Armenia’s creeping revolution: between the #RejectSerzh movement and previous civic initiatives

Mateusz Kubiak

ORCID: Mateusz Kubiak:

Pages: 125-145

Edition: Lublin 2018

DOI: --

Citation method: Mateusz Kubiak, ‘Armenia’s creeping revolution: between the #RejectSerzh movement and previous civic initiatives’, Yearbook of the Institute of East-Central Europe, Vol. 16, No. 4, 2018, pp. 125-145.

Abstract: Mass protests which erupted in Armenia in April 2018 were the biggest demonstrations in this country since the nineties of the XX century. With the dismissal of prime minister Serzh Sargsyan and appointment of the “temporary” government, the so called #RejectSerzh movement has been quickly proclaimed as another velvet revolution. The 2018 protests led to such an unexpected outcome because of the number of factors: their well-thought organization based on the civil disobedience methods, simultaneous decentralization of the protesters and clearly defined aim – ousting the incumbent prime minister embodying corrupted, oligarchic political system. At the same time it seems that the #RejectSerzh movement would not achieve such a success without the “legacy” of the civic, grassroots initiatives taking place in Armenia since 2008 and especially since 2013. All of these movements were highly interlinked and constituted continuous (however still incomplete) creeping revolution leading to the change of the oligarchic political system in Armenia.


Abrahamian, L., ‘Civil Society Born in the Square: the Karabagh Movement in Perspective’, in: L. Chorbajian (ed.), The Making of Nagorno-Karabagh: From Secession to Republic, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.
Armenian, ‘Gallup: 95% of Armenia respondents approve Electric Yerevan demonstrations’, Armenian, 21 August 2015, [2018-06-22].
Astourian, S. H., ‘From Ter-Petrosian To Kocharian: Leadership Change In Armenia’, Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies Working Paper Series, Winter 2000-2001.
Avedissian, K., ‘A real revolution? Protest leader Armen Grigoryan on what’s happening in Armenia’, openDemocracy, 30 April 2018, [2018-06-24].
Avedissian, K., ‘The power of Electric Yerevan’, openDemocracy, 6 July 2015, [2018-06-22].
Avetisyan, A., Personal communication, June 2018.
Chodak, J., Teorie rewolucji w naukach społecznych [Theories of revolution in the social sciences], Lublin: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, 2012.
Ellena, M., ‘The Armenian Velvet Revolution is over: Pashinian voted in as prime minister’, bne IntelliNews, 8 May 2018, [2018-06-26].
Eyramjyan, S., Personal communication, June 2018.
Freedom House, ‘Armenia’, Freedom House, [2018-06-20].
Freedom House, ‘Armenia’, Nations in Transit 2014, Freedom House, [2018-06-21].
Garbis, C., ‘Yerevan’s Bus Fare Protests: A Timeline’, The Armenian Weekly, 29 July 2013, [2018-06-22].
Ghaplanyan, I., Post-Soviet Armenia: The New National Elite and the New National Narrative, New York: Routledge, 2018.
Goyette, J., ‘The youth protests that have shaken Armenia were years in the making’, PRI Public Radio International, 25 June 2015,[2018-06-22].
Górecki, W., ‘The success of the revolution in Armenia. Pashinyan elected prime minister’, The Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) Analyses, 9 May 2018, [2018-06-25].
Hale, H. E., Patronal Politics: Eurasian Regime Dynamics in Comparative Perspective (Problems of International Politics), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Henze, P. B., ‘The Transcaucasus in transition’, The RAND Publication Series, 1991.
International Partnership for Human Rights, ‘BEATEN, BURNT AND BETRAYED: Armenians awaiting accountability for police violence’, International Partnership for Human Rights, 2016, [2018-06-22].
Ishkanian, A., Democracy Building and Civil Society in Post-Soviet Armenia, New York: Routledge, 2008.
Ishkanian, A. and E. Gyulkhandanyan, S. Manusyan, A. Manusyan, Civil Society, Development and Environmental Activism in Armenia, Yerevan: City Print House, 2013.
Jaloyan, V., ‘New Political Subjects in Armenia and March 1 Events’, Red Thread, [2018-06-21].
Kargin TV, Chem vcharelu 150 dram [I am not paying 150 dram], Youtube, 24 July 2013, [2018-06-21].
Khachatrian, H., ‘Armenia: how a small country counters the Global crisis’, Caucasus Analytical Digest, no. 18, 2010.
Makunts, L., ‘After Armenia’s Velvet Revolution, New Colors and Vibes in Country’s Politics and Society’, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, 10 May 2018, [2018-06-24].
Martirosyan, A., ‘Protest against pension reforms in Yerevan was about 15,000 strong’, Kavkaz Uzel, 22 March 2014, [2018-06-22].
Martirosyan, A., V Erevane v ramkah kampanii protiv udorozhanija proezda proshel obuchajushhij kurs obshhenija aktivistov s policiej [In Yerevan during the protest against public transport tariffs hike was held a training course of communication with the police], Kavkaz Uzel, 25 July 2013, [2018-06-22].
Martirosyan, S., ‘Yerevantsis Mobilize Against Price Hikes in Public Transport’, The Armenian Weekly, 23 July 2013, [2018-06-21].
Mirzoyan, G., ‘LOVE and PROTEST’, Chai Khana, 14 October 2016, [2018-06-22].
Najarian, T., ‘We refuse to pay 150 Dram for transport! And Other Protests’, Notes of a Spurkahye Finally Come Home Blog, 23 July 2013, [2018-06-21].
Nranyan, A., ‘Armenia: 20 years of integration into capitalism – consequences and challenges’, in: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, South Caucasus: 20 Years of Independence, Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2012.
Paturyan, Y. J. and V. Gevorgyan, Civic Activism as a Novel Component of Armenian Civil Society, Yerevan: Turpanjian Center for Policy Analysis, 2016.
Payaslian, S., The History of Armenia: From the Origins to the Present, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
Petrosyan, D., ‘Oligarchy in Armenia’, Caucasus Analytical Digest, no. 53-54, 2013.
PJC PublicJournalismClub, ‘#electricyerevan. A Day of Violated Rights’, Youtube, 12 January 2016, [2018-06-22].
Sargsyan, G., Democracy and Development in the Making: Civic Participation in Armenia; Challenges, Opportunities (Doctoral Thesis), Trento: University of Trento, 2016.
Sarian, A., ‘Economic Challenges Faced by the New Armenian State’, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 14, no. 2, March 2016.
Schiffers, S., ‘Why Armenians Call for a Velvet Revolution’, Polis Blog, 20 April 2018, [2018-06-26].
Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, ‘PART 1 – ARMENIA: POVERTY PROFILE IN 2008-2016’, Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, [2018-06-21].
Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, The Demographic Handbook of Armenia, Yerevan: Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, 2017.
Tadevosyan, A., ‘Challenges of Transition in Post-Soviet Armenia: Protest Movements, Power, and Society’, in: G. Novikova (ed.), Regional Security Issues: 2015, Yerevan: SPECTRUM Center for Strategic Analysis, 2016.
The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), ‘PROTEST: Should people participate in protest actions?’, The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), [2018-06-21].
Varvarchapet, Menq Chenq Vtwarelow 150 dram, incha t’e varchapety’ nor Bent’li a owzowm [We’ll not pay 150 dram because the prime minister needs new Bentley], Facebook,[2018-06-22].
Way, L., ‘State power and autocratic stability: Armenia and Georgia’, in: A. E. Wooden and Ch. H. Stefes (eds), The Politics of Transition in Central Asia and the Caucasus: Enduring legacies and emerging challenges, New York: Routledge, 2009.
Zolyan, M., ‘Armenia’, in: D. Ó. Beacháin and A. Polese (eds), The Colour Revolutions in the Former Soviet Republics, New York: Routledge, 2010.
Zolyan, M., ‘Is 2018 the New 1988? Some thoughts on the Karabakh Movement and the “Velvet Revolution”’, EVN Report, 30 April 2018, [2018-06-21].