Higher inflation, lower economic growth in 2009

Grant Thornton International’s Armenian member on Wednesday presented to the media in Yerevan the results of the organization’s International Business Report (IBR) for 2008, which reviews 34 economies of the world, including Armenia, with insight into the views of more than 7,800 privately held businesses across the countries in question.
While the report predicts a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in Armenia at about 10 percent this year mainly due to a continued impressive performance of the construction industry, it also foresees that the growth will slow down a bit in 2009 and drop to the level of 8 percent.
Inflation, the report indicates, may exceed the projected level of 4 percent and amount to up to 7 percent in consequence of the rise in international prices for oil and basic foodstuffs that Armenia imports.
“The gap in imports and exports in Armenia continues to remain rather large, which is a matter of concern,” says IBR representative Gurgen Hakobyan, adding that the correlation of enterprises geared to export and import is about 30 to 70.
PS: Armenianow.com website had been experiencing difficulties over the past month.  At least on 2 occasions I encountered a “domain suspended” message when accessing the site. Today, seeing my favorite news website back on track again, I called them and asked, if the site is back for good, or should we expect more downtime? An ArmeniaNow person informed me, that all problems with the hosting provider are solved and the site will be functioning without any more problems. Good to know!

Bullying in Azerbaijani army

A while ago Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced, that the Azerbaijani military budget will reach two billion dollars in 2008. That’s not quite as much as the whole of Armenia’s budget for the next year, but is very close, and certainly, is two-three times more than what Armenia can spend on its military.
However, given widespread corruption and ‘dedovshchina’ (bullying) in the Azerbaijani military, it is yet to be seen if the huge military budget will ever translate into quality. There’s some evidence (I’m not sure if it’s genuine) in the YouTube video below, showing bullying in Azerbaijani military. And although the Armenian military also has seen a lot of bullying and cases of murders of conscripts, whatever this particular video illustrates is simply unimaginable!

Meanwhile, Kornelij Glas has posted an interesting story about export of defective and old Ukrainian tanks to Azerbaijan.

Déjà vu: "Moscow" Cinema refused to screen Tigran PASKEVICHIAN's documentary

The premiere of “Expropriation” documentary scheduled for October 10 will not take place in “Moscow” cinema in Yerevan, by the decision of the cinema management. According to the author of the film, journalist and publicist Tigran Paskevichian, in the morning of October 7, the cinema management asked for a copy of the film for watching and announced in the evening that they will not show it, because the film is “political”. Tigran Paskevichian thinks that the film touches only social-legislative issue: the 38 minutes long documentary introduces the problems of the dwellers of Kentron community of Yerevan, whose houses were situated in the territories expropriated with the definition “for the needs of the state”. The film was screened by the order of “Victims of State Interests” NGO under the project supported by the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Armenia. As Tigran Paskevichian stressed, the ordering NGO was dealing with the organization of the presentation in “Moscow” cinema, and as far as he knows, it hasn’t yet received a written refusal to demonstrate the film from the cinema management.

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