A wave of enthusiasm for democracy can be felt in Armenia since Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan began his term on May 8, 2018. Public support for Armenia’s democratic transition is reflected in the new national poll conducted by Centre for Insights in Survey Research of the International Republican Institute (IRI).
The “My Step” movement of April-May organized by Pashinyan was a reaction to what many felt was the unjust awarding of the prime ministerial post to rival, Serzh Sargsyan. This move was called Armenia’s Velvet Revolution and so far, it seems to have yielded the fruits of democracy restoration.
The Centre for Insights in Survey Research carried out a survey from July 23 to August 15 this year with remarkable results. Following recent world trends, the positive attitude of the population at this stage reflects positive historical trends. According to the regional director of Eurasia Stephen Nix, “if the government does not act in a timely manner, it risks losing this momentum for positive change”.
Among several countries looked at in the survey, Armenia’s democratic transition stand a good chance of strong growth and to an extent can serve as a successful example of a “laboratory for post-Soviet democracy”. The wholehearted participation of citizens in the velvet revolution, the resigning of former president Serzh Sargsyan and the placing of Nikol as the prime minister is a great move toward democracy.
“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on” Thurgood Marshall. “The main purpose of the Armenian revolution was to overcome the corrupt regime, reach the resignation and implement radical political changes in the country,” said analyst Narine Mkrtchyan, the keynote speaker at a recent discussion hosted by the Armenian Center for International and Security Studies (ACNIS).
Many observers are giddy with excitement over the progress of Armenia’s democratic transition, once a very undemocratic place. But challenges lay ahead.
If you are interested in keeping informed as things progress, a highly-anticipated seminar, sponsored by the Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, will be taking place on Wednesday 24 October 2018 on the topic “Democratic Learning in Armenia: How Does It Compare to Color Revolutions?” The speaker will be regional expert Miriam Lanskoy, the Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy.
Attendance is definitely recommended.