Hope and Expectation

Photo: The Armenian Weekly

For the past couple of months, the great majority of us in the Diaspora lived through an emotional roller coaster. The events in Armenia were unfolding fast and we were mesmerized by the photos and videos of the various demonstrations, the number of people participating in the acts of civil disobedience, and the incredibly high number of young participants—perhaps the most impressive part of the movement.

This was undeniably a youth movement, which was heartwarming and gave us much needed lots of hope for the future. There were no expressions of hatred but display of love for each other and the country.

From the onset, there was real concern about blood being spilled, of violence spreading, of foreign interference, security fears, deadlock, and civil strife. But none of these happened. It was truly a bloodless revolution that revealed the real character and soul of the Armenian people—especially the young generation—who simply refused the status quo. They rejected the continuation of the same. They asked for change. They were supported by the masses in all the major cities and various units of the armed forces.

Former President-turned-Prime Minister played Russian President Vladimir Putin’s book, but failed miserably. He miscalculated his administration’s failures.

Now, the new cabinet has been formed with many new faces—some, very young—and the real hard work has begun. The country faces many challenges. It needs time and patience to implement promised reforms to solve the complex issues and problems in the country. The new leadership must realize that serious, in-depth analysis and study are necessary to come up with the right solutions and the most effective plan of action. The next few months will be very critical, as the government has to submit to the parliament the strategic plan of action and whether new elections will be called and held or not.

For Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, cabinet members that have been appointed regardless of their party affiliation. In my humble opinion, for them to be successful the following values are of extremely critical importance:

Trust: The new cabinet should regain the trust of the people, by being ethical, honest, and by doing the right thing. They should start with a new clean slate, not by holding grudges but by making every effort to show their willingness and readiness to be trustworthy. Expectations are high and there is a high level of mistrust that needs to be regained so that the efforts are successful. Disappointment will have very negative after effects.

Respect: The new cabinet must be inclusive. It must embrace diverse opinions and perspectives and value the role anyone can bring to the table to achieve a collective vision for the country and its people. Respect the immeasurable talent in the country. Take into serious consideration the opinions and the wishes of the young; they represent the present and the future. After all, this movement was led by the youth—young men and women, who defied all odds.

Collaboration: The new cabinet should collaborate with all, putting aside personal and special interests to achieve the goals and objectives for the overall wellbeing of all the citizens. A major effort should be made to close the economic gap between urban and rural areas. Infrastructure needs massive improvement.

Innovation: The status quo should be challenged. It has not worked. New ideas are needed to eliminate corruption, improve the standard of living, reduce and even end poverty. Most importantly, the new cabinet must work hard to create new jobs for the youth so that the emigration flow can stop.

Accountability: All of them should honor their commitments and walk the talk. No more empty rhetoric or unfulfilled promises. Elected officials should be held accountable for their performance.

The election process should be cleaned up. No fraud, no buying of votes, no threats to government employees or those employed by the oligarchs.

Finally, the Artsakh situation needs to be resolved. The financial burden to defend the territory is extremely heavy and not sustainable. The human losses on the Line of Contact with Azerbaijan cannot continue and is intolerable. The pain and suffering is too deep.

I am optimistic and hopeful.

Vart Adjemian

Vart Adjemian

Vart K. Adjemian was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1943. He became an ARF member at the age of 16 and was a contributor to the Armenian daily newspaper “Houssaper.” Adjemian worked for a German company in Egypt that was awarded the project of saving the Abu Simbel Temples, as well as for the Australian Embassy in Cairo. In the early 1970’s, he moved first to Montreal, Canada, and then to the United States. Adjemian worked for the Continental Grain Company (New York) for 30 years, holding executive positions in the United States, Italy, Switzerland, and England; the last 8 years of his tenure was as executive vice president and chief operating officer. In 2005, he retired to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He is an avid supporter of the ANCA and a regular reader of the Armenian Weekly.
Vart Adjemian

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  1. Clear, simple and straight forward.
    Wish there was a way to send copies to PM Pashinina’s cabinet members and all members of Parliament.
    We all hope.
    Bedo DerBedrossian

  2. Having lived overseas most of my life and now living in Cairo doing humanitarian work, (which I note is the city of Vart’s birth) I think Vart’s five points are incredibly succinct and insightful. These points are not only applicable to Armenia, but should be used by any government that wishes to improve. In fact, on a personal level, Vart’s advice is also a great formula how to be a responsible neighbor and good friend.

  3. Very nice article. Let me please add to your suggestions another point which in my modest opinion is very important :
    -The new government must revise (in shortest time possible) the followings :
    a- Giurisdictional reform to EU standards with nomination of new key persons to put in act the new giuridical system
    b- Control of Armenia police and military forces by 100% guaranteed Hairenaser chiefs
    c- Reform and control of Educational system by thrusted personalities
    All above in order to eliminate the past ologarch system (started since comunist period) and have the complete thrust of our new young generation and Diaspora Armenians

  4. Great article TKU. Just left Armenia where I met many government officials, private sector and CSO representatives. The high energy and optimism of the Armenian youth is palpable. In one sector – public governance & management – the capacity is lacking and the officials don’t know where to start. Public institutions are very very weak when it comes to public policy and regulatory issues. the Old guard still hugs the jobs and are not interested in change. If the PM goes too fast they will sabotage him, along with members of the Republican Party. Diaspora experts should come forward in this domaine.

    I was invited to lecture ‘Why Nations Fail’ my course at York University (based on D Achemoglu’s book). US Embassy officials also participated – there was a general agreement at the event that Armenian Public Institutions are not only weak and fragile but don’t have the necessary horse power to drive the change needed. The next big international event is La Francophone Summit in October where Justin Trudeau and E Macron will be among the visitors. Diaspora institutions can capitalize on this event as well. annie

  5. On the 100th day of PM Pashinian’s rule, there are many pundits who have expressed their opinion about his speech and what has been/has not been accomplished.
    In my view, the opinions are heavily weighed by emotions rather than facts.
    Admittedly 100 days is not a very long time in view of the magnitude of the issues and challenges facing the nation.
    I thought of revising the ” values” I had outlined above for the administration to pursue and be successful.
    On a scale of A to E, A being he highest mark and E being a failure, even though hope and optimism continues to be high, the administration’s performance, in my view, has not exceeded a D yet.
    Too much time and effort is being wasted on the Kocharian’s of our world. Few tax evasion and corruption charges have been made and yet the big fish Oligarchs are yet to be investigated. Any details/plans about “free’ elections have yet to be announced. No economic plan has been presented.
    The country needs tangible changes; otherwise the youth that led the movement will feel let down .

    Vart Adjemian

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