An interview with singer-song writer Vahan Artzruni.
Especially lately, may have noted that the country is in dire straits. When do you think the downfall began?
In general, all is explained when we come to grips with the fact that there is a widespread crisis of governance in Armenia. Those sectors that cannot be left to fend for themselves, that are much more sensitive, and where we see that which is happening, in other words, emigration, the general manifestation of apathy in the people and cultural issues
What have we lost in the 22 years of independence? Have we held on to what we obtained?
Let’s start from our achievements. What have we achieved? Borders - that consciousness that we can build our own history and that on our own we can build the border of our own country. The second thing is that we can maintain that border by ourselves. Having a national army is glaring proof of this. A great achievement is that we have a mono-ethnic country, where 93% of the population is homogenous. Another indisputable achievement is that we have our national language, cultural institutions, national currency, national army, our country’s borders and, finally, the Constitution.
Now, the second problem is in what situation all this exists. We can talk at length about this given all the unexamined incidents and developments of the past 22 years, even up till recent developments when our country’s independence and borders became issues of public debate.
Here, I refer to the letter of Zori Balayan. You can’t subject a citizen of your own country to such tribulations. The easiest path is to display incapability in the administrative sectors, to bring the country on the verge of collapse, and to then say that the solution is to sign an agreement with Russia. But where were all your institutions before signing that agreement? Where was your diplomacy and national development program? In other words, all that which hasn’t worked for the past 22 years?
So what has worked?
You know, the easiest thing is when you start to build not based on the domestic interests of your country but rather by taking into account those documents and facts that are placed on your table.
That’s to say, if Russia now extols this blueprint, you agree to it because you lack your own policies. If, tomorrow, the European Union proposes a more beneficial variant, you’d say it was more mutually beneficial or the pressures were great. Maybe, you’d say there is a third variant, one that neighboring Iran might propose.
You won’t get far by following this line of reasoning. You will become subjected to certain interests and proposals. When referring to an administrative collapse, I mean the following – when the country’s prime minister publicly explains why we can’t become a member of the Customs Union and, two days later, the country’s president signs that agreement document. This is one factor.
The second is when 105 MPs sign a document without knowing its content, Later on they say, “But we didn’t understand what the term gender means”. This signifies that the country is being ruled by structures lacking internal coordination; which is explained by a lack of overall policy orientation and vision of development. In other words, they go to work in the morning, perform some duties, and go partying in the evening, to sit at tables of joy or lament. How long can such an approach work? Thus, it is only natural, that Russia made such a proposal in these conditions.
Does Armenia have the ability of making a choice?
But, you shouldn’t take the country to a point where there is no chance of having options. Russia is mired in its own terrible unresolved problems, where basic human rights are neglected – religious and minority rights.
What future do you see for Armenia?
They say that nature does not tolerate emptiness. Nature is always filled with content, because for every reaction there is a counter reaction, in this case, a forward reaction.
We well know that this phenomenon exist especially in the youth; that’s to say that people more interested in public rather than private matters. That’s where the solution lies. When this consciousness becomes all encompassing, and when such an Armenian comes into existence who places the public, the national interest, before the private.
What advice would you offer the president?
To immediately resign from office and to hand over the position to another individual or team capable of drafting an overall plan of action, both in terms of foreign affairs and domestic governance, that will stabilize the overall processes now ruining the country.
Do you see such a person on the horizon?
It’s not as if there is no one out there. On the contrary. During the Soviet period, they would say, ‘Other than the Communist Party, what other party do you know that can take over the reins of power?’ This is childish blabber. It’s a thesis only worthy of ridicule.
What historical period would you compare today’s situation with?
With the last years of the Soviet Union, when there was an administrative collapse in the country. They didn’t know how to govern the country. But it’s not comparable in the sense that the country was governed by a collection of charismatic old men and when they started dying off the status in the country changed. Now, they are quite young and if we follow that model, then we will have to deal with them for another 20-30 years.