Everything is normal in the Armenian army; the 30–40 cases of death are exceptions, said Garegin Khumaryan, a journalist and former soldier, on a panel at the public forum “The Army and Society’ organized by the Civilitas Foundation.
“That which happens in the army also happens in school, at university. It’s just that the army is a closed system, which is why there’s an outcry on incidents in the army,” he said.
In Khumaryan’s opinion, it’s too bad there isn’t “Dedovshchina” in Armenia’s armed forces. Dedovshchina or Diedovshina is the term given to the informal system of subordination or subjection of new junior conscripts to brutalization by officers and more senior conscripts.
“The poor child can remain miserable for 2 years [the length of regular compulsory military service], since, unfortunately, there is no Dedovshchina in the Armenian army,” said the journalist, implying that if hazing or subordination to senior officers by junior conscripts took place then at least they would have some reprieve.
Another panelist, head of the defense policy department at the RA Ministry of Defense Alexandr Avetisyan, in turn, said there isn’t such a thing as Dedovshchina in the classical sense (meaning, from Soviet times) in the Armenian army.
“However, Dedovshchina is legalized in some armies around world, as, for instance, in Greece,” said Avetisyan, adding that Dedovshchina is at play not only in the army, but also in post-secondary educational institutions.
“For example, the same can be said about universities: during each recess, groups of students can be seen who gather, clarify issues with those in senior years and so on,” said the defense ministry staff member.