Tuesday, 20 October 2020

E Editorial

Armenia 2019: everything rests on the will of one person

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A year after the change of power in Armenia as a result of the velvet revolution, the main topic of discussion in the country was the theme of the outcome of the activities of this government. That the former ruling Republican party's removal from power was accompanied from the very beginning by alarmist prophecies makes the current situation remarkable from many points of view. For many, it remains unclear how the economic situation in the country did not feel the sharp stress as a result of radical political changes. Usually, in such situations, economic recession and financial exhaustion of the country are noticed. The tendency of large-scale capital outflow from the country is not apparent either.

Most likely, this state of affairs is due to the fact that the new authorities have abandoned the usual "post-revolutionary" practice of property redistribution and dispossession. Nevertheless, the described phenomenon requires careful analysis in order to ascertain the prospects for the development of the country.

So far, it can be noted that the government is pursuing a policy of creating conditions for a market economy and free competition. This course is accompanied by increasing social programs and the allocation of targeted subsidies. The growth of budget revenues allows for such a policy. However, changes in tax legislation are already causing discontent among many circles. The principle of flat taxation is the most criticized. Periodically arising crises in relations between the government and large economic entities, as well as in relations between labor collectives and administrations of enterprises, are a testament to the unsettled legal issues of financial and economic spheres.

Despite the fact that the Prime Minister of Armenia constantly declares the need for institutional regulation of all spheres of political and economic life, the whole country rests on the will of this man alone. There is no structuring of the political field yet. There is no visible desire of the authorities to abandon the legislation inherited from the previous authorities, which legitimizes the status of super-prime minister, there is no talk about the intention to make changes to the current Constitution as well. The existing law on parties does not create conditions for the formation of new parties. As a result, the ruling party "Civil Contract" is in an amorphous state, and opposition is manifested more in the media than on the part of parties.

It was not by chance that controversy arose around the figure of Gagik Tsarukyan – a large owner. The dispute over the right of this figure to have a deputy mandate is not a special case. In this dispute, the imperfection of the legislation governing the principle of the separation of business and politics is manifested. The shadow of the dismantled oligarchic system still hangs over the political field of Armenia.

Legal insecurity of ownership does not allow to free politics from the dictates of capital. Hopes that this problem can be solved with the help of "soft power" are illusory. The experience of neighboring Georgia testifies to the fact that the state order does not last long on the will of one person.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

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Yerevan, Armenia


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