Le FUTUR ARMÉNIEN – un plan d’action pour reconstruire le pays. JAMnews 16 mai 2021 (en anglais)
JAMnews. Planification sur le long terme, pragmatisme, actions décisives et persistantes – c’est ainsi que l’initiative Future Armenian entend organiser son travail et construire une nouvelle Arménie.
The authors of the project believe that in order to achieve this, it will first be necessary to form mutual understanding among Armenians all over the world on the issue of how the country should develop and start talking about how to save the state.
Who are the founders of Future Armenian, what are their goals, and how do they intend to achieve them?
The co-founders of the initiative
The co-founders of the initiative are Richard Azarnia (France), Artur Alaverdyan (Armenia), Noubar Afeyan (USA), and Ruben Vardanyan (Russia). All four are successful businessmen, also known in Armenia as generous benefactors.
The four men came up with an initiative based on the problems facing Armenia, which worsened in 2020, after the war in Karabakh. Anyone who shares the ideas and approaches of the authors can participate in the initiative and 380 people have already joined.
The co-founders are convinced that this difficult period offers a unique opportunity to create a new model of Armenia, and, in order to achieve it, co-founders of the Future Armenian have already come up with 15 goals.
Armenia cannot carry on like this
The authors of the initiative argue that the defeat in the 44-day Karabakh war, the economic crisis, and public uncertainty about the future indicate that the country cannot carry on like this.
It’s time to start a conversation about difficult, painful problems for Armenia and Armenians and find solutions.
First of all, in their opinion, it is necessary to form a common, unified idea of the future of the state and answer the main question of what kind of Armenia do Armenians want to have since without a clear answer to this question, it is impossible to make any decisions about the future.
The co-authors of the initiative are convinced that most of Armenia’s problems are based on myths about the outside world, their identity, the past, and the future, which have nothing to do with reality. In order to preserve statehood, it is necessary, to realize the threat to the security of Armenia, to build a more effective and reliable defense system.
Co-founders of the project believe that every Armenian, regardless of where they reside or which citizenship they have, must realize that the preservation of the Armenian statehood is a guarantee of their personal safety. At the same time, they must have confidence that any decision of state significance is made by the authorities on the basis of pragmatic calculation, facts and reality, and not myths and illusions.
New model of Armenia
Co-founder of the initiative Ruben Vardanyan states that today there are opportunities that the country never had before. The 21st century has the potential to create a new Armenia, but this requires open and honest discussions of the present and the future.
Ruben Vardanyan added that the prevailing internal political discourse in the country today is a search for traitors and culprits responsible for failures in politics and the economy. However, by doing this, the authorities are focusing on the past.
In the new model of Armenia, the problems of the past should remain in the past, and all actions should be directed towards the future, as talking about the past threatens the country’s future.
Education is key
There is no oil and gold in Armenia, but there is another valuable resource – talented people. That is why the Future Armenian initiative pays special attention to the education, science, technology, and creativity of the Armenian people.
The authors of the initiative believe that society and the authorities should take care of these pillars, which are imperative to the long-term development of any country, and reform them accordingly.
Future-oriented agreement between people and state is required
The authors of the initiative believe that 30 years ago when Armenia became an independent state, society, the political elite and the diaspora concluded a kind of “agreement”.
The authorities got certain freedom of action since society turned a blind eye to corruption and illegal enrichment of the civil servants. In return, the authorities provided people with a sense of security and confidence based on victory in the first Karabakh war.
The diaspora, the third party to this “agreement”, was seen as a powerful pillar, which, however, had no right to interfere in domestic politics.
Co-founders of the Future Armenian say that for a while, this “agreement” seemed to have worked for everyone involved.
However, after the Velvet Revolution of 2018, “the agreement was terminated” and Armenia’s defeat in the second Karabakh war put a complete end to it.
Now that the past agreement is finally gone, there is an opportunity to conclude a more honest, balanced agreement, oriented towards the future, says one of the initiative’s co-founders Ruben Vardanyan.
The role of the diaspora
Following the second Karabakh war, the Armenian diaspora was forced to rethink its role in the life of their homeland. The authors of the initiative, most of whom live abroad, believe that the Armenian diaspora has realized the preservation of Armenian statehood is just as important to them, regardless of where they live and what citizenship they have.
Armenian identity is no longer symbolic and many are now asking themselves if they are but a group of people with an ambiguous future, whose Motherland was defeated and whose politicians are making decisions based on myths that do not reflect the reality.
The war strengthened people’s emotional connection with the Motherland, the consciousness of national identity. But how long will this feeling last?
On the other hand, if the attitude towards the diaspora does not change in the homeland, the likelihood of rejection of their Armenian identity will increase.
Co-founders of the Future Armenian believe that the residents of Armenia and the authorities should ask themselves what the diaspora truly means to them and whether they perceive it solely as a source of financial assistance or powerful support.
Ruben Vardanyan stated that over the past 20 years, the founders of the initiative have implemented about 700 projects worth $ 700 million in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
However, they now realize that they should have approached investing differently. Co-founders of the initiative believe that it is necessary to reconsider the directions of financial investments of the diaspora as a whole.
One of the priority tasks of the authorities should be the creation of such a country so that in the next 5 years, 150,000-200,000 Armenians who are currently residing abroad choose to return to their homeland and settle there, thus solving both the demographic and security problems.
New political alliances
Ruben Vardanyan said that 87% of the residents of Armenia believe that it is necessary to strengthen relations with Russia, however, there is no political discourse about what they should be like.
At the same time, the main question remains unanswered: does Russia want to have a zone of influence in the region or a small but strong ally?
The authors of the initiative are convinced that Armenia’s role in the region must change, it must resist isolation and build up its potential through regional and global strategic partnership.
Future Armenian’s polls show that 20% of Armenians want to leave the country. This means that people do not have answers to three important questions:
- How will the country’s security be ensured in the next 20-30 years,
- how will the national identity be preserved,
- what are the country’s future prospects.
The authors of the initiative claim that they have no political ambitions or preferences.
They do not intend to support any specific political force in the upcoming June elections. However, the co-founders of Future Armenian claim that for the purpose of achieving the goals of the project, political will and decisions will be required.
Therefore, whoever comes to power following the June elections will have to answer the question of what kind of Armenia they want to build.