Key: undeclared mourning

Photo: Pan Photo

The genre of explanation which depict complicated phenomena and events in an accessible format is trending in modern journalism. Some news stories unfold over months, which is why the next news in the long sequence of events can make absolutely no sense to those who hasn’t followed them from the very beginning.

Many media outlets, such as The New York Times with the Upshot rubrics, Bloomberg with their QuickTake, Slate, Vox Media, Meduza, issue sections devoted to the genre of explanation. Mediamax also decided to publish a similar section - Key.

Innocent people fell victim to the Gyumri slaughter. However, the state flags in Armenia weren’t lowered: mourning wasn't declared. We tried to collect the questions voiced in the society and find answers to them.

1. How is mourning declared?

There is no distinct legal regulation on the order of declaration of mourning in Armenia. As a rule, mourning is declared after disasters, terrorist acts and incidents entailing numerous victims. In Armenia, mourning is announced by the President’s decree, Prime Minister’s or the government’s decisions.

MP from Heritage parliamentary faction of Zaruhi Postanjyan thinks that declaration of mourning is within the competence of the government.

2. What happens after mourning is declared?

Ministries, state structures, regional authorities and Armenian diplomatic representations abroad are assigned to lower the state flags.

Books of condolences are opened in the Foreign Ministry, Armenian embassies and consulates abroad.

Holding and TV screening of entertainment programs is stopped. 

3. When and how many times was mourning declared in Armenia?

As Aravot newspaper wrote today, mourning was declared for the first time in Armenia on April 17, 1992, on the day of the funeral of Chairman of Supreme Council of Artsakh Artur Mkrtchyan. 

Then, mourning was declared on the death of Catholicos of All-Armenians Vazgen the First on August 26-28, 1994, and upon the death of Catholicos of All-Armenians Garegin the First on July 6-8, 1999.

After the October 27 tragedy taken place in the National Assembly building where several Armenian prominent political and government figures were killed, the state flag was lowered for 3 days.

Besides the cases, Armenia declared mourning:

In 2006, after the crash of the aircraft of 113 people carrying out a flight from Yerevan to Sochi;

on March 28, 2007, on the death of Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan;

on July 16, 2009, after the crash of the aircraft of 168 people carrying out a flight from Yerevan to Sochi.

After March 1, 2008 events, there was no mourning declared in Armenia.

4. What was the President saying?

On March 26, 2008, the newly elected President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan explained the decision on not declaring mourning in his blog:

''As a rule, mourning is declared when the society gives an unequivocal response to the incident, when the events don't leave any space for speculations. In this case, we have another situation: a part of the people don't understand what has happened. We are still trying to find out the truth, an investigation is underway. Of course, it doesn't detract the scale of the tragedy which we are all sincerely sorry about''.

5. Why wasn't mourning declared?

Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia Galust Sahakyan stated that ''our statuses and traditions are not yet formed''.

According to him, ''mourning is declared for the people's mobilization and these days the people stood up for themselves''.

''Official protocol issues is one thing yet the people's independent choice, when they mourn and console each other, is another one'', said Galust Sahakyan.

Minister of Education and Science of Armenia Armen Ashotyan also said that Armenia lacks the culture of declaration of mourning.

Gyumri Mayor Samvel Balasanyan spoke for the declaration of mourning noting that the Mayor's Office, however, doesn't have the authority for it.

Marie Taryan


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