Ar­me­nia in­creases mil­i­tary bud­get in­stead so­cial ex­penses

Azer News - - Karabakh Conflict - By Ab­dul Ker­imkhanov

Ar­me­nia con­tin­ues in­creas­ing mil­i­tary spend­ing and gets more and more in­volved in an arms race with Azer­bai­jan, ig­nor­ing needs of the so­cial sphere. The coun­try is in deep eco­nomic cri­sis and lacks any hope to sur­vive.

Act­ing Ar­me­nian Prime Min­is­ter Nikol Pashinyan said dur­ing a cam­paign rally on De­cem­ber 3 that the bud­get of the Ar­me­nian armed forces will be in­creased by $2.5 bil­lion over next five years.

Ar­me­nia’s mil­i­tary spend­ing is pre­dicted to in­crease by a quar­ter in its pub­lic bud­get of 2019. The amount of mil­i­tary spend­ing will be $647 mil­lion, an in­crease of 24.9 per­cent com­pared to 2018. Thus, the level of de­fense and se­cu­rity spend­ing will reach 4.5 per­cent of GDP. By this in­di­ca­tor, Ar­me­nia is ahead of many NATO coun­tries, where the mil­i­tary bud­get does not ex­ceed 2 per­cent of GDP. The vol­ume of 5–6 per­cent of GDP is al­ready con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous for the econ­omy, and Ar­me­nia will come closer to this mile­stone by this new bud­get. In the course of the five years an­nounced by Pashinyan, the mil­i­tary bud­get will over­come all imag­in­able bound­aries, and all the re­sources of the coun­try will be­gin to work ex­clu­sively on the pur­chase of weapons. Given a de­scend­ing trend in thge num­ber of pop­u­la­tion Ar­me­nia seems to reach the world lead­ers by num­ber of weapons per capita.

At first it might seem quite 'stun­ning phe­nom­e­non' for a small coun­try with poor econ­omy, but Ar­me­nia lacks this amount of money in the bud­get. There is not even money to in­crease the mil­i­tary bud­get for next year, although the state bud­get for 2019 has al­ready been adopted.

The to­tal vol­ume of pub­lic bud­get for 2019 will be 1.5 tril­lion drams (about $3 bil­lion). So, Pashinyan is am­bi­tious to dou­ble the coun­try's bud­get in five years, how and in way wasy re­mains ques­tion.

Act­ing Ar­me­nian De­fense Min­is­ter David Tonoyan told re­porters that the bud­get of the De­fense Min­istry for 2019 will be in­creased by 26.6 per­cent. No doubt, the ex­pected 2.5 bil­lion should be paid by cor­rupt of­fi­cials.

There is con­fu­sion in the state­ments of the Ar­me­nian of­fi­cials. Pashinyan speaks about 2.5 bil­lion over five years, Tonoyan prom­ises them next year. And how re­al­is­tic is it to shake such a sum out of the pock­ets of the oli­garchs?

Such dis­crep­an­cies in the prom­ises and real steps of the new govern­ment of Ar­me­nia are nu­mer­ous.

The only rea­son­able step for Ar­me­nia to save its econ­omy is to join con­struc­tive peace­ful ne­go­ti­a­tions with Azer­bai­jan to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh con­flict. Every year Ar­me­nia fool­ishly spends lots of money on fur­ther mil­i­ta­riza­tion and on sup­port to the sep­a­ratist regime in Karabakh. Fight against unem­ploy­ment, cor­rup­tion, poverty and in­fla­tion – these are what the Ar­me­nian author­i­ties must fo­cus on now.

There­fore, it would be more ap­pro­pri­ate for the new Ar­me­nian govern­ment to al­lo­cate funds to im­prove the well-be­ing of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion, rather than to blindly spend them on mil­i­tary pur­poses.

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