Caucasus Survey
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BAPG Program Chair and MPSIA Alumna Published in Caucasus Survey

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YEREVAN, Armenia — The American University of Armenia (AUA) proudly announces the publication of an article authored by Chair of the Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Governance program and Associate Professor Dr. Yevgenya Paturyan together with Sara Melkonyan (MPSIA ’22). The advance article is published online in the Caucasus Survey, a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published triannually and concerned with humanities research into the contemporary Caucasus. 

In an article titled “Revolution, Covid-19, and War in Armenia: Impacts on Various Forms of Trust,” Dr. Paturyan and Melkonyan examine how interpersonal and institutional trust in Armenia was impacted by three dramatic events in its recent history: the popular uprising of 2018 (also known as the Velvet Revolution), the Covid-19 pandemic, and the 2020 war. The authors use World Value Survey, Caucasus Barometer, and other available surveys to demonstrate the relative stability of interpersonal trust, contrasted with swings in institutional trust. One of the findings is that, as anticipated by the academic literature, social trust in Armenia remains rather stable while trust toward political institutions displays dramatic changes in predictable directions in response to the landmark events in the country.

The study presents a short overview of the situation in the country and reviews relevant academic literature on interpersonal versus institutional trust, both in general and in times of crisis. The methodology section describes the key surveys used to attempt to answer the question of which types of trust in Armenia were most impacted by both positive (democratic peaceful revolution) and negative (pandemic, war) landmark events in the country. The authors then present descriptive data, tracing the ups and downs in public trust toward certain political, state, and social institutions before and after the Velvet Revolution, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the war of 2020, offering tentative suggestions as to why some institutions were impacted more than others. The last section of the paper attempts to quantitatively evaluate the overall positive impact of the Velvet Revolution on institutional trust, assessed against the overall negative impact of the double crisis of the pandemic and the lost war. 

The paper concludes that the overall gains in trust after the Velvet Revolution were followed by almost equal losses after the pandemic and the war. If international institutions are included in the analysis, the total gains in institutional trust outweigh the total losses. This might be part of the explanation as to how Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government stayed in power, despite the major military defeat of 2020. Hence, the research shows an initial “rally around the flag” effect during the early period of the pandemic, followed by disillusionment. Overall, gains in trust due to the Velvet Revolution outweigh the losses in trust due to Covid-19 and war.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.