COLUMBUS, Ohio—Last week, the Armenian Weekly ventured to Columbus, Ohio to participate in a panel at The Ohio State University entitled “Armenia’s Velvet Revolution: One Year Later.” The event, organized by the university’s Center for Slavic and Eastern European Studies, brought together experts and journalists from different areas to discuss the remarkable events that unfolded in Armenia last year and the forms that have taken shape in their wake.
Pietro Shakarian, a doctoral student in the Department of History at OSU and one of the panelists, first conceived of the idea for a panel on the Velvet Revolution last August. “Shortly after I had returned to Cleveland from a summer research trip in Armenia, I noticed that the Slavic Center newsletter at Ohio State was advertising an event on Ukraine’s Maidan and recent protest movements in other former Soviet republics, such as Georgia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. Where was Armenia?, I thought to myself. I felt that it was time to have some major event on the Armenian Revolution at OSU.”
The event brought together a diverse group of US-based panelists—Emil Sanamyan, an observer of politics in Armenia and the post-Soviet space affiliated with the University of Southern California; Karine Vann, editor of the Armenian Weekly, who covered the Velvet Revolution as assistant editor and has followed its narrative aftermath in the Diaspora; and Dr. Artyom Tonoyan, a research associate in sociology at the University of Minnesota who covers religion and politics in the former Soviet Union. The panel was moderated by Slavic Center Director Dr. Angela Brintlinger and was made possible by OSU Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hagop Mekhjian, who observed the Velvet Revolution from abroad and was eager to bring an academic analysis of Armenian affairs to Ohio State.
Shakarian says he chose the panel carefully, hoping to cover discussion points that may have been thus far overlooked in other academic events on the topic. “I did not want the panel to be an uncritical lionization of Pashinyan, but rather an objective, scientific analysis of the revolution and its aftermath.”