Be Armenian, Be in jail? - Mediamax.am

Be Armenian, Be in jail?
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Be Armenian, Be in jail?


A few days ago, we hosted Suzanna Shamakhyan, the Vice President at the FAST Foundation, at our Mediamax office. In partnership with Viva-MTS, we implement the Get Started educational program for high school students, and Suzanna shared with them how to avoid the most common mistakes while establishing a startup.

Before the start of the meeting, I told the students that immediately after the April 2016 war Ruben Vardanyan, Noubar Afeyan and their colleagues decided to establish a foundation that would advance the development of science and technology in Armenia. At that time, we had many discussions with Ruben. This interview, which for the first time officially announced the birth of FAST, was edited and re-edited dozens of times. It is beyond doubt that FAST, which is slowly but surely becoming the game changer, is one of the reasons why Ruben Vardanyan is in jail in Baku.



On this day nine years ago, the 100 LIVES project was officially launched in New York under BeArmenian, BeAlive slogan. The author of the slogan was Noubar Afeyan, who explained his choice as follows:

“Resilience, fortitude and gratitude are characteristics peculiar to Armenians. However, these traits are common to all the people, not only us. We developed the concept of #BeArmenian #BeAlive to encapsulate the strength of the human spirit – not just for Armenians, but for everyone.”

A few days before the start of the initiative, I did another interview with Ruben Vardanyan, in which he specifically said:

“As a country with present limited ambitions Armenia neither evokes pride among Diaspora Armenians, nor fear for its future. The attitude the Diaspora demonstrates toward Armenia is not about disappointment but about apathy, which in my opinion, is way more dangerous than negative attitude as it lacks emotions.”

Little did we know at that time that the April war would unfold a year later, and the 44-day war five years later.

I think that another reason why Ruben Vardanyan is in prison in Baku is his promotion of the idea of BeArmenian, BeAlive. What Ruben tried to do in Artsakh from September 2022 to September 2023 was to give flesh and blood to this slogan. I guess, being a very smart person, deep inside he knew that he would not succeed in his struggle. Nevertheless, he chose to fight even in the face of mockery and sarcasm. And this is the very reason why he is in jail in Baku today. The slogan BeArmenian, BeAlive, which I am sure Ruben will never give up, poses a greater danger for his main jailer than the traditional “revanchist sentiments” this jailer often talks about.

Ara Tadevosyan is the Director of Mediamax.

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