25-03-2013
When and why Armenian youth start getting involved in politics?
Based on the National Youth Report of Armenia, 53.1% of Armenian youth are interested in the country’s domestic affairs.
According to psychologist Isabella Ghazaryan, who has studied the psychology of politics for a certain period, people start expressing their political views during their years of study, which falls in the first period of youth (before the age of 25). Ghazaryan says there are two main reasons why the youth join this or that political party. First, they need a platform to express themselves. Since there is no variety in Armenia, the youth can be the most active in the political field. The youth can express themselves and advance their ideas. Secondly, they try to become members of a strong team in the stage of becoming individuals. “I used to dislike politics when I started studying, better yet, I was politically active, but didn’t want to become a political activist. I got actively involved in political processes when I joined the Republican Party of Armenian (HHK) at the age of 21. I chose to join this party because I have always considered myself a team player and am certain that having a strong and clever team is the guarantee of success for any figure,” says youth member of the HHK Hayk Mamijanyan. Representative of the youth wing of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun (ARF-D) Harutyun Melikyan says he started getting interested in Armenian political parties when he was in school. “I started studying the history and activities of the traditional Armenian political parties in high school. Since the ARF-D was the best political party in terms of domestic democracy, I immediately joined the ARF-D as soon as I turned 18.” Based on the National Youth Report, 60.1% of Armenian youth they are rather well-determined when it comes to Armenia’s domestic affairs, 57.9% of the youth say their votes matter during elections and 11.6% of youth say they have been members of any political party or the given party’s youth wing. Although the youth of Armenia are involved in political processes, the majority of them feel that they are alienated from the political system. Based on the National Youth Report, 76.2% of the youth say there is no political party that expresses their interests. Moreover, most of the youth expressing these views are the youth in Yerevan (83.4%), and only 70.6% of youth have such views in the villages. Students (41%) who say there are parties that express their interests mentioned the ideologemas (e.g. “thinks about the people”, “their words means actions”, “they stand by the students’ side”, etc.) as that particular party’s ideology. The following question was given to study the students’ views on members of political parties: “Why does a person join a political party?” The following options are answers that express altruist and egoistic positions. 1. To hold a good office (egoistic), 2. To find a good job (egoistic), 3. To turn one’s own ideas into a reality (altruist) 4. To help the nation/state (altruist), 5. To feel confident in life (egoistic). To classify the types of youth participation in politics, those who were determined to participate in the 2012 elections for the National Assembly were asked why they were planning on participating in those elections. Based on the results, 60% gave answers that corresponded to the answers of people with the political culture of subjects, while 40% gave answers that corresponded to the answers of people with the culture of participatory politics. The largest sector of people who didn’t wish to participate in the elections (33.2%) avoided answering the question by answering “I Don’t Want To Participate”. The second large sector (25.6%) said “Their Voices Don’t Matter” and the third large sector (9.6%) said “The Elections Aren’t Fair”. Based on the Report, only 35.7% of Armenian youth aren’t interested in politics at all. The youth of Armenia are rather intensively involved in the political field. Out of all the youth, 74.9% of them read or view political news in newspapers, on television or on the Internet every day or several times a week, and 75.5% of the youth receive news about politics online. Experts say young people are more enthusiastic and are ready to put in their efforts to work with political parties. A contributing factor is the fact that young people are guided not only by the perspectives of being in a financially better situation, but also by their ideas. Partisan youth’s political views can be seen through their active efforts, but the facts go to show that almost everyone has the same motives for getting involved in politics. Tsovinar Karapetyan