Politics in Yerevan.

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Postby Armanen on Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:44 am


Hayots Ashkharh Daily
28 July 07

First of all the authority in power

There is a `good' tradition in our reality to discuss or rather
speculate prior to each presidential election the issue whether or not
ex-President Levon Ter-Petrosyan will be run for presidency. And such
tradition constitutes a component of the political protocol.
This can, somehow, be understood and even `approached with
understanding' from the point of view of the personal interests of the
ex-President's political proponents. After all, what does the Armenian
pan-National Movement currently have, apart from the ex-President's
persistent silence kept in the political records?
However, the issue whether or nor Levon will run for Presidency is
becoming discussed more and more frequently, involving a broad circle
of political figures having different attitudes towards the
ex-President. Some people use it for self-advertisement purposes,
trying to attract public attention by their `genius' predictions,
whereas others' Levon-oriented mental trainings are more and more
making a transition from the sphere of rational judgments towards the
expectations of a `new mesea'.
Of course, this is also a political technique, since meseanism has
always been characteristic to ordinary people's irrational perceptions.
And today their speculation is becoming an illusory opportunity of
`trying one's luck' and fishing in troubled waters.
To keep the issue of Mr. Ter-Petrosyan's running for presidency in
the sphere of Kant's `Sober reasoning' it is necessary to answer two
principal questions.
First: What real does Mr. Ter-Petrosyan have in case running for
Presidency in 2008?
Second: Which of the real pretenders will win and which of them will
suffer losses, should the ex-President join their struggle?
It is the in-depth discussion of these issues that brings
Ter-Petrosyan's myth from Heaven to Earth. And it is not absolutely
accidental that today they are persistently left out by the
ex-President's proponents as well as other political figures who invent
tales around his image,.
This Damocle's sword bearing the image of Ter-Petrosyan which, in
some people's imagination, threatens the authorities is made of
ordinary cardboard. In case of running for Presidency L. Ter-Petrosyan
will suffer a crucial defeat, receiving no more than 3 per cent of
votes. Only his closest proponents and the ex-officials, who held posts
under the rule of the Armenian pan-National Movement, will vote in his
favor. All the rest of the pro-Opposition activists, no matter how
dissatisfied with the present-day authorities, will not, under any
circumstances, consider L. Ter-Petrosyan as their alternative.
In this respect, we believe it is the authority in power that is
more interested in L. Ter-Petrosyan's running for presidency. `Who is
guilty?' and `What to do' ` while having to give an answer to these two
eternal questions during an electoral campaign, it is extremely
important to find an appropriate target in order to exhaust the
protestant electorate's negative energy addressed to any authority.
Therefore, should L. Ter-Petrosyan appear on the arena of a political
campaign in 2008, the present-day authorities will have more powerful
advocacy tools to which they can easily direct the electorate's
negative energy. After all, the roots of all the disadvantages existing
now are buried in the times when L. Ter-Petrosyan was in power, whereas
the achievements of the past 10 years are obvious.
Thus, in case the current political speculations around the issue of
L. Ter-Petrosyan's running for presidency come under logical scrutiny
and are transferred to the domain of the 2008 electoral campaign, there
will be only one conclusion possible. In case of running for
Presidency, the former President will not only suffer a crucial defeat,
but will also contribute with his presence to the victory of the
pro-Governmental candidate.
It's a custom of the human condition for the masses to remain ignorant. It's what they do. In fact, that IS how "the peace" is kept. Whatever democracy we have here is a spectator's sport.
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Postby Armanen on Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:04 am


Jul 27, 2007

YEREVAN, JULY 27, ARMENPRESS: Armenia's biggest air carrier Armavia
said today it will buy next April two brand new Airbus aircrafts from
the France-based company.

Armavia owner Mikhail Baghdasarov told a news conference the purchase
will be 'another step on the road to meeting European requirements."

He said the carrier has reported a 27 percent surge in the number
of transported passengers this year. The next move, he said, will
be setting up a joint company with Belgium's Sabena Technique for
maintenance and overhaul of aircrafts in Armenia.

Baghdasarov said the company that owns now seven aircrafts, plans
new flights to China and Japan. He said Armavia is prepared to launch
also the Yerevan-Los Angeles-Yerevan flights and is waiting for this
issue to be settled by the governments in Yerevan and Washington.

I hope they do before 2009, that would make flights from u.s. to Armenia much cheaper. Thus I think more Armenians would visit Armenia and more often, this fits well with the article below, in that the "forcast" would need to be re-examined.


2007-07-27 13:07:00

The rates of growth of tourists afflux to Armenia will reduce within
the next five years from the present 20% per year over the last 10
years, specialists of the programme "Competitive Armenian private
sector" (CAPS) presented such a forecast to ArmInfo, made on the
basis of studies of the tourism sphere in the republic.

Meanwhile, Armenia has the best indicators by the number of visitors
over the last 5 years, among 12 countries which offer the similar
tourist product and are considered as an alternative. These countries
are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon,
Poland, Rumania, Syria, Turkey and Ukraine. Israel is the most
competitive country in the area of tourism, followed by Estonia and
Hungary. Armenia takes the last place. Ukraine takes the fist place by
the level of incomes from tourist activities, followed by Rumania and
Estonia, where the third place is taken by Armenia. By the revenue
from tourist activities per capita, Armenia takes the second place
from the end - less than $100. For example, this indicator in Lebanon
makes up $1300. Armenia is in the seventh place by the volume of
investments and in the last place by advertising expenses. By the
level of corruption, Armenia takes the 9th place. It takes the same
position by competitiveness of hotel prices, while the most competitive
prices are in Turkey, Jordan and Hungary.

CAPS specialists conclude that despite the relatively high rate of
afflux of tourists to Armenia, their number is insufficient as compared
with another countries. Low revenue from the tourist activity and its
low share in the country's economy are also noted. Concern is also
given by complex procedure of receipt of entry visa to Armenia that,
undoubtedly, hampers the afflux of tourists. Besides high hotel prices,
high prices for air tickets are also noted, that reduces the country's
tourist competitiveness. The research authors recommend Armenia to
study the potential markets, that is, Russia, USA, France, Italy and
Great Britain. They also recommend to use the experience of Israel,
Hungary and Estonia during implementation of reforms in tourism. It
is proposed to facilitate the procedure of entry visas receipt for
the countries-potential markets, carry out a policy of an open sky
an activate the advertising in tourism. The most part of the data
for studies was taken from the World Tourist Organization and the
World Tourist Council. However, the data on the number of tourists
and expenses have not been specified.
It's a custom of the human condition for the masses to remain ignorant. It's what they do. In fact, that IS how "the peace" is kept. Whatever democracy we have here is a spectator's sport.
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:13 am
Location: Arnor

Postby Armanen on Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:09 am


Noyan Tapan
Jul 27, 2007

YEREVAN, JULY 27, NOYAN TAPAN. Tourism can be considered a
sphere having prospects in Armenia, therefore, it is expedient
to make investments in the very sphere. Businessman Mikhail
Baghdasarov expressed such an opinion during his July 27 meeting
with journalists. According to him, prices for services are high in
Armenia and quality of services is low. Therefore, in M. Baghdasarov's
opinion, training centers should be founded for retraining of hotels',
restaurants' employees.

According to M. Baghdasarov, joint-stock companies should be created
in order to liquidate the monopolies in Armenian economy, and their
shares should be sold through an exchange.

In the opinion of American Armenian businessman Vahagn Hovnanian,
monopoly is very important for a country to become fully fledged,
but it should be liquidated after several years. As he evaluated,
there are considerable changes in that respect in Armenia.

Both businessmen stressed that the decline of dollar's exchange rate
against the dram has had a negative impact on their business. In
V. Hovnanian's words, currently prices for apartments in Yerevan are
higher than in the U.S. In his opinion, this is a temporary phenomenon
and will be solved soon.

M. Baghdasarov said that the dollar's exchange rate should not fall
so much, and the Central Bank of Armenia should undertake some steps
in this direction.
It's a custom of the human condition for the masses to remain ignorant. It's what they do. In fact, that IS how "the peace" is kept. Whatever democracy we have here is a spectator's sport.
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:13 am
Location: Arnor

Postby Armanen on Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:15 am


[05:40 pm] 27 July, 2007

The owner of the "Armavia" National Airlines and Russia-based
businessman Michael Baghdasarov is discontent with the dollar
devaluation. He stated this at the Hayeli Club on July 27.

Baghdasarov stated when he sold 70 percent of shares to the Russian VTB
bank, they agreed to sell the other 30 percent later. He did it on July
25. The dollar depreciation made Baghdasarov sell his shares to VTB.

His disapproval of the bank policy is also determined by the dollar

After selling his 30 percent of shares Michael Baghdasarov noticed
that the new leadership of the bank launched reforms, which he thinks
is on the right track. Mikhail Baghdasarov is likely to help the bank
and to keep the accounts of his companies in the bank.

"It will be good for the bank." Today we are not in the banking
sector but it does not mean we will not buy a bank later, Mikhail
Baghdasarov stated.

The owner of the national airlines said today that the number of
passengers of the company grows by an annual 0.6 percent. Armavia
gradually develops and becomes member of the European family of

According to Michael Baghdasarov, only 0.5 percent of delays are
Armavia's fault. Baghdasarov assured that Armavia's parameters are
better than those of the Russian and some European airlines.

Presently the company has 7 planes, it will buy another two A320
planes before 2008 and one A330 by 2011. Besides, the company will
have more regular flights. Armavia already flies to Cologne, soon the
Yerevan-Beijing and Yerevan-Tokyo flights will be launched. Armavia is
ready to start flights from Yerevan to Los Angeles. The United States
is not against, and now the General Department of Civil Aviation of
Armenia is negotiating with the Armenian party.

The owner of Armavia also said soon the Armavia will be set up which
will repair not only Armavia's planes but also other companies'
planes. In the nearest future, it will be possible to book tickets
on the web.
It's a custom of the human condition for the masses to remain ignorant. It's what they do. In fact, that IS how "the peace" is kept. Whatever democracy we have here is a spectator's sport.
Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:13 am
Location: Arnor

Postby Armenian on Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:28 am


EurasiaNet, 8/27/07

Fueled by high economic growth rates, Armenia’s banking sector is rapidly expanding, with several new, large-scale multi-million dollar foreign investments expected in the coming months.

Yerevan’s Garegin Nzhdeh Square illustrates the transition involved. The square’s sidewalks are packed with street traders, one of the clearest signs that Armenia’s "shadow economy" lingers. The lines of people at three nearby automatic bank tellers waiting to pay utility bills or get cash, however, suggests a parallel trend: the old Soviet image of banks as just a place where extra money could be stored is beginning to fade.

Armenia’s ongoing high rate of economic growth (12.1 percent for the first six months of 2007, according to official statistics) largely explains the trend. In 2000, average monthly salaries stood at roughly $55, while today they average $205. With incomes rising, residents are turning to bank loans, with interest rates ranging from 15-22 percent, to expand their purchasing power still further.

Since 2004, the banking sector has expanded at a rate of between 10 to 20 percent a year to stand currently at more than $1.6 billion. In the first six months of 2007, banking assets’ value climbed by $244 million, or about 83 billion dram, according to the Central Bank. Nonetheless, in terms of the ratio of total bank assets to Gross Domestic Product, Armenia ranks as an outsider country. This ratio, commonly used by specialists to evaluate the banking sector, was just over 19 percent by the end of 2006. In most post-Soviet countries, it can stand as high as 50 percent.

Central Bank officials put that difference down to relatively strict requirements for issuance of loans and reserve levels, among other indicators, and the Central Bank’s weekly verification of commercial banks’ balance sheets.

Some experts agree. "Indeed, Armenian banks are probably the best among the CIS countries in terms of the quality of assets," commented Tigran Jrbashian, the Armenian director of the Armenian-European Policy Legal Center, a European Union-funded think tank in Yerevan.

With additional investors moving into the field and demand for bank services growing, competition is becoming key. In addition to banks from Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran, new banks have been formed in recent years with capital from the US, Switzerland, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

The Central Bank announced in July that Russia’s Gazprombank, Austria’s Raiffeisen Banking Group and the Lebanese Biblos Bank have indicated their intention to invest in the Armenian banking sector, either via takeovers or by creating subsidiaries. In addition, Arminfo has reported that the German-based ProCredit Holding AG, an investment company that is the majority shareholder in a bank group for transition and developing economies, and the Russian investment bank Troyka Dialog are also considering entering Armenia through similar routes.

The British-run HSBC Group Holdings, which has been working in Armenia since 1996, has announced plans to make new investments and open several new branches. Details were not available. The expansion plans of ACBA-Credit Agricole, an Armenian-French joint venture, is being backed by a $12 million loan from Citigroup and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

The entrance of GazPromBank, in particular, is thought likely to fuel competition with one of the largest foreign bank players in Armenia’s market -- Russia’s VTB Bank, which took over the Armenian Savings Bank in 2004. In late July, VTB Armenia Chief Executive Officer Valery Ovsiannikov told ArmInfo news agency that the bank is looking for capital to see through proposed projects worth $500 million.

With the expansion, expert Jrbashian hopes that the quality of banking services could improve, too. Already, banks are increasing interest rates for deposits, while some are also venturing into relatively new products for the region – student loans, low-fee credit cards for account holders and cumulative interest-rate accounts that vest to accountholders’ children upon their reaching adulthood.

But more banking activity could mean higher inflation, a situation often seen in rapidly growing economies which consume large sums of money in a short time. The Central Bank has hoped that a stock market, planned for introduction in the coming year or two, could help keep that risk even lower, but, for now, as bank investment grows, the outcome is far from certain.

Bankers say that inflation could provide a clue. Despite earlier fears that inflation for July 2007 compared with December 2006 might be as high as 4 percent, the increase ranked a mere 0.6 percent. This slight jump, despite above-average growth in the banking sector, has suggested that money supplies have not yet outstripped economic activity. For now, the bets are on that the Armenian economy has room to absorb still more.

Source: http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/i ... 2707.shtml
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