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Armenia: 21 years of independence24.09.2012 | 17:14
Armenia has marked Independence Day. 21 years ago, on September 21, there was held a referendum, and 99% of people voted for secession from the USSR. Two days later, the Supreme Council officially declared Armenia an independent republic.
During the past two decades by late September Yerevan transforms and changes all the traditional colors. Summer green city becomes red, blue and orange for a few days. National flags are fluttering throughout the city, national anthem sounds even in the most unexpected places, young people with painted in the tricolor faces are marching through the streets, and the meeting people congratulate each other on the holiday.
In the Independence Day one of the major places for people to gather traditionally is the Freedom Square, the symbol of the new country. At the junction of the 80-90's it was the place for protests demanding sovereignty, this place gave rise to new hope for a new country, soldiers went to the war in Karabakh from here. Two decades ago, here came those who lived in Soviet Armenia, the people eager to freedom. Now here comes mainly so-called "independent generation" of young people who are roughly of the same age as the republic itself. They do not need to fight for freedom; instead of this they have a special mission. As told by a certain community leader, "Sunday of the independence has ended and now its Monday has begun".
Arsene lives in Armenia for four years and came back home from Russia. He says there are some difficulties, but he's not going to return to Russia: "I came here to study; I have long-term plans, I want to stay here to continue studies and to work". "I'm proud; we have established an independent state in the XXI century; now we have the opportunity to live and study in our own country", says Karen.
On the Independence Day everyone has similar feeling. In Armenia the people do not doubt that twenty-one years ago the choice was right; but many are unhappy with the path the country has chosen. Numerous economic and social problems, the blockade, the real plague of the 21st century - migration, unresolved Karabakh conflict - all of this are the problems acute for the country. However, there are achievements, the main of which are efficient army, that is the guarantee of the integrity and security of the country.
Now a member of the National Assembly of Armenia, that time the member of the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR, Aram Manukyan remembers September of 1991 in details. He was the first man who had read the Declaration of Independence: "The Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia declares the Republic of Armenia an independent state". Mr. Manukyan believes that the difficulties of the period after the Independence declaration - this is ordinary and natural phenomenon: "No state is completely ready for independence. Independence - this is a struggle and difficulties. You must not be ready, you must want to work".
Armenians' joy of independence is genuine. The word "independence" has not lost its importance. However, the people mark the holiday with some hope for the future. "Everyday independence" is continuing.