On July, 9 2011, Armenia’s Hunchakian Party and the Democratic Party of Armenia organized a conference entitled “The Prospect of Democratic Socialism in Armenia.” The primary focus of the conference is to establish a path in overcoming the grave socio-economic situation in Armenia by establishing a system of democratic socialism in the country; where the rights of individuals and the rule of law are respected. The event brought together representatives of various political parties and NGOs.

In his opening remarks, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Armenia, Aram Sargsyan dwelt on Armenia’s “sad economic situation” detailing key issues which require immediate solution. He underlined the trinity of shadow economy, monopoly and oligarchy as the fundamental basis of today’s economy. “Note that the death of the one supposes the collapse of the other,” he said adding that the official estimate the shadow economy to be 50% of the country’s total economy, yet experts believe that the shadow economy in actuality makes up an estimated 70% in the economy, and its reduction will help curtail Armenia’s growing foreign debt.

“Yet, do you think the authorities are truly ashamed of this economic ailment in our economy? They utilize these economic disabilities for their own benefit and cannot go against their interest,” concluded Sargsyan.

Amenian Revolutionary Federation Member of Parliament Artsvik Minasyan noted in his speech the appearance of the situation from an external viewpoint, when the conditions of a country are considered poor in terms of international competition due to internal political and economic policy. “A Country in such a position will not be considered as strong; rather it is always be regarded as and condemned to the viewpoint of slavery.”

Armenia’s former Deputy Defense Minister and current Social Democrat Hunchakian Party Central Committee member Mr. Vahan Shirkhanyan examined the peculiarities of liberal market of post-Soviet Armenia and the transformation of the economic system to a monopolized economy controlled by an oligarchical structure which breeds economic stagnation, poverty, and ultimate depopulation of the county; a detriment to national security.

“Twenty years of the existing market and economic system has rendered Armenia into a ‘disaster zone,’ without competition, monopolists do not try to develop what already exists but rather their singular goal is to gain profit from it and live on that profit,” stated Shirkhanyan.

“This oligarchical economic system left to us by Robert Kocharyan has forced tens of thousands of people to beg on the street, 40 to 50 thousands more to be poverty-stricken, fueling the migration problem facing the nation today,” continued Shirkhanyan. “An economic system that has turned into a monopoly for the benefit of the few hinders the economic growth of the country and the prospects of the masses.”

“Some espouse the belief that Armenia cannot develop until the resolution of the Artsakh conflict. However, Artsakh should not be blamed for Armenia’s economic system or for all its problems. A Social Democratic system of government where programs are introduced to ensure the proportional development of the country will eliminate the economic stagnation and reestablish people’s trust in authorities,” concluded Shirkhanyan.

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