For the past couple of years the political tastes have completely and irreversibly changed in Armenia. The old system still exists but it is becoming always more “old-fashioned” and tasteless.
Several years ago Armenia was seen as an obedient satellite of Russia, a country where it is impossible to uproot the Soviet “party” and economic traditions and the newfound oligarchic tumor, a country where people keep silent, and whenever they protest, they are shot, where the oligarchs have impunity, set the fashion of black clothes and low-quality music. Children dream of SUVs and bodyguards and gold chains and people with Western sentiment were considered potential spies.
Now, the taste has changed in Armenia. The Russian sentiment is not fashionable anymore and people are facing Europe. Moreover, even the ruling party announces the country’s orientation to the European integration. Tastes have changed so sharply that the parties which were proud of their links with Russia and Belarus are now trying to hide it. The Armenian National Congress does not touch upon this issue at all. Being against the European integration is not a good idea but they cannot support it either since they would thus support Serzh Sargsyan.
The oligarchy is out of fashion too. Those who were proud of being called oligarchs and affirmed that an oligarch is the rich man who is committed to the nation now tend to show off their son’s Cambridge diploma.
The taste of the government has also changed. Now they are not ashamed of taking into consideration the public opinion. On the contrary, it is considered bad when they do not. If the government once feared to meet the requirements of the society and it was considered a weakness, now it is understood that democracy is fashionable and civilized.
The civil society’s taste has also changed. Earlier if the society pointed its criticism and protests to specific events and scandalous facts, now struggle has become more ambitious, and broader demands are put forward. For example, after the incident of Harsnaqar not civil demands of narrow scope but broad political claims were put forth. The citizens required the removal of the oligarchic system.
Although old tastes still persist and the oligarchs are still in the parliament, now the movement is not by inertia. The change of political tastes cannot but lead to structural change.