I believe that, in discussing our national security, one first has to reflect on our national identity, since national security is about preserving that national identity— shielding it from physical and substantive threats. Nevertheless, national identity is not static. Our nation and its people have existed for millennia. However, the notion of what it means to “be Armenian” has changed over time, in light of a range of circumstances, events, and factors.
Today, we may not know the meaning that a subject of King Artaxias I attributed to the word “Armenian”, but we do know that it differed from how we understand it today. At minimum, they were unaware of our current existence; whereas, we surely are aware of theirs. This fact, in itself, indicates that national identity does evolve. We are unaware if the Armenians of 2,000 years ago considered our current existential interests as part of their decision-making, or whether such reasoning existed at all. However, in our current time, we can factor that in—knowing the past, we can reflect beyond just the present day and immediate future, but also project onto the horizon of the millennia to come.
This may be the pivot whereupon a national outlook becomes an existential imperative, as an institution up to the task of drawing on our past and present experience to focus beyond just the needs of today, but project its message into the future—a message that would connect the Armenian living a thousand years from now with the Armenian who lived a thousand years ago. Perhaps this is how national identity and national awareness evolve: through historical experience, through awareness of that history, through the positive and negative impressions that accumulate over that experience, and through future aspirations, connected organically with both the past and the present. Over the years, our national identity has developed to an extent that allows us to define our purpose—to ensure the existence and development of our generations on this planet, on the territory of the Armenian state for millennia to come—and to view our present endeavors within this context.
The Armenian who lives on this planet 2,000 years from now will be different from us, just as we differ from the Armenians who lived 2,000 years ago. One such difference is that we can convey our message to the Armenians of the future. The central idea of that message should focus on what connects them with us and with the Armenians who lived 2,000 years before us, and what conditions would strengthen this connection and make it viable. At the same time, this connection should not become constraining. It should not hold us back but, rather, push us forward, motivate and inspire us. It should not become a suffocating presence, but rather provide an incentive for every Armenian to view themselves as integral to a millenia-old mission, and thus expand its scope and enrich its content. It should instill trust and a longing for self-acknowledgment and self-recognition.
The most vital element of national identity is the connection with one’s roots, a sense of ownership over a national legacy and values, crystalized through history. It strengthens every individual’s faith in and reliance on their abilities and, consequently, the faith in and reliance on the abilities of the entire nation and its people. For this reason, in the preamble to the National Security Strategy, I consider it necessary to chart a trajectory best formulated by poet Vahan
Teryan in the following lines:
Babylon was once our adversary, see How it has been lost, passed on—like an ominous mist. - Vahan Teryan
We have been conceived in the Armenian Highland, our patriarch was Hayk, and we are called Armenians. We are the heirs of the Kingdom of Van, the Orontid dynasty, the Artaxiad dynasty, the Arsacid dynasty, the Bagratid dynasty, the Kingdom of Cilicia, and the First Republic of Armenia. We acknowledge the exceptional role of the Armenian SSR in the development of education, science, culture, and industry in Armenia.
We are the proud citizens of the Third Armenian Republic, the sons and daughters of the Armenian nation, who founded the Third Armenian Republic and liberated Artsakh. The Republic of Armenia is the guarantor of the security and liberty of the Armenians of Artsakh. The Republic of Armenia is a Pan-Armenian state and represents all the Armenians of the world. The Armenian nation has survived many historical ordeals and has acquired the strength and vitality to make it to the 21st century through the skills, knowledge, and character it has developed by exercising statehood. Drawing on this historical knowledge, the Armenian nation succeeded in re-creating its independent state in the very wake of the Armenian Genocide— the Mets Yeghern.
The Armenian State is the sole guarantor of the existence and development of the Armenian nation. Therefore, the Armenian State must persist eternally because the Armenian nation shall exist forever and ever.
The values of the Armenian nation are:
– The Armenian state, citizenship of the Republic of Armenia, the Armenian Army;
– The history of the Armenian nation, its folklore, epics, beliefs, legends, and myths;
– The Armenian language and its alphabet, Armenian literature including translated works,
knowledge, and science;
– The Pan-Armenian potential, the Armenian Diaspora;
– The homeland, the family, the individual;
– The Holy Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Armenian Evangelical
– Armenian music of the ashough, goussan, folk, classical, bard, and popular traditions,
Armenian dance, Armenian visual arts, Armenian theater, and Armenian architecture;
– The nature and biodiversity of Armenia;
– Progress, liberty, self-respect, hospitality, education, work ethic, abidance of the law, respect
and tolerance toward other people, nations, and religions. Fraternity with the ethnic minorities
living in Armenia and Artsakh, with whom an unbreakable unity is expressed via citizenship of
the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh;
– Armenian cuisine, all examples of tangible and intangible heritage that express, portray,
describe, or symbolize the values described herein.
The goals of the Armenian nation are:
– Ensuring the ideological, security, social, political, legal, economic, demographic, international, educational, intellectual, and cultural institutional conditions necessary for the
perpetuity of Armenian statehood;
– International recognition of Artsakh’s right to self-determination without preconditions;
– International recognition of the Armenian Genocide, overcoming and eliminating its
– Securing and protecting Armenian citizens’ rights to security, prosperity, liberty, and
happiness, as well as other universal rights;
– Guaranteeing equality before the law, equality between women and men, equal opportunities
for women and men to partake in social, administrative, and economic activities, and ultimately
affirming national unity through the protection of rights and fulfillment of duties;
– Protecting and developing the national and state identity, autonomy, and sovereignty of the
Armenian people, including the restoration and development of identity among Armenians
whose national self-awareness has waned or is waning, through substantially increasing the
level of Armenian language proficiency among all Armenians, as well as those who hold
– Consolidating the Pan-Armenian potential around the national goals, as well as preserving
and developing the national values.
Rules of co-existence for all Armenians
1. The toolkit for resolving any and every Intra-Armenian issue shall exclude violence. All
factions and individuals who consider violence as a means of resolving an Intra-Armenian
issue must be shunned. The vision of a society and a nation free from violence must become
the cornerstone of national unity. This principle still allows for the lawful use of force in
preventing and exposing crime, securing the public’s orderly way of life, and defending the
homeland from aggression.
2. The people and its free will are the principal source of authority. Any attempt to subvert or
distort the free expression of the people’s will shall be viewed as an action directed against
the state and the nation.
3. The sovereignty of Armenia and Artsakh, of the Armenian nation, is a primary value. Factions
willing to bring in external actors to Intra-Armenian issues or issues internal to Armenia, and
willing to act as conduits for foreign interests, must encounter the firm opposition of the
Armenian people and its legitimate agent—the Government of Armenia.
4. Armenia and Artsakh must be free from corruption, and all its manifestations, including
favoritism, artificial monopolies, and fabricated impediments to competition, must be
eradicated. Material damages to the state and the people caused by corrupt practices must
5. The supremacy of rights and the law, equality before the law, the protection of rights, and
fulfillment of duties must be the crux of internal relations. Courts susceptible to external
or domestic influence are threats to national security. The courts must be independent. No
group or individual should be entitled to exclusive privileges in the economy, politics, or any
6. The goal of the negotiation process on the settlement of the Artsakh issue should be to
consolidate the outcomes of the liberation war, fought for the self-determination and
security of the people of Artsakh. No government-negotiated solution can be acceptable
unless deemed as such by the people of Armenia and Artsakh.
The world and us
Positioned at “the West of the East” and “the East of the West” throughout its history, Armenia often found itself center-stage to civilizational conflict. We dismiss the presumption of civilizational conflict and position ourselves as a proponent for dialogue between civilizations. Our vision for foreign relations rests upon international and inter-ethnic dialogue, based on mutual respect and an aspiration to understand and be understood. Facilitating dialogue and multilateral relations between civilizations, nations, and states must become the manifestation of our commitment to peace and stability in the world. Armenia is ready to become a platform for such dialogue.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia