ACNIS Releases Expert Poll Results, Focus on Armenia in the World

Armenian Center for National and International Studies
75 Yerznkian Street
Yerevan 375033, Armenia
Tel: (+374 – 1) 52.87.80 or 27.48.18
Fax: (+374 – 1) 52.48.46
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

May 27, 2004

ACNIS Releases Expert Poll Results, Focus on Armenia in the World

YEREVAN – The Armenian Center for National and International Studies
(ACNIS) today convened a public roundtable to issue the results of
its first two expert opinion surveys. Entitled “My View of Armenia’s
Future” and “Armenia’ s Foreign Policy, Orientation, and Attitude
toward Power Centers of the World,” they embraced vital issues of
concern for both the Republic of Armenia and Armenians worldwide. The
seminar brought together policy and academic circles, leaders of
the NGO community, representatives of the mass media, politicians,
public figures, and human rights advocates in order to consider
specific trends and patterns in the specialized domain.

ACNIS founder Raffi Hovannisian greeted the audience with opening
remarks. “Currently concluding its first decade of public service,
the Center’s research agenda this year will seek out the applied
setting and the public pulse, expanding its field of observation
to include the entire spectrum of society. In this manner we will
develop the foundations required to compare today’s expert viewpoints
with prevailing public opinions, for a better and more comprehensive
understanding of key issues facing the nation,” Hovannisian said.

ACNIS legal and political affairs analyst Stepan Safarian then
presented the results of the Expert Opinion Poll on “My View of
Armenia’s Future.” In the foreseeable future, regional cooperation will
be a priority issue for Armenia, assert 18% of the respondents. Almost
an equal percentage prioritize establishment of democracy, of
which 2% emphasize the restoration of constitutional order. 16% of
the respondents attach primary importance to the settlement of the
Karabagh matter. 10% prefer a reassessment of foreign policy, and 10%
law and order in domestic life. For 8% of respondents, strengthening
of the army and maintenance of internal stability each are ranked
as the most urgent issue. 6% note the campaign against corruption,
and 4% the creation of jobs, as the question of paramount importance.

In another connection, 68% of respondents believe the elimination
of emigration to be plausible in the near future, while 56% find
possible the regulation of the Karabagh conflict, 52% international
recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and 52% poverty reduction. Only
6% have an optimistic view about the return of historical Armenian
lands. An equal percentage share a hope to succeed in the struggle
against corruption. In the opinion of 80% of respondents, Armenia’s
prospects for sovereign democracy are endangered in the short
run. This notwithstanding, 74% still believe that all challenges
currently faced will be overcome.

ACNIS international affairs associate and Yerevan State University
professor Aram Harutiunian presented the results of the Expert Opinion
Poll on “Armenia’s Foreign Policy, Orientation, and Attitude toward
Power Centers of the World.” In his report, 56% of all respondents
attach high significance to protection of human rights as the leading
requirement to which the Council of Europe holds the Republic of
Armenia, 34% to constitutional reforms, and 6% to judicial reforms. 82%
are not satisfied with the level of Armenia’s fulfillment of Council
of Europe commitments, whereas 72% believe that it is the Council of
Europe, together with the European Union, which promotes Armenia’s
independence. As for the states or international organizations
circumscribing Armenia’s independence, 56% of the respondents note
the Russian Federation, 6% the United States and the World Bank,
respectively, 4% Turkey, and so on. It is noteworthy that 12% cite
the Armenian government as an obstacle to establishment of independent
statehood. 66% of the specialists surveyed think that Armenia should
join NATO within 10-12 years, and 6% of the remainder have difficulty
in answering. 18% consider the present deployment of Russian bases
in Armenia the main guarantee for regional stability. 76% do not view
the Russian military presence in Armenia as such a guarantee, and 6%
encounter difficulty in responding to the question.

Fifty experts of various ages and both genders took part in the expert
opinion poll. 30% of them work at state-run and 70% in non-governmental
institutions; 72% are male, and 28% female. 18% are 20-30 years old,
40% 31-40, 32% 41-50, 6% 51-60, and 4% 61-70 years of age. 98% of
the responding specialists have received higher education. 32% are
candidates of science (PhD), 2% of whom are full professors, 60% hold
a Master’s degree, while 6% have earned solely a Bachelor’s degree.

The presentations were followed by contributions by Yerevan State
University sociology professor Zinaida Tokmajian; “Yerkir” weekly’s
editor-in-chief Spartak Seiranian; American University international
relations professor Khachik Derghoukassian; European Union Chamber
of Commerce executive director Hovhannes Igityan; Armenian European
Policy and Legal Advice Center executive director Tigran Jrbashian;
Avetik Ishkhanian of the Armenian Helsinki Committee; Sevak Lalayan
of the International Center for Human Development; Armen Aghayan
of the “Protection of Liberated Territories” public initiative;
and many others.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K.
Hovannisian and supported by a global network of contributors, ACNIS
serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy
challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet
world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic
thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In
2004, the Center focuses primarily on public outreach, civic education,
and applied research on critical domestic and foreign policy issues
for the state and the nation. For further information on the Center or
the full polling results, call (3741) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (3741)
52-48-46; e-mail [email protected] or [email protected]; or visit ,