ACNIS Releases Public Opinion Results on Economic Growth

Armenian Center for National and International Studies
75 Yerznkian Street
Yerevan 375033, Armenia
Tel: (+374 – 1) 52.87.80 or 27.48.18
Fax: (+374 – 1) 52.48.46
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]

July 16, 2004

ACNIS Releases Public Opinion Results on Economic Growth

Yerevan–The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS)
issued today the results of a public survey on “The Trends of Economic
Growth in Armenia,” which it conducted between June 20 and July 12 in
Yerevan and all of Armenia’s regions. The announcement and accompanying
analysis were made during a roundtable discussion at ACNIS headquarters
which considered the attitude of Armenian citizens toward Armenia’s
controversial “economic miracle.”

ACNIS director of administration Karapet Kalenchian greeted the invited
guests and public participants with opening remarks. “These deliberations,
as well as the survey preceding them, aim to evaluate public perceptions of
economic growth in Armenia, to draw a true picture of its impact on the
budget of Armenian families, and to determine the factors obstructing and
those promoting economic development in the Republic,” Kalenchian said.

ACNIS legal and political affairs analyst Stepan Safarian presented “The
Aims, Methodology, and Results of the Survey,” focusing in detail on the
findings of the public opinion polls. Accordingly, 55.7% of the surveyed
citizens assert that the reported economic growth in Armenia has not had any
impact on their family budget, 36.5% say it has had a small positive impact,
and only 7.5% are completely satisfied with it. It is noteworthy that 33.5%
state that their family budget has increased owing to their and their
relatives’ employment in Armenia, 16.4% to their employment abroad or money
sent by their relatives living abroad, and only 4.2% to improvement of the
general economic situation and living standards in Armenia, and 45% assert
that their family budget has not increased at all.

In response to a question on whether the Armenian authorities pursue an
economic policy supporting the development of enterprise and investments,
22.8% of respondents give positive answers, 48.4% are of the opposite
opinion, while 28.6% find it difficult to answer. 19.5% of citizens point to
the clan system as the main obstacle to economic growth in Armenia, 32.9%
mark corruption and patronage, 16.5% the moral-psychological atmosphere
within society, 6.4% tax and customs bureaucracy, 4.2% the unresolved status
of the Karabagh issue, 4.3% Armenia’s closed borders with Azerbaijan and
Turkey, and 1.7% interference by external forces. 26.4% think that the
prerequisite for surmounting the obstacles to economic growth in Armenia is
the formation of a new administration, 12.8% improvement of the atmosphere
for investments, 16.5% encouragement and development of small and
medium-sized enterprises, 22.6% operation of large industrial enterprises,
and 12.3% the ensuring of Armenia’s active participation in regional
economic programs.

54% of respondent citizens believe that Russia most promotes the economic
development of Armenia, 12% think it is the United States, 2% France, 1.5%
Iran, while 13.3% hold that none of them do and 13.8% find it difficult to
answer. Most of the respondents, 35.3%, are convinced that Armenia should
have the closest economic relations with all countries, 32.6% with CIS
member-states, 13.9% with European Union member-states, 7% with the
countries of the region (Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran), and 2.7%
countries of the American continent, particularly the United States and
Canada. The role of the Diaspora in the economic development of Armenia is
highly valued by 25.8% of citizens, 44% view it as important, 23.1% think it
plays a small role, and 6.6% find it plays no role at all.

According to 20.3% of citizens surveyed, in the event of maintaining the
present pace of economic development Armenia will become a prosperous
country in the next 10 years, 30% expect this in the next 25 years and 16.5%
in the next 100 years, whereas 25.1% assert that Armenia will never become a
prosperous country under the circumstances.

ACNIS economic and diaspora affairs analyst Hovsep Khurshudian offered a
comment on the poll results, referring to their most compelling indices. “We
may deduce from many of the answers that the public is not satisfied with
the pronouncements of the authorities about unprecedented economic growth in
Armenia as, even if true, it does not bear a positive impact on all
society,” underlined Khurshudian.

The formal presentations were followed by contributions by Yerevan State
University professors Haik Sargsian and Gagik Galstian; Supreme Council
Deputy Club chairman Samvel Tonoyan; director Gagik Makarian of the
“Haiconsult” firm; editor Haroutiun Khachatrian of Noyan Tapan Highlights;
Yulia Kuleshova of “Delovoy Express” weekly; Vaghtang Siradeghian of
Transparency International Armenia; Yerevan State Linguistic University
professor Hrach Tatevian; Stepan Mantarlian of “Armaveni” consulting
company; and several others.

37.9% of all respondents hail from Yerevan, and 62.1% are from outside the
capital city. 38.7% of them are male, and 60.8% female (the item on gender
was missed in 5 questionnaires (0.5%) filled in during telephone survey);
7.3% are 20 years of age or below, 25.2% 21-30, 20.5% 31-40, 21.5% 41-50,
12.1% 51-60, 8.4% 61-70, and 6.1% 71 or above. 41.8% of the citizens
surveyed have received higher education, whereas 9.7% have incomplete
higher, 19.1% specialized secondary, 24.9% secondary, and 4.1% incomplete
secondary training. 41.3% are actively employed, 10.4% pensioners and
welfare recipients, 7.1% students, and 40.6% unemployed. According to their
income 62.9% consider themselves middle class, 27.8% poor, and 5.5%
extremely poor, 0.6% rich, 2.7% well off. Urban residents constitute 67.5%
of the citizens surveyed, while rural residents make up 32.5%.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K.
Hovannisian and supported by a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves
as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges
facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also
aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider
understanding of the new global environment. In 2004, the Center focuses
primarily on public outreach, civic education, and applied research on
critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center or the full graphics of the poll
results, call (3741) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (3741) 52-48-46; e-mail
[email protected] or [email protected]; or visit or