By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Many Armenian experts recognized the failure of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in a polemic with the President Ilham Aliyev at the CIS summit in Ashgabat on October 11, 2019. Some of them even pointed out the much greater validity and consistency of the statement made by President Aliyev at the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club vs Pashinyan’s populist speech in Khankendi, an Azerbaijani region occupied by Armenia in 1991.
As a result, Pashinyan’s rating began to fall dramatically. It is worth noting a number of other circumstances that influenced its ongoing decline.
For instance, according to the current Armenian law, those who evade military service in order to be exempted from criminal liability must pay 200,000 drams ($420) per missed conscription. This now applies to both draft deviators who missed all conscriptions before the age of 27 (the total amount of the fine is 3.6 million drams or $7,560), and those who received a postponement and then missed several conscripts.
Earlier, the cost of a missed draft in the army was 100,000 drams ($210) and was doubled in November 2017. The then opposition led by Pashinyan sharply criticized this decision of the previous Armenian authorities and proposed even to abolish the fine “so as not to create an artificial obstacle for compatriots on the way of their return to their homeland”.
It is clear that such a big difference in views on the same problem demonstrates the mendacity and populist nature of Pashinyan’s rule, which negatively affects his rating.
It is not surprising that only 150-200 young Armenians living abroad responded to the request of the post-revolutionary Armenian leadership, made in July 2018. Pashinyan urged people, evading the army, to return to Armenia and pay military duty to their homeland.
MPs from the ruling Armenian party propose to “compensate” for the lack of returnees by significantly increasing the fine both for those who did not serve in the army and those who want to return to their homeland.
Why are young Armenians unwilling to return back? Because while living abroad, they understand the essence of all the problems of Armenia, and that in turn puts an end to their return. So, young Armenians have no desire to return to the country with absent prospects.
On the other hand, these people already feel the beginning of the end of Pashinyan’s political career. This is natural, because Pashinyan did nothing to improve the living standards of Armenian citizens. Instead of overcoming corruption in the Armenian army, which is experiencing enormous problems with the replenishment of personnel, as well as with the provision of modern types of weapons and everything necessary for normal service, he simply headed corruption schemes in the military sphere.
Thus, the cost of 200,000 drams for a missed conscript seems to be not the ceiling.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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