Ar­me­nian gov’t looks for ways to at­tract peo­ple to army

Azer News - - Karabakh Conflict - By Rashid Shiri­nov

As soon as the Ar­me­nian De­fense Min­is­ter Vi­gen Sark­isian took of­fice last Oc­to­ber, he be­gan to gen­er­ate ideas of mil­i­tary na­ture, but none of them was pos­i­tively ac­cepted by the Ar­me­nian so­ci­ety.

His main idea was the cre­ation of the 'na­tion-army' con­cept. It as­sumed that not only those who serve in the Ar­me­nian army but the en­tire pop­u­la­tion of the coun­try must be en­gaged in nu­mer­ous pro­grams re­lated to army – sci­en­tific, re­search, in­dus­trial and oth­ers.

It seems that the Ar­me­nian Pres­i­dent liked this strange idea, as the Ar­me­nian government launched the re­al­iza­tion of this con­cept. Sargsyan has also par­tic­i­pated in the ‘Na­tionArmy-2017’ con­fer­ence on April 20.

At the event, the min­is­ter Sark­isian un­veiled his new ideas that are clearly aimed at the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of the Ar­me­nian pop­u­la­tion. He pro­posed two pro­grams on the mil­i­tary ser­vice – “I have the honor” and “It’s me.”

The first pro­gram targets for the univer­sity grad­u­ates of Ar­me­nia – they are pro­posed to serve in the army for three years with the rank of Lieu­tenant. Upon com­ple­tion of the ser­vice, they will re­ceive financial as­sis­tance for their Mas­ter’s stud­ies. It is note­wor­thy that their ser­vice pe­riod will be ex­tended for a year in this case – cur­rently Ar­me­ni­ans serve for two years in the army.

The sec­ond pro­gram is de­signed for those re­cruits who wish to serve on the bor­der – that means mainly in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries of Azer­bai­jan. In this case, they will serve same three years and will get five mil­lion drams ($10,300) at the end.

It is ob­vi­ous that mil­i­tary ser­vice in Ar­me­nia is very un­pop­u­lar and the au­thor­i­ties go all out to change the sit­u­a­tion. How­ever, the so­lu­tion to the prob­lem is quite sim­ple. To make the ser­vice at­trac­tive, the Ar­me­nian au­thor­i­ties just need to pro­vide law and order in their armed forces, so that the sol­diers could fi­nally serve in nor­mal con­di­tions.

The sit­u­a­tion in the Ar­me­nian army units leave much to be de­sired. Sol­diers of some Ar­me­nian units do not re­ceive even the min­i­mum of the nec­es­sary pro­vi­sion. The sol­diers are fed with poor-qual­ity food, while un­san­i­tary con­di­tions pre­vail in mil­i­tary units; con­ta­gious dis­eases, es­pe­cially the in­fec­tious ones are wide­spread there.

In ad­di­tion to these ter­ri­ble con­di­tions, the Ar­me­nian army of­fi­cers of­ten abuse their sol­diers, as well as steal and sell their clothes and food. There are also many deaths of Ar­me­nian sol­diers in ‘mys­te­ri­ous’ cir­cum­stances.

It is note­wor­thy that the sec­ond pro­gram that Sark­isian pro­posed is quite ab­surd. While Ar­me­nian mothers reg­u­larly gather in front of government agen­cies de­mand­ing to pun­ish the killers of their sons, who died in non-com­bat con­di­tions in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries of Azer­bai­jan, Sark­isian wants to at­tract more re­cruits to Nagorno-Karabakh by propos­ing them much money.

Thus, in­stead of com­ing to the ne­go­ti­a­tion ta­ble with Azer­bai­jan over the long-last­ing NagornoKarabakh conflict, the Ar­me­nian government is clearly try­ing to mil­i­ta­rize its na­tion. While the Ar­me­ni­ans and Azer­bai­ja­nis can live in peace af­ter re­solv­ing this conflict, the Ar­me­nian au­thor­i­ties try to in­crease the ha­tred of its cit­i­zens to their neigh­bors.

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