By Rashid Shirinov
Militarization of the society is gaining new pace in Armenia, as the government has launched the realization of the 'nation-army' concept.
In its wide-ranging policy program approved by the Armenian parliament in October, the government pledged to “expand opportunities” for women who serve in the military, or want to join. As the country's new Defense Minister Vigen Sarkisian said, “it will facilitate their military education and promotion, and strive to ensure their “equal rights” with men.”
Recruiting women to the army in Armenia is quite understandable, as high emigration from the country leaves no other choice for the government to save the army. Some 60,000 people left Armenia in 2016 -- the figure is comparatively higher than same indices fixed in 2015. Most of those who left the country were men; meaning that every year Armenian army loses thousands of men suitable for army. Miserable living conditions and lack of any opportunity for prosperity kills every hope of ordinary people for the normal life. High corruption, poor economy and political instability are the major reasons for desertification of Armenia.
In this context, Yerevan's decision to attract more women to the country's meager armed forces seems sound.
In addition, the new 'nation-army' concept suggests the present authorities' refusal from the peace diplomacy over Nagorno-Karabakh and preference of war. Yerevan intentionally increases the number of snipers in the army, because majority of women in the country’s armed forces are snipers. By this, Yerevan intends to oppose Azerbaijan with all the able-bodied Armenians in case of a new large-scale war.
The article called “Armenia: Boosting Female Presence in Army,” which has recently been published by the authoritative publication Eurasia Net, also noted the increasing number of women serving in the Armenian army and the state's desire to continue this trend.
In the meantime, the situation in the Armenian army, as well as in the economy, remains depressing. April’s fast counter-attack of Azerbaijani troops in response to Armenian provocation in the front line exposed a lot of problems of the Armenian army. Armenians saw the real face of their armed forces.
The report about the April events, compiled by the Armenian human rights organization Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, showed that Armenian soldiers had not enough ammunition, the military equipment was faulty, and even Armenian tanks had no fuel to move.
For the time, the Armenian armed forces do not have enough personnel, financial resources and basic morale. To close these gaps, the government decides to attract lots of women in the ranks of the military personnel. The main idea of the Armenian concept of the "nation-army" is to make every citizen a soldier.
The recent actions taken by the Armenian government openly demonstrates Yerevan is eager to stall for time and not to come to peace with Azerbaijan, whose 20 percent of internationally recognized territory is controls, It may instigate a new war -- a move which can take lives of hundreds and thousands of soldiers, including women.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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