Saturday, 28 November 2020

E Editorial

The Demand for Modernization

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In the life of nations there comes a period of time when it becomes necessary to "reboot" state and society.

In case of success the names of the authors of the "rebooting" or modernization are written in "golden" letters in the pages of history.  For example, the pioneer of Russia's modernization is considered to bePyotr the First, though Ekaterina the Second p robably did more for that country.  For the creation of France as a leading nation Cardinal Richelieu played a pivotal role.  In 19th-century Japan began the Meiji era which ushered in  a wave of industrialization. An isolated, traditional country was able in short order to "stand up straight" and modernize.  Deng Xiaoping was considered the architect of the "Chinese miracle" and the founder of current-day China.

This list can continue on and include the examples of Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and other countries.  What is particularly interesting is that  in all of these cases were progressive leaders who would carry out revolutions first and foremost in people's minds, in the educational sphere, in economic relations, and in the system of state administration.  And they would do so according to a premeditated plan, but they would not destroy the state systems and would not split people into "old" and "new" categories. The "new" ones were those who accepted the publicly announced new values.

The new government that has come to power in Armenia in 2018 talks alot about revolutions--economic, cultural, legal and so on--but we have yet to see a clearly calculated program for the nation's modernization.  What we have witnessed to date reminds us more of PR campaigns than of conscious political planning.

The regime change of 2018, in which hundreds of thousands of citizens participated, could not have taken place without the firm public conviction that life simply cannot continue this way, hence changes must ensue.  That was clear to all.  But specifically which changes Armenia's political mind had been unable to formulate in a way for them to become the property of society, so that they would reach everyone's heart and mind, which would start the process of change from "below."  Alternatively, it could become the property of the political elite, and those changes would be initiated from "above."  Today, there is a dead-end both below and above.

Perhaps it is time to forget the term "revolution" and to begin using "modernization" in order to root deeply in society an understanding of the imperative for changes and the strategic criteria of the new and modern.  That might help to better formulate the problem, after which we will search for solutions in corresponding circumstances.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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