Vahagn Sargsyan
Screenwriter, director

A hub, a capsule or a periphery? The hub, and the capsule, and the periphery.  Below, we will as briefly as possible present the comments of the Religa Research Center on a number of extremely important issues raised by the authors of the discussion paper “At the Crossroads”.   

We believe that the three models under consideration can be combined and applied, trying to use the capabilities of each and at the same time minimizing the threats that may arise when each of the models is used separately.  

Though fully agreeing with the vision of an inclusive state and society, at the same time, we believe that the state cannot completely abandon extractive institutions.  

Sharing the idea that we need a new social contract, we believe that it should be sought in the area of balance, complementarity and mutual deterrence between the inclusive and extractive natures of open-network and closed-capsule institutions.   

A few comments on the hub model proposed by the authors.  

To begin with, in our opinion, the Republic of Armenia is simply destined to be the nodal center of all Armenians. At the same time, however, Armenia is not able to completely transform into a hub – but it may include the functions of a network hub. And these functions can be implemented only by one aspect of the state as a multifunctional institution.  

I’d propose to be guided not by the examples of Singapore, Israel, Ireland and other similar countries, but rather pay attention to the relationship between Italy and the Vatican, Great Britain and London City, China and Hong Kong.  

As a result of a deep and comprehensive analysis of these examples, we believe it will be possible to find an all-Armenian nodal center - a model of a hub which is to be as inclusive as possible and able to unite all Armenians around itself regardless of place of residence and citizenship, faith and worldview.  

Figuratively speaking, the model of a Pan-Armenian Vatican, London or Hong Kong will allow us to be as open as possible to the global world, and at the same time not to jeopardize the institutions of the Republic of Armenia – those existing or being in their infancy and only emerging; explicit and hidden.  

As an option, we propose creating a city-state somewhere near Yerevan or Zvartnots airport, which will serve as an autonomous hub for Armenians around the world. Unlike theocratic Vatican, it will be “neocratic”, and its governance will be carried out using innovative digital blockchain-based technologies. It will have its own currency (in the form of some sort of “stablecoin”), own administration, budget, banking system, police, and passports.  

We suggest creating direct transport links, infrastructure, between this autonomous hub and Zvartnots international airport so that people arriving in the autonomy by air have the opportunity to get there without crossing the borders of the Republic of Armenia. A person without a visa to enter Armenia should be able to get into this autonomy, for example, using a special terminal at the Zvartnots airport and a separate road leading from the terminal to the autonomy.  

Here we confine ourselves to what has been said, while remaining open to further broader and more detailed discussions.  

A few more comments regarding the dilemma between the capsule and the periphery of a powerful state. If generalized a little, then the capsule can be considered a kind of a periphery of and empire. If we look at North Korea as an example of a classic capsule, then upon closer examination in a wider chronological range, one can see that at the initial stage of its existence, it depended largely on the Soviet Union, and with a number of reservations, it could be considered the periphery of the Soviet empire, and now it is largely dependent on China, both economically and politically. Again, with a number of reservations, it can be considered the periphery of China.  

Moreover, we believe that in the context of intensive global and regional integration, the capsule model has become obsolete, and the existence of a state of this type is fundamentally impossible. The only way out in this situation is, along with integration processes, to strengthen certain capsule institutions within the country: the national church, language, traditional institutions, and special security services.  

In a word, we do not see an alternative to integration. The only question is the choice of a supranational structure with which we want to integrate. And it’s just here that we propose a flexible integration policy. Namely, to recall our historical past, in particular the Ani kingdom mentioned in your book, our role as a mediating nation between different civilizations, and try again to take on our role and mission to combine the unconnected, and masterfully synthesize.  

As a conclusion, we propose to try to combine the hub, periphery of the metropolis and capsule models into one common system using bold and innovative structures based on complex symmetry, the effectiveness of which can be several times higher than that of the simplified systems, which in turn will allow us to ensure not a quantitative, but qualitative breakthrough for the benefit of Armenia, all Armenians, and the world.  


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