Friday, 05 June 2020

E Editorial

Persons and Phenomena

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“Smart people discuss ideas, mediocre ones ― events,
the stupid ― other people.”
Lev Tolstoy


From time to time there appear on the stage of public discussion certain phrases or sayings which begin to be debated broadly but whose meaning is not always comprehensible.  One such example of late is talk of the necessity to give a political assessment of the former authorities.  What does “political assessment” mean, why is it imperative, and what does such an evaluation change in our life?

The bifurcation into “blacks” and “whites,” “formers” and “incumbents” focuses people’s consciousness upon individuals: there are “good” people and “bad” ones, “honest” and “dishonest” ones.  In discussing national and political matters, such simplistic approaches not only do not help to find solutions to problems, but on the contrary they exacerbate the very same problems the very same problems.

For example, let us observe the Armenian custom of falsifying elections.  That phenomenon had deep-seated reasons, which were rooted in the socio-political situation created after the 1990s, when state property began to be privatized and the process was met with broad public dissatisfaction.  “Gulping down,” “pillaging,” and other such expressions entered the public and political vocabulary precisely during those years.  That was the result of the public’s no-confidence toward social injustices, as a consequence of which large-scale property was considered by the public as illegitimate.

The commingling of big capital and power and the resultant redistribution of property and a reality of impunity for committed illegalities led to the need for falsifying elections.  Power and big capital were perceived by the public as enemies.  During elections the masses and police occasionally would clash.  That was the characterization of the relations between the majority of society and the political and economic elite.

How were elections forged and around whom would the political and economic elite consolidate―that question is not so essential.  People always appear to tender a bid to become the leader of said class.  What is particularly interesting is that during a given period of time the public would unite against the man who had become the symbol of that system, and a while later would gather around the person who had lost power―this time against a new “evil.”  This is the extremely brief political assessment of the former system.  One can say the same about systemic corruption and other deleterious phenomena.

Why is it necessary to give a political evaluation of these phenomena?  Because without uncovering their deep systemic reasons, the essence of socio-political relations, it will be impossible to change the instant state of affairs.  From any given political assessment flows an operational road map and the value system of a new worldview.  Otherwise, we can blame the three presidents for everything but not see the actual reasons.

The struggle against individual persons has led to our forgetting about the systemic illegalities of the past thirty years and so potentially paving the way for their renewed manifestation into the future.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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