Armenia takes yet another look at changing its national anthem
The vice-speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia, Alen Simonyan, has proposed adopting a different national anthem.
This is not the first time the issue has been discussed in the country, nor has the current proposal evaded simultaneous public support and displeasure.
Why should the anthem be changed?
Simonyan claims that most people in the country do not like the current anthem.
“If not today, then in the future it should be changed,” he says.
The current national anthem of Armenia
The current national anthem of Armenia – Our Homeland – was adopted in 1991. It is based on Mikael Nalbandyan’s poem The Song of an Italian Girl, and was written by Barsegh Kanachyan.
Competition for a new anthem after constitutional changes
The issue of changing the anthem was officially discussed in 2005, after which a referendum on constitutional amendments was held. According to the constitution, after amendments to the basic law of the country enter into force, the National Assembly should establish a law regarding the anthem of the Republic of Armenia within one year. In this regard, a competition was held, for which 85 applications were submitted.
Five anthems were chosen during the second qualifying round: Tigran Mansuryan to the verses of Yeghishe Charents, Robert Amirkhanyan to the text of Ludwig Duryan, Yervand Yerznkyan to the text of the poet, speaking under the pseudonym Ararat B., Edgar Hovhannisyan to the poems of Vahagn Davtyan. The idea of reverting back to Armenia’s Soviet-time anthem, with music by Aram Khachaturian and words by Armen Soghomonyan, was also considered.
The ‘Our Homeland’ anthem of the Second Republic won and was adopted after independence was proclaimed in 1991.
Anthem by Charles Aznavour
In 2017, the issue of changing the anthem arose again. The world-famous chansonnier Charles Aznavour proposed his song ‘For You, Armenia’ as a viable option.
Aznavour wrote the words for the song while the score was written by Georges Karvarents. The song was created in 1988, a few days after the devastating earthquake that occurred in Armenia on 7 December, in order to help victims. The song was performed for the first time on 20 December 1988 by 87 famous French singers singing all together live on French television.
The proposal of a chanson, despite a great love for Aznavour, caused a negative reaction in Armenia and was not accepted.
Hymn of Aram Khachaturian
In 2018, the anthem issue was revisited. The anthem of Soviet Armenia was again proposed, this time by the House-Museum of Aram Khachaturian. However, the petition to change the anthem to Khachaturian’s version was not supported at the time by the people of Armenia.
Thus, the likelihood that people will support the vice speaker’s proposal is low.
Response on social networks
Simonyan’s proposal resulted in heated discussions on social networks. Many have expressed their opinion that the anthem is far from the most pressing problem for Armenia.
Here are some entries from Facebook users:
“There are more successful ways to assert themselves. Do business, and do not change the anthem. First you need to win the right to this.”
“This is not a matter for discussion. Do not distract people from pressing problems.”
“Let’s do a survey and find out the mood of people. The anthem is not so easy to change.”