Armenia is gradually falling into two “sub-countries”. Anyways, we don’t need to panic. In fact, it’s a very important and useful process. Let’s consider an example of another nation to figure out the reasons for this.
At the initial phase of Ukrainian developments, my Facebook friends sincerely envied them. “See how bravely people fight, how they dictate their will to the authorities”. Some time later, they awakened and the envy transformed into implicit and tough expectation: how will all that end? The majority would hardly want to have the same developments in Armenia. What is the reason for that dire reality that led Ukraine to the brink of economic collapse and dramatic political crisis?
The reason is that in current reality, each country should have its own formula and meaning of existence. At past when the number of people and land were the key factors of economic survival, countries were set up on territorial principle and the borders were formed either across natural barriers or as a result of constant wars. Lives sacrificed for the land made the boundaries sacred and the fight for them became the core meaning of people’s existence.
Nowadays, fight for land has become almost useless and disputes around borders have long been more of domestic political character than a real interstate problem. Wars turned into subversive battles when instead of border violation, a dramatic inner political struggle is initiated in an hostile country which gives birth to an armed conflict and thus the country is much affected politically and economically. The Syrian crisis is a vivid example of the above mentioned. Ukraine has become another example.
Of course, nobody surrenders lands to others easily but the land alone doesn’t define the power of the people and economic situation in the country any more.
Thus, unity around only land doesn’t itself settle economic, defense and political issues. Poor and rich people in the country should be united around a common idea and goal. Ukraine comes to unequivocally prove this. As a powerful country in terms of territory and population (it was the second after Russian by all the criteria of economic capacity in former USSR), it can’t be established 23 years after the USSR collapse. The reason is that besides territories and certain national unity, it can’t find another sense. It’s hard to predict now how the process of formation of a new government in the country will go on and how the revolution having a vivid nationalistic character will develop. Obviously, resignation of the authorities who totally discredited themselves will not yield immediate results as the problems faced by the country are awful and a simple way of their solution doesn’t loom. There is no idea that could give people strength for consolidation and promotion of the country, an idea which would guide them.
Let’s come back to Armenia. We have been moving on the same path as Ukraine so far: we are stepping toward the future without realizing where we go and why.
“If nations don’t live with lofty and noble ideas and high goals of serving the humanity and only will serve its own “interests”, the nations will undoubtedly stiffen, weaken and die”.
Owing to Ukrainians, now we can clearly realize where the path of senseless existence leads to. Concerned only about the problems of preserving territories and people’s survival, we are doomed to fall into such political and economic crisis. The process will be similar - without the idea of consolidation and any economic achievements, unhappy with any authorities, victims of intestine strives among oligarchs, we will unavoidably find ourselves in political and economic crisis. The more economic situation exacerbates, the more persistently the power will try to retain its positions as the right of controlling limited economic resources will become a matter of life and death. The fight may easily transform into a dramatic domestic conflict and appeals of external enemies urging ''reforms'' and behind-the-scenes political games will only catalyze the process.
To shun all this, each country and people should seek for meanings to unite around and find the ways of quick development.
Mighty nations have clear-cut meanings. We should find them as well. The problem is that this understanding can't be found in nowadays' Armenia since it's merely a fragment of former USSR which didn't find its calling in the world.
One thing distinguishes us from Ukraine. A large group of people who realize the problem have already formed in Armenia and outside its borders. Often cooperating with each other, they consistently build the ''parallel'' Armenia which will lie the basis for the future country. This Armenia will differ from the current one in many senses. Unfortunately, such people in Ukraine didn't turn into powerful force.
What are the outlines of the new country? First and foremost, it should have a modern and diverse economy. Speaking about diverse economy we should take into account that we can't develop in all the areas equally. Not only because the country is in geographical blockade. The modern autonomous economy where all the types of production, services and supply systems are represented requires a population of at least 350 million people. Only a few countries with such population exist in the world and even those countries don't have all the branches of economy.
We should get specialized in several key areas. By the way, membership to customs alliance with Russia has its benefits and downsides in this sense. But I'd better speak about it separately otherwise the column will be too long.
If we need to be specialized - we will have to find relevant specialists - highly qualified and flexible, with high adaptability skills. Quality education and creation of self-learning environment should become the cornerstones of future Armenia. The education level should be higher than the international one otherwise we can't catch up with and leave behind other countries. Victory in economic competition is the main precondition for prosperity. Creating new super-modern educational institutions and new interesting programs of international education cooperation make us hope that we will make serious progress in education in near future.
To enhance the number of highly qualified specialists, we should bring back Armenians who made success abroad to Armenia. Serious steps have already been taken to this end.
One more fundamental precondition: we should integrate into international economic systems at higher paces. It doesn't lie in joining international alliances but establishing appealing and promising companies and selling them to major international corporations. Over time, we will be able to have our own corporations as well but the volumes of capital in Armenia currently don't allow us to grow quickly and strengthen our positions on the global market. To boost the process, several important steps have already been taken but much is yet to be done.
Slowly but steadily, a new Armenia matures within the reality of the old one. When will the country move to new reality? It's hard to answer this question. But the process which is gradually evolving will speed up at a right time. The future new reality will happen only in case it becomes a center of gravity for the people and major economic forces. Having mighty economy and people's support, representatives of the new Armenia will govern the country. The current authorities should be considered interim ones. We should only hope that the transition will take place earlier than Armenia finds itself in the verge of grave economic crisis. Otherwise, the transformation will be forced, painful and will entail considerable losses.
Aram Pakhchanyan is the Co-Founder of Ayb Educational Foundation and Vice-President of ABBYY. The views expressed in the column are his own and may not coincide with those of Mediamax.