In October 2016 The RA Minister of Defense officially declared of the Nation – Army Concept as the new formula for the military and political security of the country. Two months later the National Assembly in its previous convocation passed the “law on 1000 drams” 1 proposed within the framework of the concept, according to which 1000 drams started to be deducted from the monthly salaries of the citizens to be channeled to the foundation that provides social assistance to the military servicemen injured during the military services and the families of killed military servicemen. This introduced mandatory volunteerism was the first practical correlation of the Armenian public with the official Nation-Army and was not perceived unequivocally positively. There were critics from among citizens who participated in various civic actions for the sake of the military even before the initiative.The next stage of official innovation within the Nation-Army concept (public discussions, adoption and enforcement of legislation) lasted for approximately three months. In October 2017 the RA Ministry of Defense presented its initiatives of the new “Law on Military Service and the Status of the Military Serviceman”, the “It’s Me” and “I am Honored” programs, as well as the amendments to the law on people who evaded the army.2 At the beginning of January 2018 an announcement stated of the draft of 120 conscripts within the “It’s Me” program.
From the perspective of formality these speedy developments were dictated by the need for the introduction of all the amendments to the army legislation before Armenia transitioned to the de facto parliamentary model of governance (by April 2018). From the political and ideological perspective, though, time had long come for officially reacting to all the acute issues raised by the public after the April war in 2016 as an emphasised public demand: “elminiate corruption and legal arbitrariness for reinforcing security”, “there is money for the army, make an efficient use of state resources.”
- What place did Nation – Army topics occupy in the Armenian Media, what information processes were rolling out within the public discussion on the concept on the media
- Which specific issues and processes were most broadly discussed in that period, the standpoints of which forces and groups outlined the perceptions of the concept in online media and on TV?
- How did the audience react to the provisions put forth within the Nation – Army concept, how much interest did the topic of the army as a whole trigger among the audience?
To answer these questions our Region Research Center conducted a study on the media discourse on Nation – Army in 2017, and the summary of its results is presented below