Armenia’s opposition to protest against soaring commodity prices

Armenia’s opposition to protest against soaring commodity prices

On January 19, the opposition Yelq bloc of Armenia’s Parliament held protests in Yerevan, as food product and petrol prices skyrocketed. The second round of these protests is scheduled for today. The opposition blames the government’s tax code, which raised taxes on domestically produced goods in 2018, for the weak economy. Indeed, Armenia is the

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Photo: Hrant Khachatryan/Reuters

On January 19, the opposition Yelq bloc of Armenia’s Parliament held protests in Yerevan, as food product and petrol prices skyrocketed. The second round of these protests is scheduled for today.

The opposition blames the government’s tax code, which raised taxes on domestically produced goods in 2018, for the weak economy. Indeed, Armenia is the poorest country in the Caucasus; one in three live in poverty and employment hovers just under 20%. According to Yelq assemblyman and former Prime Minister Aram Sargsyan, the situation will worsen in coming months, with the price bubble expected to grow.

Republican leadership will meet to discuss the tax code’s effects. Despite having weathered similar protests during their 20-year majority, the Republicans won elections again last year. However, this situation has the potential to reach a critical point if action is not taken.

Expect protests to intensify in coming months, particularly if the new tax code remains. If political instability grows, uprising is possible, especially given the longevity of Armenia’s economic failures. In the fragile Caucasus region, unrest could have a spillover effect; Azerbaijan specifically will watch Armenia’s developments closely.

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