POLICY DOCS // 

Role of State in Transition

06.06.2000

by Dr. Armen Darbinian

 

Every nation in a definite stage of its history creates a national state as an evidence of its self-determination. Today the western prototype of a democratic republic is to be one of the most efficient from the state models familiar to civilization. It embraces all the requirements that a civil society presents to a state.

Within the countries in transition, Armenia is among them, re-comprehension of state's role has a definite preponderance, as in the existing conditions the state not only should ensure the undisrupted activity of state institutions and productive substructures, but as well create favorable conditions for the development and progress through protection of human and citizens' rights and their liberty.

Selection of our state model in 1991 was a consequence of the national referendum, announcing establishment of an autonomous and democratic republic.

Republic, as a state's organizational-legal model, naturally comprises absolute values, such as separation of powers, independent court system, liberal economy, liberty of conscience, press, religion and political parties' activity.

Through this choice our nation proved the high level of its consciousness, representing itself to the World as an already formed, set and focused on the democratic values ethnic entirety. The principles of democracy, as absolute values, actually need to be reinforced in the social practice. Hence, in conditions of the newly formed democracy they are exceptionally fragile. Here, the main role of the state is to ensure a social practice, during which those values will be converted into absolute and nonreversible.

The history shows that all the ideologies of transnational character are convicted from their origin. The idea of state formation and national values' reinforcement, as the highest form of national self-determination, is more powerful and creative. Our history also proved, that striving for national self-determination is a far stronger force than any transnational or class ideology.

With reference to the history of our third republic, it is possible to legibly distinguish three main stages of development.

First stage includes the 1991-1995 years' period. It may be described as a period of getting accustomed to the independence and strengthening the autonomy. In this stage there was a match of interests of the authorities and the people. As within every state, aimed for independence, this period in Armenia may be considered as a period of harmonious development without any political breakdowns. It was a time of creation of the institutional grounds for state formation.

The second stage including the 1996-1997 years' period may be above all described by stagnation phenomena. For the NIS the conception of this stage is predetermined by the availability of spread of democratic values, due to people's social practice and state's geopolitical location, therefore its natural resources. If the state possesses neither enough social practice, nor natural resources fostering the development process, then this stage, as a rule, will be fraught with unwanted consequences.

When the state has to lead the society towards wide-raging structural reforms, and when transformation of the accepted forms of property is unavoidable, the risk of deflection from the intended course of development is dangerously high. Naturally it begets hesitations about the rightness of the selected course of development. Here, it becomes indispensable to demonstrate steady will and make a political decision either to retreat or to go ahead. If the authority accepts the course of reforms simultaneously ignoring the Social factor, then it is convicted.

In the case of Armenia it was fairly proved, when the reforms got a negative impression in the people's consciousness. The social basic principles didn't serve as a basis for the republic model. This was the most considerable lapse (overlook) of our state's creators. As a consequent, state formation became the privilege of a group of people, generating opposition of vast stratums.

Unsurprisingly, the state made efforts of self-protection, becoming an aggressor. The activities of some political parties and newspapers were prohibited. The greatest mistake was made: it was destruction of the values, formation and reinforcement of which was accredited to the state itself.

The third stage begins from 1998. It may be qualified as a period of regeneration of the democratic values and initiation of the civil society. The controversy around Karabakh having a determinative magnitude and launching the national liberation movement in 1988, served as a basis for the aforesaid processes. The aim for state maintenance and national self-determination once more united the people. The state faced a change of power the social imperative of which was the same: to reinstate the values obliterated as a result of the social factor's disregard.

The second significant role of the democratic republic is creation of favorable conditions for country's economic development that may be fulfilled through reinforcement of the economic freedom based on the private property. Here, the state's main function is to find actual mechanisms for privatization coordination and productive property management.

Today in Armenia the major part of the state ownership is already privatized. The private sector's output makes the 75% of the country's GDP. However, there is a lack of effective devices for private property management. Furthermore, we are in such a state when the private property management yields to the Soviet model of the public property management by its efficiency. Why?

Firstly disregard of the social factor caused inconsistency in the process of reformations.

Parallel to the privatization fulfillment we couldn't form a market aimed at sale of the privatized commodities. We failed in creation of land, law, as well as capital markets thus ensuring property and law turnover.

Second, the state didn't succeed in creation of real mechanisms intended for the ownership protection. The reformations of the legal field were delayed by two-three years, carried out in such a period when the process of property redistribution was about to end up.

Third, the state as an immediate participant of the economic transactions has to be converted into a state, the main principle of which is to organize the activity of private agents thus ensuring the legal grounds for a free competition. From the other hand in such spheres of natural privilege as the power system, water supply, intercommunication, telecommunication and etc., the state should undertake the function of coordinator and consumers' interests' protector. However, in this case as well devices for accomplishment of the state's regulative function haven't been formed yet.

Fourth, it's irrefutable that under any circumstances there will be a social group requiring state assistance. Within the countries in transition, not similar the developed ones, there are also stratums still refusing the rules presented by the new social structure.

All these issues are all-encompassing, therefore, it is impracticable to achieve their solutions without support of the already stated democracies.

The second considerable role of state comprises development and formation of relationships between nations. Every nation wants to be aware of the role and position of its state in the worldwide civilization. With this regard the problem of Armenia is more complicated by existence of the Karabakh conflict. From the standpoint of natural justice this conflict should be examined as a key issue of the national self-determination, the embodiment of which is the national state.

Existence of this conflict isolated Armenia for years and enforced the authorities to look at the World through the prism of conflicts. A complex has been formed, deterring the state from specifying its role and position in the sphere of International cooperation.

Yes, Armenia accepts the indispensability of the conflict's peaceful resolution, but it doesn't restrict our freedom. Active participation of Armenia in the TRASECCA, INOGATE and other programs having a regional significance, as well as elaboration and accomplishment of joint projects, is an essential step towards it.

In the sphere of international cooperation the major role of state is the creation of favorable conditions for its economic agents and fixation of the regulations by the international conventions.

From this viewpoint Armenia's accession to the WTO should be observed as an exceptional opportunity of free competition for our economic agents, and will simultaneously foster the internal production.

Thus, every nation as an ethnic entirety, in a definite stage of its history forms a state as an incarnation of its national self-determination. The state, in its turn, forms a civil society. The civil society protects the state.

State embodies the demand of people's self-organization. Republic is the most productive form of state. The democratic republic is an absolute value.

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