The 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of Armenia’s independence is an important milestone for the Armenian nation. Armenia’s declaration of independence was not only a nail in the coffin of the oppressive Soviet empire it was another chance for the Armenian nation to assert its right to statehood. Today, the Republic of Armenia is the epicenter of our national aspirations and the hope for justice and historical retribution.
The Republic of Armenia is also the natural continuation of the heroic stance of a generation that rose from the ashes of the Genocide and valiantly fought to liberate Armenia from centuries of imperial rule and create an independent republic in 1918.
The last 20 years have been dominated by challenges for the entire nation and have elevated the will and determination of the Armenian people to tackle those issues collectively, all for the cause of strengthening the Armenian state.
Armenia’s statehood is sacred. In the last 20 years we have witnessed events and turning points that have demonstrated the sheer resilience of our people and instances that have tested the very foundations of the state.
There’s no doubt that the positive achievements of the last 20 years have indelibly strengthened the foundations of the Armenian state, but it is how the critical challenges impacting the citizens of Armenia have been tackled that will set the course for the future of our state.
What has been missing in the last 20 years is the voice of the lay citizen. That voice has been muffled, often due to the critical imperatives facing our nation, but more commonly because successive government have perpetuated the Soviet model where the citizen had no say in the state’s affairs. The glaring absence of that voice from the national discourse has resulted in social inequality, economic disparity and a disconnect with reality. The ruling elite has encouraged the stifling of the voices and has looted the nation’s wealth paving the way for mass emigration, which is the most fundamental threat to Armenia’s national security.
This reality threatens democracy and the advancement of democratic values. 20 year ago an overwhelming majority of Armenians voted for independence in a referendum. That same resolute voice needs to return to the people so they can be empowered to determine the future of our state and our nation.
Let’s proudly celebrate the milestone that is the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of Armenia’s independence, but let us not lose sight of the fact that confronting the challenges facing the Armenian state requires national resolve and a collective commitment. Together we can raise our voices against injustice, band to fights threats foreign and domestic and make the dream of a United Free and Independent Armenia a reality.
Happy Independence Day to the entire Armenian nation.