Honorary titles will no longer be awarded in Armenia

Jan 16 2024
  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

Abolition of honorary titles

Armenia is abolishing awarding honorary titles. The National Assembly adopted a package of amendments in the first reading — 64 deputies from the ruling majority voted in favor; 31 deputies, i.e. the opposition, voted “against”.

The Ministry of Justice initiated the abolition of titles. Presenting the package of amendments in the parliament, Deputy Minister of Justice Armenuhi Harutyunyan said that the decision to abolish the titles does not mean that the state will stop encouraging the activities of its citizens. Prizes and awards for specific activities in any sphere can be used to encourage merit.

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According to the current legislation, there are 17 honorary titles. Among them are “People’s Artist”, “People’s Artist”, “Honored Art Worker”, “Honored Culture Worker”, “Honored Journalist”.

After the final parliamentary approval of the amendments to the law “On State Awards and Honorary Titles of the Republic of Armenia” they will no longer be awarded. The title “Honored Collective” is declared an exception. It will be retained, as it does not concern individuals.

Previously awarded titles will be retained.

Parliament approved this initiative in the first reading. “MPs of the ruling majority voted in favor. The opposition abstained, as they consider such steps “a loophole for evasion of service”

The Ministry of Justice believes that in developed countries it is not customary to award honorary titles to personalities. Moreover, they argue that honorary titles are not only an outdated concept, but also have a negative impact on “healthy competition and moral and psychological atmosphere”.

Deputy Justice Minister Armenuhi Harutyunyan emphasized that the time has come to abandon this Soviet legacy.

“Popularity cannot be assessed by any specific criteria. It is obvious that popularity, public recognition, public perception of someone’s image or creative activity can be neither checked, nor measured, nor confirmed, nor rejected by any state body.”

The deputy minister believes that rewarding professionals should be based on “measurable and concrete” results, such as prizes and awards by field. She says industry competitions award prizes for a specific product of a person’s activity. Unlike a title, which is “awarded for life”.

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The parliamentary opposition believes that the country’s authorities are simply abandoning tradition. Lilit Galstyan, a deputy of the Hayastan faction (Armenia), said that “it is not appropriate to present a legislative initiative of such a [obscene] level to the parliament”. In her opinion, the authorities are rejecting the authority of individuals and national elites:

“We are dealing with a rejection of existing traditions and heritage, another attempt to start from scratch.”

Gegham Nazarian, a deputy from the same faction, is not clear what problem the state intends to solve. He asked his colleagues if behind this is the desire to save 40000 drams ($100) paid to folk artists:

“If this is the whole problem, we could have said that we will not give money to folk artists. This 40,000 is needed, for example, to encourage shepherds.”

Deputy Minister of Justice Armenuhi Harutyunyan replied that those who have already received titles will continue to receive the sums due to them. She also said that in this case the state is not interested in saving money.