This past year will be remembered for relative calm on the borders of Artsakh, an uninspired parliamentary election that had an expected outcome, a landmark accord with the European Union that Russia “tolerated,” a GMO controversy sparked by the U.S. Embassy, a student protest about a new military bill that erupted and quickly subsided, a contentious domestic violence law that brought out ultra-conservatives concerned about the “destruction of the traditional Armenian family,” crippling price hikes and many other events squeezed in between.
In its 26th year of independence, Armenia continued to struggle with high rates of unemployment and outmigration, an economy that is almost at a standstill, further consolidation of political and economic monopolies, endless promises of eradicating poverty and corruption that have yet to materialize and at times, an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.
And yet, there were sparks of light and pockets of excellence. Armenia seems to be living two distinctly different narratives; one that is steeped in misery and melancholy and the other, ignoring insurmountable obstacles is charting an exciting new path from advances in the wine industry to tech and innovation. Extremes to be sure, just like the country. Indeed, Armenia can be infuriatingly contradictory.
For us, 2017 was special. On March 16, we launched EVN Report with very little resources but big hopes of being an alternative voice for the Armenian world in the English language. While the idea was born as a result of the Four Day War in 2016, it took almost a year to put the pieces into place. We wanted to be a news magazine that would be a gateway for Armenia to the world and would give the world a chance to see Armenia through raw and unfiltered stories, compelling analyses, thought-provoking essays and more.
We brought you pieces written by academics, diplomats, political scientists, professional journalists and even students. While examining the political, economic and social currents that shaped our lives in the present, we delved into history and published stories about Armenian women who had been written out of school textbooks and the literary canon. We wrote about historical landmarks bursting with stories of our collective past but also wrote about promising initiatives and the future of the country. We did podcasts with famous individuals, changemakers and ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
From investigations to personal narratives to poetry, we published more than 130 long-form articles and multimedia pieces on a wing and a prayer and we were able to do all of this because so many people believed in our vision and our dream. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who provided seed funding, others who donated funds when we asked and others without being asked, and many many more who wrote moving and captivating essays without the expectation of compensation because they had something to say and were looking for a platform to say it. Without them, none of this would have been possible.
The year ahead will be brimming with stories that will lead us back to the past but which will help us look to the future with clarity and purpose: The 30th anniversary of the Karabakh Movement, the 10th anniversary of March 1, the 100th anniversary of the First Republic, the 30th anniversary of the Spitak Earthquake and more.
We invite you to join us on this journey.