The extension of state of emergency in Armenia: the economy will untie the hands, the rallies will give the green light

YEREVAN, August 6 — Sputnik, Ashot Safaryan. The authorities of Armenia in the fifth and already last time to extend the regime of emergency in the framework of measures for combating coronavirus. But, judging by recent statements of Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Ovinana, some “attributes” of the state of emergency will be lifted. These “attributes” are both political and economic in nature.

Protesters the green light…

So, citizens will be able to hold mass protests and street meetings will be allowed in public events, concerts. If the latter is clear – the musicians, the artists want to earn money, it is not entirely clear why permit mass protests, many of which can be assumed to be anti-government in nature. The decision looks rather strange.

Commenting on the upcoming revision of some items of the state of emergency, the political scientist, the employee of the analytical center “Orbeli” Nzhdeh Hovsepian said in an interview with Sputnik Armeniathat the resolution of mass actions disavows many speculations related to the introduction of the regime. So, in June, when the regime was extended once again, many opponents of the government said this is to prevent protests. From the point of view of the opposition, the society dissatisfied with the effectiveness of the fight against COVID-19 and economic policies, and are ready to take to the streets, the government, anticipating the mood and suppresses potential activity of rallies legislative measures.

According to Hovsepyan, now, when people are allowed to hold mass events, charges and accusations against the government look toothless.

“Moreover, people from known circles (referring to the previous government – ed.), speculating on the theme of the rallies themselves were aware that display on the streets of large masses they are not. Accordingly, their statements were of a provocative nature. The current decision of the commandant tells us that the restriction of mass gatherings have been aimed only at preventing the spread of infection,” – said the analyst.

As to the question, why bother to extend the state of emergency, according to experts, the government wanted for some time to keep their emergency powers. Coronavirus has not yet receded, the threat of new outbreaks, you need leverage to effectively combat the infection.

But what about the economy?

As noted above, after the next extension of state of emergency will be revised several economic components. In particular, as said by Vice-Prime Minister Tigran commandant of Avinyan, foreigners are allowed the entry to , will also be revised restrictions on the export of goods from Armenia.

In a pandemic to ensure food security, the export of some goods was restricted. Economists, however, are skeptical, they are not sure that economic recession can stop it.

“We can already see a significant downturn in the economy. And here we are talking not only on internal but also on external factors. Global supply and demand are in a state of shock, which of course affects the situation of the Armenian economy”, – said the doctor of Economics, Professor Gagik Vardanyan in an interview with Sputnik Armenia.

Pessimistic assessments Vardanyan confirmed by the official statistics. So, according to the Statistics Committee, economic activity in Armenia in the first half of 2020 fell 4.7%. Due to the growth of prices for copper and gold remains a high revenue from mining at mines (the mining industry grew by 24.3%). As a result, the industry grew by 1.5%. But the manufacturing industry (i.e. the production of finished products, not raw materials) decreased by 3.4%. Agriculture grew by 1.7%. Still recorded a deep decline in construction (23.4 per cent), trade (11.1 per cent) and services sector (6.4 percent).

Workers could not find even in a crisis and even in the villages, Pashinyan>>

According to the economist, the coronavirus is, in fact, caused significant damage to those industries which have traditionally played a key role in the Armenian economy, except, of course, mining. The pandemic has significantly reduced consumer demand, people avoid visiting restaurants, shopping malls, cultural and entertainment venues.

Vardanyan thinks that this shock will continue for a long time. Armenian economy because of its competitiveness and a tradition of lack of innovation component, can not count on a quick exit from recession.

Read original article in Russian language here.