Four-Day War Changed the Society but Not the Government: Experts
The war in April on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone showed that although the authorities were expecting a war, but they were not ready and they were unaware of the attack. Elites also did not realize that as a result of the worsening of the situation, there could be dangerous position and territorial losses at the forefront which could become a threat for their occupied positions in the public consciousness.

Stepan Safaryan, Head of “The Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs” (AIISA), said this during the discussion on “The Political Developments after Four-Day War” organized by Media Center jointly with the Municipal Council of Women of Martuni on June 8 in Martuni.

According to him, the war looked like a magnifying glass revealing the gaps and deficiencies in the system of the state management of Armenia. "For example, we have an army where exceptionally poor boys become heroes, and for some reasons there are no names of wealthy families’ children in the heroes’ list," the expert said and added that the tactic not to criticize the army did not justify itself. It is not possible that “there is theft in the system but thieves have so much sacred and values that they do not steal the soldiers and the army."   

“We saw that the lavish spending, the squandered resources of the state budget with which the government created decorations, should have been directed to the army," the expert said, adding that the society began to look at "this vicious phenomena" in another way. "They have become increasingly intolerant to such phenomena,” Safaryan said. 

Publicist and Lawyer Zara Hovhannisyan noticed that after the four-day war the second stage of state building began. “A line was drawn in the public consciousness about what kind of country and system we have built up to now. The myth that Armenia is a social state, stipulated by the Constitution, collapsed.  Representatives of poor families basically died and became heroes in the forefront,” Hovhannisyan said.

The speakers laid particular emphasis on the disability of the external security systems, which was obvious during the four-day armed conflicts. "After the war it became clear that the CSTO is not with Armenia. We are alone. The only real strategic ally of Armenia is our army. These all were myths previously rendered to us that were broken by the April war.  It forced the state, the management model, and the behavior of the society to be transformed," Stepan Safaryan said.

Zara Hovhannisyan said that the society saw that the membership of Armenia to different defense systems (even membership to the Eurasian Economic Union was explained by the security reasons) or the treaties signed with these systems did not work. “Even the highest officials announced that we were alone in the issue of the Nagorno Karabakh,” Hovhannisyan said and added: “Why are we alone? Why did we position ourselves in the world in a way that we do not have any protection or real ally?” 

The speakers think that it is necessary to review both internal and external policy approaches as the war is not over and there is a danger of a new attack. “There are vivid signs that Azerbaijan will try to intrude at least once more. Unfortunately, I must admit, and not for the aim to frighten, the threat of the war is very visible,” Safaryan said.  

Hovhannisyan said that for the change and review of the approaches it is necessary to strengthen the public control first and to hold open discussions. “In this way it will be possible to raise the current problems and discuss them in order to find solutions,” the speaker said.

Under these circumstances, the government, instead of making statements about the fight against corruption and monopolies, should develop a clear timetable of actions. "That statement is not understandable as there are no results. They should do, and then tell the society that they did it. What was done was the minimal. That is necessary but it is not enough and it is inadequate to meet the new challenges of the war. These statements are not adequate in terms of internal and external challenges facing Armenia,” Stepan Safaryan said.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to [email protected].

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