Sunday, 11 April 2021

E Editorial

The intelligentsia has done its duty. The intelligentsia can go.

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The word "intelligentsia" has borne an offensive connotation in Armenia in recent years. Why has it turned out this way? The question seems to sound rhetorical since the answer is obvious. The notion of "intelligentsia" has been discredited, as many of intelligentsia representatives have served the authorities, old or new.

Back in the Soviet era, representatives of "intelligentsia," certainly, not all of them, were a class providing service, as well. There were also dissidents among the intelligentsia. However, the difference is great. The Soviet Union was an ideological empire, and "intelligentsia was part of the state nomenclature. Art and culture served the implementation of the state policy. Naturally, proper creative talent was required as well, and accordingly they were required to meet a certain competition standard. It is not by chance that the creative intelligentsia under the conditions of strict communist ideological control has serious and lasting values ​​as a legacy.

The state fed them, raised them and provided favorable conditions for creative work. The ideological basis of the intelligentsia was basically the same and, as a rule, stemmed from the values ​​of the Soviet Union, but those who did not share those principles were also ideologized, certainly with the opposite sign. Both groups had beliefs or were simply able to shelter with care  under the guise of of certain beliefs.

The fate of post-Soviet Armenia’s intelligentsia is different - there are no ideologized intelligentsia and dissidents. There is no state control, neither is there a  reason to feed and raise them, because the state does not set issues for them.

The long-suffering Armenian intelligentsia, who are destined to act on their own, have found themselves in a creative crisis: there is no order, nor are there  any means. Until 2018, the government sponsored show business, which entertained the rulers according to the tastes of the latter, and tried to entertain the masses when there was a need to organize some events on television and during official ceremonies. The government representatives' love for those who entertained them was expressed by inviting them to official events, and by pushing the most successful and vigilante ones to the parliament as good button pressers. Times have changed, so have morals: show business stars were no longer intelligentsia and, in general, no such demand was made.

After 2018, due to the lack of limited personnel potential, the "revolutionary" show stars, who were duly correctly oriented, appeared in top state positions, while the favorites of the former authorities remained in the "street".

Due to all this, the " intelligentsia," as a class or a layer with a public role, seem to leave the arena of history, remaining in our memory as a remnant of the past. It is clear that the non-ideologiized state no longer has a demand of such a layer, and free lancers can rely only on themselves.

Whether this situation is good or bad, is a matter of approach, but we can bring the example of Western civilization, where there is no notion of "intelligentsia" as such. There are show business stars, there are also intellectuals, scientists, experts who are specialists in their fields, but they are not a layer with a public role, they are all different.

Thus, perhaps we should say goodbye to the intelligentsia as a phenomenon and open the doors wide to the intellectuals.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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