Dropping Down Into Disappointment?

Garen Yegparian
Garen Yegparian

Garen Yegparian


About two weeks ago, Mkhitar Hairapetyan was in the Los Angeles area and spoke at a public session held at the Armenian society of Los Angeles. He is currently chair of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth, and Sport of the Republic of Armenia’s National Assembly and head of the Armenian delegation at Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. It is the second time I have seen him speak. Also on the podium was Consul General in Los Angeles Armen Baibourtian.

Much of the information conveyed came through the questions received from the audience. Important issues were addressed – Diaspora-Homeland relations; IT related instruction in schools; dissolution of the Diaspora Ministry; closure of schools, primarily in the countryside where there are just too few students in the villages to support a school, suggesting that perhaps teachers could cover more than one topic to solve this problem; the analogous question of Diasporan school closures; transitional justice; whether Yerevan would be creating a Diaspora governance structure – rightly, he responded with an emphatic “NO”; participation in elections of Diaspora-dwelling citizens; integrating all businesses in the country into its taxation system, even exempting small businesses from taxes to achieve this integration; that the April-May 2018 political “revolution” would now be followed by an economic “revolution”.

Some of these topics were substantive, others the natural advocacy any government, especially a newly seated one, will conduct to show it is achieving progress and benefitting its citizens.

But what struck me most about the gathering was the pathetic attendance, particularly compared to the number of people present when Hairapetyan last came to Los Angles, back in July of 2018. At that time, the main public gathering saw hundreds, possibly over 1000 people, in attendance. This time, there were fewer than 200. This is worrisome.

Armenian lawmaker Mkhitar Hairapetyan (right) with Armenia's Consul General to L.A. Dr. Armen Baibourtian

Armenian lawmaker Mkhitar Hairapetyan (right) with Armenia’s Consul General to L.A. Dr. Armen Baibourtian

Is it an indication of poor organization and publicity? I hope so, because the other possible explanation would suggest a far larger problem. It might be indicative of the beginnings of disappointment in the new government. That can eventually lead to disillusion worsening into hopelessness and apathy, much like the state of the Republic of Armenia’s polity in the years preceding the 2018 Spring uprising that led to the old government’s resignation. The parallels with the late 1980s and the hope followed by despair that came about are striking and truly problematic, if this is indeed the case.

Some of this is unavoidable. Any time people get worked up, excited, and take to the streets to defend their rights, expectations start sunning sky-high. Any government that takes office afterwards is expected to produce rapid and massive change. Unfortunately, this is planet Earth, and things don’t move as quickly as people want. It becomes the responsibility of the government to manage people’s expectations, explain that they are working and that things take time to improve.

The new government is doing some of this. Conversely, there are still thrilling, rabble-rousing, speeches being made, too. Some of the damage is thus self-inflicted. But this government, the country, cannot afford another round of high hopes dashed. The burden is greater on the leadership than it was in the 1990s. They have to act far more responsibly and receptively.

We, all Armenians worldwide, must both support and simultaneously guide and temper this government’s sometimes injudicious, neo-liberal, policies to prevent a descent into yet another broken system.


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  1. State of Emergency said:

    Russian dictates and empositions are not helping. Forcing Armenia to participate in foreign “humanitarian” aid and creating unnecessary controversy with the west will have an economic backlash. Armenia is being railroaded into conflicts it can not afford. The overwhelming hegemony is the root cause of all its ills. No matter how bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the new government is it will not be allowed to sidestep Russian interests. As usual, everything is decided behind “closed-door” meetings.

  2. A.Napetian said:

    Thanks G.Yegparian for this informative article and the likes of it, though we Armenians don’t like the negative reminders, don’t be discouraged, we are Armenians, keep the good work you’re doing, we appreciate it. Shnorhagal

  3. Arthur Avetisian said:

    I did not know about his visit. Organization of the event by the Consulate (or others) was poorly executed.

  4. ardachece barseghian said:

    Armenian diaspora, for 29 years established in the rural society, I propose tirelessly to establish a social security of state assuring to each citizen a free health protection, according to the French model. For this I invite the Ministry to initiate a method based on a close cooperation with the French experts. I met a former deputy minister and then recently a Member of Parliament to provide a relay to the ministry. First seduced then silence after a counter-foolish proposition. Thus the current health system will continue exclusively for a handful of families fortunes and 95% of the population endangered by the least sickness in each family requires to sell their property or to go into debt. Meanwhile and for a long time the social threat will persist against an ultra-liberal health system to the American. The same is the case for agriculture or pseudo Farmer’s Association would like to promote economic and rural development without any comprehension or method other than a type of Soviet-type propaganda argument. This emerges from the own character the Armeno-sovieticus proud of his ignorance believing to be self sufficient of his so-called intelligence and Neo Communist experience which has been catastrophic in all economic, social, cultural, civil and political fields. The end word is cooperer, modestly, to know how to decide.

  5. S said:

    For 25 years the Armenian Diaspora supported every single corrupt regime in Armenia. Now they get butthurt when the Armenian government deliberately keeps them at an arm’s length. Why wouldn’t they? Have you ever heard of a government that allows foreign citizens to dictate to it? And BTW, there’s no need for you to “guide” the new Armenian government. They don’t need you. Keep your paternalism closer to your chest.