Adjusting Our Sails

This was the year we were forced to confront our worst collective nightmare. One that fractured lives and shattered assumptions about ourselves. The loss was so deep, so visceral that we have yet to fully comprehend the consequences. 

After a ten month-long blockade by Azerbaijan, Artsakh was attacked, then ethnically cleansed and then lost. We now have over 100,000 refugees throughout Armenia. Untethered, rootless, homeless. Some are huddled in remote villages, some keep moving, others seem to be floating all around us, almost like apparitions. 

We act normal, we pretend that by working harder, smarter, faster we can change the course of history. We feign we are steadfast but do not possess a functioning compass. We are being tossed and turned in a turbulent sea of (in)humanity, of international law, human rights, international humanitarian law, of high courts and low courts, of sympathy, empathy and words of solidarity that ring hollow as we feel ourselves drowning in a torrent of empty words and even emptier actions.

We blame the world, blame the government, blame current leaders, former leaders, no leaders, the generation before, each other. Blame is easy. It shifts responsibility off your shoulders and onto the backs of others. So is blind belief in carefully constructed narratives meant to equivocate and conceal the impending tragedy. We have the mightiest army. We didn’t. The status quo will save us. It didn’t. The world won’t allow it. It did. The Azerbaijanis won’t fight. They did. Our allies will support us. They didn’t. So, our boys fought alone, God, they fought and they fell on bloodied battlefields, unsullied, heroic. And for those of us who remain? What did we do? What didn’t we do? What could we have done? These are questions that haunt us, chase us down like dark shadows in even darker alleyways and we find ourselves grasping for the oxygen that has left our lungs. 

What can be said about 2023? Will it forever live in our memories like 1894, 1909, 1915, 1988? Will we spend another century weeping over loss of homeland, lives, generations, property, wealth, culture or are we going to do something, finally?

Justice prevails only when you matter, only when you are strong, when you have military prowess, impenetrable borders, effective and transparent governance, a vibrant economy, a quality education system, social cohesion, resilient state institutions. These are bulwarks against oppression and aggression, not empty words or myths or fables, or false grandiosity. 

We need to understand the dynamics of power and be the source of our strength, not subject to external forces or yield to the influence of others. Justice is imposed and power is taken, it is never given. 

Today, however, we have more questions than answers. There is no rational or thoughtful public discourse, academic rigor and scholarship is almost non-existent, the media is littered with streams of manipulation and disinformation, the political landscape is even more dismal with an ineffective opposition and a leadership unable to inspire or lead. However, if we are to draw lessons from history, we cannot resign to our fate. If we let another 30 years pass before we take the helm of our own national course, the outcome will be even more catastrophic. We need to repair our compass and start having difficult conversations, mobilize, keep strengthening the Armed Forces, improving and diversifying our foreign relations, shoring up the economy and caring for the psychological well-being of our population.

Are there any lessons to be drawn from the harrowing loss of Artsakh? It did not occur in isolation and Artsakh’s temporary loss should not excuse or justify abdication of duty. What we do moving forward will define us. We can succumb to the multiple heavy losses we have endured or we can adjust our sails and chart a new path.

Reflection 2023

Magazine Issue N33

2023 started with the ongoing blockade of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) by Azerbaijan and concluded with the total ethnic cleansing of the Artsakh Armenians. We had to bear witness to the forced displacement of our compatriots and the haunting images of an endless sea of cars inching their way to Armenia will forever be etched in our collective memory. In this year’s last magazine issue titled “Reflection”, we present a compilation of articles penned by our impressive roster of writers that includes experts and scholars. These articles delved into a range of topics such as security, defense, human rights, geopolitics and more, providing a thoughtful retrospective on the challenges and developments of the past year.

Turning the Tables: The UNSC Emergency Meeting on the Blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh


The general state of flux and lack of clarity following the collapse of Artsakh—including the peace process—has produced a great deal of uncertainty, precipitating important questions about nationhood, state-building, and how to move forward. Armenia must assess the challenges, threats and risks of its security environment and clarify a new architecture that reflects state and national interests.

Read more
The Dangerous Emptiness of Hate


In anticipation of violence while discussing peace, in the face of loss and defeat, amid historical shifts in regional and international realities on one hand, and the imperative to be resilient on the other, perspective can emerge from lucid discourse and subject-specific insight.

Read more
Grave Insult: Criminalization and Decriminalization

Law & Society

To be law-abiding, one must have a comprehensive understanding of the law, and to safeguard your rights, familiarity with current legal norms is essential. There are no set regulations on how frequently laws can be amended. However, in the dynamic landscape of politics and society, legislators should continually adjust regulations to align with current realities. The legitimacy of public expectations is jeopardized not by the quantity, but by the quality of changes.

Read more
Raw & Unfiltered

Raw & Unfiltered

Not everything has its place and not everything’s function or dysfunction can be fine tuned for a description. Raw & Unfiltered is that space on EVN Report, where some of the most critical stories, some of our most dysfunctional, domestic and utilitarian elements coexist alongside narratives, history and the hypothetical much like a society, any society, a  catch-all drawer of Armenia, its past, the Armenian diaspora, the histories of both.

Read more
An AI Institute for Armenia

Creative Tech

The IT sector in Armenia is a strategic direction for the development of the country thanks to the relatively high level of scientific and educational potential of the population. Creative Tech is an attempt to take a pragmatic look at the tech industry including the science and innovation landscape. To emerge as a serious player in the global tech sector, Armenia needs to foster an environment that allows technology companies to achieve their business goals.

Read more
Headfirst Into the Rabbit Hole: An Ode to Cultural Anxiety

Et Cetera

The articles in this section of EVN Report attempt to turn the tide and give a much-needed critical spotlight to the forgotten, ignored, misunderstood, unseen, silenced and even derided cultural phenomena that weave the fabric of our collective past and present. From the mundane to the extraordinary, the topics addressed here reveal the remarkable dynamism of both historical, as well as contemporary Armenian social practices.

Read more