This summer’s two week protest over the electricity tariff increase did not live up to some people’s expectations for the start of an Armenian Spring but it should have jolted the government into awareness that it cannot presume continuing public apathy to poor economic performance. The event should have resulted in the question “what can we do to create jobs and to boost growth?” being placed at the top of all cabinet meetings for some time to come. Whether it has or not remains to be seen.
When compared to the widespread predictions of gloom and doom for the Russian economy and ruble of late last year the actual results for the first quarter of 2015 have been very good. GDP is estimated to have contracted by a little over 2 percent year on year, the ruble bounced by over 25 per cent against the euro and the Central Bank was confident enough to cut its benchmark interest rate in both January and March. This relatively positive trend has led to a wave of confident predictions from government and many Russian commentators that the crisis is over and the economy is now set to recover steadily, if not strongly.