One year ago, on May 8th, the Armenian National Assembly elected Nikol Pashinyan as the new prime minister of the country, to bring the people’s revolution to its triumphant and logical conclusion. Two weeks before that, on April 23rd, under the pressure of the popular uprising, former president and Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan submitted his resignation and stepped down, openly admitting that, “He was wrong, and Nikol was right”.
After Sargsyan’s resignation, the former ruling Republican Party tried to find ways to stay in power, relying on its parliamentary majority. Yet again it failed to withstand the people’s movement, and was forced to surrender the full power to the leadership of the revolution. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Republic Square to celebrate this historic occasion. The overwhelming joy was evident not only in the Homeland, but also throughout the Diaspora.
During the past twelve months major changes took place in Armenia. The oligarchy has ceased to exist, systemic corruption has greatly diminished, steps were taken to eliminate economic monopolies, and the roll of businessmen in the management of the country were curtailed. Besides this important changes, free and fair elections were held and a new Parliament was formed. The level of freedoms generally, and in the media in particular have improved. The people began to feel that they are involved in the country’s governance. Most importantly, emigration began to show signs of slowing down, as the young generation had hope in the future of their country. This week Prime Minister Pashinyan held a press conference and pointed to 100 positive changes that his government was able to achieve during its first year in office.
As with any new and inexperienced government, mistakes and shortcoming were inevitable. Some of the criticisms voiced against the Pashinyan government are justified, but they are mainly related to secondary issues. Often immediate solutions are found to correct these issues, as soon as they are brought to attention. The government has not been afraid to admit its mistakes and to take corrective actions. The challenges the leadership of the country is now facing in foreign affairs, economic, social, and other spheres are immense. Problems accumulated over the past twenty years can hardly be tackled in one or two years. Currently, the most important challenges facing the Pashinyan government are socioeconomic. Reducing the levels of poverty, creation of jobs, and improvements in the standard of living of the citizens of Armenia are priorities. Tangible step are being taken in these regard, but there is a long way to go to reach to the level that the people aspire to.
On the first anniversary of the revolution, we should all appreciate what has been achieved in a short period of time. Positive changes are there to see for everyone for whom the future of Armenia is a matter of utmost importance. In that sense the country is on the right track.