By Vahram Ayvazyan
Preface by Dr. Arshavir Gundjian
Post Artsakh war, Armenians everywhere, and more particularly in Armenia, anxiously look for novel ideas and undertakings that could inspire hope and confidence towards the future of the Armenian nation. It is in that context that the article that is being published in the Mirror-Spectator stands out as a novel and intriguing concept. The outstanding novelty in the concept of the Network State consists in the fact that it proposes a concrete organizational structure which, when successfully implemented, renders possible for every and any Armenian living on this planet to bring his/her contribution to the welfare of the Armenian state.
Furthermore, by the very fact of the vast geographic distribution of the proposed structure, the latter becomes immune to the enemy’s destructive attempts which are inevitably localized.
As much as the theoretical concept is truly formidable and innovative, its practical implementation is in itself, needless to say, a formidable undertaking subject to any number of various obstacles in real life.
The most encouraging fact, however, is that this concept, its formulation and the initiative to implement it comes from a group of highly motivated young professionals in Armenia and expatriates. Their leader Vahram Ayvazyan, author of this article, is an exceptionally enthusiastic, dynamic and indefatigable young person who has already managed to participate in many international conventions and programs. In particular, he has been trained by Al Gore as a participant in an environmental protection and climate control program.
I was invited and participated with pleasure, just as a listener and benevolent advisor, to a few Zoom meetings of this group. By now they have over 200 adherents who are being subdivided into smaller working groups.
It is refreshing and encouraging to watch, help and participate to such a movement, originated and promoted by our young and dynamic professionals from Armenia. I encourage strongly our equivalents in the Diaspora to join and strengthen this creative movement.
The past year, 2020, was disastrous for Armenia and its diaspora: Armenians lost 1/4 of their homeland, de facto losing Artsakh, leaving thousands of victims dead and wounded, prisoners of war (POWs), displaced people and refugees. The disaster still causes psychological depression.
The post-war actions and statements that followed, about no return of POWs and continuous violation of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, combined with widespread anti-Armenian statements in the Azerbaijani and Turkish press, reveal that peace and unblocking of relations between Armenia and Turkey as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan are just an illusion. Hence, even if the final de jure conditions are created for the latter, and the defeated government of Armenia agrees to their implementation, they will de facto not be functional.
The publications of the Turkish, Azerbaijani, Kurdish and Arab media, and speeches and statements of the political circles of Turkey and Azerbaijan, over a long period of time have made clear that the Turkish-Azerbaijani aggression is a classic example of a policy clearly aiming at genocide which unfortunately will continue. In genocide studies there is a well-known basic rule that we must bear in mind: “Pacification” of a perpetrator and new concessions to him do not eliminate the risk of a new genocide and new losses but accelerate the implementation of the genocidal policy and furthermore increase the losses and the number of the victims. History reports hundreds of such examples. Hence, comparing the French-German or Swedish-Finnish models of peace with Armenian-Azerbaijani or Armenian-Turkish relations is a pointless waste of time and resources. Moreover, it potentially leads to many destructive consequences. It seems that for at least during the next fifty years, Armenia will not be able to establish secure and peaceful relations with its neighbor countries Turkey and Azerbaijan, as the unwavering thesis of the need to eliminate Armenia and the Armenians is being voiced not only at the level of the government but also in the public in those countries.
Accordingly, Armenia and the Armenian people throughout the world have no choice but to oppose Turkish and other expansionist and imperialistic aspirations, if we definitely want to preserve the existence of the Armenian state and its long-term development prospects.
The plight of Armenia and Armenians all over the world to oppose the superior military, political, diplomatic, economic, and financial resources of Turkey and Azerbaijan is really a difficult but necessary challenge that we Armenians in Armenia and in the diaspora must accept cold-bloodedly. Otherwise, we will lose the last 10% of Greater Armenia: Armenians, both in the Republic of Armenia and dispersed in the diaspora will then be left rootless and devoid of a motherland.
We must be clearly aware of this danger both in Armenia and in the diaspora: the time for the deceptive expectation of coming rosy days is over.
The Vision of the Network State
Today, many people in Armenia and the diaspora already understand that the system of Armenia-diaspora relations that took shape in 1991, since Armenia gained independence, turned out to be ineffective, which was clearly demonstrated by the bitter results of the Artsakh war of 2020.
For about thirty years, both in Armenia and in the diaspora, we have not been able to create a viable pan-Armenian platform, a mechanism of relations and a network, to use effectively both the intellectual and financial resources of the Armenian people around the world. Consequently, it is a vital necessity to finally come to an all-Armenian consensus, to actively engage in the creation of a pan-Armenian platform which may be termed “The Network State.” This is a large system of webs which is constantly expanding, thanks to our “spider” compatriots functioning in different parts of the world.
As the picture above shows, neither external forces, nor agents, nor internal traitors and pro-others – “pro-Russian,” “pro-American,” “pro-Turkish,” “pro-Chinese,” etc., can effectively fight against such a complex and decentralized system.
The keyword of the Network State is “Armenia-centrism” based on the philosophy of “All for Armenia;” the ultimate goal of any Armenian’s activity should be to contribute to the development of Armenia by repatriation, participation in its governance, economic activity, by investments and innovative thoughts, by providing knowledge, lobbying, cultural and sports expansion. At the same time, it should be emphasized that the Network State is not just a product of emotional and patriotic feelings. It is the mutually beneficial key to solving specific political, economic, moral, psychological and cultural problems.
The Network State brings together all Armenians living and working in the different parts of the world, uniting their intellectual and material resources, and meanwhile it protects them. Indeed, the citizen of the Network State by helping Armenia is also protected by the Network State, using its resources anywhere in the world.
The Network State is not only a platform for economic investments and provision of resources, but it also is the birthplace of the future pan-Armenian military-political elite, which must eventually take on the burden of making Armenia a viable, developed, stable and attractive state.
Structure and Mechanisms of Functioning of the Network State
At the initial stage, the Network State is a digital virtual state with its own departments and divisions to which access can be provided to all Armenians, and to foreigners as well, interested in Armenia and concerned about the future of the Armenian people, by issuing an electronic entrance visa.
We have already launched the Network State on Google Drive as well as Trello platforms and have formed a database of hundreds of participants – including citizens, data and investment programs. We already formed 24 working groups from Armenia and the diaspora, bringing together like-minded individuals and devotees who have expressed willingness to join and contribute to the implementation of different projects. Meanwhile, our IT team is actually building a digital platform with our own working space with the capacity of video-calls, live chats, investor-businessman meeting rooms, etc.
In order to establish the Network State, it is necessary to focus on two areas: investment in various programs and the pan-Armenian Bank.
The different departments and divisions of the digital platform of the Network State will include small, medium and large business projects, startup ideas which will be presented to investors in Armenia and the diaspora, letting the Network State apparatus provide solutions to legal and tax problems, and act as a link between investors and economic entities. Special attention should be paid to the issue of PR and marketing of implemented programs.
An important place in the structure of the Network State should be given to the pan-Armenian Bank – the permanent intellectual and financial treasury, which should become the guarantor of the security of the citizens of Armenia and the Network State. This is the reason why the Bank should be open to all segments of Armenia and the diaspora, especially encouraging the participation of the middle class. The Bank can even operate online or have its offices all around the world, and the bank’s financial sources can range from deposits and shares to donations of $20 or more per month.
The transactions and financial operations of both the bank and the investment platform will be constantly monitored and audited, and in any case, those who invest no matter what amount, and those who own the bank’s shares are allowed to bring their audit teams in case they do not trust the financial reports of the Network State. This will ensure transparency of financial transactions and put an end to the sad and disastrous phenomena of dispersion and disappearance of funds received from the Diaspora.
Special importance will be attached to the possibility provided for financial transactions between Armenians in the diaspora. As an example, an Armenian historian in Munich may need a doctor. As a citizen of the Network State he finds an Armenian doctor in Munich and visits him, uses his services and may take advantage of a flexible system of discounts provided to citizens of the Network State.
Citizens of the Network State receive an electronic residency card (E-Residency), which will enable them to be fully engaged in the work of the NS, enjoy various discounts, tax benefits and opportunities for NS citizens provided by the discounts and services provided by the Network State’s staff through its specialists and the leverage of its political and financial resources.
In the Protection section of the NS, there is a special subsection dedicated to the protection of compatriots in the diaspora.
During the days of the Artsakh War in 2020, anti-Armenian violence in France and other countries showed that the lives of compatriots from the diaspora are also under threat, so despite the fact that the Network State is based on the “All to Armenia” philosophy, the NS will also ensure the physical safety of our fellows of the network by using its resources and levers of influence, lobbying and information flows. In other words, the NS is a mutually beneficial cooperation between network “spiders” whether in Armenia, Paris or Toronto; all to Armenia, Armenia to all. And those trying to disrupt the network will be dried like “flies” in a spider’s web.
Provided the concept of the NS is thoroughly followed, we can achieve remarkable results in a short period of time and eliminate the threat of physical destruction hanging over the Armenian people. Furthermore, we can make Armenia attractive for large-scale repatriation.
By combining the intellectual know-how of the network, modern Armenia-centric national ideology and strategy will eventually take shape.
Thanks to the network, we must be able to influence the decision-making in the geopolitical power centers and create a favorable military-political environment for the Armenians to solve our vital problems without suffering losses.
The network state should focus on education, Armenian studies, the preservation of the Armenian identity, as well as the development and expansion of Armenian culture as well.
A Concluding Appeal to all Armenians
The creation of the digital platform of the Network State will allow the formation of professional teams and work on the various programs within the above-mentioned departments and subsections of its structure. The relations with the RA and its current or future transitional Government can be managed by means of the Network’s “soft” and “smart” power technologies.
Dear compatriots in Armenia and the diaspora, I appeal to all of you, urging you to think about the above-mentioned ideas and start working on expanding this pan-Armenian platform i.e. the Network State. I am convinced that we can turn this into reality. Time is running out, so we must start acting today to put the pan-Armenian network, the Network State, into operation.
To join us, fill in the application form via Google (available in Eastern Armenian and in English):
(Vahram Ayvazyan is an International Relations and Genocide scholar, startup founder and a Climate Reality Leader, personally trained by former US vice president Al Gore.