Oligarchs, Corruption and Stifling the Economy

Armenia’s first international supermarket, Carrefour, has been planned to open doors since October. There is even space for it in the new mall with signs on the door saying “Coming Soon.” Unfortunately, Carrefour is saying that it might take more than a year, before the doors actually open. The reason is that local leaders keep delaying meeting with Carrefour. Their explanation is something keeps coming up (currently the excuse is the Presidential election), while others say that the local oligarchs don’t want the competition from its cheaper products.

A graph showing an increase in the power of the sugar monopoly from 2001-2011

Armenia’s sugar monopoly has only become worse over time.

One interesting note is that Sargsyan is distancing himself in his presidential campaign from the petty oligarchs that were previously used to guarantee votes. This might be a sign of the beginning of systemic change in the power structure of Armenia, but chances are it’s simply because he doesn’t need them to ensure victory in this election.

And, just to add a tangential story about corruption. Hetq measured the size of the new Tsitsernakaberd highway. They found that the 2km long highway was on average 1.5 meters thinner than it should be. This results in 3000 square meters of asphalt missing, a tidy sum that likely went into someone’s pocket.

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