Saturday, 28 November 2020

E Editorial

Democracy: an end or a means?

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

All the leaders and ruling political forces of Armenia, especially since their second term in office, have been perceived by the people as undemocratic. Mass protests that take people to the streets following nearly all elections were suppressed by force. The public did not accept election results.

The “velvet” government that came into power after 2018 mass unrest enjoyed unprecedented public confidence and the overwhelming majority seemed to accept the election results. Shortly after people expressed discontent. A considerable part of the public persistently regarded all the regimes antidemocratic. The same goes now. Why is it so? Why is the “tormented” Armenian nation so intolerant of and unsatisfied with its authorities?

Could the problem rest not upon the former presidents Ter-Petrosian, Kocharian, Sargsian or incumbent Prime Minister Pashinian and be more deep-rooted? Could the “bad” authorities happen to be the result of a mismatch between public perceptions, expectations and reality? It is not excluded that the authorities fail to meet public expectations or public expectations themselves are unreal. The latter implies that the problem is in the simplified public notion about the world and the environment that surrounds us.

According to a vision created by а politically active public our goal is to build democracy, and accordingly any government is discredited if they take antidemocratic steps observed by the people. However, the main desire of the people is not democracy at all. The latter is a management mechanism, but not a goal. In a nutshell, democracy is inot an end in itself, but rather a means to an end or a tool for solving specific problems. The tool cannot be a goal, however in public discourse it is evident that the most uttered word is “democracy” which comes the second after “corruption.”

Presenting democracy as a goal, not a tool brings to the occurrence of what we have witnessed for thirty years. The point is that if democracy becomes a goal, there is no other real goal or the current goals are bad enough to be stated. Hence, it is not unlikely to establish dictatorship and violate human rights for the sake of victory of democracy, no matter how strange it may sound.

The same applies to other factor - corruption. Fighting corruption is not the goal of the government activities.  Rather it is the duty of any government. It is also a means to build a just and developing economy and governance system. There are countries in the world, even tribes, particularly in the Amazon Valley, where there is no corruption but they are not economically prosperous.

Democracy and fighting corruption are very important, however public discourse lacks interpretations on real goals – what to do and how to do.

When the main rhetoric of the ruling force leads to the establishment of democracy and fighting corruption we become a public without goals. It turns out that the main reason for public discontent is the lack of a clearly defined goal.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

Yerznkian 75, 0033
Yerevan, Armenia


+374 10 528780 / 274818



The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the Center.

While citing the content, the reference to "ACNIS ReView from Yerevan” is obligatory.