What You Need To Know:
✓ Transparency is the way out of oligarchy control over post-Soviet Eastern Europe;
✓ In Armenia there’s insufficient competition in the economy, the prices are too high;
✓ Moldova is another Eastern European example of a country that could do so much better if it decided to reform;
✓ Moldova has ‘strong influence of oligarchs on every and single aspect of public life’, provokes public backlash.
Finding a new economic identity for post-Soviet Eastern Europe is hard, the process is plagued by extraordinary control of local oligarchs over every aspect of public life. ‘It is a gradual process, but the way forward is transparency. Because all of this control of business interest of the government is only accepted by the population because they don’t know about it. If they know about it then they go down on the streets because it’s unfair,’ Francis Malige, the EBRD director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus explains.
Speaking of recent wave of social uprisings in Eastern Europe, from Ukraine to Moldova and Armenia, Malige points out the economic driven forces behind them. As in case of Armenia with massive the Electric Yerevan movement, corruption and lack of economic opportunities bring young people to the streets. ‘Armenia doesn’t have many advantages. So the only way for it to grow really is to have best investment climate possible. In Armenia you have the situation where there’s insufficient competition in the economy, it means that the prices are too high,’ Malige says.
Moldova is another Eastern European example of a country that could do so much better if it decided to reform, Malige points out. Despite its recent hailed reforms in line with the European integration strategy, ‘it is still a very corrupt place, where it is hard to defend your interests as an investor, where you have strong influence of oligarchs on every and single aspect of public life,’ an EBRD official comments on reasons behind recent massive anti-government protest in the country.
Hromadske International’s Maxim Eristavi spoke to Francis Malige during an international YES conference in Kyiv on September 12th, 2015.