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Armenia approaching default.

By Rashid Shirinov

Every month, the state debt of Armenia increases by tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, butinterestingly, the country's population sees no real improvethat these funds are intended to yield. The state debt amounted to $6.9 billion in the end of January this year, growing by $123.5 million or by 1.8 percent. It isnoteworthy that the forecasts laid down in the 2018 state budget say that the state debt of Armenia will reach $7.2 billion by the end of the year.

While the state debt is heading toward $7 billion, there is no sign of improvement in the life of Armenians: the unemployment rate is around 18 percent, almost a third of the population lives in poverty, and as a result, thousands of Armenians leave the country for good every year. The population holds protests from time to time, demanding from the government to solve the economic and social problems, but the authorities continue to close their eyes to these issues.

Armenian analysts especially note the fact that the economic decline in Armenia has accelerated with Karen Karapetyan's arrival in the government, and associate the growth of debt indicators with him. Meanwhile, many experts believe that Karapetyan was just a front man who was supposed to distract the population's attention from the Armenian authorities for some time.

As a result, many people see Karapetyan as the only person responsible for the doleful state of the current Armenian economy, while Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his team could get away with it. If to look at the years of Sargsyan's rule it turns out that during last ten years, the external debt of Armenia has grown from $2 billion to $7 billion.

While the Armenian authorities imitatefight against corruption,the governmentitself embezzles themoney that the country borrows from abroad. The funds are spentnot on the well-being of the population but on the ruling regime's own needs.Therefore, the economic and social situation has hardly improved in Armenia, and president and his team are to blame for these failures.

It is worth reminding that at the end of 2016, the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan predicted a probability of default in the country.

"While the governing regime is busy with theatrical ceremonies of reforming the governance and electoral process, which are clearly aimed at strengthening its own power rather than at the improvement of the state, our country is at the risk of a real economic disaster in the near future, hidden under a harmonious name "default," Ter-Petrosyan said back then.

This warning is already coming true today. The remaining thing is a default, but it is not too far off.

Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews' staff journalist, follow him on Twitter:@RashidShirinov

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Publication:Azer News (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Geographic Code:4EXAR
Date:Mar 15, 2018
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