1990 – 1991 The First Prime Minister of Armenia

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In May 1990 Vazgen Manukyan was elected a deputy of the Supreme Council of Armenia. On August 13, 1990 he was appointed by the Supreme Council as the Chairman (Prime Minister) of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Armenia. That was a hard period for Armenia: the USSR was rapidly collapsing, the political and economic blockade of Armenia from the north began.

On the one hand, efforts were needed to slow down the collapse, on the other hand, it was necessary to move quickly to a new economic system. The government, which held the entire executive power (there was no presidency under the constitution, all executive power was given by the Supreme Council to the government) successfully implemented this complex program, having relations based on political trust with both the Soviet republics and other countries.

The government headed by Vazgen Manukyan launched a number of systemic reforms which created a serious basis for further development of the country.

  • On August 21, 1990, the newly elected Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan signed Decree No. 411, which was entitled “The Decision of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Armenia on the Establishment of Special Subdivisions under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.” The decision particularly said, “Based on the goal proclaimed by the Supreme Council, the need to start the process of establishing an independent state, to protect border areas and to fight against armed group crimes. The Council of Ministers decides to set up special units for the protection of the republic and the protection of public order.” The formation of a special regiment laid the foundation for the formation of the Armenian Armed Forces. On October 5, 1990, the regiment took its first oath of office to Vazgen Manukyan, Chairman of the Council of Ministers. In his welcoming speech, Manukyan said. “…Now we have our republic. It is not yet completely independent. But we are moving in that direction and we will achieve political and economic independence. We will have a strong state, a strong army, a strong economy and we will return the radiance of our ancestors… ”
  • The Defense Committee was established on May 4, 1991, by decision No. 325 of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Armenia. By this decision, the Committee for the Coordination of the Work of the Military Departments under the Council of Ministers was established as the Defense Committee under the Council of Ministers.
  • The new complex of international relations was put into operation, which pushed Armenia ahead of other republics in that important issue. In 1990-1991, the Armenian government undertook a major project, taking into account that the Soviet Union was collapsing and Armenia was entering a new world and the means of communication were very important, an agreement was signed with the American company “AT&T,” and Armenia had an international connection that no other republic or city in the Soviet Union had. They had no other republics or cities. It later became the most profitable industry for Armenia.
  • The construction of a gas pipeline, entering Armenia through Georgia, continued and was completed by Armenia, which became a means for life for Armenia when the pipeline through Azerbaijan was closed in 1991.
  • Land privatization and related program packages were implemented. Decisions were made before and after the land privatization of 1990-1991 to promote state procurement of agricultural products (Resolution No. 490 of 3 August 1991), according to which the government provided logistical resources and goods for agricultural and collective consumption to farms and collective farms on favorable terms in exchange for state procurement of grain, grapes, apricots, geraniums, tobacco, milk, and wool. By another decision (Decision No. 373 of May 23, 1991), the Government of the Republic of Armenia established the procedure, and terms, and a number of other decisions for the voluntary insurance of farms, and property insurance of enterprises. “The cultivation of small plots of land created by privatization is not effective, a state program should have been developed for the gradual enlargement of plots of land. Privatization was the first point of the case. After the privatization of the land came the real care of the villagers by the state,” Vazgen Manukyan.:
  • On June 13, 1991, the Government of the Republic of Armenia adopted Resolution No. 392 and No. 525, according to which the RA Ministries, Departments, and Organizations were instructed to import an additional 600 thousand tons of fuel oil to the republic by December 1, 1991, to allocate funds to “Armenergo” NU and “Haygaz” NU for the repayment of unpaid debts for gas and electricity used by the population of the disaster zone.
  • In 1990 and 1991, in the conditions of non-operation of the nuclear power plant in Armenia, 10.4 and 9.5 billion kWh of electricity was produced, respectively, which was 100% sufficient for the normal life support of both enterprises and the population, providing 24 hours of electricity per day.
  • In 1990 and 1991, 1.46 million square meters and 1.91 million square meters of residential buildings respectively, were put into operation in the republic. In 1991, about 21 thousand people bought an apartment, compared to 4,000 in 1992. Housing construction in rural areas in 1991 amounted to 866 thousand square meters. In 1991, unprecedented growth was achieved in the operation of facilities of socio-cultural significance, in particular in the operation of pre-school institutions, public schools, hospitals, polyclinics, clubs, and houses of culture.
  • According to decision No. 206 of the RA Council of Ministers on March 13, 1991 and No. 506 on August 9, 1991, the ministers and departments of the republic, the executive committees, institutions and organizations of the local councils of deputies were clearly instructed to consider the unconditional fulfillment of the tasks of provision of the construction facilities in the area of the 1991 earthquake as their main task.
  • In 1990, 500,000 square meters of living space was provided, and in 1991, 750,000 square meters of living space was provided. During the first 7 months of 1991, about 180 thousand square meters of living space or almost as much as the combined years of 1989-1990 were provided in the city of Gyumri. At that time, the state borrowed 500 million rubles from the Soviet Union, which was not repaid. It amounted to $250 million in terms of construction and installation.
  • According to decisions No. 237 and No. 379 of the RA Council of Ministers on May 21 and 29, 1991, the production base of various mining organizations working in the disaster zone was transferred to the “Ministry of Construction of the Republic of Armenia.”
  • Vazgen Manukyan signed Resolution No. 557 of the RA Council of Ministers on September 14, 1991, in connection with providing construction and restoration works in the disaster zone with local construction materials. According to that decision, clear instructions were given to “Armbuilding Materials” NU, “Ararat Cement” NU, “Hrazdan Cement Factory” and “Yerevan Plaster Factory.”
  • In 1991, the production of cement amounted to , as much as in 1992-1998 combined. The same applies to the production of other building materials, such as natural stone masonry blocks, small masonry blocks, prefabricated reinforced concrete structures and items, asbestos-cement sheets, etc.
  • Carbide and rubber productions were put into operation again in 1991. According to decision No. 331 in May 2012, the “Operation of the Nairit Scientific-Production Association” was launched, which strictly specified the norms of permissible emissions, leaks, and maintained the safety of the products and environmental norms.
  • Although the energy difficulties had already begun, the Azerbaijani gas pipeline had been closed and the Georgian one had not yet been built, the government had decided not to use Sevan for energy purposes. The climate was favorable, and that led to the fact that the water levels of Sevan lake rose by 10 cm.
  • A joint forum of local and Diaspora Armenian businessmen took place in Yerevan. Many joint ventures were registered.
  • In 1991, the Government of the Republic of Armenia also adopted decisions on additional measures to strengthen the social protection of the population in connection with retail price reform (May 3, 1991, No. 324; August 3, 1991, No. 492).
  • The first decision on stock exchanges was made, which legalized the first market structure and the procedure for creating and registering joint ventures, etc.

The disagreements between Vazgen Manukyan and the other leaders of the “Pan-Armenian National Movement” over the future political course of Armenia were growing and on September 25, 1991 Vazgen Manukyan resigned as Prime Minister.