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Former PM Slams Armenian President’s Statements on Economic Growth, Emigration

Economist, former prime minister of Armenia (1993–1996) and current Member of Parliament Hrant Bagratyan wrote on his Facebook page that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan distorted the facts and figures in responding to questions at the 10th convention of the Yerkrapah Voluntary Homeland Defenders Union. The MP addressed economic growth, pension reforms, and rising emigration.

On the matter of economic growth, Bagratyan wrote: "This is [Armenian Prime Minister] Tigran Sargsyan’s idea that supposedly because of the global economic slowdown, our [Armenia’s] growth also slowed down. That’s a lie. In 2013, the global economic growth was 3% […] Mr. President, this is the 7 to 8th rate in the last 15 years (1998–2013). It simply will remain in history as one of the best years. Why do you recall the Russian Federation? The US economy, instead of the planned 2% growth, rose by 2.0%; China, instead of 7.4%, grew by 7.7% […] Azerbaijan's economy grew by 5.5%. We don't yet have the figures for Georgia."  

The MP drew attention to the fact that Sargsyan, in his first term (2008–2012), promised to double the country's GDP.

"In 6 years (2008–2013), you rose the economy by 8.8% — that is, in six years you did that which you should've done in 1 year. You promised to double people's incomes in 5 years. Meanwhile, in 6 years, poverty rose from 23% to 35%, and  unemployment, from 16.4% to 18.5%. Answering the question, you said that from 2008–2013 prices rose by 40%, while salaries, by 60%. Is that bad, you ask? Yes, it's bad, very bad. First of all, from 2008–2013, prices increased by 42.6%, while the average monthly salary, by 60.4%. The increase was 17.8% instead of the promised 100. You shouldn't have promised," he wrote.

On the matter of emigration, Bagratyan responded to the president's statement that there were more people emigrating from Armenia in the 90s.

"[From 1992 to 1997,] 247,000 citizens left the Republic of Armenia in 6 years. But in 3 of those 6 years, there was war. Yes, unfortunately, along with you (you too were a member of government then), we were unable to keep them. Well the war. 90% of the victories happened when you were in government during the years I was prime minister. What are you so outraged about? At the time you should've said let's call a truce with Azerbaijan at any price. The people from Baku and Kirovabad probably would've stayed in the country. Why didn't you propose it? Furthermore, when the first economic growth happened (1994–1996), emigration dropped tenfold."

Bagratyan mentions that 230,000 people left in the past six years, from 2008 to 2013. "In the 6 years of the war, 247,000; during your 6 years, 230,000.  Isn't it embarrassing? It was better in 1995 than in 2013. Besides, you said the rate of emigration is decreasing. Don't you know, the emigration [figure] will be smaller from a smaller pool?"