BY DR. RAZMIG SHIRINIAN
Considering the current juncture in Armenian history, this article highlights the state building elements closely connected to the much-needed survival strategy in Armenia. Since its independence in 1991, Armenia’s state building challenges seem to be inherently ingrained within the country more than in regional politics. Noteworthy are government policies that have been insufficient to address and meet infrastructural needs and have not adequately fostered legitimate and sustainable institutions that can be responsive to the well-being of the people.
Optimistic and forward looking, far more eager to imagine where we as a nation might be going than to reflect on where we have been. It is trivial to note that Armenia is a small and landlocked country in a troubled region, however, in the current crisis of Armenian history, it seems necessary to address the question of self-sustaining state-building process in the country. The challenge at the current juncture is to clarify the fundamental implications of the state-building process. The central argument here is that state building in Armenia and sustained statehood are mutually complementary policy challenges. They largely depend not only on how the broader regional situation evolves, but more directly, on its inward-looking political and socio-economic policies.
The fundamental elements of state-building should be recognized and analyzed in the process of survival strategy as key components for Armenia to sustain itself. It is necessary for example to scrutinize these elements as variables, such as national identity, government legitimacy, infrastructure, equitable distribution of the wealth, permeation of the state apparatus, all as key ingredients in state building and prudent development.
The parliamentary system that was established in 2018 seems to have launched an important dimension and a more responsive institution with a promise to move in the direction of an endogenous and inward-oriented state-building model. The challenge today is to capture that moment of parliamentary democracy and, more importantly, the concept of socio-economic and human development entailed in that moment. This is a challenging but a fundamental concept for Armenia and embraces diverse paths and incorporates different aspects of Armenian life in the county. It goes beyond the scope of economic development and aims at the social and political conditions of human beings as the main goal of a sustained statehood.
To envision Armenia as a perpetual and enduring state, it seems necessary to explore and establish the functioning relations between its principal institutions such as courts, treasury, legislature, executive, military, banks, etc. and society in general. To take on this primordial challenge, the endogenous institutional approach seems to be the current pressing order.
Razmig B. Shirinian is a Professor of Political Science at the College of the Canyons.