(Two Years)
October 2014-September 2016

With the generous support of the Academic Swiss Caucasus Network (ASCN), the Regional Studies Center (RSC) is conducting a two-year research project entitled, “In Search of a Foundation Myth: State-building and Representations of the Events of 1988-1991 in the Political Discourse of the Republic of Armenia.”

This research project was initiated in October 2014 with the award of a 49,940 CHF (Swiss Franc) grant from the ASCN (ASCN Grant 2014-2016) and will run through October 2016. The Project Leader is RSC Analyst Mikayel Zolyan, who also heads the research team of Dr. Satenik Mkrtchyan and Dr. Hovhannes Hovhannisyan.

Project Overview

The subject of the research will be politics of memory in post-Soviet Armenia, more specifically the representations of the period of 1988-1991 in the political discourse of modern Armenia.

This study will offer a new perspective on the issue of history and memory in the Armenian context as it will focus on representations of the recent past.

This study is innovative in a sense that rather than focus on narratives of trauma (as has some of previous research had done), it will focus on the narrative of nation-building promoted by political elites in an effort to create ideological legitimacy for the state.

The project will combine constructivist/instrumentalist approach to such phenomena as memory and identity, with methodology of analyzing political discourse, focusing on discursive practices implemented by political elites and counter-elites. Thus, if will highlight the functions that historical narratives serve in post-Soviet context and the ways they are instrumentalized by political elites and counter-elites.

Project Objectives, Activities & Outcomes

The Main Objectives of the project include:

  • identifying the main narrative models of representation of events of 1988-1991 in modern Armenian political discourse;
  • describing the position of ruling elites and counter-elites and how the dynamics of its transformations;
  • explaining the role that these narratives are playing in contemporary Armenian society and comparing it with other cases in post-Soviet space.

The project’s Expected Outputs include:

  • A research paper, to be published in a peer-reviewed academic journal;
  • Conference presentations;
  • A monograph.


ASCN Project Factsheet