Armenia: Feast in time of poverty

Photo: Armenia: Feast in time of poverty / Armenia

By Jamila Babayeva

While the Armenia's poor population are bracing themselves for the upcoming financial austerity, the authorities increase their wages and pursue their personal interests.

The electricity tariffs will go up in Armenia by 10 percent as of August 1, 2014, which will lead to the increase of good and other services' prices in the country. After the price increase, the population's socio-economic situation will become more deteriorated. Armenia is the country, where one third of the population lives in poverty. Local experts said the decision on electricity tariffs has no justification.

An increase in electricity tariffs is inevitable, the Public Services Regulatory Commission reported. Otherwise the country's electric networks would be in a difficult situation with their debt reaching 16 billion 600 million drams ($40,291,354).

The Armenian top officials do not worry about the upcoming price increases in the country, because their wages will increase as of July 1, 2014, while the minimum wage ($120) in the country is insufficient for a normal life.

President Serzh Sargsyan's wage will rise by 203 percent from 436,000 drams ($1.059) to 1.320 million drams ($3,206). The wages of prime minister, the parliamentary speaker, and the head of the Constitutional Court will also increase.

The Labor and Social Affairs Ministry justify the increase with the high responsibility and working load of the top officials. Almost 35 million drams ($85,019) will be allocated to increase the wages of the state officials, while the country's electric network is struggling under the huge debt.

Local media reported that the population was stunned after the government's decision to increase the top officials' wages.

The government has not taken any effective measure to reduce the poverty, which is the main challenge for the post-Soviet country. The authorities only improve their welfare.

Armenia's condition is similar to that described in Russian famous poet Pushkin's dramatic play "Feast in time of plague" where some young people are feasting while a plague is reigning on the city. Paraphrasing the name of the tragedy, the situation in Armenia can be named as "Feast in time of poverty". The Armenian authorities enjoy prosperous life, while the population hardly makes both ends to meet.


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