Only the civil society fights with the consequent destruction of the environment. How does this thesis work? At which stage of development are these public movements now? What kind of solutions are proposed by the civic activism? Armine Ishkanian, Lecturer at London School of Economics and Political Science conducted three-year-long studies on the civil movement in Armenia focusing on environmental activism and summed up the findings in her publication entitled “Civil society, development and environmental activism in Armenia”. The presentation of this book was held at EcoLur Press Club on 24 December with the participation of environmentalists, activists and 'Socioscope' NGO, while the author took part in the discussions on-line from London.
"The activism undergoes another stage of its logical development, i.e. it polarizes. Amy movement, which doesn’t receive a just decision based on professionalism, turns into a political decision, while no issue in Armenia is given a solution based on professionalism,” thinks “green” movement activist from “Teghout Support” Arthur Grigoryan. He brought the example of Mashtots Park: "The problem with four "hooligan” pavilions was decided only with the direct participation of the person, which is de-facto the acting president now,” he said. “Green” activist from “Teghout Support” Hrayr Savzyan outlined two stages of studies, environmental activism and activism in general in Armenia.
“The environmental activism is connected with the wave of environmental protest demonstrations late in the 80s, which was suppressed because of war and the quake and it was criticized as an obstacle to economic development. The second stage has been continuing from 2007 to nowadays. I think we are currently in the third stage, as the activism and the civic initiatives have modifies the nature of these movements.” Hrayr Savzyan brought the example of recent socio-economic problems such as gas, transport, mandatory pension accumulations, which have a completely new nature. “In 2007-2009 we were thinking how to save Teghout forest. Now we get deeper into the problem and we understand it's impossible to solve this problem without ensuring the environmental component. We won't change the whole policy by saving one mine or forest,” he noted. The activist also noted the main problem in civil activism is the absence of political knowledge, which is gained through self studies. There is not sufficient communication with foreign activist groups. In this regard the author Armine Ishkanian outlines that civic initiatives are, to a certain extent, in crisis. ‘Seeing their efforts are useless they want to get changes, but they don't know how. I'm concerned that the civil movement will get weaker after getting into the political field. The balance should be maintained,' she noted.
Activist from Switzerland Artush Yeghiazaryan demonstrated his vision how the Diaspora can affect on the solution to the problem and to activism development: "The Diaspora is very concerned, but concerns can change nothing. Only 200-300 people struggle out of 7-8 million, but this problem concerns to everybody,' he said. Artush Yeghiazaryan also noted that has established a NGO in Geneva, which will serve as a platform for the Diaspora. "Many people try to help through us, for example, in solving the problem with Teghout. We propose alternative economic projects for people to see they are able to earn 150,000 – 200,000 AMD not only in mining industry,' he said. Arthur Grigoryan presented the economic and legal problems of the mining industry, 'Now they sought to contrast ecology with economic development.
As a matter of fact, the problem is socio-economic, as it is connected with the deterioration of the social life of the population. As a result of mining industry people's health is deteriorated, which is not compensated in any way. The government received negligent percentage from the profits in the mining sector, while the factual profit goes to the 'holes' of offshore zones,' Grigoryan said. Under him, non-radical issues are not solved in civic format. ‘Only systematic changes can solve the problems. In Armenian context, the increased factor of political influence is a very natural process. Then, when we will have more or less normal public relations, we may separate the civil movement from the political one,' Arthur Grigoryan said.
13:50 December 25, 2013