Politics 10:55 03/11/2021 Armenia

Analysis: The more things change in Armenia, the more they stay the same

By Harut Sassounian

Publisher, The California Courier

The title is derived from a French expression which I have used to describe the situation in Armenia.

After 30 years of independence, one would expect substantial changes in the conditions in Armenia. Regrettably, that is not the case.

In the initial years of independence, whenever someone would point out the flaws in the leaders’ decisions, they would respond: “We are still a young Republic.” They continued giving the same excuse without having the slightest interest in listening to any advice and wanting to make any changes. Three decades later, Armenia is no longer a young Republic, but the same mistakes are being repeated by Armenia’s current leaders.

In 2018, a neophyte with no experience in governing came to power as a backlash against the despised former leaders. The new Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, cleverly capitalized on the public’s resentment of the previous presidents, and gained the people’s trust by making numerous promises for a better future. Armenians everywhere, desperate for a change, believed what they were told and blindly followed the new “Savior.”

Regrettably, in the last 3.5 years, nothing substantial has changed in the country. In fact, the situation has gone from bad to worse, culminating in the devastating defeat Armenia suffered during last year’s war. The lavish promises offered by the new leader did not materialize. Pashinyan, the self-described democrat, shockingly campaigned during the June 20 parliamentary elections, while holding a hammer in his hand, pledging to smash the heads of his political opponents. Even though he came to power as the man of the people, he quickly turned his government into a one-man rule, ignoring not only the public, but also the advice of his own cabinet members, resulting in the resignations of two successive Foreign Ministers.

Not surprisingly, Pashinyan also mishandled Armenia’s relations with the Diaspora. He began by closing down the Diaspora Ministry without consulting with any of the Diasporan leaders or organizations. When some of them cautioned him not to take such a misguided decision, they were completely ignored.

Pashinyan’s excuse was that the Diaspora Ministry had not been effective. Instead of shutting it down, wouldn’t it have been preferable to restructure it with better leadership? With the same faulty logic, he could also eliminate the Defense Ministry, if he thought that it was not operating properly!

After disbanding the Diaspora Ministry, the Prime Minister appointed Zareh Sinanyan, one of his devotees from Glendale, California, as the “High Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs.” In the 2.5 years since becoming “High Commissioner,” Sinanyan does not have much to show for his efforts. He has repeatedly engaged in partisan politics, disparaging the regime’s critics in the Diaspora, which is not his job. Incredibly, he suggested that Armenia attract Arab migrants to boost the country’s dwindling population, forgetting that immigration is not a part of his duties. His job is to improve relations with Diaspora Armenians, not other nationalities.

On October 21, Sinanyan announced the government’s new plan to appoint “Diaspora Commissioners” in various Armenian communities around the world. These Commissioners are to be appointed by Prime Minister Pashinyan at the recommendation of Sinanyan. Their purpose “is to develop the Armenia-Diaspora partnership and increase the efficiency of both sides. It also seeks to ensure sustainable relations between the Armenian communities, involve the entire potential of the Diaspora, as well as support the preservation of the Armenian identity, repatriation and the organization of events aimed at the integration of Diaspora Armenians in Armenia.”

This is the modified version of an idea copied from the former Diaspora Ministry which had appointed a Board of Directors to represent the Ministry in various countries. I served on that Board for 10 years. In addition, the Diaspora Ministry in conjunction with the Foreign Ministry appointed staff in Armenian Embassies and Consulates to serve as a liaison between the government of Armenia and the local communities.

It remains to be seen whom Pashinyan and Sinanyan will appoint as their representatives in Diasporan communities. But given the blatant partisan politics of the current government, no one should be surprised if they appoint their own unqualified supporters whose real task would be to engage in pro-regime propaganda.

Interestingly, it was reported that Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan had objected to seeking the approval of foreign governments before appointing local commissioners. He pointed out correctly that such approvals are only needed to appoint diplomats, such as Ambassadors, in foreign countries. Therefore, the plan was amended eliminating the need for such approvals. Nevertheless, Sinanyan surprisingly announced that the Armenian Parliament had to adopt a law before appointing local Diaspora Commissioners. It is not clear why the government has to pass such a law. These individuals are to serve in an advisory capacity with no official powers and without pay.

Given the serious split among Armenians both in Armenia and the Diaspora, no matter whom the government appoints he or she will be criticized for belonging to this or that organization, church or political party. There will be endless complaints about these appointees.

There was no need to reinvent the wheel. The proper way to select a Diaspora representative is to have each Diasporan community elect its own representative by popular vote. Only then, it can be said that the elected individual is the true representative of his or her community. No one, including the government of Armenia, has the right to appoint such a representative. Ironically, the Prime Minister and Sinanyan were personally informed of this formula and yet chose to ignore it. The representatives elected by their communities will then constitute the future Diaspora Armenian Parliament.

Once again, the Pashinyan government is taking decisions without consulting with anyone. It is time for the government to consult with the people in Armenia on internal matters and with elected Diasporan representatives on Pan-Armenian issues.



Source Panorama.am
Share |

Related news

Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

14:11
Armenian Patriarchate celebrates Armenian Christmas in Jerusalem
The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem celebrates the Armenian Christmas and the Theophany at the Holy Bethlehem Church. Fr. Koryoun...
13:23
Ameriabank brings Apple Pay to customers
Ameriabank CJSC, today brings its customers Apple Pay, a safer, more secure and private way to pay that helps customers avoid handing their...
12:59
Expert questions arguments and interpretation of historical facts by Azeri officials
Expert in Iran Vardan Voskanyan commented on Facebook on recent statements made by Azerbaijani Ambassador to Turkey. "The Ambassador of the...
12:40
Armenia reports 360 new Covid cases, 2 deaths on Jan. 18
Armenia has confirmed 360 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 348,145 as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 18, the...
12:16
Acba Bank brings Apple Pay to customers
Acba Bank today brings its customers Apple Pay, a safer, more secure and private way to pay that helps customers avoid handing their payment...
12:09
French institute established in Armenia
A French instate has been established in Armenia, former Ambassador of France to Armenia Jonathan Lacote reported on Facebook. The initiative...
11:29
Robert Lewandowski crowned FIFA Best Men's Player
Robert Lewandowski has been crowned the 2021 FIFA Best Men's Player, The Mirror reports. The Bayern Munich striker scored 69 goals in all...
10:57
Russia reacted to Aliyev's remarks amid the silence of Armenia's authorities - Tigran Abrahamyan
MP from opposition 'With Honour' faction Tigran Abrahamyan commented on Facebook the recent statements by Ilham Aliyev about the Minsk...
10:20
Black ice observed on some roads in Armenia
Some roads are closed or difficult to pass in Armenia as of Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports. In particular, the...
20:27
Turkey’s short-term external debt stock reaches $124.1B in November
Turkey's short-term external debt stock totaled $124.1 billion as of end-November 2021, the country's Central Bank said on Monday,...
19:54
No bodies found during search operations in Artsakh's Varanda
Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) search and rescue squads found no bodies during their operations in the Azerbaijani-occupied areas of Varanda region...
19:13
The Armenia pavilion presents the concept of "Ethnotech" at Expo 2020 Dubai
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in the United Arab Emirates on a working visit, was hosted at the Armenian pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai....
18:15
Coronavirus restrictions target middle-aged people - protest outside the health ministry
"The Armenian authorities used to state that older people are more vulnarable to COVID-19, however the measures taken to prevent the spread...
17:44
Suspected drone attack in Abu Dhabi kills 3, wounds 6
A suspected drone attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting a key oil facility in Abu Dhabi killed three people and sparked a separate...
17:03
Armenia bans poultry products from Poland and Czech Republic
Armenia has announced a temporary ban on import of all types of poultry products from Silesian region of Poland and Ustetsky region of Czech...
15:54
63 people received bodily injuries in road accidents over the past 3 days in Armenia
According to the operations reports of Police of Armenia, 149 cases of crime were detected by officers of various police subdivisions in the...
15:26
Artur Vanetsyan: We should not refuse to fulfill our responsibilities in international arena
The head of the opposition With Honor faction in the Armenian parliament, Artur Vanetsyan, has explained why he agreed to travel to the U.S....
14:45
Wealth of world's 10 richest men doubled in pandemic – Oxfam
The pandemic has made the world's wealthiest far richer but has led to more people living in poverty, BBC News reports, citing the...
14:33
Opposition MP: Unofficial reports suggest Alen Simonyan included his wife in US business trip
Unofficial reports suggest that Armenian National Assembly Speaker Alen Simonyan included his wife in a business trip to the U.S., MP Aregnaz...
13:51
Draft statement on border delimitation and demarcation not to be discussed by Armenian parliament
The Armenian parliament on Monday again refused to discuss an opposition-drafted statement on issues related to the delimitation and demarcation...
12:56
Australia approves Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for incoming travellers
The two-dose Russian Sputnik V vaccine will now be recognised in Australia for the purpose of travellers entering the country, Australian...
12:44
Pro-government MPs refuse to debate opposition bill to support large Armenian families
MPs from Armenia’s ruling Civil Contract party voted against the proposal to put an opposition-drafted bill on large families on the...
12:05
Armenia reports 168 new Covid cases, one death on Jan. 17
Armenia has confirmed 168 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 347,785 as of 11 a.m. Monday, January 17, the...
11:56
Armenian MPs observe minute's silence to honor fallen soldiers
Armenian lawmakers observed a minute's silence at the start of a regular session on Monday to pay tribute to the servicemen killed in the...
11:15
Armenia’s Temple of Garni among world’s best monuments from Roman era
Armenia’s Temple of Garni is on the list of world’s best monuments from the ancient Roman period (754/753 BC-476 AD) published by...
10:34
Prince Harry takes legal action against UK government over police protection
The Duke of Sussex is taking legal action against the government to allow him to pay for Metropolitan police security for him and his family...
10:22
Some roads partly icy in Armenia
Some roads are closed or difficult to pass in Armenia as of Monday morning, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports. In particular, the...
20:00
Armenian opera singers on the stage of the Berlin Philharmonic concert hall
The Facebook page of the Berlin Philharmonic has shared a video from the performance of Armenian Opera singers at the Digital Concert Hall,...
19:40
US prepared 18 response scenarios in case of 'Russian invasion' of Ukraine - Victoria Nuland
The US prepared 18 response scenarios in case Russia decides to invade Ukraine as the West fears it might do, Under Secretary of State Victoria...
19:10
Over 62,000 animals killed by drought in Tanzania
At least 62,585 animals, including cattle, sheep and goats, have been killed by prolonged drought in Tanzania's northern district of...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}