15 experts participated in the survey. The picture of the first questionnaire answers is quite diverse, but regarding the issue of the purpose of the Nation-Army program and the suggestions at this stage, there is some agreement among the experts.
In response to the question «What is your opinion on the new draft law “On the status of the military service and the soldier status”?», three (20%) of the respondents assessed the bill positively, citing the necessity and relevance of the bill. 33% were not unequivocally against or unequivocally for the bill, because they think that an attempt is made to settle simultaneously a number of issues and therefore positively assess the bill in some aspects, but also see many gaps and incomprehensible provisions. Half of the experts (47%) have a clear negative attitude towards this bill.On the question «Is the “Nation-army” prog- ram raising the level of Armenia’s security, and whether there are no other security mechanisms apart from the military?», the answers of the experts were different. Some experts believe that the program is a necessity conditioned by the peculiarities of Armenia’s security, the main, perhaps the only guarantee of its security is the army, but also emphasize that a purely mechanical solution, i.e. only the numerical replenishment of the number of servicemen in the army is not
enough. One of them states that “the role of a combat-ready army is of great importance to a state in an unrecognized war situation, but a combat- ready army should be one of the most important structures of the state with healthy and political counterbalances. That state must have a well- developed economy and an educational system, as the army can not function without qualified cadres and large financial support.”
According to another expert, «the goals of the Nation-army concept can also be reflected in the Army-Society Approach. The concept is often misunderstood as identification of the nation and the army, the militarization of the Armenian society, which is not really the case. It obliges other institutions to properly perform their duties and at least not harm the army.”
This view was not shared by any other experts, on the contrary, at least half of them find that this concept leads to militarization of the Armenian society. In particular, one of the experts notes that “the very existence of the Nation-army concept undermines the bases of civil society, and tries to organize the whole society around the institute of violence.” According to another view, “security guarantees are respect for citizen’s rights, fair elections, sharp reduction of corruption, elimination of oligarchic-monopoly economy, and real inde- pendence of justice. At least these problems should be solved, which will lead to the improvement of the army and other spheres”.
Many experts emphasized that there is no real program or concept of “Nation-army”, and only the RA Defense Minister and other officials speak about it publicly. According to one of the experts, “the draft law proposes a unified mechanism of compulsory and contractual military service. And how it will contribute to raising the security of the state is incomprehensible. Obviously, the whole load of organizing a combat duty through the proposed program will be once again put on the representatives of the socially vulnerable categories. According to the draft, the government has the right to grant military service and to discharge military service to separate groups of citizens. As the criteria on which the government should make decisions are not clear, it is evident that such a legislative regulation contains large corruption risks, as the authorities and their associates have greater opportunities to make use of government decisions. The low level or lack of confidence in the state is the number one threat to the state’s security”.
Some experts believed the program has the character of propaganda:
- “The Nation-army program largely is of propa- gandist nature. This rhetoric was used to justify ananti-constitutionalandsociallyunfairdecision of “1,000 drams”. The formulation already has certain totalitarian-militaristic overtones, which is out of place in the 21st
- “The concept of nation-army is cheap propa- ganda, spreading militarism and nationalism. Besides the military, there are other security mechanisms – democracy, rule of law, the impe- rative of establishing a legal state and social ”
- “The title chosen for the program isanunsuccessful name, but it has a huge propagandist component, which we do not need it at The “Nation-Army” program promotes the improvement of Armenia’s security, but includes only several innovations in the military sphere, leaving aside the remaining, not less important spheres.”
- “The Nation-army program is part of broader policy (e.g. elitization of education and health, consistent pressure on the middle class through increased tax burden, resource concentration, deepening religious education, propaganda of extreme nationalism, etc.) to ensure the conti- nued reproduction of the current political and economic elite without public “
- “The Nation-Army program does not receive any written formulation. On the shoulders of the 18-year-old boys the burden of the failings of the authorities is put, failings that took place primarily on economic and diplomatic “
One of the experts, answering this question, said that «the Nation-Army program does not only put the issue of security, it actually sets out to change the whole system of values of the society and form a so-called new elite. The minister is planning to raise the literacy of the soldier, but it is not clear how will the soldier’s literacy be raised, especially since he should have received good education at school, and as for the social package of the officer, which he would not need in a prosperous and dignified society, will have to be funded at the expense of the general education and the poor. At the Armenia-Diaspora conference he presented five main directions of the “Nation-army” concept policy.
- appreciation of the military profession,
- increased combat readiness, including arma- ments and strengthening the front-line,
- development of the military-industrial complex,
- strengthening military-political diplomacy;
- strengthening justice and public
Is it possible for the Nation-army to effectively fight corruption, non-statutory relations and other vicious phenomena in the Armenian Armed Forces, and if yes, what mechanisms of struggle are offered? The answers to the question were also diverse.
According to one of the experts, the fight against these phenomena in the army started under the office of Minister Ohanyan. «The “Nation-army” program envisages strengthening the processes started. At the same time, these reforms will have great difficulties due to the lack of human resources and the presence of corrupt and criminal culture in the national mentality.»
Some experts find that it is impossible to overcome the problems inside the army such as social injustice, corruption or nepotism as long as they are widespread outside the army.
- “Regardless of the objectives of the Nation-army strategy, its implementation can not radically change anything in the army if it does not take place in the context of the country’s overall political and legal reform. If the situation with the children of the members of the ruling political force does not change, the attempts to consolidate the society can not be effective, on the contrary, they will create new spheres of corruption and aggravate the degree of “
- “It is impossible to fight these phenomena separately in the army, while corruption in other
areas of society is flourishing. In Armenia, the principle of impunity of officials is functioning, in which Armenia differs even from its “Eurasian” allies from Russia and Belarus, where sometimes senior officials are deprived of their posts and even arrested. Thus, an atmosphere of impunity is created in the country and, of course, the armed forces can not avoid it.”
- “It is impossible because the program is not comprehensive and can only provide some partial solutions. Depending on the purely military sphere, these systemic solutions can be included if the program is expanded, the propaganda and slogan element is reduced and the practice is simplified and “
One of the experts notes that he has thoroughly analyzed the bill and follows the publications and speeches reflecting on the “Nation-Army” program, in particular the words of the Minister of Defense, (“It’s the army that is the undisputed leader in the country in terms of effective governance, corruption elimination, the creation of the next elite generation”). According to the expert, “the mechanism of implementation of this vision is seen by the Defense Minister of the Republic of Armenia as having a well-educated soldier, with a high level of material welfare, and having a competent officer in the social package. This is the same argument that is normally brought to our country to justify the need for raising the salaries of state officials and especially judges. The fact is that it did not work.
Corruption and similar vicious phenomena in
any country can diminish only in case of effective legal governance. Will army management be
legitimate and effective, it can be judged when the “vicious phenomena” disappear inside the army. It can now be operated by reviewing cases of murder in the army that have not been settled for years in the courts, investigating and punishing the internal cases of abuse of power, numerous cases of non- formal relations within the army, solving the issue of housing allocations for “retired” officers, who spend years in housing queues, and proving the decisiveness of the army to eliminate corruption. Unless there are visible, transparent and concrete solutions in this direction, it is senseless to cling to future programs.”
Some experts believe that in order to combat the above-mentioned phenomena and achieve positive results, more powers and opportunities should be provided to civil society representatives.
- “There are positive shifts in these legislative changes, for example, in the framework of the “I am” program young people are offered a choice between different forms of service and social guarantees, but there are no real mechanisms to combat corruption and non- formal relations in the army. A striking example of such a campaign could be the establishment of a special commission, for example, with a wide public sector representation, for the purpose of re-opening and investigating cases of casualties in non-combat conditions. I would not say these initiatives make the army become more transparent and that they strengthen the component of civil “
- “If the government wants to improve the atmo- sphere and the situation in the army, it is enough to give more rights to the civil society to monitor
the situation, i.e., to ensure transparency in army spending, eliminate vicious phenomena in the army.”
- A large part of the experts, when talking about “I am” and “Honor”, which is a component of the concept, are pointing out that they can contribute to the deepening of social justice, but there are also conflicting viewpoints in this question:
- The program “I am” legitimizes social injustice. Rather than providing solutions to social problems, access to education and health care for all citizens of Armenia, there is no alternative left for 18-year-old socially vulnerable RA citizens, except than solving those issues through longer-term
- The point of “I am” program is to interest financially the socially vulnerable groups and to thus solve the issue of soldiers on the front- line. It reveals the problem of discriminatory stratification in Maybe it would be better to fill the front-line positions on a contractual basis. The “I have the Honor” program is incomplete, in principle I support military education in universities, but it should be 2 years and according to the profession.
- Keeping the border in Armenia has been and will be the “duty” of the socially vulnerable category, while the better-off will be educated in western universities.
- “I am” and “I have the Honor” programs solve the problem of involving more students in military service in exchange for long-term financial compensation. According to official data, 29-30% of the population of Armenia, and according to the independent experts 58-60% are considered poor, it is evident that the entire burden of organizing the combat duty through the proposed program will be put on the socially vulnerable group. The decline in the number of the population also negatively affects the number of officers, so it is offered to solve it with the “I have the Honor” program. Until now, “I have the Honor” program worked only for military doctors, but now it covers all professions.
- “I am” program is presented as an attempt to lay the groundwork for a professional army, but it is not clear how. In the case of “I have the Honor”, in addition to the issues related to “I am”, there are also issues of performing educational, professional and scientific
- One expert reports his negative attitude, noting that “both components are the beautiful packaging of a harmful new ” Meanwhile, two other experts are highly supportive of the existence of these programs, considering them as positive and new opportunities.
- “These components will make more flexible the system of staffing the army with highly qualified personnel and will contribute to the increase of the intellectual capacity of the junior command staff, which the army ” Another expert, expressed a similar view, “if we forget about the general context of existing problems, these programs are not the worst, they offer a choice of forms of service, forms of economic incentives and programs offering compensation options.”
- These projects have an innovative meaning and can provide additional human resources for the armed forces. The soldier’s economic
(salary) and administrative (career) motivation in the army corresponds to the thinking of contemporary consumer society members. These projects are not limited to the patriotism and move the military service motivation to a rational, practical field. New possibilities are also created for women’s military service.
- Some of the experts are quite skeptical about the outlined goals of these programs and mechanisms for their achievement.
- “Already for the past two decades, hundreds of volunteers have served in the Armenian Army based on financial remuneration. They receive a small reward for their work. There is no money to raise salaries, and today they are trying to tempt the people to fill the ranks of the army, when they have not been able to find money for the army in the budget for 20 years. Before the introduction of the concept of the Nation-army, Armenia won in the Artsakh war, preserving the status quo without the concept. If the Armenian people did not have statehood, the concept of the Nation-army would be understandable. But when there is Armenia, what is Nation-army? “
- The “I am” program gives you a choice of military service, which is itself a positive step. The main concern is not related specifically to these programs, it is more global, in the poverty-ridden society, there is a danger of militarism, when a dominant role is gained by the army, and that, in the absence of clear political counterbalances and a strong political party system, leads to the establishment of military power. The society, especially in the face of the Church’s obedience propaganda and the strengthening of the image
of the enemy of Azerbaijan, can agree to the power the military without great resistance, as the levers of power are centralized in their hands.
One of the experts also touched upon the gender aspect of these programs.
The “I am” program is more voluntary, “I have the Honor” is more compulsory. The first will be selected by young people from needy families. In the second case, it is probably expected that some of the servicemen, perhaps most of them, will be integrated into the army and will put their lives in line with the promise of the social package promised to the officer and the social standing of the officer in the society, which will reduce part of the civilian component of the society and increase the military. This, by the Minister’s own confession, is not only a program of defense but also a program of a social change. The army will receive officers with relatively high-quality education, received at the expense of the citizens. It will be done not by citizen’s choice, but by the state coercion. At the same time, if the program succeeds, there is a possibility of partial feminization of civilian life, as the place of “male” graduates in the army will be occupied by their male and female educated women. A new situation in the distribution of roles will be created in the society. Is our society ready for it?”
When it comes to the new bill of abolishing the
deferment of students from the military service, only one expert expressed a positive opinion about this approach, adding that “the fact that the authorities have not succeeded in eliminating the deferment so far is a sign of weakness of the authorities over the years.” Another expert noted that it is a complicated issue, “On the one hand,
everyone should serve, on the other hand, we are bringing everyone to this army from the age of 18 by this law. Maybe it was possible to find the third option when serving in the army and doing science did not contradict, but complemented one another.” There is also a view that this approach will lead to a decline in education.
- “It’s strange that the deferment for education can only be for an additional year, that is, if you want to study, then you will serve for 3 years. Exclusion of this right is a violation of the right to education. It turns out that the right is subordinate to the duty, hindering the realization of the right to education, in order to ensure the duty of military “
- “Another aspect of the problem is that if a young man knows from school that he will be drafted in all cases, it will lead to low-achieving school performance, that is to say, the low level of overall general education achievement. In science, it must be remembered that it is a continuous process, cutting talented young people for several years can cause damage to science in our “
Some of the experts also say that while eco- nomic manipulation among young people may be acceptable in order to motivate them to serving in the army, but not through the violation of the right of young talented youth to deferment.
“In the case of the “non-deferment” option, it is necessary to try to form an army where employees will have the opportunity to work simultaneously with their preferred professions. In the end, an army does not have to be formed only by the barracks principle. The perspective of continuing the scientific heritage of Armenia and its scientific prospect is questioned by this law.”
According to some experts, the new bill is a compulsory step due to emigration and the scarcity of the Armenian population.
- “The removal of the deferment is not only a result of emigration, but also an attempt to make a young soldier for “the nation” from a young man who has had an active civil “
- “There is a shortage of conscripts as a result of emigration, but the elimination of the deferment, in what way it is done, will have a more negative impact. It is also a question whether after the elimination of the deferment it will be possible to replenish the cadres necessary for keeping education and science in Armenia at least at the minimum “
Nevertheless, this approach is evaluated by some experts as an ineffective mechanism by which the existing problems will not be resolved and new ones will also be added.
- “It is a weak tool for replenishing the It’s about deferment offered by the educational system, which is a small part of the overall deferment, compared to the health care system’s part.”
- “It should be noted that the restrictions of the deferment have started long time ago, when students who paid for their studies were deprived of the right to a It was promised that the youth will continue to engage in their profession, but are there a lot of places in the army, and most importantly, are these infrastructures, laboratories, libraries, scientific connections created in the army, for example, how are Arab studies specialists going to use their profession in the army, and how many Arabologists can do it? The authorities’ claims that this law will not allow anybody to escape from the army anymore, are not serious. Education is the cause of only 10% of the deferrals, and 90% is justified by health problems. This will open new windows of corruption and a large part of the corrupt resource will be shifted from the education sector to the military field, which is another pillar of militarization of the country.
Experts also consider inaccurate and unclear the criterion, according to which the authority to grant a deferment is left to the Government of Armenia.
“According to the bill, the government has the right to provide military service deferment and to discharge separate groups of citizens from military service. As the law does not clearly state the criteria on which the Government should make its decisions, it is evident that such a legislative regulation contains big corruption risks.”
To the question whether there is a direct connection between the Nation-Army program and the emigration rates, two experts have found it difficult to respond, considering that such an assertion requires a sociological survey, but most experts believe that the program can lead to more emigration. According to them, there are already families that take their teenage sons out of the country. Two other experts do not see direct link with these phenomena, in particular, justifying their point of view that there has not been enough time for proving such a correlation.
- “The existence of the Nation-army program has been voiced a year ago, so I do not see direct
connection, as the tempo of the emigration has not changed.”
- “I do not see a direct link. As evidence, the four- day war, during which not only no emigration was noticed, but also thousands of volunteers went to the “
- At the same time, according to the majority of experts, there is a link, and even if it is not so obvious now, the prospect of rising emigration rates is quite
- “There are cases when people emigrate because they do not want their children to serve on the front-line and become victims of this creeping “
- “Since there are no surveys about it, I can not make such an assertion, but there are families who are really hurrying to take their sons out of Armenia until their age of conscription has “
- “The prospect of losing full-fledged education after the adoption of the bill will lead to a new flow of emigration. There is already information that some parents are trying to remove their children from high school from “
- The “Nation-army”program does not exist on the textual level, but two of its components, “I am” and “I have the Honor”, will directly lead to the increase in the number of those escaping from military service. Adolescents will seek to get a secondary education abroad before reaching a conscription age so as not to lose their right to higher education by engaging in military Military service in the Republic of Armenia is not attractive as long as these problems are not solved.”
- “There is a direct Armenia faces a demographic calamity, this elimination
of deferment will deepen the crisis and will empower emigration.”
- “There is a direct link with emigration, it will grow”.
- “Any family who wishes for their child not to serve in such an unsafe environment would do everything to get the boy out of Socially secure families have already left the country in order to avoid the army.”
- “The number of emigrants will increase. The emigration of families with male children already has become a widespread social phenomenon. The militarization of society, especially its elements, such as elimination of deferment, contributes to emigration. It also contributes to the sense of social injustice, as the whole elite does not suffer from it, and all sacrifices are required from “ordinary citizens”.
- “There is no doubt about it. While avoiding military service in the army is not criticized in Armenia, moreover, it is justified, the Armenians will continue to look for ways to escape, many of them will emigrate with their schoolchildren.”
Experts also responded to the question of the role of the church in the Nation-army program. Two of them assessed the presence of clergy in the army positively, but this does not mean that the church should have full involvement in army-related matters.
- “I am not against the presence of clergy in the Armenian But the role of the church should not be institutionalized.”
- “The role of the Church in the military is to support members’ solidarity, mutual assistance, neutralizing criminal “
Most experts have expressed concern about this issue. In their opinion, the AAC should not be included in the current size or have privileges in the army. There is an opinion that the developers of the program seem to look back to the past and not to the future.
- “The involvement of the Church in the privileged status into the army issues creates a problem for the army. It is important for the deferment opportunity to be suspended for religious education institutions as well. And the army servicemen (chaplains) should be accepted only after having served on a general “
- “The Armenian Apostolic Church is the privi- leged structure whose servants are exempt from military service. They serve in the army as clergy (with a wage), which is a manifestation of discrimination and a violation of freedom of conscience and religion. At any of the “Nation- army” events, the clergy support and part of the militarization of the public
- “It is already a privilege that the serviceman will be rewarded, and the role of the Armenian Apostolic Church will be further enhanced in the decisions taken in this “
- “The Church’sroleistoformaclerical-nationalist environment that is manageable, conservative and anti-civilization, in the European perception of this “
- “The government decision to grant to the Gevorgyan seminary students deferment is incomprehensible’. The clerical education, unlike higher education, is not the future of Armenia’s development. It contradicts the principle of nation-army. The nation is diverse, consisting
of representatives of different religions and atheists.”
- “The Gevorgyan Theological Lyceum appears to be privileged than other higher education institutions, which train students to work in the future in different sectors of the economy and create additional value. This is also a step that deepens social “
- The subjective approach of the Minister of Defense is crucial in this issue, who, during the NA public hearings announced that as long as he is a minister, the Armenian Apostolic Church will have a great role in the Armenian Armed Forces. That is to say, we deal with the subjective approach of the Minister of Defense, not the developed program, institutional “
According to one of the experts, the impression is that the minister believes that moral and ethical principles are the AAC monopoly. The Armenian Army is the Armenian Defense Army, not the Armenian Apostolic Church Army. The formulation of “One nation, one culture, one religion”, which is often used in the perspective of the unity of the Armenian people, is not practicable for the army of the secular state, whose task is first of all to ensure the security of all citizens of the Republic of Armenia from external threats.
Experts were asked to clearly define the purpose of the Nation-Army program. The overwhelming majority of them answered that the real purpose is to militarize the Armenian society.
- “The term «militarization» symbolizes the ideo- logy shaping and creating the public demand for militarization in the country. The “Nation-army” concept is nothing else than the preparation of public consciousness, the formation of demand in the context of militarization. In militarized societies, rulers and their supporters are above the law. This is the real goal.”
- “Under the name of “Nation-army” there are many different initiatives, some of which are really aimed at enhancing security (another question is how effective they are), but this project also has a significant propagandist element. There is propaganda of militarization of the society and consolidation around the “supreme leader”, which has nothing to do with the real security of the country. Moreover, this propaganda becomes a smokescreen that conceals the fact that there is no real struggle undertaken against the ineffectiveness of the state system and widespread corruption.”
According to one of the experts, the goal of the program is to call to responsibility those social institutions and citizens whose activities are linked to the main structure of the state’s military security
– the army. It reflects the necessity of mutual support and mutual responsibility for army-society. Meanwhile, many experts say this is simply an attempt to mechanically replenish the army, which does not radically change the problem.
Experts were suggested to imagine Armenia ten years later and answer the question: which perspectives does this program have and how it will be applied in full compliance and adoption of the bill? Many of them have noted that there will be a regress, and more citizens will leave Armenia.
- “Even if we succeed in avoiding war, we will have regress and “
- “We will have a much more conformist and poor society, from a modern society there will be a step to a pre-modern “
- “In 10 years, the population will diminish to at least 2.5 million, as a result of which the armed forces will be required to draft all 18 year- olds, including girls, unless, of course, radical changes will be made in the implemented “
- “In10years,thecurrentgovernmentwilltransition to a full-fledged totalitarian governance model, retaining certain manifestations of fraudulent democracy”
- “This program will lead to any dissident beco- ming «an enemy of the people».”
- “It is a sad picture, an illiterate society around the consolidated institute of violence. Violence will be considered legitimate. Also, the hierarchical, patriarchal structure of society, which will also affect women’s “
- “We will have a very close situation to military ”
A few experts see relatively positive prospects.
“This program can become another regular propaganda campaign, which may be forgotten in 10 years, but if it there is a goal to change the concept of state security and its application mechanisms, we can have another quality of the state, state institutes, military forces.”
“It depends on what will happen in 2018. in April. If Serge Sargsyan succeeds in extending his power, it is likely that “the nation-army” will become the main ideological basis for the prolongation of his power. If it fails to maintain its position in the government pyramid for a long time, it will likely be forgotten about soon.”
At the first stage, a large part of the experts’ suggestions from the experts reflect their negative attitude towards the program. Some offer to cancel the project, remove the agenda, forget about the program. The other part suggests temporarily suspending it and initiating a comprehensive public discussion of the concept in writing. Many experts agreed that this concept has a dangerous tendency and leads to the militarization of the society, while it “has nothing to do with a strong society and the army.” It is recommended to resist militarization as far as possible. As one expert notes, “this concept is itself dangerous to the development of a progressive, developing state.”
Several experts have also touched upon the issue of investigating the deaths of servicemen in the army. It was suggested, for example, to make the army more transparent in terms of civilian control, start a process of solving and investigating cases of civilian casualties, creating a separate commission with the representation of law enforcement and public sector representatives. It is necessary to emphasize the change in the public life from the dominant role of the army to the education and economy, the army can not be efficient without a developed economy and an educated society (for example, Finland’s military-organizational system, where there are no repetitions, the reserve preparation system is the primary concern of the state, is not militarized, it is democratic, and security is perceived much wider than its military component! “
A proposal was made to address a specific
component of the concept, “I have the Honor”.
“It is possible to make a change in the «I have the Honor» program, making it more just, by making it voluntary and tempting rather than compulsive.
- to make studies for Bachelor’s Degree free, or to use the ‘I have the Honor’ program bonus as tuition fee, and, in all cases, enable young people who are studying for undergraduate degree to undergo military training at their place of study. On the other hand, young people who are contracted with the Ministry of Defense, after receiving their bachelor’s degree will be enrolled for 3 years as junior officers of the army, and young people who do not have such a contract and who have paid for their education, will acquire military skills and will join the reservists”
Some proposals, on the contrary, were wider and covered not only the concept but also other related issues, such as education policy.
- In terms of implementing the “Nation-army” concept, the school is the weakest link in Armenia, which must be made apolitical, exclude corruption and increase the quality of education, in particular the physical and spiritual upbringing of the necessary bases for the preparation of future citizens to ensure state
- The nation-army program should be changed to the “nation-science” program, most of the investments should be made in the field of science, including military-industrial. Increasing the quality and level of education will qualitatively change both the public and the army’s potential and will increase not only the military but also the combat readiness of “
Thus, expert opinions collected at the first stage of the survey testify about the thorough research carried out and the high level of awareness of the experts about the current bill and, in general, the “Nation-Army” concept.
Summing up the experts’ responses to the questions raised in the second round, one can claim that they have a clear stand on the Nation-Army program, and the position of each of them remains unchanged after the first round. Most experts have reiterated their negative attitude to the program. Many of them stress the fact that there is no program or written document as such, there are just comments by the Armenian authorities and, first of all, Minister’s speeches on the “Nation-army” concept.
Asked whether the “Nation-army” program can raise public confidence in the army, to help solve the problems existing in the army, a large part of the experts note that the problems are very deep and diverse, and for the presented program it seems that only the replenishment of the numbers of the army is priority, while it does not have ambitions to solve the existing major problems in the army. As one expert notes, the Nation-army program and any other program can not raise the confidence in the Armenian Armed Forces unless the reforms start from inside the Armed Forces.
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“It is important to highlight, which issues we are talking about. If the short-term problem of numbers of soldiers is solved, in the long term there will be a qualitative decline.”
“How can the mistrust formed as a result of accumulated problems over the decades be transformed
by a propaganda concept? The atmosphere of trust in the army will only be restored with tangible steps to solve the problems, which are missing.”
“Specific programs that have been put into action (“I have the Honor “, “I am, “etc.) can improve the situation in some areas by solving specific issues. However, it is premature to say that this is a road to radical reforms in the army, and that public confidence in the army will be substantially increased in the conditions of the current approach.”
“In the public statements of the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia, approaches to the concept of” Nation-army “do not address the issue of raising public confidence in the armed forces.”
“Generally, this is a “compulsory program, “a consequence of the inability of the government to propose, or, when proposed, implement solutions to many problems. It is not only impossible to raise public confidence in the Armed Forces by the Nation-army program, but it will also reduce the level of confidence, which is already low.”
“First, the public perception of the army is dual. There is great confidence in “our boys” and little confidence in the leadership of the army. What issues does the Armenian army have? I use the term “Armenian Army” well, since it consists of both the defense forces of the Republic of Armenia and NKR, and the military service of the RA citizens is not limited to the RA Armed Forces. Primarily these problems are corruption and the wasting of the money, the inadequate satisfaction of the needs of the army and the soldier, the interpersonal relationships model adopted from the Soviet prison and the mastering of that model by the officers… The Nation-army program will not solve radical problems. they will be conserved and transformed. “Experts were suggested to predict possible consequences of the “Nation- army” program on RA security in military, economic and other aspects. Their overwhelming majority points to its negative impact, especially in the area of education and emigration.
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“Human rights violations in the army, cases of death, violations of statutory relations, corruption are not diminished, and there is no objective, effective investigation of these facts. Under such circumstances, the proposed “Nation-army” concept can not lead to the rise of security, as no program is elaborated by the RA Ministry of Defense to eliminate the factors that destroy the security. Moreover, the measures proposed by the “Nation-army” concept will undoubtedly lead to deterioration of the demographic situation as the armed forces do not become more attractive or secure for military service.
“Today many people are taking their sons out of the country. In the sense of the economic perspective, not only the IT sector will suffer greatly, but also the policy that has been voiced over the years for the government to build a knowledge-based economy will fail. In a military sense, the long-term problem of recruiting military personnel, as well as the low commanding staff, will lead to a qualitative decline.”
“If a secondary place is allocated to education, it will also be a blow to economic and social spheres.
Blow to the economy means poverty growth, which in its turn is a favorable factor for emigration. It should be understood that the real risk of war already makes the Armenian army unattractive, and if the problems are not resolved in the Armed Forces, the level of attractiveness decreases several times. Ensuring that the army plays a central role through the use of state leverage, without solving internal problems of the country, will mean contributing to emigration.”
“The main axis of the country’s top leadership has been the military component, in the context of unity. They all used the security factor as a tool for political reproduction. Though all the authorities seek to use security, security, and unity of rhetoric, the perception of the people is different, which is evident in the demographic picture, the decline of confidence, emigration and total alienation. By monitoring the economic component of the militarization, it can be seen that the state budget expenditures for defense in January 2017 increased by 21.7 percent compared to the same period in 2016. 9.5 billion drams spent in the military sector in January 2016, and in January 2017
– 11.6 billion drams.”
“Some of Nation-army’s programs, “I am,” I have the Honor” may contribute to the fact that more young people, including from vulnerable groups, are included in the army. It may solve some short-term problems, but they will not work long- term. “Nation-army” is unacceptable for some part of Armenians as it contains elements of militarism. It should not be excluded that some Armenians will think more about emigration.”
“Years later the country will acquire a surplus of military experts and a sharp lack of civilian
specialists. At that time, it is hard to say whether the state is able to mobilize the necessary number of people for the army, and if the necessary amount of people will be left behind, when the government is not invested in the development of the economy and people are looking for livelihood abroad? That is to say, people leave Armenia not only to get their sons out of the army, but also, first of all, due to the lack of adequate income, adequate medical care, as well as the lack of quality education. As long as the country is moving from economic to military rails, poverty in the country will grow, the economy will fall into the abyss.”
For the Soldiers Insurance Foundation, practi- cally all experts have a negative attitude towards the collection of AMD 1,000 per month from those working in Armenia, considering it a legally unacceptable, economically unfounded and imposed phenomenon that is contrary to the RA Constitution.
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“The law on 1000 AMD is unconstitutional, is a violation of the right of citizens to property and should be eliminated.”
“It’s an anti-constitutional, looting, robbery program, simple and easy, shameless, vulgar.”
“The law of 1000 drams was one of the most illegi- timate and immoral steps in recent Armenian history.”
“A new financial burden has been set on the society in the form of 1000 AMD.”
“The government does not introduce a new tax, but a new kind of duty, there is a problem with the
administration of the duty. This is a precedent for any failure of the government to be compensated from the Armenian citizens’ pockets.”
Some of the experts also make suggestions for the settlement of this issue, in particular, that it will be “not in the form of mandatory duty, but on additional taxes, depending on salary.”
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“It should have been done at the expense of the state budget, and not by putting additional burden on employees.”
“A tax of 1000 AMD is levied on a citizen, which is unusual, as usually tax is levied on income, and in this case everyone pays 1000 drams, irrespective of income.”
“Actually, the collection of 1000 drams is being implemented at the expense of the middle class under the name of implementing the concept of” nation- army”. At the end, it did not become clear whether it was a tax or a donation. And since the donation is made on the principle of voluntarism, and 1,000 drams are compulsory charged independently of human will, we can assume that this is a special tax, but no legal clarification is given.”
“In a certain sense, this is a modified military tax, which, in my opinion, is a matter of necessity. As long as Armenia and Artsakh depend on the existential threat, such non-conforming and non-standard approaches will be required. The success of the project will largely depend on the level of public confidence and transparency of the work.”
At the first stage of the study, events were taking place, that were directly related to the subject of the study. One of the most remarkable and certain public reaction is the wave of student protests (rally, march, strike, hunger strike). In the second round of the survey, the experts responded, in, to the question of how they assessed the first public response to the question of deferment and what are the achievements and failures of the student movement. According to one of the experts, there was no great response, “since Armenia is in a state of war, criticizing the concept creates a difficult situation, many do not dare to express themselves.”
Another expert presented the following list of achievements and omissions related to student movement:
- After April 2016, a section of the public has shown that apathy does not completely absorb civil society actors.
- b) An example of a horizontal, argumentative debate with the authorities was demonstrated.
- A group of students has been self-organized and can also play an active role in identifying and solving issues of concern to civil society in the future.
There was a discrepancy between the issue of the development of science and that of the texts, means, put forward by the movement, which only contained the promotion of the right to deferment. Meanwhile, science development implies a great deal of issues, and the right to deferment can be one of them, but
it can not solve the problem of science development on its own.
Tools selection, in particular, a hunger strike. Hunger strike has become a discredited tool for quite some time.
Inability to show their own specific identity, in particular, the use of some of the government’s vocabulary into the media domain.
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“Student Movement did not achieve any substan- tial success. The young people were inexperienced.” “The public uprising related to the deferment regulation was crucial from the viewpoint of the students’ right to education, in terms of paying attention to the quality of education. Of course, the most important issues related to the concept of “Nation-Army” were left in the background, but the formation of the “round table” format between the National Assembly and the initiative group is a good precondition for the development of public dialogue. Another issue is the readiness of the dialogue-makers in terms of presenting issues of public significance in such a format, justifying them, showing consistency and being faithful to their principles. In that sense, efficiency was, unfortunately, low.”
“The first reaction is normal because of dissa- tisfaction that the students had, who later changed their views and accepted dialogue and tried to understand the motivation behind the bill more closely. On the other hand, the great potential of the students’ self-organization and civic consciousness became obvious. In addition, the student movement revealed the whole archaic nature of the educational and scientific fields, which led to the conclusion that, without the modernization of education and science, the progress of the state and society is largely impossible.”
“The public response took place quite confi- dently and was restricted to a group of student protest rallies. The weakness of organization, lack of promptness in decision-making and lack of leadership was obvious. The protest action was restricted only to that group. As an achievement of the student movement, I can point to the dramatic expansion and activation of the scope of the discourse on the issues that exist in the army and in the field of education.”
“The messages were not clear: why the person should not serve for an additional one year for the deferment, or why a foreign university student should be given a deferment, besides, there was little talk of social injustice and inequality, they were talking about the possible regress in the sciences.”
“This student movement did not have achievements as it did not take the road of the politicization of the process. The opposition and the forces that agreed with the demands of the students should have gone out to the streets, bringing the masses with them.”
“People who do not serve in the army, people who do not understand the need and importance of science are deciding the fate of students, under patriotic disguise, naturally people who understand the importance of science and education should have been dissatisfied and complained about it. The protest movement did not succeed.”
“This was the first civic movement, the organizers of which boldly called their movement political and it was obvious that they were offended by the fact that in the name of social justice in reality social injustice was made deeper, but they did not speak enough about it. For me, this is understandable and even acceptable because there are no other political or civilian groups supporting them, and the pressure on them has been great on all sides.”
“The content of students’ content was mature, balanced, but hasty and late in organizational sense.” To the question whether the “Nation-army” program hinders growth in education and science, the overwhelming majority of experts give a positive response, stressing the limitation of the deferment.
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“It particularly affects the exact or technical science. The program will undoubtedly reduce the level of education and science development.
“The deferment abolishment is an obstacle to ensuring the continuity of education and the free development of scientific potential.”
“In this form, it creates obstacles, there are alternatives that would not create obstacles, but these are not considered. For example, serving three months during the year and completing a 2 year service period throughout the study.”
“It’s a complicated and multi-layered issue. Of course, it hinders your career because two years are cut off not only from science, but also from the world, standing at the frontline of Noyemberyan, Talysh or Karvachar.”
“The introduction of new, conditional forms of deferment brings professional, scientific, educational, cultural, economic, all kinds of human resources to the military, not allowing qualified cadres to secure civilian life. Qualified engineers are not required to be scientists, maybe after graduating from a bachelor degree, for instance, they are already able to create or manage hydro-power plants, for example. This law not only deprives the citizen of the opportunity to continue his profession and education, but also deprives the state of such human resources.”
“Those who are planning their future with civilian specialties, yes, they have a break in education and professional growth. The army is the army of our country and we are all interested in having an educated officer. But we cannot help but be afraid that we can lose civil society and will definitely lose a significant layer of literate people.” “The impact of the Nation-Army program is first of all felt by the educational system. Still in 2014, a memorandum was signed between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia and “the Yerkrapah” Union in order to open “Junior Yerkrapahs” clubs in all the public schools, the schools turned into small military units where military uniforms and weapons were respected. Meanwhile, psychologically military clothing is connected to anxiety and death in a war, and children are being injected with the feeling of
comfort in the garment.”
Experts also add that this approach not only affects the field of education and science, but also
has a wider and more profound impact on the functioning of the society.
“If we consider the issue purely from the point of view of education, we face the problems of social justice and continuity of education. It also leads to the limitation of the possibility of growth and advancement in education and science. Unfortunately, the way this program is presented and the philosophy behind it suggest something else: that the protection of the homeland is not understood as the development of human beings, even in different parts of the army, and the introduction of new technologies, which will lead to the modernization of the army, but simply as serving in the trenches.”
A large part of the experts find that there is a militarist propaganda in Armenia aimed at having an easy, manageable, non-diverse society. At the same time, they talk about superfluous “pathos”, about legitimizing false patriotism and promoting militarism. As one expert notes, “not having any program of state development, the government is covering its absence with patriotic rhetoric.”
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“There is a certain aspect of the imitation of all that in a Russian way, a series of ridiculous, pathetic events cut from reality, which is nothing but stealing the budget.”
“There is no programmed and consistent milita- rist patriotism propaganda in Armenia, there is a primitive and unbalanced, not well calculated, fraudulent, untalented patriotic propaganda cam- paign. The romantic pathos of this propaganda
“stretches” up to adulthood, and then comes the questioning.”
“One of the aims of the prominent propaganda of militaristic patriotism is to strangle sober voices and accuse them in defiance of patriotism or betrayal, conceal the real problems of the army, corruption, nepotism, closed system of procurement, to present the authorities as patriotic.”
Experts of the project also point out army building, rapid replenishment of the army, and public mobilization around the army.
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“The concept of nation-army should have been the issue of preparing each citizen to a state of war. If this issue is not resolved and direct militaristic patriotism is being pushed to the forefront, it can lead to the establishment of the supremacy of military power in the political sphere as well.”
“The nationalist discourse attributes militaristic roles and missions to men and women, and it is the job of boys to become a soldier and die a hero, and girls’ work, to become a mother and to produce soldiers. The propaganda perverted the cultural backdrop of society, educating and bringing up not to prepare for life, but rather to die.”
Experts’ opinions on the possible consequences of the “Nation-army” concept and the propaganda of patriotism mostly coincide. According to them, they have a largely negative influence, which shows itself in almost all aspects of society’s operation.
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“The main and most negative impact is that “militaristic patriotism” has received legitimacy. Such developments are logically driven by the monopoly position of the government both in the political arena and in the economic field and in the fields of defense and security. We must also add the strengthening of the monopoly position of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Armed Forces.”
“Militarization diminishes cultural diversity in public life, limits human, civil and political rights and freedoms in public perception, propaganda of force begins to be perceived as a norm and something preferable. Such restrictions weaken the society and empower the authorities and their reproduction mechanism.”
“The militarization of public life is the most effective instrument of building “Nation-Army”. Education, culture, lifestyle, media: these four factors together alter human beings from civil consciousness to military instruments. Constantly closing the society and arming ourselves is not the idea of a modern state of the 21st century, since human rights and freedoms are ignored, and that is why people want to leave the closed room and are liberated from fake patriotism and pathos.”
At this stage, experts formulated the desired changes to the program and their recommendations.
Answering the question “If you had the opportunity to offer something else instead of the Nation-army program, what would you suggest?” many experts said that they should start making changes in other spheres, initiate larger- scale reforms, and not just solve the issue of army replenishment. The overwhelming majority of them emphasized the need to make changes in the judicature.
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“This project should be a concept of equality of rights and obligations of the RA citizen, the citizen’s active participation in the government of the country, realization of human rights and freedoms, participation in public life, which is a guarantee of security”.
“It is not serious to urge people to love their homeland and to sacrifice their lives for it, parallel with unjustified increases, as monopolies are intensifying… In other words, the regulations inside the state are the most important components of any army reform.”
“Justice is the most important issue. This already concerns not only the Ministry of Defense, but also the whole state system, the independence of the judiciary, the legal norms and their implementation.” “The first step is the establishment of public confidence toward the justice system, separation of
powers and full independence of courts.”
Experts also emphasize the fields of science and education, believing that the proposed program, on the contrary, devalues and ignores their importance.
As one expert notes, “the possibility of deferment should be restored, the changes made to the Law on Military Service were untimely, and they showed the government’s disrespectful attitude to science.”
Another expert thinks: “The prospect of real opportunities can be a “nation-education”, “nation- science” program, which assumes that most investments are made in the field of education and science, including military-industrial complex. The sharp rise in the quality and level of public and professional education will qualitatively change both the social environment and the army’s potential, and will increase not only military but also social capability of Armenia, will create a common and personal interest.”
“Regardless of the fact that the Nation-Army program still does not have a form of a document, if you had the opportunity to change or add anything to the already-taken measures, what would you do or would add to the public’s greater perception and the interests of the public?” was another question. One of the most frequent responses was the proposal to change the role of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the army, the degree of its involvement and privileges. For example, one of the experts thinks “it is necessary to keep the clergy away from the army. or let them serve like an ordinary soldier, or stay in the church.” Similar point of view also occurs in the answers of other experts.
The views and suggestions of the experts regarding the changes were quite diverse, but in a number of points they coincided, in particular, in terms of “I am” and “I have the Honor” components, changes in the education field, the transparency of the army (procurement of food, uniforms, etc.).
Quotes from the Experts’ Answers
“I would cancel the” I am “and “I have the Honor “programs, reduce the presence of the church in the army, at least I would not pay salaries to the clergy from the state budget, I would not allow mandatory- general prayers, would make contacts with the priest optional. I would make the 1000 AMD collection process totally optional and not limited to 1000 AMD, each person as much as they wanted. I would drop the militarization slogans from kindergartens, schools and universities.”
“It is unacceptable to build a modern army on the medieval values, when religion was intertwined with power and nationalism.”
“I propose a change in “I have the Honor” program, it will be right and just to change it from the compulsion to the willing volunteering.”
“There is a need to revise the provision that the deferment will be provided in the future only in case of officers, who serve three years. This from the very beginning dramatically limits the attractiveness of the program and its practical meaning for potential participants. Obviously, the professional education received by many in the three years will significantly depreciate in real terms and the citizen will have to start from scratch. The issue of virtually eliminating the right to a deferment should be broadly publicized in order to find a sophisticated but compromise solution in terms of meeting social justice demands, access to educational rights and protection needs. Serious mechanisms for the protection of human rights in the army are needed. There may be hot-lines, quick response groups, tips, but all of them should be engraved by prominent public figures and structures.”
“The Army Reform would include,
- Amendments to RA Constitution and RA Law on Military Service. The military service should be transformed from a constitutional duty to military service for males and females who had undergone military specialization.
- In the frames of the “Citizen’s Rights” training course, the rights of the conscript would be taught in the school so that those who wanted to become military specialists later would have known their
- I would nullify the order by the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia and the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia on teaching the subject of initial military training, which I would replace with peace and cooperation courses.
- I will cancel the memorandum signed between the Yerkrapah Volunteers Union, the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Education and Science in 2014 to open “Junior Yerkrapah” clubs in all secondary
“In the universities, military chairs need to be restored, each of them being attached to any military unit. Students are given internships in summer holidays, i.e. military training at the military unit adjacent to Higher Education Institutions. In fact, in case of a bachelor’s degree, the officer who has completed his graduation will have served for 6 months, and the master will have served for 8 months, without being dismissed from the educational process. Later, all of them are considered as reservists and they complete their two-years compulsory service, and then regularly participate in maneuvers, knowing exactly where they are and their weapons.”
“In the course of the service, servicemen receive different professional skills, after finishing the service they receive work. Those who have completed regular service receive privileges not only in education, but also in housing and other spheres. Private soldiers are also considered as reservists, knowing exactly where the military unit is to be represented and that the weapon is fixed.”
“With the exception of information containing state and military secrets, the army should be an open structure. For example, set 20,000 dollars for two years of service. Those parents who are ready and have the money can pay state-army budgets and release their child from the army. These funds will include professionals in the army, which will also give them new jobs. The amount of service should be at least as much as possible with two years contracted two servicemen.”
“In the army, on a voluntary basis, but on a paid basis, to involve more female citizens”.
“In the army, in the frontier zone, open a sports facility where all athletes will serve, except those who have reached international success at the age of 18-20.”
“If the service must, however, be compulsory, as demanded in a country in conflict, any government official should inform the lawyer of his / her son’s service location (if the law permits, his / her military unit), starting with the heads of village administrations. Anyone who does not want to serve should pay, and the amount of that fee and the payer’s personality must be published. The soldier’s family should receive a state pension of about 100,000 drams for two consecutive years. If a soldier has no
parents, then that amount should be credited to his account.”
“The existence of the army itself must be perceived as “public interest”. It seems as if every effort is made to show that the operation of the “Nation-army” should significantly weaken the polarization in Armenia, the army should be supplemented with “privileges”. Obviously, the two poles of the society, in different ways, do not believe in this prospect.”
“There can not be any document containing the formula of nation-army in a democratic state. The RA Defense Strategy should respond to the state’s defense issues in a new political situation on the basis of ensuring the constitutional principles.”
Thus, the experts’ suggestions are mostly the following:
- gradual increase in the number and role of professional military personnel;
- Work with all citizens in terms of building skills necessary for military and emergency situations (possession of weapons and, in general, what is referred to as “civil defense”, but not by Soviet imitation methods, taking into account the experience of those countries, that have success stories in this field)
- Technological modernization of the army and localization of military technology production in Armenia;
- Politicization of the army and its separation from the authorities of the day, but at the same time strengthening of public (non-governmental) oversight mechanisms for the army;
- Struggle against corruption in the army and non-formal relations;
- Solution of healthcare issues in the army;
- Measures to increase the level of education of the military;
- Reducing police force and strengthening the army at the expense of the released resources “Coordinated work with media representatives
in the form of discussions, seminars and debates to provide broad public awareness through the media.”
“Replacement of the “Nation-army” with the term “Army-society”, which is more comprehensive and allows to participate in providing the security of Armenia not only to ethnic Armenians, but also minority groups, foreigners and social groups.”
“First of all, we need to add elements of civilian life in the army. We are not aware of the diagnosis. The Ministry of Defense is making changes without presenting the situation and what is the problem solved by the Nation-Army program. The information about the armed forces and its general condition is also closed for non-governmental organizations and experts. The life and health of the military must be insured, too. Thus, the wounded or dead soldier’s family should not depend on the mercy of the MoD or the donation of all Armenians. Military police should either eliminate or reorganize, depriving it of many functions.”
“Providing substantial benefits to the soldier’s life and health insurance and the family of soldiers who have been killed or disabled (e.g. free education for his or her children, job placement, etc.). Implementing an opportunity for deferment or abolition of service in the army for talented citizens,
and in order to do it creating a reliable, effective system for choosing such citizens.”
- “Adoption of a new philosophy of conscription;
- Reviewing the logic of study and service of the officer corps and contract servicemen according to the new philosophy of army / conscription;
- Close collaboration with the innovative economy, development and production of devices, securing the life and safety of soldiers, as well as substituting soldiers in certain
- Ensuring public oversight of food, hygiene, public health and other matters of day-to-day functioning of the”
- “The establishment of the Military Ombudsman Institute, which has not been implemented, despite being included in the previous Action Plan of the Human Rights Strategy;
- Development of a road-map involving the issues of official promotion, education, training, social security, including pensions and housing;
- Defining parliamentary oversight of the procurement process for defense purposes, which does not exist at present;
- Clear definition of the functions of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff, regulation of relations, definition of parliamentary control over mechanisms over them, which implies submission of annual reports by these structures to the National Assembly;
- Enhancement of legal regulations related to ensuring the effectiveness of appeal mechanisms in cases of human rights “
– “It is necessary to abandon the phrase “Nation- army”, which sounds militaristic and is negatively perceived by some parts of society. There is also concealed nationalism and populism in that phrase. It is an unhealthy formulation;
- Repair the line of contact and the front-line, rather than having a few demonstration points and showing them repeatedly to reporters, military experts. Second, build bomb shelters in frontier settlements
- not to enter the arms race with the enemy, but to find other mechanisms of restraint;
- resisting the belligerent and aggressive rhetoric of the opponent, but not giving him symmetrical response and not letting our own society become Turkophobic. Being Turkophobic does not in any way raise the patriotic spirit of the soldier or officer;
- Do not provoke the opponent and respond only when necessary;
- To remain committed to the negotiation process, the continuity of the negotiations is crucial to ensuring security, as one of the key constraints to a new “
“Having an effective program of periodic training for those wishing to volunteer for homeland protection, which should be financed from the state budget.”
“Educate all adult population, women or men aged between 18 and 50, teach basic skills of self-defense, minimal knowledge of weapons and primary health care, inform the Armenian defense map, i.e. shelters and more.
“It’s time for Armenia to gradually introduce a type of army service close to the Swiss model. Each citizen of the male sex is required to undergo military service before the age of 50, once every year for 1-2 weeks, and on a voluntary basis also
perform combat duty. This will always keep the reserve in combat state. Develop a clear concept for the development of the military-industrial complex through attracting qualified personnel from Armenia and abroad. This can create a great field on the one hand for the development of certain sectors of the economy, on the other hand generating additional resources for the army, reducing the military burden on the economy as well.”
Main Conclusions from the Three Stages
Thus, in the first stage of the survey, it became clear that most experts had a negative attitude toward the “Nation-army” program. Many of them have thoroughly analyzed the new law “On the Status of Military Servicemen and Military Service” and in their answers referred to specific articles, points, numbers, formulations, incomprehensible or unclear provisions and so on. It is noteworthy that if in the first stage three experts evaluated this law relatively positively, in the last stage of the research more experts are criticizing and suggesting changes.
At the second stage, all the experts had the opportunity to get acquainted with other responses to the results of the first round without knowing the names of their authors. The same thing happened at the next stage. It is worth mentioning that some experts have cited the results of the previous round, which indicates that they emphasized the importance of meeting others’ opinions and even cited some of the responses from other experts.
The main goal of the third phase was to summarize the positions and to collect concrete proposals. Compared with the previous two phases, the proposals were more diverse at this stage, with detailed references to different aspects of the same area. From these answers it is clear that almost all the experts see a lot of gaps, restrictions, starting from the name and ending with the Nation-army program. Even the expert, who in the first round clearly responded positively to this program, considering it a boost to the responsibility of the Armenian society and the responsibility of various social institutions, offers a number of changes in the last stage, first of all, in changing the name of the program. Thus, in the second stage of the research, many remain loyal to their position and even repeat in some cases in the third stage the criticism of the program, focusing on the gaps, and the proposition of clear changes.