During the March 21 hearings in the National Assembly, TV journalist Abraham Gasparyan addressed the statement made by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on March 10 that “Armenia has entered the supreme league of democratic countries.” According to Gasparyan, Pashinyan is “lying.”
«․․․ At the government session [Pashinyan-ed․] stated that Armenia has entered the supreme league of democratic countries. The study was conducted by Varieties of Democracy or V-Dem, which calculates the democratization indexes of 200 polities around the world. As an expert who has worked with that organization, V-Dem, for more than a decade, I officially declare that you are lying, you are lying bluntly, and yet again,” Gasparyan said.
Fact Investigation Platform studied Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement and checked how valid what he said was.
During the March 10, 2022 government sitting, Nikol Pashinyan referred to the 2022 report of the International organization of Varieties of Democracy. The Prime Minister noted that “the Republic of Armenia has entered, conditionally speaking, the supreme league of democratic countries.”
“This, in fact, means that a change in the classification of the Republic of Armenia in terms of democracy has taken place. In other words, even after the non-violent, velvet revolution of 2018, this organization continued to view Armenia as a country with an “electoral authoritarian” system, which meant that there was an authoritarian system that used the electoral process to ensure its own reproduction. The essence of this new definition is that the authorities are formed through elections. In other words, the election is not an instrument for power reproduction, but an instrument for power formation. If we put it in simple terms, in fact, we can state that with the snap parliamentary elections in Armenia in 2021, the Republic of Armenia entered the supreme league of democratic countries,” Pashinyan said.
What does the Varieties of Democracy report say?
The international organization Varieties of Democracy presents the world’s largest database on democracy in 202 states (polities) since 1789. According to the V-Dem report published in 2022, Armenia really improved its position in 2021, making a transition from “electoral autocracy” to “electoral democracy.”
In another part of the report, it is mentioned that three countries have made progress.
The report also notes that over the past 10 years, Armenia has significantly improved the autonomy of its electoral management bodies.
And what is most important for this discussion, the report mentions that Armenia has moved from electoral autocracy to electoral democracy.
Thus, the quotations from the report mentioned by the Prime Minister at the government session are true․ TV commentator Abraham Gasparyan’s claim is false.