Thursday, May 17 2018 12:23
David Stepanyan

Smbat Nasibyan: "Civil Contract" needs new social contract with Armenian people  

Smbat Nasibyan: "Civil Contract" needs new social contract with Armenian people  

The founder of "Converse Bank", former member of the Council of the Central Bank of Armenia, economist Smbat Nasibyan in his interview with ArmInfo discusses the shades of the Armenian "velvet revolution". He scientifically substantiates the prerequisites, logic and the process of power change in Armenia. He shares his own vision of further events and the construction of a new Armenian statehood. He talks about the inadmissibility and actual impossibility of projecting the Armenian scenario on Russia and other countries of the post-Soviet space. 

 

The change of power in Armenia has no shortage of either names or characteristics, especially those having  veryfew common things  with reality. Nevertheless, what happened in Armenia, in your opinion? 

The famous philosopher Francis Fukuyama once, in my opinion, brilliantly compared modern society with a steam boiler, and power with an engine. According to his estimates, in small countries and, accordingly, societies, steam boilers (in this case, being the expectations from the authorities) are also small and the engines in the person of power are able to pull them forward. However, in the case of revolutions and a sharp change in public discourse, the expectations of these conventional "boilers" from engines also increase sharply. In such cases, the situation is crowned with either an engine change or an explosion. The classic example of a change of engine is England with all elements of a constitutional monarchy, an example of an explosion is France with its Great French Revolution. It seems that in the case of Armenia, before the "velvet revolution" we had to deal with the third option - the so-called. a monstrous perversion. In our country, for quite a long time, the stagnant power, the same stagnant, degrading society has not been changed either. And Armenia was in a waterlogged condition, the exit from which was not visible in the foreseeable future.

 

The last election, during  which the Republicans bought everyone and everything, clearly  clearly accentuated it... 

Of course. Their outcome, coupled with the absence of a political system in Armenia, a developed civil society, experience, traditions of government, left no room for any other forecasts. And this was the belief of , perhaps, 90% of our society. Fortunately, we were all wrong and in the last two months we saw, at least, the light at the end of the tunnel. The first reason for changing the situation in Armenia seems to be the realization by our society of the impossibility of holding in our country an English and French variant of the collapse of the system of power. To meet the wishes of society and break the vicious semi-military, criminal, totally corrupt system of government that developed in Armenia after the collapse of the USSR, following the example of England, Republicans not only did not want, but could not by definition. In the absence of forward movement, this would simply lead to their self-destruction. During the last 10 years of Serzh Sargsyan's rule, the authorities were stamping on the spot, only consuming their privileged position. The result - 300 thousand emigrants from Armenia, think about it - the population is 2-2,5 Artsakh, with the prospect of losing several years of the most Armenian statehood. However, the last couple of years in our country there has been an increase in the society's self-awareness, expressed in a sharp increase in demands for power. The zakostenevshy power on these requirements did not answer, after which the boiler, unable to withstand the demands of society, simply burst and a "velvet revolution" occurred. In my opinion, first of all, it became possible due to the awakening in Armenia of the collective instinct of self-defense or self-preservation. We all just realized that this can not continue any longer, realizing the existential nature of the threats in their attitude. 

 

In other words, for the awakening of this dozing and ripening instinct in us, only a spark was needed. And this spark was the movement "Take a step, reject Serzh" ...

Certainly. The society has realized that there is no alternative to getting rid of power, which has failed everything that can be done both in domestic and foreign policy. We just realized that we have reached the bottom and realized that this bottom can still be broken and finally lose everything down to statehood. There was not even any economic growth of 7.5% in 2017, this "growth" was the result of consumption, which can be very easily proved. Based on my research and calculations, I can say that in reality there were no new tendencies, institutional reforms in our economy.

 

After 1991, over the legitimacy of all parliaments and presidents of Armenia was a fat question mark. Proceeding from all the recent actions of Nikol Pashinyan, it seems that the new Armenian government in no way wants to repeat the vicious path of its predecessors. What is the new political culture of Armenia to you and how can it be translated into reality? 

In an article published yet in  2016, I formulated the essence of the problem by pointing out that the legitimacy of any power lies not only in the legal, but also in the moral and psychological category. And the right to any power, of any scale, even in the thieves' world, is formed not only in the legal, but also in the moral plane. At the heart of my conclusions lie a variety of theories, from the time of Pythagoras to the philosophy of Hobbes. In other words, any person or group of people is given power either by birth, which are  monarchs, or as a result of a social contract. The latter presupposes the existence in power of an implicit contract with the society, which gives it the right to rule the country. The previous authorities of Armenia, like Russia, in my opinion, had such social contracts with the people. In any case, one can come to such a conclusion by projecting a fundamental philosophy of the application of social contracts to the internal political situation of the last decades in our countries.

In Russia, the social contract largely corresponded to and proceeded from the civilizational features of this country. At the first stage, the Russian model presupposed the expropriation of political freedoms by the government from the people in exchange for guaranteeing economic prosperity or at least tolerable socio-economic conditions. The argument underlying this model is that the presence of political freedoms will lead to the loosening of state foundations, the recoil into the Yeltsin era and even the loss of statehood.

 

 The second stage of the social contract marked the exchange of political freedoms already for socio-economic preferences and ensuring the preservation of the integrity of the existing civilizational and political system of Russia. This became especially important after the Ukrainian Maidan, which entailed a radical reorientation of the foreign policy of Kiev, a sharp increase in the threat of NATO to Russia and, consequently, the weakening of the Crimea.

Until the April events of 2016, which led to the death of people and the loss of certain territories, the Armenian model of the social contract presupposed the expropriation of not only political, but also economic freedoms and even opportunities for economic development by the government. In return, power provided security for society. Thus, without ensuring this very security in April 2016, the Armenian authorities lost their last moral basis. And today, in my opinion, the new Armenian government, judging by everything - it will be the party "Civil Contract", needs a new social contract with the people. The benefits of models for this in global practice are sufficient. 

 

Russia already has calls to "look at Armenia," many people  want it  "like in Armenia." In your opinion, is there a threat of projection of the Armenian scenario on Russia and other post-Soviet countries?

If Serzh Sargsyan will be  the President of Russia, then in 5 years they will really have everything like in Armenia. But, since Russia is led by a man with somewhat different thinking, I think that Russians really do not need to look back at Armenia. I understand that in a number of post-Soviet countries there is concern about the possible "export" of the Armenian version of the revolution. However, in my opinion, today's leadership of the same Russia is endowed with both legal and moral legitimacy. And the tendencies of the final approach to a dead end, as it was in Armenia, are not visible in Russia. Russian society, by virtue of a number of historical and civilizational factors, is much more complicated than the Armenian one. After all, Russia, like China, has always had its own special path and it's somewhat risky for them to follow the path of other countries. That is why the citizens of Russia, starting from the instinct of self-preservation, continue to vote for the current government, vote for Putin. And many Russians believe that the assertion of political freedoms, as required, for example, Aleksei Navalny - is nothing more than a direct path to the loss of statehood. In Armenia, all these factors were not, there was no program of action, no desire to think about the country, nor the civilizational model.

 

Actually, there was no any "social contract" as well... 

At least since April 2016. Until April, we still hoped that at least some of the money squeezed out of us is going to ensure our own security. In April, it became clear that there was not even this, and we were deceived even in this matter. In Russia, however, the external threat is still the most important factor cementing society and power. And many of my Russian friends and friends say this. And this is not my opinion, this is the choice of Russians, a choice that we must respect. Armenia was at a dead end, Russia is not in a dead end.

 

In other words, we see that Russia, by virtue of all of the above-listed other ways, does not exist today. What are the features of this path for Armenia?

 

We rejected the old and now we have to evaluate the possibilities of construction and start building a new, conceptually different from the old, future. In other words, the most difficult task is to build a modern state. The authorities should clearly articulate this task, since the modern state does not presuppose a group, impersonal government, which should find expression in the introduction of relevant institutions. This is a very difficult path, but it is non-alternative. In this sense, we will not become pioneers, since before our eyes the experience of other countries and numerous models of building a state. And on this road before our society there are and will periodically arise new internal and external risks. The first internal risk is, in fact, the very existence of the leadership of Armenia desire, will, knowledge for the construction of a new state. There are many other factors, but this is probably the topic of a separate conversation.

 

The impasse of the path along which the country led the former power is obvious. The authorities did not realize it, or deliberately neglected the growing public discontent? 

In Armenia, we saw in action the principle of uncertainty of Heisenberg. By projecting this principle of quantum physics to the latest internal political transformations in Armenia, we will see that the more familiar the location and speed of movement of one particle, the more unknown is the speed and location of other particles. Everyone knew about the static state of our society, but no one knew what could happen as a result of this state. And the "velvet revolution" unexpected for many people became a brilliant confirmation of the possibility of applying the physical canons in social science.

 

Actually, having recognized Nikol Pashinyan's rightfulness in his statement on resignation, Serzh Sargsyan actually admitted his deep separation from reality. He also did not know what could happen.

Yes, that’s quite possible. In the end, he simply lacked the intelligence to govern the country and, accordingly, the achievement of goals by normal methods. His only goal, to put it mildly, was to retain and multiply the loot. This man stopped distinguishing the state budget from his own pocket, the interests of the state from personal interests, and kept the members of his party around him, handing out to them the shares belonging to the whole society. Such a management model could not stay afloat for long. In this light, there was no alternative other than dismantling this vicious, abnormal system, which led Armenia into a final impasse, the Armenian society no longer had. I think that the main thing today is to draw the appropriate conclusions from this and not allow such fundamental mistakes in the process of building a new modern state.

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