The civil institution is a system of legal norms which strengthens the connection between the individual and the state, creating direct relations. That is, if family ties are horizontal-network ties and are called to strengthen the dependence a group of people have to one another, then citizen–state relations are vertical relations, which are coordinated for all with equal, legislative, normative acts and have clear regulated institutional demarcations that are mutually controlled and mutually complementary.
This is the opinion of journalist Zara Hovhannisyan raised at the Feb. 5 meeting of the Small Council, a group of local artists, journalists, art critics and others who meet regularly to discuss public and political issues. This meeting focused on the theme of “current Armenian familiar relations and the problem of creating civil society.”
Hovhannisyan noted that, according to Armenia’s constitution, the country is a democratic, social and legal state where human dignity, rights and freedoms are respected and protected. But that, according to the journalist, is only on paper: in truth, there exists in Armenia a system of state governance driven by grave violations of a constitutional order, where a person is unprotected, defenseless.
“In such circumstances, there is a vacuum and the impossibility of creating a civil institution, resulting in vertical relations, naturally, giving way to horizontal, network relations, through which attempts are made to regulate people’s relationships, lifestyle and way of life.
“This creates what we have: a criminal-oligarchic system, the main driving force of which are families, which do not obey Armenia’s laws because they have their own written or unwritten laws; they do not consider those who are not members of their family as equal citizens. Protected are those people who are included in the clan, in the pyramid, friend, brother, cousin, who undoubtedly is subject to internal rules of procedure and in any case of deviation, is punished with the most severe strictness of the clan.
“In this system, choice, love, rights are prohibited. Everything is decided by the head of the clan; you don’t have the right to make choices on love,” she said.
All this, added Hovhannisyan, gives the family a dominant role, without the state proposing sufficient conditions for the creation of a civil institution.