Armenia: Health or democracy crisis? [EN]
The new coronavirus is an important test for democracies in all over the world. The
pandemic has revealed the truth about the Armenian government as well.
As of May 22, Armenia has reported 5928 infected cases of coronavirus and 74 deaths.
According to the Worldometer website, Armenia is the record holder in the region in terms
of the number of infected people registered per 1 million people.
- Armenia 1892
- Turkey 1823
- Iran 1542
- Azerbaijan 370
- Georgia 181
Thus, Armenia stays the hardest-hit country in the region with per capita coronavirus cases.
On May 14, 2020, the Armenian government decided to extend the state of emergency in the
Republic of Armenia for another 30 days. The state of emergency was initially declared on
At the same time, nearly all restrictions related the spread of the virus were almost
completely lifted: the public transport was put into operation, all the shops, public catering
facilities, gyms, preschools, etc. were opened. In such circumstances, it is clear that the
imposition of a state of emergency pursues absolutely illegitimate goals, one of which is to
ban rallies. With this move, the authorities prove that the only way to curb growing public
discontent is to restrict people’s basic rights.
On May 20, dozens of young people were detained by the RA Police without real legal
justification, as well as members of the RPA Youth organization, including YRPA (Youth of
the Republican Party of Armenia) Chairman Hayk Mamijanyan, together with the
representatives of other organizations.
Taking advantage of the state of emergency, the authorities are not really fighting against the
virus, but against the opposition, trying to suppress the growing public discontent and
dissent. Failing to fight the coronavirus, the government is taking action against hundreds of
thousands of disgruntled citizens, unjustifiably restricting their fundamental freedoms and
The oppositional Republican Party of Armenia that has expressed its solidarity in the first
days of pandemic and has presented a number of suggestions to fight against it, which were
neglected, is still facing a political persecution. The Republicans strictly condemn the
practice of undermining democracy in Armenia and require the government to eliminate
unjustified and disproportionate restrictions on human rights and freedoms. The party urges
the authorities to take urgent and effective measures to improve the social situation of
hundreds of thousands of Armenian citizens, as well as to actually and effectively fight for
The attention of the international community should be focused on the deepening
manifestations of authoritarian populism in the country. Moreover, allowing populist
governments to use the health crisis as a political tool in their hands will become a huge
crisis for democracy.
Lilit Beglaryan, MBA
Deputy Chairman – Democrat Youth Community of Europe (DEMYC)
YRPA International Secretary
Expert, Luys Foundation