“The international community should have measurable indicators about the consequences of the blockade of Artsakh:” presentation of report on the losses of the Artsakh economy

“The international community should have measurable indicators about the consequences of the blockade of Artsakh:” presentation of report on the losses of the Artsakh economy

According to the evaluation report “Economic Loss of Artsakh Due to Blockade,” the total financial and economic losses for Artsakh due to the blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan amount to at least 753 million drams (1.9 million USD) per day. The report was prepared by a professional group of economists led by Vardan Aramyan, an international consultant on public finance management, at the request of the Government of the Republic of Artsakh and former State Minister Ruben Vardanyan.

Today, Vardanyan, co-founder of the “We Are Our Mountains” territorial agency; Aramyan, leader of the report’s expert group; and Grigory Martirosyan, member of the expert group and head of the “We Are Our Mountains” agency’s projects in Artsakh, presented the document and spoke about its significance to journalists covering the economic sphere. Vardanyan and Martirosyan joined from Stepanakert via video call.

Opening the discussion on the report taking place in Yerevan, Martirosyan expressed hope that journalists will present not only the numbers, but also the reality behind those numbers to the wider public. “Artsakh has been under blockade for 108 days already, and the blockade has indeed had negative consequences on all sectors of its economy, without exception. That influence can be identified as corrosive, and it will be very difficult to restore Artsakh’s economy in the future. This report is a professional document and valuable in that it presents, with a clear methodology and utilizing professional calculations and assessments, the extent to which Artsakh’s economy has suffered damage,” Martirosyan noted.

According to Aramyan, the head of the report’s expert group, the document is aimed at the whole world, because when talking about the blockade and the humanitarian crisis, the world and the international community should also be presented with “metric” indicators. “We tried to answer that question with this document, to present the information concretely, objectively, so that all who are concerned about the fate of the citizens of Artsakh and try to present the problem to the international community or elsewhere, have a professional calculation to refer to. This is also an answer to Azerbaijan, because if they try to deny the facts, they will have to explain which of the recorded figures they do not agree with,” Aramyan emphasized.

He noted that the report assessed GDP losses, additional social costs, and budget tax losses, which allowed the experts to form a comprehensive understanding of the socio-economic consequences of the blockade and financial losses under the created crisis. It is obvious that the longer the blockade lasts, the more damage indicators will increase, because each additional day of the blockade inflicts a greater blow on the economic potential of Artsakh. Therefore, the costs of restoring the GDP potential are added to the estimated costs and their multiplier effects.

In order to avoid shocks, it was important to create the necessary buffers: in particular, the creation of additional, alternative sources of energy; the creation of essential food supplies, fuel supplies, and essential medical supplies; and the provision of new infrastructure to back up all of this.

Vardanyan, the author of the report and former State Minister of Artsakh, noted that from the first day of the blockade, an attempt was made to not only respond promptly to the problems, but also understand the situation in the long term. “Consistent work was required to present to the world that it is not only a problem of food or electricity, but a deep crisis related to the future of society and the state. This work is the first step toward very important discussions, which, unfortunately, both in Armenia as well as Artsakh, are very few and insufficient, whereas a transparent, accurate diagnosis and analysis of the situation is critical in order to find answers to the acute questions facing us. Without such work, we cannot find effective solutions for the challenges we face,” Vardanyan emphasized.