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Armenian rulers resort to rules from the Middle Ages to get out of terrible situations

27 February 2010 [12:55] - TODAY.AZ
In the Middle Ages most kingdom, khanate and duchie rulers used to raise taxes for the poor as a best way out of a financial crisis.

Armenia’s already terrible financial and economic situation has been hit hard by the global crisis. Accordingly, the country's 2010 budget was significantly cut. Those who draft the budget felt the reduction in payments and many students lost their scholarships.

Armenia’s financial officials are unable to solve the problems on their own. The Diaspora has also reduced the size of assistance. The reason is that Armenian oligarchs living abroad could not avoid the financial crisis. The move of Armenia’s president to normalize ties with neighboring Turkey also played a role.

Some in Armenia seem to understand that they will survive only by resuming relations with Azerbaijan, and, of course, by liberating the occupied lands. However, Armenia’s rulers still find it hard to make such a move…

Facing Chernyshevsky’s old question, “What to do?” Armenian rulers decided nothing better but to act in the style of medieval kings and princes. They decided to simply raise taxes.

According to Armenian media, the local government has submitted eight new taxes for review to parliament. The new taxes include an accommodation tax, parking tax and several others.

However, the legislature, which still exhibits common sense, dismissed six of them arguing that on the backdrop of a crisis and low  incomes new taxes can cause a wave of resentment and collapse of the economy.

The government has also decided to charge employees in the jewelry business with 11 percent of their annual turnover. So, neighboring businessmen will have to pay taxes twice a year while their annual income will remain unchanged.

The attitude of the Armenian government to its people is nothing new. It has failed to show care for its citizens at all times.

Armenia’s first President Levon Ter-Petrossian, his successor Robert Kocharian and current President Serzh Sargsyan have all done the same. They are not interested in what people really want. They are unaware what the average Armenian family eats for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

They are surprised when their fellow citizens leave their native land and go to Russia, Georgia and even Turkey in search of a piece of bread, and they are angry at their soldiers and civilians who cross the frontline to find salvation in Azerbaijan. They raised taxes in an attempt to ease their lives and complicate the already difficult lives of ordinary people in Armenia.

History has seen overthrowing of governments many times, which has often happened with the help of those in power. So, a coup is a plausible scenario for Armenia.

To avoid this, Armenian authorities merely need to mend relations with Azerbaijan, which will enable Armenia to participate in numerous regional projects and also enable citizens to seek work in the most developed country in the South Caucasus...

H. Hamidov

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