not enter the same river twice. And to achieve a successful result by the same methods is often impossible. But the problems are often reproduced. As a result, knowing what were the reasons for the failures on other projects is no less valuable than the learned success scenarios.

An Important Emphasis

In today’s supersaturated information space, for every hypothesis, idea, opinion there are always many opponents with their extremely weighty grounds and arguments. In particular, on the topic of the Genocide of Armenians by Turkey, the number of opponents and the counter-arguments presented by them is very large. Among other things, opinions are heard about the commonness of such repressions, excursions to the history of religious wars, from the times before Christ, the Crusades and even to the Stalinist national purges are conducted. A usual thing in the historical perspective is the opinion of the opponents.

The book, certainly, is not about it, or not so much about it. But the emphasis on this is very necessary and important. Including in terms of ideas of unification and development.

A Question to the Authors

In the section on the Genocide in the discussion paper, there is a very clear description of the process of evolution of attitude towards the topic of the Genocide. The farther from the event, the weaker the memory. But why then do you need this memory? Why lobbying for the recognition of the fact of the Genocide? With what precise emphasis can one single out the main thing, what topic from today's removed ones can be? I didn’t get enough of this very detail.


At first, I thought that I could formulate my comments quickly enough. As a result, the book stirred up quite a few layers, which were accumulated over the past thirty years. From perestroika and the first assembly of national deputies, the wind of changes of those years, ideas, hopes/illusions. The waves of information and knowledge that came in those years. Conversations with my comrade in the early 90s that Armenia was embarking on the path of creating a new state, and how and what could be built and implemented there. The story of my ancestors, my grandfather, who left Karabakh in his youth, his father, who was already born in Turkmenistan in 1930, relatives, who once lived in Baku. And Taghlar village, about which an old man I met once, said only a few words: “There is no one else left.”

Thank you so much for your work!


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