Mikael Minasyan, Armenia’s former Ambassador to the Holy See, has published an article below in Wednesday’s issue of Hraparak (Square) daily:
Today the first person of Armenia is a man who rules the state without any conventional principles, rules, and accountabilities. And his appetite is growing, and his political ambitions are approaching to dictatorial.
[Prime Minister] Nikol Pashinyan rules the country just as he once ran Haykakan Zhamanak daily. And it’s not about the classic press; it’s about the yellow press itself. Nothing has changed in his managerial style and principles. It’s just that he has moved the micro environment of the newsroom to a larger geographic area. And now we all live in the Haykakan Zhamanak country, which has a 24-hour rhythm and recollection; just as much as from one issue of the newspaper to the other. And the [Armenian] society is divided into three parts: journalists, readers, and those who do not read newspapers.
Like when he was a newspaper editor, Nikol Pashinyan does not wish to and is not going to either take responsibility or share responsibility now as well. Its main task is to supply popular and populist acts (see: not decisions). But the drama does not end here. The problem is that not only Nikol Pashinyan lives with the 24-hour newspaper logic and mood, but also a considerable part of the Republic of Armenia citizens, who also do not share responsibility with Pashinyan, live in a Pashinyan mythicized world, read Pashinyan content in the morning, decide whom to praise, whom to curse; the same until the next morning. And it has nothing to do with the fact that the hero of the previous issue is anti-hero in the new issue. That’s the whole charm of a 24-hour rhythm. You zero everything every morning. And everything and everyone has a 24-hour shelf life. The next morning you will either expire or postpone it; depending on the expediency.
Pashinyan continues to rule the country with the same agenda, where each day should consist of several important information genres:
Discovery of the day: There shall be the arrest of any former corrupt official—with an as impressive as possible stolen or looted amount. It doesn’t matter whether or not false or correct, it doesn’t matter whether the fact of theft or the amount of money may not be proved, that the detention may not be justified, it doesn’t matter whether or not the money is returned, or in what ways and where and to whom it is returned. It is necessary to ensure that in the daily news—period.
Selfie of the day: With someone every day. Saturday night - Serge Tankian, Sunday - Kim Kardashian, Monday - Alexis Ohanian, Tuesday - at least with Tigran Mansurian if there is no other interesting person. But selfie is a must, and it doesn’t matter what they were talking about before or after that, how useful the time spent by the head of state was, and how much it would benefit the country. These are completely unnecessary and inappropriate questions.
Festival of the day: The news feed should not stop short of gatherings—vodka festival, walnut, shoe, wine, toast, ghavurma [dish], lavash [bread], drones, hard drives, etc. It is important for people to believe that there is movement in the country. And it is not necessary to go deep into whether any contract is being signed after these festivals, whether new export prospects are being opened after that, new investors are coming in, new jobs are being opened. These are completely unnecessary and inappropriate questions.
Hero of the day: There is subtlety here. In the Haykakan Zhamanak country, the heroes are always the same: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his wife. But the constant heroes shall “anoint little heroes” every day to constantly emphasize their greatness. And wonderful, simple, and hard-working people—small entrepreneurs, modest farmers, and startups—unwittingly become the “anointed” heroes of the day to testify to the immortality of the supreme heroes. They can make use of this status for 24 hours.
Number of the day: One should always talk about growth. The mountain-space sub-branch of tourism has grown by 10 percent. And it doesn’t matter that two different time periods are chosen, wrong methodology or indicators completely taken out of context. The important thing is the positive and impressive number so that the citizens of the HZh [Haykakan Zhamanak] country can proudly share online links.
Obstacle of the day: You always need an anti-hero, or an anti-occurrence that impedes progress. “There will be no investments unless there is a new parliament.” And by this logic, until there are new provincial governors, until the judicial system changes, [Constitutional Court president] Hrayr Tovmasyan resigns; and soon, until Russia has a new president. It is forbidden in the HZh country to look for a logic between living well and the above-mentioned phenomena. It is not important. The important thing is to identify and publicize the 24-hour barrier.
And it is with this very logic and 24-hour chain that Nikol Pashinyan runs the country today—without any rationality and consistency—because when he is reminded of what he had said and done the day, the month or the year before, he honestly does not understand why. After all, a new day has begun; it is already the new “issue” of the Haykakan Zhamanak country.
How do we [Armenia] treat Russia now? It depends on the day. We wait for Putin heartily, then offend by not greeting, then get furious over a meeting at the Russian embassy, but we end the day with a warm embrace at the airport. Content: zero. And the question of the next day: Are we good or bad with Russia now? It doesn't matter anymore. A new day has begun. A new guest has arrived.
The biggest drama of the Haykakan Zhamanak country is that the state, actually, not only has no strategy but also a goal. One thing is constant: Nikol Pashinyan has always been the editor of HZh, now—the prime minister of HZh country. And then there is no answer to the question: What will happen with the country?
By the way, it is interesting that when Nikol Pashinyan is not able to solve any problem in a 24-hour cycle, then it is not interesting for him; also to the “reader.”
He has changed his position several times on the Amulsar [gold mine] issue; several times. And again, with the 24-hour logic, he said different things on different days—according to the current social media reaction. And don’t ask what happened to Amulsar after all this. Nothing. If it’s not on the HZh country’s news feed, then there is no such problem until it appears in the next new 24-hour cycle. At that time a new decision will be issued, a new culprit will be designated, and a new target will be announced—according to the convenience of the day.
Nikol Pashinyan attempted to resolve the Artsakh [(Nagorno-Karabakh)] problem with a 24-hour cycle, repeating several times the requirement that Artsakh be returned to the negotiating table. And don't ask, now do you claim or not on Stepanakert’s participation, since that was a statement a year ago. It’s not important what he was claiming. It is important what he says now. And if there is a contradiction, then you have misunderstood.
Or he could say, “Artsakh is Armenia—period.” Good title, good response, good rally call. How important are the consequences? If he had to, he will refute [it] in the last page.
This country is not build by Nikol Pashinyan alone. The consent to have such a country has been imposed on people, playing with whose emotions and, also, the 24-hour cycle has been placed by force. And one cannot ask how Artur Davtyan, the prosecutor general who has arrested the “bringer of bread,” has proved the guilt of the Sasna Tsrer [armed group] and was considered corrupt at the time, is the best prosecutor today. This is the case in this issue; maybe for the coming week, too.
There is no law in the Haykakan Zhamanak country; there are the chief editor-prime minister’s political line and the decisions of the day. If there is a law that obstructs, it must be changed. There should be no legal logic. Do they think that Mher Yeghiazaryan shall be imprisoned even if he dies, so everything else doesn't matter? Does he think that Hrayr Tovmasyan should leave, so all the godchildren should be arrested? Does he think that this or that decision should be made by the court, so a criminal case should be opened against the judge who made the opposite verdict?
One fundamental truth must be remembered about these authorities: Nikol Pashinyan has no past or future. He lives only with the present. He is not interested in what he has said and is not worried about what will happen. It is important what is happening today.
All officials in the Haykakan Zhamanak country are journalists—the prosecutor, minister, provincial governor. After all, minister the one who has the most coverage and attention on the net is considered the most successful. There is no government. It is an ordinary editorial that shall ensure one person’s ambitions, plan of the day, and, of course, worshipping.
During this time the worshipping of the individual is strengthened smoothly when the book of the leader is printed, then staged, then the poem with his handwriting becomes a poster, statues are given, hats, watches, comics, vodkas are issued, and wombs are blessed, genitals are worshiped in the online communities.
And as it happens with all dictatorships, it is created around a new god. As a result, all ancient religions are wiped out. And on that very issue the Armenian Apostolic Church has been obstructed from the very first day, and very soon the faithful of all the rest will obstruct, too. That is why the attacks on the church do not stop. And they will never stop as long as Nikol Pashinyan is in power.
There is no dictatorship that does not rely on the support of the working-peasant class and the intellectuals. Today our intelligentsia applauds Nikol Pashinyan because most are afraid of him, some believe him, and it is a small part that is openly opposed. As a result, the pro-Western progressives, workers-peasants, and intellectuals have created a new pasha with Eastern traditions and a Western design.
Our new pasha, by the way, is a classic dictator who has never been afraid of blood. Just as he provoked blood on March 1 [2008 in capital city Yerevan], in Ijevan [town] he gave the special forces an order to smash people into their homes. Nikol Pashinyan reacted with a particular brutality to Ijevan to show his strength to everyone.
All this is extremely normal. Both the developments and the expected consequences are normal. Already today Nikol Pashinyan has realized that his greatest enemy is neither the RPA [former ruling Republican Party of Armenia] nor [ex-President Robert] Kocharyan nor any country or entity. His greatest enemy is reality. When the HZh country crosses with reality, a crisis begins; people’s eyes open.
And people will see that, under these authorities, nothing has been made, nothing has changed, no decision was made on any major issue. The country has wasted resources in a 24-hour disastrous cycle, endangered its physical existence, and created major problems for the coming decades, not months.
And everyone will stand because people become citizens, the nation—state—when they are fighting against the dictatorship that is forming within them. When they realize that dictatorship—even the best—cannot become a guarantee for development, wellbeing and security, when they realize that the populist—however convincing he may seem—all the same, will never go from word to deed, and he is capable of nothing else aside from likes and selfies. He is capable of debasing world leaders for the sake of one international self—moreover, without giving any account to himself of any consequence of that one selfie.
When the consequences are slowly felt, when people see the dictatorship of populism, then they will become citizens and will fight for democracy. But before that—every day, at 9am—we are destined to live in the Haykakan Zhamanak country where the chief editor-prime minister has to decide—according to the yellow agenda of the day—who he is arresting, who he is shaming, what he will be proud of, and with whom he will take a selfie.