Following the revolution, the topic of raising the salaries and additional bonuses of high-ranking officials has been discussed quite frequently. There was a big uproar last year when Hetq found out that the salaries of ministers, deputy ministers and governors were almost doubled by the Prime Minister’s secret order.
Speaking about the increase in the salaries of high-ranking officials, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan always mentions that there is a large flow of specialists from the public (government) sector to the private sector, the reason for which are low salaries.
“People leave to go work in the private sector, because the job that we offer them costs 400,000 drams, while they say ‘we are offered 1.2 million drams right now elsewhere, so why should we stay?’ So, who would stay to work here?”
The Prime Minister’s speech gives the impression that high-ranking officials have “made a sacrifice” by giving up high-paying jobs in the private sector and entering the public sector.
Moreover, since the 2019 income tax declarations of officials have been published on the website of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, the Fact Investigation Platform decided to find out how much salary the ministers received before being appointed to the post, and how much salary and other equivalent payments (hereinafter referred to as salaries) they received in 2019 being already appointed as ministers.
As the secret order of the Prime Minister on doubling the salaries of the ministers was signed in July 2019, in order to find out the average monthly salary of the ministers, we will divide the whole year’s salary into 12 months.
The “Revolutionary” Ministers
Arsen Torosyan, who was appointed Minister of Health after the revolution, is the only one on the list of ministers whose salary has hardly changed since moving from the private sector to the government.
Before the revolution, the Minister of Justice Rustam Badasyan worked in a private law office, where his salary, according to the submitted declaration, was about 430 thousand drams. Badasyan was appointed
Minister of Justice in June 2019, and according to the declaration submitted by the latter, after holding the post of Minister in 2019, his average monthly salary was 1 million 372 thousand drams.
Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan has been appointed to this position on May 12, 2018. When assuming the position, he declared income from three places, the total amount of which was 1 million 801 thousand drams, that is, his average monthly salary was 409 thousand drams. We find out from the declaration submitted last year that Papikyan received an average monthly salary of 1 million 591 thousand drams as a minister.
Before the revolution Minister of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies Hakob Arshakyan held the position of Executive Director of “Araksis Engineering” company, founded by him. According to the submitted declaration, his average monthly income was 356 thousand drams.
When already holding the position of minister, according to the 2019 declaration, Arshakyan’s average monthly salary was 1 million 398 thousand drams.
Before the revolution, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Zaruhi Batoyan worked in several organizations dealing with the protection of the rights of the disabled persons. After the revolution, Zaruhi Batoyan was appointed Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. According to the declaration, before being appointed to the post, Batoyan’s average monthly salary was 167 thousand drams. In 2019, already holding the post of minister, Batoyan’s average monthly salary was about 1 million 500 thousand drams.
Before the revolution, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Arayik Harutyunyan worked at Yerevan State University and at the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center.
According to the declaration, Harutyunyan’s average monthly income before being appointed to the post of minister was 156 thousand drams, whereas, when already holding the position of the minister, according to the 2019 declaration, Harutyunyan received a salary of 1 million 406 thousand drams.
The “old-timers” of the state system
Six of the 12 ministers in the current government had been working in the state system before the revolution, and in their case we will calculate the average salary received in their last position before being appointed a minister.
Among current ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan received the highest salary before being appointed minister. Before that he served as the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN.
Mnatsakanyan assumed the post of Foreign Minister immediately after the revolution – on May 12, 2018. From the declaration submitted by the latter it is clear that in 2018, before taking the post of minister, he received a salary of $ 17,108. This means that Mnatsakanyan’s average monthly salary was about 3890 dollars or about 1 million 890 thousand drams. In 2019, Mnatsakanyan declared an income of 16,776,991 drams, that is, the average monthly salary was about 1 million 398 thousand drams.
After Mnatsakanyan, the highest salary was given to the Minister of Finance Atom Janjughazyan, who held the position of the First Deputy Minister of Finance before the revolution.
Janjughazyan did not submit a declaration when being appointed Minister of Finance on May 12, 2018, however, in 2017, re-assuming the position of First Deputy Minister of Finance, he declared 15 million 211 thousand drams of income, that is, his average monthly salary before being appointed Minister was 1 million 268 thousand drams. From the declaration submitted this year, we learn that in 2019 Minister Janjughazyan’s average monthly salary was 1 million 266 thousand drams.
Prior to assuming the post of the Minister of Defense, Davit Tonoyan was the Minister of Emergency Situations.
Tonoyan also did not submit a new declaration when assuming the post of Minister of Defense, but in 2017, assuming the post of Minister of Emergency Situations, he declared a salary of 7 million 933 thousand drams, that is, his average monthly salary was 661 thousand drams.
According to the 2019 declaration, Tonoyan’s average monthly salary as Minister of Defense was 1 million 666 thousand drams.
Before the revolution, the Minister of Economy Tigran Khachatryan held the position of the First Deputy Minister of the same ministry (then the Ministry of Economic Development and Investment).
After the revolution, on May 16, 2018, Khachatryan resigned. In the declaration of the resignation it is mentioned that Khachatryan’s average monthly salary was 602 thousand drams. In September-October of the same year, Khachatryan held the position of director of “Hay-Tech” company, and for that period he received a salary of 785 thousand drams.
On October 15, 2018, Tigran Khachatryan was appointed Minister of Economic Development and Investment. We learn from last year’s declaration that in 2019, Khachatryan’s average monthly salary as a minister was 1 million 398 thousand drams.
Minister of Emergency Situations Feliks Tsolakyan was appointed to this position on October 4, 2018.
Before that, Tsolakyan was an MP, and according to the 2018 declaration, he received a salary of 525 thousand drams. Last year, Feliks Tsolakyan’s average monthly salary as Minister of Emergency Situations was 1 million 371 thousand drams.
Former Minister of Environment Erik Grigoryan was also appointed to that position in May 2018.
Prior to that, he held the position of First Deputy Minister of Nature Protection, and according to the declaration, he received a salary of 860 thousand drams. In 2019, Grigoryan’s average monthly salary was 1 million 536 thousand drams. Thus, analyzing the above-mentioned data, it turns out that the Prime Minister’s argument about the high salaries of the ministers, explaining that those specialists could have been paid higher in the private sector, is not appropriate.
Moreover, Nikol Pashinyan’s argument is perhaps relevant only for the Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan, whose salary received in the private sector can be compared with the ministerial salary.