What does 2017 bring for Armenia?

What does 2017 bring for Armenia?

Parliamentary elections, signing of an agreement with the EU and significant drop in the standard of living are among the most memorable things for Armenia in 2017, politicians and experts said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, summing up the results of this year.

Levon Zurabyan, a member of the "Armenian National Congress" opposition party, noted that 2017 was "a very bad year for democracy in Armenia. All hopes for normal, fair elections were almost completely buried. By the end of the year, authorities completely control the parliament, there is no democratic content inside internal political system of the republic," he said.

"This is very unpleasant, especially since for 10 years there was a strong democratic movement in the country, which inspired the hope that it will be possible to move from authoritarianism to democracy. This did not happen in 2017. Of course, no one is going to give up - we will continue to fight," Levon Zurabyan assured.

An MP from Tsarukyan bloc, Naira Zohrabyan, drew attention to significant increase in poverty level in Armenia. "This year, unfortunately, will be remembered by unrealistic growth of poverty, unemployment and emigration, although official statistics doesn't show it. Unfortunately, the government, which set very high goals for itself when it was formed, couldn't resolve the most important issue and deal with economic monopolists and corrupt officials," she said.

"The fact that Armenia ends this year with two leverages, which we got thanks to the Eurasian Union and an agreement with the EU, is a positive moment. At the same time, I if the authorities won't show political will (for some reason, the ruling party has an allergy to this expression), then we will be nothing more than an extra in the EAEU and in the context of the agreement with the EU," she noted.

The Director of the Armenian branch at the CIS Institute, Aleksander Markarov, said that in terms of progressive, stable democratic development of the republic, 2017 was "a pretty stable year, which cannot be said about two previous years. There was also economic growth thanks to new policy, implemented by the team headed by the prime minister," he believes.