In Armenia, the internet is uninhibited, the press is free, the elections are free. But I don't want to highlight this as an achievement or an accomplishment, I want to highlight [it] as a daily routine, which is the result of the joint work of all of us. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated this in his address Wednesday at the Armenian Forum for Democracy being held in Yerevan.
"When the non-violent, velvet people’s revolution that took place in 2018 and we were saying that democracy is the main brand of Armenia, many people were suspicious because they were saying: in the conditions of the post-revolutionary euphoria, the government does not need to restrict freedoms that much. But the fact that the Armenian Forum for Democracy took place in our country for the first time in 2022 and not in 2019, I believe [it's] quite a telling fact," Pashinyan said.
"When we stressing the snap elections in 2018 being free, it was somewhat questioned, and what would the elections be like in other conditions? Unfortunately, those other conditions happened, and we recorded that the elections in other conditions are not less democratic and free—and that is the assessment of the international community. This does not mean that those elections were flawless, because the political atmosphere and political culture is an issue that still needs to be addressed," added the Armenian PM.
He emphasized that democracy is the main brand of Armenia, and that this is their belief and strategy.
"Very serious institutional reforms deriving from this are still underway [in Armenia], which should bring with them a higher level protection of human rights, rule of law, anticorruption policy. But, also, I want to say that Armenia also enjoys the results of these freedoms," the Armenian PM said.
"I believe that the high economic growth that we have today is also the result of economic freedoms because if the economy were manageable and managed by the state, I believe that we would have had very serious and deep problems especially in the post-war period. But since these freedoms have also reached the level of the economy, came to our aid at the most difficult and decisive moment," Pashinyan emphasized.
The PM stated that there is no internal threat to democracy in Armenia.
"All possible threats to Armenia's democracy are external, and these threats are well-known and visible to everyone," Pashinyan stressed.