Armenia increases military budget instead social expenses
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.