Pre-election situation in Armenia
The expert community is divided in opinion regarding the holding of early parliamentary elections in Armenia: some believe that they will provoke a new round of political crisis. Another part believes that this is the maximum that the opposition could count on, which failed to mobilize and bring hundreds of thousands of people to the streets.
About a third of the Armenian population is convinced of the need to hold parliamentary elections. This is evidenced by the results of a survey conducted by Breavis from February 8 to 16, 2021, commissioned by the American International Republican Institute (IRI) . More than half of the country's population is undecided about their political sympathies. At the same time, the rating of the ruling party does not exceed 30-33%.
To overcome the crisis, the republic needs a civilized solution, and the best option is elections, as a new legitimate government will be formed through them. But these elections must be accepted by both society and political actors.
The outcome of the elections, the results of which cause distrust in society, can only be an aggravation of the political crisis, an increase in the polarization of society and its radicalization.
Armenia is currently in a serious ideological crisis, which began not only because of the war, but also because of the atmosphere of universal hatred that has developed since 2018. If the political forces consider each other not" political rivals", but" enemies", the crisis can only worsen.
When there is an irresistible hatred between the political forces – one considers the other a "foreign agent" who "came to the power to destroy Armenia", others call the opponents "robbers" - political competition gives way to processes of a completely different nature, namely civil clashes.
In addition to all the troubles that have befallen Armenia over the past three years, the country is being eaten up from within by a process that can be described as the "destruction of the political regime". The 44-day war and the two and a half years that preceded it at the helm of Pashinyan's team, among other things, led to the fact that the "political regime" that previously existed in Armenia was actually destroyed, and nothing has yet been erected on its ruins. The collapse of the regime is fraught with the collapse of the state. Even our recent history teaches us that the collapse of the state is quite real: look at the history of the USSR.
Of course, the political, economic, military, and academic elite of Armenia can continue to pretend that everything in the state is going on as usual, that we are just waiting for another "election cycle". Some may even continue to make plans to cooperate with the current government on the issue of early elections or maintaining the current status quo in Parliament. However, all of them should understand one thing: if the collapse of the political regime of the Soviet Union was followed by the collapse of the USSR as an integral state association, then why can't the Armenian statehood, which has less resources to resist external threats, repeat this path?
In the Soviet Union, it also tried to solve fundamental problems "through elections". In March 1990, the first and last presidential elections of the USSR were held. But just as the elections under Gorbachev in 1990 did not solve anything, so the elections under Pashinyan in 2021 are unlikely to solve the problem of the collapse of the current political regime.
The Armenian political "elite" even after the war, after the loss of Artsakh, after the destruction of the security system, with the threat of the loss of Syunik, did not realize the duty to communicate with society, to present a tangible and real perspective of the future.
We need a new "social contract" that will put the distribution of goods on a more equitable track, solve the problem of the "legitimacy of property" and allow the broader social strata of the population to influence this redistribution of material goods.
The most favorable outcome of the elections may be the election of a new parliament and the formation of a new government with the representation of a wider range of cooperating political forces. These elections are still able to mark the exit of the Armenian society from a state of deep apathy and depression. Therefore, in the run-up to them, it is very important to have an open, honest, principled and completely transparent discussion of all the current priorities of Armenia, as a result of dialogue, competition and competition of political parties.
As a nation of smart people, we must emerge from this election race stronger and better organized, with clear goals and a vision for the foreseeable future.
The agenda of the upcoming debates will include issues of economic development and priority areas, the Armenian-Russian strategic alliance, and Armenia's active and constructive participation in the EEU and CSTO.
The time has come when our people will be able to distinguish between talkers, demagogues and all sorts of populists from really smart, responsible and interested in the full development of their Homeland forces.