Grisha Balasanyan

Parliament Prerequisites: 2,080 Bars of Soap, 40 Plastic Buckets, 280 Boxes of Tissues...

The Armenian government allocated 2,739,493 AMD ($6,765) to “maintain” the National Assembly and MPs; 9,344,060 AMD ($23,000) for “household and public food items”; and 23,580,000 AMD ($58,222) for social assistance in the form of money.

We contacted Gourgen Doumanyan, National Assembly Chief of Staff, to find out what exactly was purchased with these funds. It was like pulling teeth. The first few responses were inadequate and not concise. So we complained. Finally, the Public relations and media Department sent a complete break-down of the expenditures.

The “maintenance” part of the allocation deals with the utilities (water, gas, electric) used by the parliament during the year.

The “household and public foodstuffs” section deals with various amenities and items purchased from suppliers.

For instance, 280 boxes of facial tissues were purchased at 1,300 AMD ($3.20) per box. 40 plastic buckets were purchased at 1,110 AMD ($2.70) per bucket. 2,080 bars of soap were purchased at 240 AMD ($.60) per bar. 1,400 sixty watt bulbs were purchased at 100 AMD ($.25) per bulb. And so forth.

As for the “social assistance” portion, each of the 131 MPs receive a 15,000 AMD ($37) working allowance.

It would appear that MPs were personally cleaner in 2010 than this year.

In 2010, the parliament purchased 2,400 bars of soap and 240 litres of liquid soap.

The building itself was sparkling. In 2010, 300 brooms were purchased for cleaning the offices and 400 for sweeping the courtyard.