Armenia prefers dream to reality
By Jamila Babayeva
The Armenian government is doing its best to find a way out of its economic deadlock. The country's isolation from the large-scale regional projects - due to its aggressive policies in the South Caucasus- has paralyzed its economy.
Now, Armenia plans to boost its economic relations with neighboring Iran, which is facing problems resulted from Western sanctions.
The government intends to establish a free economic zone on Armenian-Iran border with the support of the Armenian Diaspora because it lacks the necessary funds to implement large economic projects.
"New free economic zone may be effective in the long term," Economy Minister Karen Chshmarityan told journalists noting that it is just a project. "The businessmen from the diaspora community are showing interest to take part in the projects in the economic zone."
The establishment of the infrastructure for FEZ requires investing $15 million during three years. The government is hardly able to allocate the funds for this project due to its financial problems.
The government believes that Western sanctions against Iran cannot affect this project. Chshmarityan said the county has normal trade relations with Iran. This comes as Armenia has never worked with the Iranian companies, which faces sanctions.
However, Armenia's joint energy project with Iran still sees no progress. Iran suspended the construction of the third 400-kilovolt transmission line with Armenia due to financing problems resulted from Western sanctions imposed on the country.
Now Armenia is pinning hope to the diaspora's support but it is unlikely it can get the expected support.
The Armenian diaspora will hardly give a hand to the desperate government. Diaspora used to help the authorities but they have decided in recent years not to feed the oligarchic power, which is incapable of taking advantages of diaspora's wealth for the development of the country.
The Armenian diaspora had great expectations of the new government but none of them have been met so far. It seems they have decided to refuse supporting the corrupted oligarchic government.
Since its formation, the new government has talked of enormous and ambitious economic projects but no project has been kicked off so far. It seems that the new government has taken its desires for reality. It prefers dream to any solid reality.