American Taxpayers and Armenian Oligarchy

American Taxpayers and Armenian Oligarchy

The U.S. ambassador John Heffern stated that American investments are
expected in the regions of Armenia which will foster tourism and food
processing and create jobs.

The United States is dealing with something which is the duty of the
Armenian government to create jobs in the regions and reduce
emigration. Instead, the representative of the government states that
emigration and migrant workers existed in Soviet Armenia as well.

This is how the Armenian government attends to this complicated issue.
It is clear that emigration is not a problem for the RPA whereas the
population is which demands a better quality of life and protection of
rights. If they go away, the RPA will rule quietly.

American investments may change the balance. In fact, they are a
challenge to the RPA, the philosophy with which this party rules
Armenia, particularly the regions. The RPA ensures investments only in
the mines, exploiting ruthlessly the nature and placing people before
the choice to leave the country or to work as a miner.

Investments in tourism and food processing may change the state of
affairs, the balance in economy which is presently against the future
of Armenia. A change of this correlation may provide a competitive
environment which will force mine owners to focus on environmental

But what investments does the U.S. ambassador mean? Are those private
companies or government assistance under Millennium Challenge? Armenia
qualified for MC in 2006 but following 2008 disbursement of part of 70
million dollars was cancelled, and the program was discontinued, and
unlike Georgia, Armenia did not qualify for MC for the second time.

However, in December 2012 Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan visiting the
United States met with the director of MCC. This meeting was not
planned, like the meeting with Joe Biden. At least, the meetings were
not announced earlier.

This meeting seemed to prompt that the United States is likely to
start cooperating with Armenia. And the congratulatory message by the
U.S. president let hope that MC may turn the green light for Armenia.
It is possible that the U.S. ambassador meant resumption of the
Millennium Challenge.

There is a key issue to address before the second phase of MC. During
the first phase investments were made in those communities where some
Armenian capitalists had interests, as well as high-ranking posts in
government. In other words, American investments were made the
beneficiaries of which were the oligarchy, not the community people.

The second program must be designed on the basis of regions where the
infrastructures will genuinely benefit the local people, not the
oligarchy for who the local people are just labor. As an investor, the
United States government must make sure that the American taxpayers
will not unintentionally feed the Armenian oligarchy which squeezes
the Armenian taxpayers.

James Hakobyan
16:23 14/05/2013
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