"From Authoritarianism to Democracy in Three Stages "-2

On February 21, I proposed a roadmap for the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. The initiative was outlined in an article entitled "From Authoritarianism to Democracy in Three Stages”. I will not retell the content of the article. It can be found at the link.

I’d like to emphasize that the public reaction to my concept was emotionally strong which was to be expected at a time when more and more citizens, including from top to bottom, are contemplating the country's future in contradictory ways. It is no secret that most of them want prosperity, stability, healthy relationships, and confidence in the future.

It has to be kept in mind that the second Karabakh war clearly demonstrated an unprecedented unity of spirit, not organized from above, but a kind of spontaneous impulse of the whole society which involved even political forces of the country that opposed each other in peacetime. This impulse showed that even despite all the contradictions in society, there is a real social order for unity within the framework of noble goals which, in addition to the liberation of the occupied lands, are also a just state, equality of citizens, freedom of expression, business.

It ought to be noted that the question of the possible establishment of a constitutional monarchy as a form of state structure attracted particular attention in my conception. I would say that for many people, even in the professional journalistic and party ranks, this topic became the main one and overshadowed the main essence of the concept of the transitional period. I have received many appeals concerning the question of monarchy, although for me the main goal of this concept is the final goal of the roadmap - the transition to a parliamentary form of government based on the real will of the people through free and democratic elections. In my concept I emphasized that the monarchical or presidential form of government throughout the roadmap implementation undergoes a transformation from a strong centralized to a representative form of government with a real separation of powers. As a matter of fact, we are talking about a kind of social consensus or contract of transition from the current authoritarian status quo to a democratic parliamentary (people's) republic.

As a whole, I propose to concentrate on the discussion and formation of a roadmap with the participation of all branches of government and society, including the expert community, parties, and civic initiatives. Once such a roadmap has been developed, it will be submitted for public discussion and, ultimately, for a national referendum. Thus, the road map will become the law of the transition period with a clear goal and final result for all. At that, the main thing in its implementation will be adopted by all citizens of the country.

Note that universal understanding and awareness of the process is an important element that will stimulate the participation of all strata and individuals in the process of the roadmap implementation to thus create a public consensus in the state. This is very important for the period of transition.

When it comes to my article, in the part concerning the policy of change, I wrote: an expert council under the president which includes well-known experts in the economy, law, security, and reforms, is to be created which develops operational solutions to improve the situation in various areas, and also prepares a plan for strategic reforms with the participation of the government.

At the first stage, it’d be advisable to form such a council outside of the government system, in order to minimize the influence of the state on it. I suggest, if my initiative is supported, that this issue be brought up for public discussion in order to find a rational option for forming such a council - an independent expert community or a council under the president (possibly under the government or parliament). 

A question arises: are we really in need of such a roadmap? I usually answer as follows: in recent years, especially after the fall in oil prices and devaluation of manat, we managed to create in 2021 GDP (total value of all goods and services produced during the year on the territory of the state, etc.) in $50,4 bln, and that is due to rise in oil prices. That's something along the lines of $5,000 per capita. We are in no position to get to the highest figure we had in 2014 --$75, 24 bln. That figure resulted from the peak of oil production and high oil prices. In the period that followed, we experienced a steady decline in production which tends to continue. Oil prices, which have temporarily soared, are also expected to decline. The $5,000 per capita figure is typical for backward countries of the world. Let's say we're just slightly ahead of our resourceless neighbors in the South Caucasus. And this takes place despite the fact that most of the GDP is formed thanks to energy resources. If we want to considerably increase the welfare of our nation, we have to raise this GDP index at least by 4 times, i.e. to reach GDP of 200 bln, or 20.000 dollars per capita.

Added to this can be that the current structure of the economy and the management system, as I said before, have exhausted the growth potentialities, so we are not capable of fulfilling this task. Over 7 years after the 2015 crisis, we have been trying unsuccessfully to get the economy to grow. This is a fact. Patching holes by raising the prices for electricity, water, gasoline tariffs to artificially reduce the number of people worthy of receiving labor and disability pensions - this is not the way. World experience is indicative that countries with democratic regimes and free economies are mostly capable of such achievements. Real example: only three countries of all former Soviet Republics: Estonia ($27,100 per capita), Latvia ($19,538) and Lithuania ($22,400) have reached the level of $20,000 per capita (data for 2021). And only these three countries in the post-Soviet space are truly democratic. I think that more and more people, including those in power itself, realize the need for change. The era of the oil boom is passing away. We are all in search of a further way to develop the country. Let's work out and walk this path together.



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