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The Article discusses issues of role and impact of Armenian think tanks in public policy. Current situation, main trends and challenges of Armenian think tanks are discussed. Development possibilities of the sphere are described in Conclusion.
European Journal
of Law and Political Sciences
№ 2 2017
«East West» Association for Advanced Studies and Higher Education GmbH
Section 9. Political institutes,
processes and technologies
DOI: hp://
PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science
at Armenian State University of Economics,
Armenian Think Tanks influence aspects on Public Policy
Abstract: e Article discussesissues of role andimpact of Armenian think tanksin public policy.
Current situation, main trends and challenges of Armenian think tanks are discussed. Development
possibilities of the sphere are describedin Conclusion.
Keywords: think tanks, Armenia, public policy, impact, expert community.
Second half of the 20th century may be men-
tioned as important timeframe for development
andinstitutionalization of political expertise. Devel-
opment of think tanks establishedin the mentioned
timeframeis being continuedin many countries dur-
ing 21st century. is developmentis not only ex-
pressedin quantitativeincreasing trend but alsoin-
creasing ofinuencein the public policy sphere.
Aer 1990, since the restoration ofindepen-
denceinstitutions having modern expertise and an-
alytical format have started to emerge. At the same
time regarding estimation of activities of Armenian
think tanksin public policyitisveryimportant to
analyze level of popularity among dierent state
and political frames.
Description of the situation and key trends
Itis necessary to mention that unfortunately
majority of think tanks establishedin Armenia are
not well known not only among wide society and
politicians but also representatives of academic and
expertise society.
Above mentioned phenomenon is also men-
tioned by other experts. In particular as to Assistant
Professor Yevgenya (Jenny) Paturyan representing
American University of Armenia Armenian think
tanks remainvirtually unknown to the public, in-
cluding suchimportant segments of the public as
journalists, students, scholars, and others who would
clearly benet from think tank generated, system-
atized and storedinformation [1].
is situation can be explained by the following
main reasons:
• sustainable  activities,  provision  of  active-
nessininformation domain and public platforms,
also lack of necessary funds for applying marketing
• insucient eciency of think tank management;
• limited opportunities ofinvolving professional 
experts and analysts.
In the context of above mentioneditisimportant
to highlight that Armenianindependent, non-state
think thanks as a rule survive mainly by the support
of foreign funding, grants and less from domestic
Section 9. Political institutes, processes and technologies
funding. In this case aer foreign fundingis over or-
ganizations like this have to be more passivein their
activities till the next grant or they are closed. Besides,
in situations mentioned, activities of Armenian think
tanks andin particular research agendais formed
from foreign sources considering grants, as a rule,
usually support research areas which are of aninter-
est for the organization that supports funding.
Situation somehowis dierentin the case of
Government aliated think tanks which have sus-
tainable funding and are directly funded by the State
budget. Referring to University aliated think tanks
majority of those organizations also usually benets
from the foreign grants. But there are some excep-
tions. Nowadays for example Center for Regional
Studies of Public Administration Academy of the
Republic of Armeniais funded by the State Com-
miee of Science of the Ministry of Education and
Science of the Republic of Armenia. And “Amberd
Research Center of Armenian State University of
Economicsis almost completely funded from the
University budget. Itisimportant to mention that
Amberd” Centerisimplementing research projects
with government agencies and private organizations
of Armenia on the basis of an agreement whichis
considered to be an additional source ofincome.
In generalissues of providing sustainable funding
are the Achilles heel of Armenian think tanks. Unfor-
tunately, tradition of patronage and charity to support
such organizations has not completely formedin Ar-
menia. Reection of this phenomenonis clearly ob-
servedif paid aention to World GivingIndex Report
by Charities Aid Foundation publishedin October,
2016. In the Report Armeniais on the 130th place
among 140countries [2, 34].
Regardinginsucient activeness of Armenian
think tanksin theinformation domainitis neces-
sary to add thoughvast majority of those organi-
zations has an ocial web page they are updated
rarely. Most popular social media among Armenian
think tanksis Facebook. Around 80% of Armenian
think tanks have ocial web pages on Facebook but
unfortunatelyvast majority of those pagesis not ac-
tive suciently.
Itis obvious that insucientinformation ac-
companiment of Armenian think tank activities sig-
nicantly hasitsinuence onimpact level of those
organizations, moreover both on decision making
process of the political elite and society. Itisimpor-
tant to emphasize that some Armenian think tanks
have linguistic orientation of English. For example
ocial web pages of some Armenian think tanks are
onlyin English which signicantly narrows laer au-
ditoriumin Armenia and as a result decreasesimpact
having on political processes. Itis obvious that by ap-
plying those methodsitis not possible to achieve ef-
cientimpact on country's social, political processes
and formation of public opinion. Research of alike
web pages sometimes thereis generalimpression
that think tanks like that are targeted exclusively on
foreign auditorium and main aimis to show foreign
donorsimplemented work.
In general, besides Government aliated think
tanks that even are limited but have their own levers
on the political elite, vast majority of Armenian think
tanks does not have signicantimpact andinuence of
Armenian expertise society on formation of political
reality and political processesis not that much obvious.
Among already mentioned reasons this phe-
nomenon is conditioned by expertise, potential,
resources, organizational possibilities of Armenian
think tanks do not allow eciently participatein the
decision making process. Besides, intellectual prod-
uct of Armenia think tanks, unfortunately, is not
sucientlyintended to solution of appliedissues.
From the other hand although some progress still
existsinsucient demand towards analytical prod-
uctin Armenia which decreases competitionin the
sphere and does not establish conditions for think
tanks to reconsider nature of their product.
Itis obvious thatin darting and ever-changing
political, economic processes of the 21st centuryin
particular among the political eliteitis necessary to
riseinterest towards think tanks’ intellectual product
Armenian Think Tanks influence aspects on Public Policy
through complying with some requirements: make
those more concise, more precise and applicable,
reading friendly, if necessaryinclude forecast/likely
scenarios future developments, concrete sugges-
tions, recommendations, andin this way be useful
for decision makers. Unfortunately, many Armenian
think tanks today are not able to publish such anin-
tellectual product properly. Some think tanksin the
style of academicinstitutions emphasize publication
of more extensive work whichif necessary and com-
pulsoryin fundamental sciencesis not advisablein
the case of think tanks.
Itisimportant to add that one of the reasons of
current situationis rooted political culturein deci-
sion making process where expertise community
was not widelyinvolved traditionally. is phenom-
enonis typical to not only Armenia but also many
other countries of the world among those countries
of Eastern Europe and post-soviet area countries.
Nevertheless, someindependent think tanks, ex-
perts of thoseinstitutions through their active pub-
lic, research and publication activities have somein-
uence in public policy. In this context we may
emphasize: Caucasus Institute, Regional Studies
Center, ArmenianInstitute ofInternational and Se-
curity Aairs, Armenian Center for National andIn-
ternational Studies, Caucasus Research Resource
Center-Armenia, International Center for Human
Development, Institute of Public Policy and active
functioning of several think tanks. From that point
ofview— Centre for European Studies of Yerevan
State University, e Turpanjian Center for Policy
Analysis of American University of Armenia, “Am-
berd” Research Center of Armenian State University
of Economics, Laboratory for Strategic Researchin
the Sphere of National Security of Russian-Arme-
nian University, etc. stand out among University Af-
liated ink Tanks.
Other experts of the sphere have also rebound-
edissues ofinsucientinuence of Armenian think
tanks and small share ofinvolvementin political
decision making process. According to themin Ar-
menia, think tanks have limited channels to reach
decision makers or see policy proposals enacted, but
thereis still room for manoeuvre [3]. In Armenia
policymakingis fairly closed. ere are a few elite
pockets of discussion, oeninvolving the Central
Bank and some otherinstitutions, but the spaces for
discussionis narrow [4].
Insucientinuence level of Armenian think
tanks, also rolein public policy may also be graded by
otherindex. So, itis well known thatin many coun-
tries designation “revolving doors” has been widely
spread policy when ex high ranked (and not only)
government ocials, politicians are hired by think
tanks or lead those. Alsoviceversa experts, analysts
of the think tanks areinvited to work at the state
governing sphere. is approachis usually applied
and has already provenits eciency rst of allin the
USA, and recentlyit has been widely applied alsoin
China and other countries. Itis truthfully mentioned
by experts Cheng Li and LucyXu– “revolving doors”
helping facilitate the uid exchange ofideas and ex-
pertise between government and non-government
[5]. What refers to Armenia we need to mention that
unfortunately targeted policyis notimplementedin
this sphere. ough some precedents exist they are
not of a systematic nature andin general aer leaving
the post of a high-ranked political ocialvery rarely
join already existing think tanks. e same can also
refer to employees of think tanks who arevery rarely
hiredin a state governing sphere.
In this regards currently existing situation in
the sphereis much more similar to a one way road
and only some cases may be mentioned when ex-
politicians or high level political ocials establish
their own research, analyticalinstitutions. In par-
ticular, Armenian Center for National andInter-
national Studies was established by the First Min-
ister of Foreign Aairs of the Republic of Armenia
(1991–1992) Ra Hovannisian, “ModusVivendi”
Center was established by ex-Ambassador Extraor-
dinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Arme-
nia to Canada (2000–2006) Ara Papian, Armenian
Section 9. Political institutes, processes and technologies
Center for Society Research, was established by the
ex-Prime Minister of Armenia (2008–2014), ex-
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of
Armeniain the USA during the establishment and
currently President of the Commission of Eurasian
Economic Union Tigran Sargsyan, etc.
Concluding it is important to mention that
theindustry of Armenian think tanks has not com-
pletely evolved and still a lot ofissues exist such asin-
sucient opportunities of organizational, nancial
resources of think tanks, involvement of professional
experts, insucient activenessin theinformation
sphere, as well limited opportunities ofinvolvement
of think tanksin decision making processes.
Nevertheless, since 90th of the previous century
launched development of the think tankindustryin
Armenia will have a continuative nature as necessity
of professional expertise, analyticalinstitutionsis ob-
viousin the sphere of public policy. Besides for the
development of mentioned think tankindustry the
below mentioned prerequisites exist:
• state and democraticinstitutions have strength-
ened, operational eciency has risen;
• graduallyinterest of the political eliteis rising 
towards theintellectual products of think tanks;
• democratization level of decision making pro-
cess has ascended;
• slightly fund rising opportunities of scientic, 
expertise, analytical institutions have risen (state
funding, foreign and domestic grant calls).
Itis alsoimportant to mentionin some cases
thereis a gap between activities of Armenian think
tanks and the national priorities. e reason of the
mentionedis level ofinsucient cooperation be-
tween executive and legislative authorities of Ar-
menia from one side and from the other side think
tanks. Considerable nancial dependence of Ar-
menian think tanks from external fundingis also of
greatimportance. Itis obvious that solution of the
laerissueis connected to the country successin
the development of economy which may expand
Armenian sources of think tank funding and allow
the government to lead the activities of think tanks
applying so mechanisms towards solutions of the
priorityissues facing the country and society.
Also regarding the reinforcement of sta of
think tanksitis necessary to add that considering
many academic and universityinstitutions that are
main sources supporting think tanks with sta, cur-
rentlyin Armenia still thereisintellectual potential
not used andin case of proper conditionsindustry
of think tanks mayincrease speed of development.
is will have a multiplicative eect and among
those mentionedit willinuence further consolida-
tion of democratic system and development of civil
1. Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan. ink tanksin Armenia: Who Needs their thinking?//hps://onthinktanks.
CAF World Giving Index – 2016//hps://
3. Dustin Gilbreath. inking about think tanksin the South Caucasus: A New Series//hps://onthink-
4. Hans Gutbrod. e lay of the land: Aninterview with Hans Gutbrod on think tanksin the South Cauca-
5. Cheng Li, LucyXu. Chinese think tanks: A new “revolving door” for elite recruitment//hps://www.
... The influence of Armenian think tanks on public policy, society and decision-makers is not clear [3]. .  "Enlight" Public Research Centercomprising many young analysts. ...
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Publisher: On Think Tanks Source: The article discusses some issues and challenges, as well as recent developments in the sector of Armenian think tanks. Based on the analysis, it is proposed to form a more favorable environment, political culture and develop legal mechanisms for the development of the sphere and the disclosure of the potential of think tanks, to activate the connection between the government, the expert community and society, which can serve as an "Ariadne"s Thread to improve the situation for think tanks, evidence-informed policymaking, and to bridge the gap between knowledge and policy.
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Issues of Strategic Modernization of Think Tanks... This paper is devoted to the analysis of the challenges and opportunities facing the think tank industry that arise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The issues of modernization of think tanks operating models and their toolkit are discussed. The research emphasizes the importance of taking steps in accordance with changing realities, including for preparedness for a post-pandemic world and a more effective response to current and future crises. Recommendations have been developed that can help the think tank community to keep balance and become the basis for a survival strategy during ongoing crisis, and to design a comprehensive development strategy in the post-pandemic period.
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Ուսումնաօժանդակ նյութ N 1
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The article discusses some recent trends and developments in Armenian think tank industry. The author touched upon the issues of presence of think tanks in Armenian public policy and the degree of opennes of Armenian political elite to think tanks. The main finding is that there are some positive trends in the Armenian think tank sector and the political elite of Armenia will continue changing its attitude towards them and increase its attention towards experts and knowledge brokers in society.
Think tanks in Armenia: Who Needs their thinking
  • Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan
Yevgenya Jenny Paturyan. Think tanks in Armenia: Who Needs their thinking?//https://onthinktanks. org/articles/think-tanks-in-armenia-who-needs-their-thinking/
Thinking about think tanks in the South Caucasus: A New Series
  • Dustin Gilbreath
Dustin Gilbreath. Thinking about think tanks in the South Caucasus: A New Series//
The lay of the land: An interview with Hans Gutbrod on think tanks in the South Caucasus
  • Hans Gutbrod
Hans Gutbrod. The lay of the land: An interview with Hans Gutbrod on think tanks in the South Caucasus//
Chinese think tanks: A new "revolving door
  • Cheng Li
  • Lucy Xu
Cheng Li, Lucy Xu. Chinese think tanks: A new "revolving door" for elite recruitment//https://www.