As one speaks about Armenian nationalism, it is difficult to avoid comparison with other nations, which means comparison with the past. However, it is more important for us to juxtapose the present situation and the problems facing the Armenian nation and the state of the Armenian traditional nationalism, understand these problems and assess the understanding.
It is clear that the nationalist wing is the most split one in the Armenian society. This split is not caused by principal difference of ideas but is the consequence of organizational and personal problems. Hence, some generalizations can be made on the basis of shared outlook.
These groups are united in some key issues. Traditional (pre-modern) family, rejection of liberal democracy, rejection of the Western civilization, search for the individual Armenian way on the conservative ground. In formal terms, this wing can be described as right conservative. However, the problem is that the Armenian “conservative nationalism” is not nationalism of big capital, capitalism, but petty bourgeois, communistic, with strong commune-tribal influence, while the offered model of family and subsequently the human species is pre-modern. Hence, in fact, the Armenian nationalism is not even conservative as compared with modernism, it is regressive compared with today’s society. It is classic counter-modernism.
In case of assessment by way of approaches to development models of the society one can state that Armenian nationalism, recognizing the industrial period, does not assume the society formed in the result of industrialization as a model of development. An ideal structure of society is the rural community, the city is set inferior to the village. A blessed family is not the modern nuclear family but the traditional extended rural multi-generation family under the same roof where not only the woman is not equal to the man but also man does not have freedom, the head of the family is the grandfather.
However, if pre-modern morality was based on religion while modernism is secular, the counter-modern morality is an esoteric Christian-pagan mix. It rejects the atheism of modernism, justifies the right to form elite and the rule of this elite, proceeding from commitment and compliance with eternal metaphysical ideas, not the principle of aristocracy of pre-modernism, or the electoral principle of modernism, or education and other free vertical mobility principles. This morality system is based on full indoctrination of ideas in all spheres of life, independence from everyday household, social or technological, economic expediency which are considered as inferior as low objects (non-value or non-idea).
The nation is declared the central subject, while so is considered the group of devotees who must carry the load of government for not fully devoted ones. The exercise of governance allows even unlawful use of force because the charisma of devotees is higher than general law. Hence, the calls for national unity, in fact, split the nation to authentic and non-authentic, while social issues are ignored due to the dominance of the “national” issues.
If we juxtapose this with another nationalism – modern nationalism – which is based on the citizen and the city (with all its disadvantages), which is the industrial ideology and consequently the supporter of extended relations and invasion, which considers the nation a political, not ethnic phenomenon based on the urban nuclear family, woman’s right to work and universal education and atheism, it will be clear that now in Armenia we deal with counter-modernism, not nationalism, and regress, the urge to return to the pre-industrial state, not conservatism. For its part, regress is based on de-industrialism and asocialization.
In terms of ideology it is necessary to note to that the understanding of the possibility of limiting social, human development and at the same time ensuring the development of industry, science and technology for the purpose of national pureness are based on the fear and lack of confidence of nationalists rather than misperception, the fear that the “strongest of northern peoples” will not be able to ensure development and lack of confidence in their own people, that in the result of this development new Armenians will not be able to appreciate their past, country and nation. Although today the price of an inadequate and non-actual state is the price of an air ticket, and the price of the political duty to the alien and alienated state is 5000 drams. And no doctrine, no ideological system without the solution of everyday human problems will impart with value a state or a political force for which a common citizen is not value.
Counter-modern nationalism understands regress and conservation as a means of supporting existence against the hostile world which it hates and fears at the same time rather than development. Commune, tribal thinking considers that the world (community) is powerful and hostile. Thus the “nationalist” tries to combat it with hatred, the Armenian commune “liberal” wishes to surrender to the community voluntarily. Both are doomed.
On the other hand, the Armenian criminal business is too far from being called industrial in general and capitalism in particular. The existing criminal state is unable (I am not considering willingness) to ensure substantial conditions for economic, social, educational, cultural development in the native land, and whatever is created is not competitive with other countries, is not sufficient for the number of the population, its quality and requirements, which has led to mass emigration and transformation of the modern cultural surface in the country.
The misery of the Armenian state and the inertia of tribal thinking have generated a desire to become closed, self-contained, molded, conserved, return to the idealized Village to escape from the alien City. It is understood that this situation satisfies the post-modern City which imagines itself to be a head office while the world as a subject territory which supplies resource.
This City will nonetheless take from Armenia what is needed – brains and young hands, natural resources and capital, while the right of other nations to return to the Village is only encouraged.
In this meaning, the modern Armenian nationalism – counter-modernism – is an ally of post-modernism, without knowing it. Since by rejecting post-modernism the Armenian nationalists reject also the European civilization, by rejecting the Soviet past they also reject modernism.
An interesting cycle is in place. The ability to talk to the world is based on internal dialogue and social agreement, and finally only the City can talk to the City. Village-Armenia can be an attachment and resource base of another City.
One of the declared aims of Armenian counter-modernism is to enable the world to hear the voice of Armenia. However, modern nationalism within the framework of counter-modernism is simply unable to talk to the world because it does not want to have its own place and be part of this world and have its own City. And it is impossible to retrieve this place without the great European civilization and culture and eastern roots because these are intrinsic parts of our culture and post-modernism and Europe cannot be identified.
It is another issue that Europe-phobia stems from European racism which uses it to fight its competitors and enlarges the territory of technologically and socially backward Village, its subject.
The other point which unites our Armenian liberal post-modernism and national counter-modernism is the anti-Soviet sentiment as total rejection of Soviet Armenia and the past 70 years. It is possible to reject Soviet but not Soviet Armenia because there was no other Armenia in that period. If it is rejected, we need to be consistent and reject also the servants of the criminal bloody regime of Stalin, namely Baghramyan, Khanjyan, Miasnikyan and others, it is necessary to forget by who, when and how the Opera and the Library of Manuscripts, educational and scientific institutions were built. It will turn out that the preceding 600 years of historical non-existence will increase by another 70. This is a good basis for ensuring the next years of historical non-existence… We are an old people but a young nation and constant “rejuvenation” by others is a means of directing the Armenian people by cutting them from the root.
The Armenian society with its absolute majority wants to get back the place of its country and people in the world, give the world what belongs to the world and receive what belongs to it. And this society will support only those who will be able to talk to the world on behalf of everyone and return to the Armenians their History.
Armenia has only one way to survive. It is the way of quality, development, higher productivity, education, social and political mobility than its competitors, and full use of the capacity of each member of the society.
In the period of industrialism technological development could be somehow juxtaposed to non-modern society. This is impossible in the post-industrial economy and technology. Technology requires social reform unless the nation is not on the track for competitiveness. The ways of development of Armenia and secondary – double industrialization and post-industrial development – require modern nationalism, conservatism and liberalism. In order to afford a fossilized archaic counter-modernist society which is a consumer, exports resource and lives on this resource it is necessary to have the oil resource of Saudi Arabia or have such strategic partners as China for North Korea which does not insure against famine and consistently ensures full distortion of original goals.
The Armenian people feel these things consciously and subconsciously and any appeal for regress does not make counter-modern nationalism actual and popular. It will remain marginal, as any way of counter-development.