The Armenian Ministry of Defense has made a statement relating to a draft bill submitted to the National Assembly, which is already known by the name 1000 Drams Initiative.
The Ministry of Defense launches a series of discussions with different social groups.
“The purpose of discussions is to present the program of adding state insurance payment in case of murder or disability of servicemen during military actions and military duty and exchange of opinions on it,” the statement of the Ministry of Defense runs.
The statement is quite logical, expected and it would be welcomed had there not been for a small circumstance. The initiative is already a bill and is being circulated in the National Assembly under an accelerated procedure. This controversial initiative has caused a backlash and criticism, and the arguments of the opponents are mismanagement and corruption in the ruling system.
When the initiative is in parliament and is discussed at an accelerated pace, it is at least strange that the Ministry of Defense initiates public hearings. This initiative should be preceded, not follow the submission of the bill to the National Assembly.
It goes without saying that this problem requires a solution, especially with the direct participation of the public in a country at war. It also goes without saying that Armenia should have raised this issue at a government and public level one, two, twenty years ago.
At the same time, there were a lot of obvious factors which would make the backlash to this initiative and controversy inevitable, first of all, the inefficient governance and corruption, and more importantly, the gap between the challenge of war and the luxury life of the elite.
Hence, when this initiative was being conceived, adequacy and far-sightedness demanded to consider these factors and present the problem in a war as to achieve an adequate understanding of the problem instead of a public backlash.
In other words, the Ministry of Defense should have initiated public discussions before the elaboration and submission of a bill to the National Assembly. Moreover, the public discussions should have been launched with a bill which would, in the first place, suppose increased contribution by the elite comprising millionaires for the needs of the army, which would be adequate to the existing challenges.
Besides, the next step would be an increase in public responsibility, which would be considered in a different atmosphere with other milestones and criteria.
Yet the discussions initiated by the Ministry of Defense could have become rational and logical if the ministry of defense announced in parliament to withdraw the bill until discussions are complete. Public discussions would then be genuine public discussions. Otherwise, when the government pushes a bill with one hand, and announces discussions with public at large, the purpose of discussions is to mark time and to deafen the problem.
In addition, this step could be effective from a tactical point of view.
However, in this situation the problem has a bigger context and expresses the extent to which the government changes. At the end of the day, the problem is wider and deeper in a historical context, the new and maybe the last change for our statehood. The specific bill is just an episode that does not resolve the problem.
Because, as one of the first steps of the government announcing about changes and symbols of changes. This step is related to a very important and sensitive topic, does this with traditional methods and approaches in which the perception of state and statehood and the perception of the mission of statesmen is equalized to 1000 drams.