Yerevan.Today sent questions to the Armenian second president Robert Kocharyan through his office, and received answers on January 28.
Asked to comment on Armenian authorities’ reaction to General Soleimani’s assassination, he noted that ‘what is happening in the region is the result of the reformatting of the global world order.’
According to him, the growing influence of regional players is opposed by the global leader, who no longer has the resources to dominate, but still has the opportunity to damage opponents.
“The process is extremely dangerous, but inevitable, and we should be prepared for such manifestations. The reaction of Armenia was a shameful ostrich,” he said.
He also commented on economic issues.
According to him, the government spoke of a firm intention to reduce the raw material component, to develop highly productive agriculture, stimulate construction, and also to develop knowledge-based export-oriented industries and the digital economy.
“In fact, last year the opposite happened,” he said. “The share of the mining industry grew, the share of agriculture decreased, the gap between imports and exports increased, the sphere of trade and services grew exclusively due to the gaming business and consumer lending, and not the new economy.”
“The economy has indeed grown, but most economists estimate it is far from 7.5%. According to G. Bagratyan, the growth was within 3.5%, which is more like the truth,” Kocharyan said.
The budget for the current year is planning GDP growth of only 4.9%.
According to him, the year will not be easy, the saved and borrowed money will be spent on servicing an impressive peak of external debt, so additional funds will have to be borrowed.
He also noted that everyone understands that the euphoria in society has passed, but the power formed under its strong pressure remained.
“Parliament, as expected, turned out to be an infantile appendage of the government, unable to fulfill the constitutional function of controlling the executive branch. Political processes take place outside the National Assembly, where the political agenda of the country is formed. This year, the parliament’s configuration will finally cease to reflect public sentiment, which will mean a loss of legitimacy. This circumstance will get snap parliament’s elections to be the imperative of the time and the main political demand. All this will happen amid a worsening social and economic situation in the country and the inability of the government to fulfill these promises. Whether elections will be held this year depends on the intensity of political processes, the degree of citizen involvement, the stability of the ruling faction and, of course, miscalculations of the authorities,” he said.
Commenting on opposition’s role in the country, he said that with its’ actions the authorities returned him to politics, and made him a symbol of opposition to ‘its mediocre government.’
Kocharyan also talked about the arrest of Armenian TV channel owner Armen Tavadyan.
Asked whether this is pressure on a free press or repression against his friends and supporters, the second president said: “There is no doubt a combination of both factors.”