EDITORIAL: Making Sense of Others and Ourselves

EDITORIAL: Making Sense of Others and Ourselves

Text by: Tigran Zakaryan   

The recent Caucasus Barometer 2021 survey results give quite some food for thought, which could hardly be extrapolated or predicted otherwise. 

As we have ushered in the fourth decade of independence it is a most opportune moment to assess the course of the state and society of Armenia and speculate on possible new trends. 

It is safe to say that those figures reveal a great deal of incoherence existing in the mainstream social values and mentalities of the Armenian society. Here is some evidence to prove that point. It turns out that the percentage of Armenians who believe that “people create their own luck” and those who believe that “the government should take care of its citizens just like parents do of their own kids” are almost identical – 65 and 68 respectively. The results of the survey become even more puzzling if we juxtapose the abovementioned figures with another one: 91 per cent of the respondents feel “personally responsible for the homeland”. Meanwhile a staggering 67 per cent believes that the collapse of the Soviet Union was an unfortunate occurrence for Armenia, which is an alarmingly high figure. 

These baffling conflicts of relevant figures attest to fundamental flaws and shortcomings in key areas of the Armenian modern statehood and elites. In fact, these are strong indicators that the current narrative of the Armenian statehood itself is contradictory at some critical points. It will take a long and meticulous intellectual work to question the current mainstream ideology of the state and society in Armenia (starting from its precise identification). In order to make sense of our reality and ourselves, we need to look beyond transitory facts and phenomena, and start reflecting on the very ways our perceptions of the social reality are shaped. 

This is a hard task and the current elites’ efforts in that direction seem too little too late. Yet a new generation of elites is coming into being and they are generally outside of the established institutions. The hope is that the wind of change will reach them too and the very situation globally and locally favors this a lot. 

We need to learn from our immediate past through a critical view of it, discussing it, making sense of it, instead of simply glorifying it and constructing new myths.