Issues of the State Apparatus and Economic Reforms
Merujan V. Mikaelyan
To this day, there is a false perception among state and political circles in Armenia that the Third Republic of Armenia is still very young and inexperienced. Thereby, the serious shortcomings that exist in the sphere of state building and the economy are conditioned by that reality.
More importantly, inspiring this position further is that more time is required for our statehood to mature and be in a position to confront all the foreign and domestic challenges facing it and to resolve issues related to a sufficient standard of living, the respect for human rights, the protection of social justice, a civilized political culture, free competition and the issue of establishing a state apparatus based on knowledge. Such a fundamental mentality postulates that it could not have been possible in a 20 year time period to reach more qualitative accomplishments, in particular, taking into consideration the Karabakh Issue, the geopolitical position of the country, the limited natural resources and the centuries-long absence of statehood. We are convinced that this is not the position of responsible, capable and honest political leaders regarding the fate of the country, but rather the attempt at hiding their own mistakes and shortcomings. This is dangerous because it condemns the country to severely modest accomplishments, acquiescence and to the disillusionment and weakening of the entire nation. Certainly, a large part of these factors are a limiting influence on a country’s development.
However, this publication highlights the examples of other countries where natural resources or geopolitical location are not decisive factors for development. Proper political structuring and the presence of an efficient state apparatus are decisive. An efficiently structured state apparatus is completely able to compensate the influence of limiting factors as stated above. And when there are rich natural resources and favorable conditions, an inefficient state apparatus cannot save people from poverty, inefficiency and autocracy. It is exactly in this issue that our leaders have failed. An efficient and quality state apparatus has not been formed in Armenia due to an absence of information and placing personal and group interests above pan-national interests. It is formed incorrectly in an institutional sense and as a result, the potential of its personnel is insufficient. As the example of other countries illustrate, there are clear arguments which attest to the fact that 20 years is entirely enough time to create a high quality state apparatus. The examples of those countries that had experienced war and transformations in their social systems, illustrate that working sensibly during that time period is entirely sufficient to create a mature state governing system and is even able to thoroughly cure corruption that is deeply entrenched in those societies, and formulate a new, just and an accomplished culture. As a result of an absence of professionalism and the existence of self-interest, during the past 20 years, political leaders and civil servants, in conditions of a defective, unjust and incomplete state apparatus, have not properly utilized the capacity of the Diaspora, the unity of the pan-national potential, the great chances rendered by its geopolitical position and the high individual ability of our people. Simply put, our political leaders and the state apparatus until today have not had sufficient abilities to understand, evaluate and utilize this great potential.
Twenty years is an extremely long period of time to have undertaken great projects. And we are still in a tumultuous stage – the small and medium-sized businesses, who, subjected to the oppression of monopolies have been pushed out, the all-embracing corruption which has established an interest-pursuing society; has made big business the enemy of society; and transformed the state apparatus into an apparatus of injustice. In terms of democracy, free competition, and social justice and in terms of serving the demands of the empowerment of the nation and the state, Armenia’s state apparatus has completely failed.
Aside from different paths and tools to untie this complex knot, the complete renewal of the state apparatus and an innovative restructuring of the economy will have decisive importance. The present realities require that we approach these issues outside of standard approaches. A whole grouping of solutions is brought forth in this article, whose realization requires extraordinary measures for authorities; and in case of their inability, on behalf of civil society.