Armenia Cannot Be Considered A Poor Country Any Longer

By H. Chaqrian

AZG Armenian Daily

Yesterday "Azg", basing upon numerous articles published in the Turkish
press, wrote that Turkey has estimated positively the parliamentary
elections in Armenia and their results. In Turkey the public opinion
is formed by the mass media and the official position of the Government
is expressed by the Eurasian Strategic Research Center, Ankara.

These circumstances come to emphasize the importance of the Center’s
comments on the Armenian elections, especially when made by Lutem. This
is on of his statements available at the Armenian Studies Institute’s

"According to the information received, the ruling Republican party
("Hanrapetakan"- Azg) has won the majority. Although the number of
votes gained has increased, they did not suffice to provide absolute
majority in the Parliament for the Republican Party, as it had
been expected. This means that the Government will be formed by the
coalition led by the Republican Party and including "Dashnaktsutiun"
and probably other lesser parties, as it has been for the last 7 years.

After the collapse of the USSR Armenia faced serious problems. Armenian
economy was ruined, the government was unable to import energy carriers
and sometimes there was lack of food. In spite of Armenia’s success
in its war with Azerbaijan for Karabakh, its economic resources
were wasted.

After the armistice signed with Azerbaijan in 1994, life conditions
in Armenia started to improve. But the political crisis did not come
to end. Then the group led by Prime Minister Robert Kocharian forced
President Levon Ter-Petrosian to resign his office.

Kocharian took his place, but the tension in the political arena
of Armenia went on growing, until on November 27, 1999 the Prime
Minister of Armenia and a number of deputies were murdered in the
Hall of the Armenian National Assembly. After the strongest opposition
representatives were dead, Robert Kocharian and his faithful fellows
led by Defense Minister Serge Sarkisian continued implementation of
their policy, of which the main terns are the following."

First, establishment of free market economy. Due to this policy Armenia
managed to set the country’s economy on balance in a short time,
nevertheless social inequity grew. Thus a great number of millionaires
appeared in a country where most of the population were poors.

Unlike Ter-Petrosian, Kocharian did a lot to develop the relationships
with the Armenian Diaspora. After this investments from the Diaspora
flowed into the economy of Armenia, which helped to improve the
situation. Armenia GDP started growing by about 10% yearly, and made
up $1500 per head average instead of $900-1000. Armenia cannot be
considered a poor country any longer.

Without resigning pro-Russian orientation, Armenia developed relations
with the USA and the EU. In result Armenia insured influx of certain
finance assets, and achieved that most European states took neutral
of pro-Armenian position on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

On the other hand, Kocharian and his counterparts assumed
irreconcilable position against Turkey and Azerbaijan, and that policy,
in despite of all negotiations, created background for stalemate in
the Karabakh question and made impossible any yield on Armenia’s
side. Endless controversies started between Armenia and Turkey on
the issue of the Genocide.

It is obvious that Armenian public supports such toughness, which
insures support for Kocharian and his team. At the same time such
policy causes Turkey to keep the border with Armenia shut.

It was supposed that such policy would change next year latest, as
Kocharian, having held the office of President for two terms, having
no opportunity of being re-elected, is to yield his chair to someone
else. But unexpectedly, the appointment of Serge Sarkisian on the
office of the Prime Minister of Armenia and the victory of Sarkisian’s
"Republican " party in the parliamentary elections this year, the
latter became the most favored candidate on the coming presidential
elections. If so, one can surely say that Serge Sarkisian, who has
been supporting Robert Kocharian through 10 years of political career,
will continue Kocharian’s policy when becoming President of Armenia."