At the end of the 1990s – early 2000s, in my documentary “Crossroads” I asked people of various professions, background and age one and the same question: “Who is an Armenian?” (“Ov e hayy?” in Armenian). One of the responses I got at the time and included in the film struck me as both colourful and precise. An old, well-educated and seemingly not very well-off man answered: “Armenians are a nation of Davids of Sassoun and Nazars the Brave… There are few Davids and many Nazars, but nothing in the middle (“Isk michiny – chka”).
This was the time we indeed were at the crossroads. The people and the state who won the war faced the question: who do we want to be and where should we go?
At that time, blinded by the victory, the young Armenian state under the leadership of its first ‘highly educated’ president chose the path of profiteering on the vast ex-Soviet state-owned property and indulging in wild capitalism. This is how the nation’s neck was broken. Our ‘smart’ president did not (or did not want to) understand a simple truth that the nation which had survived the Genocide must have its own national concept of individual and public Revival and Recovery from the historical trauma. This could lay ground for new quality-based growth.
This signalled the sad end of the ‘smart’ guy’s political career.
Our two following presidents were by far less sophisticated and, while having the right and the possibility to leave their names in history as national heroes for their people, preferred business and money to this higher purpose. As a result, Armenia lost a third of its active and capable population. And again, the simple truth was ignored that the dramatic social disparity and the loss of any beacons the society could go by would result in the state collapsing as such. Today these followers of our first president, the ‘smart guy’, have also gone into oblivion.
The result of their activity was the April war – a warning of the possible future catastrophe.
Today, we are at a crossroads again. Yes, there is a new government, there is a social demand for Revival and for the Development to begin at last. But the government is only a tool to carry these processes out. Without the National Revival Concept this tool in itself is useless.
The base value, therefore, is a National Concept of quality-based national and state development which must be clearly messaged to the public. The same old question rises again: do the new leaders feel the need?
A fundamental multi-year study by Ruben Vardanyan co-authored by Nune Alekian, which reflects on our historic legacy and, from there, everything that’s happening to us now, is an important and valuable message to our society. This research stems from the authors’ sincere concern about the vicious circle Armenia found itself in. In their study, the authors suggest the ways in which our country could overcome the economic and moral deadlock Armenia is facing. I would hope that this research will be welcomed by our society as an invitation to a nation-wide discussion of important issues determining our destiny. The study lacking the ideological component (which I personally believe to be very important) can be explained by the economic mindset of its authors, their reliance on the transformational leverages which they know and understand well. Anyway, the authors suggest that we stop and think in the face of the trying times which await us in the future.