Raises of soldiers’ compensation, better and more nutritious rations, as well as upgraded weapons and arms have enhanced the Armenia’s military capabilities and improved living conditions for the armed forces. This is how Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan described the reforms his government has undertaken since taking office a year ago, during a press conference on Wednesday.
Pashinyan explained that military personnel wages are scheduled to increase beginning in July, saying that soldiers will compensation will be raised by 20 percent, while personnel in special operations will get a bump of 30 percent to their wages.
The press conference, which was convened to mark the first anniversary of Pashinyan’s election as prime minister, following a popular movement that toppled the Serzh Sarkisian regime last year, lasted a whopping five-plus hours. During this marathon session, Pashinyan touted his government’s work and provided a list of 100 accomplishments that happened under his watch.
Among those accomplishments Pashinyan announced that the government has allocated 5.7 billion drams (around $3.5 million) from the reserve fund for solving the housing issue of military pensioners. At the same time he said, 107 servicemen have received free housing, and an additional 410 apartments have been donated to families of killed servicemen and other beneficiaries.
He also reported that the military insurance fund has expanded coverage to cover personnel affected from 2008 to 2016.
“As a result, an additional 339 beneficiaries will receive monthly 100,000 to 400,000 drams (around $206 to $830) in compensation.” Prior to this change, the military insurance fund only covered those servicemen impacted since the 2016 April War.
“The number of conscripted soldiers serving combat shifts has been reduced by nearly 700. They have been substituted by contract servicemen. Police troops are participating in the patrol of the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border and have their designated bases,” explained Pashinyan.
According to the prime minister, efforts to enhance conditions have included equipping 47 combat positions with industrial electricity, and 73 positions with fresh water supply. Hundreds of combat positions of the military have received appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators, while 136 new modern video surveillance devices have been installed along the border.
Pashinyan also said that Armenia has begun the process of acquiring SU-30 SM Russian multi-role fighter jets.
“I am saying this publicly because it is already a known fact. I can’t say anything else about the acquisition of other armaments and equipment,” explained Pashinyan.
Other reforms touted by Pashinyan included the changes made to military food rations by adding more nutritional food and surveying soldiers about their preferences. He also said military uniforms, which will be made in Armenia, will also be upgraded. It was also reported that soldiers were allowed to use their mobile devices to contact their families.