Exclusive interview of the second Armenian President to Mediamax
- Mr. Kocharyan, the public expected you to take part in presidential elections, but it did not happen. Why did you decide so and how do you assess the current political situation in the country?
- The political situation is so dull that the only reason for this interview is my promise to give it. Of course, I know that there were some expectations of my possible participation in upcoming elections. Although I have never spoken of my intention to participate in elections, anyhow I deem it necessary to give some explanations. I would single out three circumstances which forced me to refrain from returning to active politics.
First: the fight for power between two natives of Karabakh, longtime companions, was unacceptable for me. It would make it difficult for many people to make a choice and would become a topic for various speculations. Besides, I myself have chosen the incumbent President as a successor, and his desire to run for the second term is understandable.
Second: I wouldn’t like to participate in the formation of a format of three Presidents fighting for power, which is extremely unpleasant, and I believe very harmful for the country.
Third: the search for a political compromise in Armenia has transformed into small-retail political bargaining. This is not what I would like to spend my time, knowledge and experience on.
These factors are certainly not fundamental, but I think they are very weighty from emotional and ethic points of view. This is why I gave brief interviews and only in cases when it would be simply impossible not to react to the situation.
- And what about fundamental factors? In your previous interviews you spoke about such factors as the migration, the economic situation and political competition. How would you assess today’s situation?
- The fundamental factors unfortunately do not inspire optimism as before. The population outflow from Armenia doesn’t reduce, and this is not a labor migration. The tendency is extremely dangerous given a low birthrate and aging population. It is not accidental that migration is called country’s health cardiogram.
The economy began to grow, but will it be a steady growth with decreasing investments, and how much will it be conditioned by increasing debt commitments? Even with an expected GDP growth of 7% in 2012 we won’t reach the level of 2008 in comparable figures (98%), with over a three-fold increase in the ratio of public debt to GDP (with the deteriorating structure of the debt). By the way, the restoration of railway communication through Abkhazia, which is quite possible after recent transformations in Georgia, could be a serious positive stimulus for our economy.
As for the political competition, it became like a puppet show ahead of elections, which cannot contribute to the effective work of authorities and generates apathy in the society. It’s well known that without competition the authorities sleep peacefully but people, as a rule, live badly.
It’s extremely difficult to reverse these trends by measured efforts of the government. They need something more, a mobilizing society which would inspire hope and impel to act. I hope the authorities will meet these challenges.