Managed Democracy Versus New Civic Activity Pivotal Features in Armenian Political Culture

Gayane Novikova


Over the last ten years Armenia has experienced a variety of grassroots social movements of differing intensity. They indicate an intensification of social, political, and economic polarization of Armenian society and a slow growth of civic protest activity under conditions of continuing and deepening economic and demographic crises. The major impulse toward change emanates from below and from groups now experiencing civic engagement for the first time. All new groups are still extremely weak and poorly organized. Moreover, coordination of activity between them is lacking and the society in general is not ready to take large steps in their direction.

Although it is still too early to discuss the emergence of a powerful new political or social movement in Armenia, each small advancing step by grassroots activists in the social, politi- cal, and ecological spheres can stimulate a large protest movement aiming to achieve social justice. Casting a glance across Armenia’s very complicated and turbulent recent political en- vironment, it must be acknowledged that any spontaneous mass protest could lead to unpre- dictable developments.

This article analyses the complex dynamic between the ruling elite and the opposi- tion, some features of the grassroots movements, and the protest potential in Armenian society.


Armenia, Civil society; Grassroots movement; Ruling elite and opposition

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