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In 1991 Armenia declared independence from the collapsing Soviet Union. Uncertainty soon took over euphoria as people found themselves lost with their newly-found freedom. They didn't know what it meant to be a free-minded citizen and were unclear about what civil society was. It has taken over 20 years for a new generation to start asking, and try to respond to, these key questions. What is it to be a citizen? What responsibility and rights do we have as such? What is “the State,” what is the constitution?

In 2012, the wake-up call: thousands took to the streets of Yerevan to protest against what was seen as mismanagement of the capital’s public space. The so-called Mashots Park movement was one of the first of the large-scale street demonstrations that have gripped the city since then.

Three people who witnessed first hand the Mashots protests and the recent events of Sari Tagh in July try to explain what being a citizen means for them.


Chai Khana
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