Friday, July 10, 2009


In case you wanted to see what I was doing, here's a link to the conference, and to a short writeup from the Groong network. During the early 1990s when I was first developing an interest in post-Soviet Armenia, Groong was one of those news mailing lists that were all the rage at the time. Most are gone, but Groong keeps keeping on. Better than this website, which actually used a picture of one of my colleagues.

Readers of the write-up might wonder why I'd support household income supports as a free-marketer. I'm much more political economy oriented than a more pure economic line of thought. The difficult election last spring in Armenia (I discussed here) in my view left scars, and it would be unwise to risk the current political peace that has given a pretty good-looking government under PM Sargsyan some space to guide through the crisis. The amount of shock to the system from the Russian collapse can't be overstated; it's like the relationship between the USA and Puerto Rico.

The followup article on the person discussing my remarks, Central Bank of Armenia deputy governor Vache Gabrielyan, would make it seem like we disagree. Actually we don't. My remarks included a statement that it would be wise for Armenia to think about diversifying the circle of countries with whom it trades. There's little doubt in my mind that Vache is right that the relationship between Armenia and Russia will always be special, and unlikely they would soon cease to be Armenia's #1 trade partner. But that's not a reason to not to try to diversify -- a point I think he said as well.

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