Pashinyan announces start of 'Armenian economic revolution'
Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced the start of economic revolution in the country as he presented the government’s five-year activity program to the parliament.
The PM said that the Armenian government's main task in the five years to come is to reduce and overcome poverty and unemployment, as well as achieve the growth of industry and exports, Sputnik Armenia reports.
"In the future, we are left with liberating our homeland from its the criminal-oligarchic regime’s leftovers and the corrupt past," Pashinyan said, noting that there will be no return of the criminal-oligarchic regime.
But this program has been criticized by the expert community and the non-parliamentary opposition for its declarative nature. The “Armenian economic revolution” doesn't even mention the de-blockade of the Turkish and Azerbaijani borders, as well as the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - two factors hindering the growth of the Armenian economy since 1993.
Director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, explained that the blockade of borders will not allow Armenia to fully develop under any other conditions. "In order to achieve economic progress, Armenia has political will and a systematic approach attempt, demonstrated by Nikol Pashinyan, support of his actions by the majority of the population and citizens' need to accomplish this economic revolution, as well as support from rich Western countries. But this is not enough, since Armenia, first of all, it is in a state of economic blockade due to the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and this is the main obstacle," he said.
The situation is complicated by the fact that Armenia has a very small and narrow market. "The Armenian economy can only develop in integration with any larger market. It cannot develop with Russia as a result of logistical obstacles associated with the blockade of the Azerbaijani border, and with a weak transit capacity through Georgia. Iran has big problems with the economy. In addition, the position of the diaspora, which could provide serious investments, is still unknown - there is support in words, but it is not yet clear that there will be investment support from the diaspora," Sergei Markov said.
The writer, journalist, Vesti FM radio station host Armen Gasparyan also noted that victory over corruption alone is not enough for the realization of the “Armenian economic revolution”. "Armenia needs very serious economic and social reforms. Also I don't know whether any economic breakthrough is possible, even with a decrease in the level of corruption. The fact is that the republic cannot be moved geographically - it will continue to have borders with Turkey without diplomatic relations, and Azerbaijan, being in a state of war, both borders are closed," he said.
"At the moment, we see Pashinyan only as a populist. Although the Armenian economy's benefits from membership in the Customs Union and the Eurasian space are obvious. If Pashinyan succeeds in achieving at least a little success, he will cease to be a populist and become a politician. Armenia’s problems should not be reduced solely to the work of previous presidents and governments, there are certain kinds of mental traditions associated with this region, which everyone is well aware of, and I’m not convinced that it can be changed. Some facial success is possible, but I don't expect something more,” Armen Gasparyan concluded.