Social Issues and Military Security: Major Challenges for the Young
29.04.2015
12:00
The recent research among the youth in Armenia fixes social issues and military security as two main challenges. The research has been implemented by Peace Dialogue NGO and it aims at studying the perceptions of youth on political developments, foreign policy, safety and a number of other issues in Armenia. The research engaged young people of 18-25 living in Tavush, Gegharkunik, Lori and Syunik regions and Yerevan.

Diana Ter-Stepanyan, Research, Monitoring and Advocacy Coordinator at the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, says 65 percent considers unemployment and poverty a major concern while 55 percent of the participants are worried over military security.

“Human rights protection ranks the fifth (18%), with corruption holding the 17th place (12%). Trust in the President, Government, National Assembly and Police are in the lowest places. Only 15.4 percent trust the President. Meanwhile, over 60 percent trust the army and church,” Ter- Stepanyan says.

As for the foreign policy, 42 percent would prefer joining the European Union whereas 48 are happy with Armenia’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union from a security perspective.

“Those who spoke for the EU pointed out economic growth and human rights protection as flagship fields,” Ter-Stepanyan added.

“65 percent believes the Nagorno Karabakh conflict will not be settled within the coming ten years. And the majority of the survey participants replied that the Armenian Army must obtain innovative arms to strengthen security. They did not highlight the protection of human rights in the army,” said Edgar Khachatryan, Head of the Peace Dialogue NGO.

The survey documents the society in Armenia has an adequate attitude to the situation in the country and abroad, believes Ruben Mehrabyan, expert at Armenian Center for Political and International Studies.

“There is lack of public awareness, however. The aquarium life affects the way people perceive the world processes. And the dilemma lying between freedom and security is false. When one sacrifices freedom for the sake of security, they lose both. The society in Armenia doesn’t understand that as they are all under the influence of the Russian propaganda,” Mehrabyan said.

Laurence Broers, Research Associate at the Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus, Institute of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, said the survey specifies the correlation between the current governing system in Armenia, social issues and public perception.

“We see the society in Armenia demobilizing off the regime and mobilizing for addressing issues and conflicts. There are divergent opinions among the young and the level of pluralism is higher than among politicians. When I was in Baku, I was usually told Armenia is collapsing. Thus, Azerbaijan believes they don’t have to compromise regarding the Nagorno Karabakh conflict,” Broers said.

The research, Khachatryan believes, must be referred to when developing political strategies since it is crucial to know the society you deal with.

Lilit Arakelyan, Editor-Coordinator

Please contact the author at [email protected]

 

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