Tuesday, August 29, 2006


By Hakob Badalyan

29 Aug 06

The Armenian government is a surprising thing. It never forgets what it needs, but it often forgets about things that the society needs.

Or it does not know what is necessary most of all for the society in Armenia. It is law, or as it is accepted to say, only say, the rule of law. It is when everyone is equal before what was written and accept what was written. But lo and behold, the government does everything to create inequality before the law. The purpose is clear.

By placing equal categories of people on different hands of the scales of the law the government insures itself. The point is that by dividing the society the government justifies, "legalizes" its separation from the law.

The examples are many and there is no need to look for them because these are offered to the public almost every day. So we have a fresh example, which is a month old but seems to have just become a subject of public debates. It is the government decision on deferment of military service in three universities in Yerevan, the Slavic University, the French University and the European Regional Academy.

The government did not forget what it needs and returns to the idea of drafting students. This idea, which is 2 years old, occurred to the head of the Ministry of Defense. At that time all the universities were affected, the graduate students, which gave rise to a surge of protest among students. The government had to give up the idea of drafting students in the middle of their studies, because in the same period the opposition was also very active, and there was danger that the students would spark a movement of the opposition.

This time they seem to have decided part by part, not the whole at once. But the problem is the phenomenon, which is unclear and simply unfair. The point is that the students of three universities, in fact, appear to have unequal rights compared with the students of the other universities. In other words, the suspension of the right to defer military service breaks the Constitution because the basic law obliges the government to provide for equal economic competition. The government may say that there are other universities where military service is not deferred. Of course there are, and this affirms that either military service should be deferred in all the universities or not deferred at all.

The next unfair thing is a connotation of the decision of the government, which allows making a number of suggestions. In the Slavic University, the French University and the European Academy the right to defer military service was not taken away fully. The Slavic University is given 200 places, the French University 70 and the European Academy 30. In other words, even in this case there is no equality. Why? Is that because the Slavic University is a Russian university and the other two are European? But our relation with France is no less "strategic" than with Russia. Consequently, we deal with another motive.

The government gives one reason - the army. And it could not give another reason. It is beyond doubt that the army needs soldiers. But it appears that especially the soldiers of the abovementioned three universities are appreciated highly by the defense ministry. In fact, it is rather pleasing for the students of these universities that the defense ministry appreciates them as future soldiers, but these students will also ask why only them. Or for instance why the defense ministry does not appreciate the sons of public officials, generals and other officials of the Command as future soldiers. Aren't their sons for military service, or does the defense ministry consider military service a "low mission", not worthwhile for sons of generals? The government should answer these questions, otherwise many other questions occur. It is necessary to explain why the legal demand for military service is distributed unevenly to everyone, including the students of Yerevan State University, the University of Economics and other universities. Is this an effort to justify the unequal state of their sons?

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