Forbes: Armenia is the world’s second worst economy - August, 2011

According to a prestigious financial publication controlled by political interests in Washington (or is it Washington controlled by financial interests on Wall Street?), Armenia has the world's second worst economy. In fact, according to Forbes, Armenia is doing only slightly better than the world's worst economy - Madagascar! Yes folks, according to Forbes, disease, war, crime and/or poverty stricken nations such as Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Albania, Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Nicaragua, Liberia and Somalia are supposedly doing much better than the "world's second worst economy, Armenia"!

Despite Forbes' politically motivated agenda, Armenia's self-destructive peasantry and Armenia's Western funded/inspired activists wasted absolutely no time in enthusiastically disseminating this newest anti-Armenian propaganda assault throughout Armenian society.

To start with, let's remember that statistical/raw data can be manipulated, tweaked or spun to prove anything political and/or financial interests want to promote in a targeted nation. At the end of the day, it's all about politics and, as usual, hopelessly naive Armenians will fall for it.

Needless to say, the state sanctioned multi-pronged psy-ops campaign against Armenia in Western media circles is continuing in full force. Even the national church is today being targeted. Their ultimate intention, naturally, is to break the Armenian spirit so that at an opportune time in the future, they can go ahead and break the nation; as they have done with Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya; as they are trying to do with Syria, Lebanon and Iran. And the unsettling/worrying part for me here is that we will have significant numbers of Armenians, old and young, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, that will enthusiastically use this kind of politically driven Western propaganda to sow additional fear and despair within Armenia.

Recent years have clearly shown us that the political West is indeed Armenia's enemy (as it has been since the Cold War period). Sadly, I have also learned in recent years that Armenia simply cannot solely rely on its sons and daughters.

Even with all its internal and external problems, not the least of which is a terrible landlocked geographic location, a global economic crisis, a foreign funded opposition, a two decade long blockade by two of four neighbors, a troublesome norther neighbor, an embattled southern neighbor, a deeply ignorant/naive populace and a two decade long land dispute with Baku, Armenia today is doing just fine. Unknown to most delirious Armenians these days, Armenia today is actually better off than many if not most nations on earth.

Although there remains many serious problems in the nation, Armenia has been nonetheless steadily progressing and evolving. But psychologically disturbed and/or agenda driven individuals within our communities would never admit this.
Our democracy, freedom and justice seeking crusaders from the Anglo-American-Zionist world need to keep their destructive activities and ideas away from Armenia. These people should instead work on improving the sociopolitical and economic conditions of the beloved homelands they reside in. What's the excuse for crime, discrimination, poverty and corruption in the United States - the richest and most powerful empire in world history? Why is Britain in such a mess? Why are so many western nations in dire straits today? What are Greece's and Spain's excuses?

Nations of the western world have been independent for hundreds of years and they have enriched themselves by exploiting, robbing and murdering undeveloped nations for hundreds of years. Unlike in Armenia where there are many reasons for the socioeconomic despair in the country, Western nations, the Anglo-American world in particular, have no acceptable excuses for the terrible things that occur in their nations. In fact, despite its continuing socioeconomic and geopolitical problems, despite its indifferent and often times destructive populace, Armenia is steadily moving forward.

But Armenians are so psychologically sick today that they are no longer capable of registering positive signs when it come to Armenia. Armenians are fully capable of seeing positive signs everywhere, as long as it's not in Armenia. Instead of placing Armenia under an objective light, instead of trying to see the big global picture, instead of comparing Armenia with comparable nations, our "brilliant" minds today prefer comparing our small, embattled, poor, newly independent and blockaded nation in the middle of the world's worst political real estate with long established and wealthy nations such as Switzerland, France, America or the Zionist state.

Thanks to president Serj Sargsyan's capable leadership and Yerevan's excellent new mayor Karen Karapetyan, Yerevan has never been this clean, this orderly and this developed since its independence. And despite how terrible our politically driven doomsayers want to portray Armenia today, even Armenia's poorest continue living better than the majority of the world's population.

Simply put, when it comes to politics or nation building, most Armenians today (especially big talking and under performing diasporans) are worthless. As a matter of fact, the typical Armenian today, diasporan or native, is a liability for Armenia. Generally speaking, Armenians want everything and they want it today; yet they are not willing to lift a finger to do anything about it. What Armenians do excel in, however, is poisonous gossip and fear-mongering. And this is precisely the reason why Western intelligence services (and their Armenian lackeys) have been having a field day with our self-destructive peasantry. And the poisonous rhetoric being spewed has become so ubiquitous, so infectious that even well off/middle class Armenians are now seeking to abandon their homeland. The article at the very bottom of this page touches on this subject.

The total demoralization of a very significant portion of Armenia's populace today is the terrible price we are paying for actually having freedom of the press in the country. And I'll argue here that there is more democracy and freedom in Armenia than in most western nations, subject nations that find themselves under the all powerful grip of Washington based financial institutions, multi-national corporations and special interests.

The sad fact is that a large segment of Armenian society in Armenia today is psychologically sick not because of Armenia's "oligarchs" (all nations have them, many of whom much worst than Armenia's) but as a result of the relentless and corrosive anti-state propaganda relentlessly being disseminated by the West and by the so-called opposition in Armenia. This situation is really getting out of control now. That is why, in my opinion, any Armenian today that engages in destructive or senseless criticism of Armenia or its government is without doubt an enemy of the state! These self-destructive peasants are the utter filth that are in fact stunting Armenia's forward progress. Like I said, all nations have their nasty oligarchs, yet it only seems to be us Armenians that are ready to abandon our national ship as a result of natural sociopolitical hardships.

At the end of the day, we must accept the fact that nation building primarily starts with we the people, not with government officials. When Armenians begin voluntarily obeying traffic laws; when they stop offering bribes; when they voluntarily begin cleaning up their neighborhoods; when they learn how to properly stand in line at a bank or at a supermarket; when they stop treating women as possessions; when they learn how to talk in proper Armenian - then and only then can they begin complaining about their government. As I have said on numerous previous occasions, Armenian officials are an accurate reflection of Armenian society today. I have said this a million times and I'll say it another million times - Armenians, not Turks, are Armenia's worst enemy.

The following are two articles that discuss the Forbes report. The first one is an article by the CIA run ArmeniaNow propaganda outlet. The second article comes from a Russian source. Compare the reporting styles.


August, 2011


Forbes: Armenia is the world’s second worst economy

On Tuesday, the prestigious Forbes magazine published a list of the world’s ten worst economies in which Armenia occupies the second place next to Madagascar. Forbes has selected the worst ten economies from among 117 countries according to three-year average statistics for gross domestic product growth and inflation (including the International Monetary Fund’s 2012 estimates), plus GDP per capita and the current account balance, a measure of whether the country is importing more than it exports.

Compared with the list for 2010, significant changes have taken place this year. While the previous release included mostly African nations, this year the list also includes Ukraine (4th position), Kyrgyzstan (7th) and Iran (10th). The authors of the research consider not only the economic crisis, but also mismanagement, corruption as causes of the decline of economies.

“Onetime losers like Ghana and Zimbabwe got their economic acts together and moved off the list while some countries, including Armenia and Jamaica, marched into the lower ranks primarily because of the global financial crisis. Others, like Madagascar and Nicaragua, earned their positions almost entirely due to the ineptitude of their rulers. It should come as no surprise that eight of the 10 worst economies also were in the bottom quartile of countries in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Perceptions Index, with Guinea, Kyrgyzstan and Venezuela scoring close to the bottom,” says the report.

“Beyond income, (corruption) extends to economic development,” it quotes Transparency International’s Robin Hodess, group director for research and knowledge, as saying. “All of the indices that reflect human development suffer. Where government doesn’t work, economies don’t grow.”

According to Forbes, Armenia mainly suffered because of the financial crisis: “Armenia’s economy shrank by 15% in 2009 as an expatriate-financed construction boom fizzled along with the world economy. With a mediocre growth forecast for the next few years, this landlocked former Soviet republic, dependent upon Russia and Iran for virtually all of its energy supplies, is struggling to keep up with the rest of the world. Per-capita GDP of $3,000 is less than a third of neighboring Turkey, and inflation is running at 7%. On top of that, Russia cut back on supplies of diamonds, hurting Armenia’s once-thriving diamond-processing industry.”

Armenia’s well-known economist, head of the “Alternative” Research Center Tatul Manaseryan tends to trust the kind of assessment made by Forbes. “Usually, the Forbes surveys are well grounded and our researches also show that Armenia’s economy, to put it mildly, is not in a good condition. In this sense, I can share this opinion. But I am confident that possibilities of redressing the situation are not exhausted,” Manaseryan told ArmeniaNow.


Who is the poorest in the world? CIS countries are in the list

The Forbes magazine has made a ranking of countries with bad economies. This is a real revolution: this year a list of ten countries includes three representatives of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Residents of Armenia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan will be very surprised to know that their economies can't stand comparison with Swaziland or Nicaragua. The Moscow-based news resource says, that the methodology of ranking by Forbes magazine raises many questions. The resource notes, that the name of the ranking "The World's Worst Economies" is not clear, as the word "worst" is an appraisal word, it shouldn't be used in a ranking that claims to be objective.

What means the "worst" economy? It's a combination of several factors: high inflation, lower GDP growth, the smallest GDP per capita and a negative trade balance. The ranking of the magazine is based on data from the International Monetary Fund, an information for the three past years and 2012 forecasts. supposes, that this may cause a distorted picture of world's economies, as the research of the IMF was made in March, 2011, but since that time a lot of things have changed, for example, a devalvation in Belarus, which led to a jump in inflation and an impoverishment of the population.

In addition, notes, that all the indicators are not reduced to a common denominator, this causes a misunderstanding of the distribution of the places in the ranking. Thus, Armenia was ranked second in this rating, having an index of 3000 dollars per-capita GDP and an inflation at 7%. "With a mediocre growth forecast for the next few years, this landlocked former Soviet republic, dependent upon Russia and Iran for virtually all of its energy supplies, is struggling to keep up with the rest of the world", says Forbes. At the same time Lenta notes, that Guinea was ranked the third, although per-capits GDP in this country is nearly seven times smaller and inflation is running at several points higher.

The appearance of Armenia in the ranking of The World's Worst Economies may seem surprising. In the ranking of economic freedom in 2010 the country won 38th place (the third result after other former USSR countries), in the ranking of the corruption countries Armenia was better than Russia and Belarus. Nevertheless, the crisis has exposed massive problems in the economy of Armenia. In addition, the country is in an incredible dependence on Russia. According to the Forbes, "Russia cut back on supplies of diamonds, hurting Armenia’s once-thriving diamond-processing industry".

Touching Ukraine, it may be noted, that the country suffered a lot from the financial crisis and it is dependent on supplies of raw materials from Russia. The economy of the state has difficulties (corruption and poor judicial system). However, Ukraine is situated between Russia and Europe and earns from transit. The country also is a major market for European goods and it is a tourist center of the CIS.

The columnists of Forbes say they've analyzed the situation in 177 countries of the world, but only 10 entered the top of the worst. The first place took Madagascar. Ukraine is number four. According to the Forbes, the country "has rich farmland and generous mineral resources and could become a leading European economy — yet per-capita GDP trails far behind even countries like Serbia and Bulgaria".


Save Us from Our Amateur Experts

There is a tiny, remote, ancient, impoverished and landlocked country which is blockaded by two of its long-time foes. One of these enemies has the second-largest army in NATO, while the other is spending billions of petrodollars to buy weapons like there is no tomorrow. For exports/imports, the stamp-sized country is largely at the mercy of a capricious and untrustworthy neighbour which persecutes fellow nationals of the pocket-sized country. The only reliable neighbour of this hapless, diminutive country has become, in recent months, increasingly friendly with one of the embattled country’s major antagonists.
This constricted, mountainous country, where winters can be bone-chilling cold, has little arable land but is home to some 3 million souls.
In the past quarter century the country has gone through tumultuous times: it has experienced a massive earthquake (25,000 killed and many more injured and left homeless); it has witnessed the collapse of the 15-member union it was a part of; has been dragged into war; has provided sanctuary to fellow nationals who had fled persecution and worse by a war-mongering neighbour. Another shock this venerable country has undergone is the forced 180-degree turn in its political-economic-cultural orientation as it has switched from communism to capitalism.

The above tribulations have so far failed to shake the country’s determination to move forward. Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom in this land where God, according to religious tradition, decided to give humanity a second chance by navigating Noah’s Ark to land on a nearby majestic mountain.

Among the blessings of the country are its bright, educated, sophisticated, and hard-working citizens who are immensely patriotic. Another boon is its Diaspora of nearly 6 million people. And more importantly, the overwhelming majority of Diasporans retain an abiding love for their motherland and help her financially, politically, morally, and in the knowledge industries.

However, in recent years there has materialized in Diaspora a tendency to throw indiscriminate darts at the motherland. The motivations of the Diasporan “Let’s Bash Armenia” crowd are not difficult to fathom. They are mostly well-intentioned people who want to see an affluent, accountable, corruption-free, democratic Armenia ASAP. Others rightly believe a lagging Armenia is detrimental to the well-being of its citizenry and impels many to emigrate. A third group identifies with Armenia so strongly that seeing a less-than-a-perfect homeland is a personal affront to them—resulting in uncalled for bruised egos. Seemingly minimizing the impact of the hits Armenia has absorbed even before its independence in 1991, these critics claim that two decades are more than sufficient for Armenia to have shaken off the cobwebs and miasma of the “bad, old, desultory” Soviet days.

Predictably, the “Let’s Bash Armenia” group suffers from the “sky is falling” Chicken Little paranoia. In their wisdom, these chattering classes also accuse Diasporans supporting Armenia of blind patriotism.

To borrow the title of immortal Khachadoor Apovian’s masterpiece—“Verk Hayasdani” (Wounds of Armenia), the “verks” of our motherland are many. We all know what they are. But rather than incessantly slamming their Lilliputian homeland, these armchair diplomats, politicians, economists, generals, human rights promoters… should consider some facts.

It’s easier to find the proverbial needle in the haystack than to find an instance when Diasporan critique had a crucial impact on the government of Armenia. To criticize Serzh Sargsyan and Co. is pointless, if not self-defeating. Since Yerevan is obdurate about conceding to Diaspora criticism, it’s a waste of breath to dispatch unsolicited advice to Armenia from 8,000 miles away.

Unlike brickbats, positive Diaspora contributions do have an impact on Armenia. So why not invest our energies in these beneficial efforts?

When the last Armenian kingdom expired in 1375 (by then shrunken to a city-state called Sis and ruled by a monarch who had more French than Armenian blood in his veins), our nation had to wait 600 years to have a state again. Let’s support our precious and imperiled Armenia.

Let’s support it because it’s our homeland.

Let’s support it because it needs our support.

Let’ support it because our support does make a difference.

When we incessantly criticize the Yerevan government, we also hurt the morale of the citizens of Armenia and Artsakh. When we criticize Armenia, our words bounce back and demoralize Diasporan youth—our children who, like us, do daily battle to remain Armenian in these “odar aperoun” (foreign coasts). What kind of example, encouragement, message, and inspiration do we provide to our young when we viciously, virulently attack the Armenian government and even Armenia’s citizens for their shortcomings?

The bête noire of the “Let’s Bash Armenia” subscribers is the corruption of the RoA government. They are correct in perceiving corruption as an obstacle to the well-being and advancement of Armenia. But to lend some perspective to the corruption issue, critics should consider these numbers. According to Corruption Index, Armenia is number 88 among 159 countries.’s index is based on data from the CIA World Factbook, the United Nations, and the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development. Apart from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (all in Western Europe), Armenia has the lowest corruption standing among the former Soviet republics.

Among the former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan is the closest to Armenia, holding position number 107. The Russian Federation is a distant 127; Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, 131; Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, 138; Tajikistan, 145. At 156, Turkmenistan is near the bottom.

Meanwhile, the influential American "Foreign Policy" magazine recently ranked Armenia 101 out of 177 in its Failed States Index 2010. The study, done in cooperation with The Fund for Peace public organization, placed Norway, Finland and Sweden 177, 176, 175 respectively as the most stable countries. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran ranked 55th, 37th and 32nd, respectively among countries in danger. Uzbekistan (36th) and Tajikistan (38th) were the most vulnerable countries among the former Soviet republics. The Fund for Peace uses its Conflict Assessment System Tool to compile and measure its data.

During the Vietnam War, some Americans used to wear “America—Love It Or Leave It” pins. Sometimes we are tempted to snatch that extreme slogan, turn it around, and tell our amateur consultants, “If you care so much about Armenia, why don’t you pack up and move to Armenia?” But most of the time we restrain that temptation.

Although Armenians have been around for at least 4,250 years, RoA is a young country. It is not strong, affluent and secure like America, Australia, Canada or France, where so many Diaspora Armenians live. It can’t afford the luxury of 24/7 criticism, which for most developed nations, is a fact of life. As well, nation building--while ones existence is threatened--is no job for boys or for intellectual dilettantes, or people who use the Internet as free therapy.

If you can’t help Armenia in these difficult times, keep your counsel. Please don’t pick the scabs of Verk Hayastani.