WHY ARE ARMENIANS LEAVING ARMENIA?

Crossroads, an Analysis by K.M. Greg Sarkissian, President of the Zoryan Institute

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TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - January 21, 2017) - On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Armenia's independence from the Soviet Union, the President of the Zoryan Institute, Mr. K.M. Greg Sarkissian, has written an analysis of the current situation in Armenia, the difficult road taken during the last 25 years and suggestions for the country to move forward towards true democracy, rule of law and economic independence. more


Armenia’s Population in 1831-2015

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The population number on the same territory of the Republic of Armenia in 1831 was 161,747, which consisted of ethnic groups such as Armenians (110,671), Muslims (50,274) and others (802). The first population census on Armenia’s territory, or, as it was called before, population number count, was done after the Tsarist Russia took Armenia’s territory from Iran and occupied the Southern Caucasus (in 1801-1829, whereas only the lands of Aghbaba region (currently Ashotsk and Amasia communities of Armenia) and Batumi of current Georgia were out of the Tsarist Russia’s control as they were controlled by Ottoman Empire, and were taken by Russia later in 1878-ին). Below is data about population numbers in Armenia in different historical time periods, starting from 1831 till the most recent census in today’s Armenia in 2015. The data below for different historical time periods such as, for example 1831 or 1897, are about only the territory that is covered by the Republic of Armenia of today. more


Emigration 2016: No First Class Pupils in 17 Communities

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On September 1, 2016, at least 17 communities in Armenia did not have first class pupils in their schools. “Armenian Times” (Haykakan Zhamanak) newspaper reports that it has been several years that a number of communities in Armenia are without first class children. Ani Armenian Research Center published a list of the communities that did not have first class children this year. more


How many people have left Armenia in 1992-2015?

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Emigration trends in Armenia are getting deeper year by year as thousands of people leave to seek residency in other countries. All the time during the past 25 years of independence, with exception of 2004-2006, the migration balance from Armenia was always negative. During these 25 years of independence there were only three years when Armenia had immigration positive balance. Since 2010 every year approximately 43 thousand people left Armenia. During Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s presidency in 1992-1997, 586,800 people left Armenia. During Robert Kocharyan’s presidency in 1998-2007, 129,300 people left Armenia, and during Serzh Sargsyan’s presidency since 2008, during eight years only, till January 1, 2016, 307,600 people left Armenia. more


Visual presentation of emigration from Armenia in 2008-2014

Lragir.am has published a video with visual presentation of emigration numbers from Armenia during six years of 2008-2014. According to the source, during these six years the number of people who emigrated from Armenia is 232.000. At first glance, this number may not show the level of the loss, however the video clip below can give a better visual presentation of the migration issue. more


Concerns Over Demographic Statistics in Gyumri and Vanadzor

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Aravot.am reports that according to Artashes Boyajyan of Compass research center of Gyumri, recent demographic research studies in Gyumri and Vanadzor cities of Armenia show that the number of population has reduced. According to Compass center, the number of people currently living in Gyumri is 70 thousand. “Gyumri’s population plummeted since the earthquake of 1988 due to social, economic, political, ecological and psychological challenges. The earthquake was a major reason for people to leave their city. The population of Gyumri before the earthquake was 230 thousand,” says Artashes Boyajyan. more


Migration Statistics for First Half 2015

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The difference between the numbers of people leaving Armenia and arriving by crossing state borders was 75,500 during the first six months in 2015, as the State Migration Service of Armenia reported recently. This number of negative balance of passenger transportation in the first six months of this year is less by 9,900 (11,6 %) compared to the same period of the previous year. more


Efforts to Build Gyumri are Underway

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A new significant renewal project is being launched for the redevelopment and renewal of Gyumri, it is called “Gyumri Project HOPE.” The goal of the project is to come up with a long-term development plan for Gyumri that will bring together organizations and individuals from diaspora, international organizations and the municipality of Gyumri for the purpose of reviving Gyumri. “The renewal of Gyumri, 27 years after the earthquake is long overdue and is increasingly becoming a high priority topic in Armenia and the diaspora. After completing the “Depopulation Crisis in Armenia” (www.depop.am) research, the Depop team is now focused on leading a strategic plan for the renewal of Gyumri as a positive outcome of the research that looked into the reasons of emigration from Armenia. Gyumri was featured in Depop’s research as the most extreme example of neglect in Armenia leading to high rates of emigration,” says Kamo Mailyan, Director of the project on behalf of the Kololian Foundation of Toronto, Canada. more


Summary of Comments from Vahan Kololian at Conference

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Innovate Armenia event organized by the Institute of Armenian Studies, University of Southern California, brought together Armenians from around the world to discuss prospects of fostering development in Armenia. During Innovate Armenia event (Los Angeles, February 21, 2015) Vahan Kololian, founding director of Mosaic Institute and Kololian Foundation of Toronto, was asked by CIVILNET news agency to speak about a new positive change project for Gyumri initiated by the Kololian Foundation and the Depop Group. “One of the biggest challenges Armenia has faced recently is emigration. Being concerned about Armenia’s population reduction trends, in 2012 I reached out to two universities and two think-tanks in Armenia for the purpose of doing scientific research in Armenia with a goal to find out main reasons behind emigration,” said Vahan Kololian and emphasized that it was important to have a scientifically researched and proven document from within Armenia, which would also inform diasporans around the world about reasons behind Armenians’ decisions to leave their home. It was hoped that the Depop Research Report would provoke constructive debate in Armenia. more


Gyumri Fell 26 Six Years Ago but Still on Its Knees

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More than a quarter century has passed since the earthquake in Armenia’s Gyumri. On December 7, Gyumri marked the 26th anniversary of the earthquake – 26 years of pain, hunger, homelessness, emigration, suffering and the hope that one day their children will have a home and emerge from homelessness and poverty. During the past 26 years compassionate Armenian diasporans, foreign charity organizations, individuals, international and local organizations have donated in an attempt to build Gyumri, but where are the results? What do we have in Gyumri today? Today there are 4,300 homeless families in Gyumri who live in the same shelters and makeshift houses they went into after the earthquake 26 years ago, and only 430 families were recognized as eligible for apartments. Today, according to official information, almost half of the population in Gyumri lives in poverty, which means every second child goes to bed hungry. In 26 years since the earthquake Gyumri has lost 150 thousand people (most of them have migrated to Russia). Emigration trends from Gyumri are still high. Every day buses full of people leave for Russia from Gyumri. more


Emigration Trends Continue Growing

The difference between the numbers of departures and arrivals by air in Armenia is approximately 40,000 people for the period of January-October, 2014 (“168 Hours” newspaper reports). In the period of January-October, 2014, Zvartnots and Shirak airports served 1,781,668 passengers, which is higher by 22,3% (325,168 passengers) compared to the same period in 2013. The number of departures was 910,789 (it was 742,886 in the same period of 2013), and the number of arrivals was 870,879 (it was 713,614 in the same period of 2013). The difference between the numbers of departures and arrivals is 39,910. The share of departures in the total volume of passenger transportation is 51%, while it was 51,1% in 2013. more


Emigration on Stage: Neighbors from Gyumri Emigrate Together to be Neighbors in Russia too

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“On Step 44” is a staging by Hamazgayin theatre of Yerevan that tells about emigration from Armenia. “On Step 44” was first staged 12 years ago, and today it is still attended by many people as it touches upon emigration issues and painful sides that have not become any better during the past twelve years. “On Step 44” is still demanded by people and it is always attended by many people. Even though some small changes have been made to the scenario during the past 12 years, the issue of emigration is still actual and people show high interest to the performance. “Emigration, unfortunately, is not something new. When we started to stage this performance, the director said that he wished time could come and there would be no need for this performance. We wish time comes that people are no more interested in this issue and do not come to see this performance. However, the issue is still very actual and still there is a lot of interest to this performance in Armenia, Daspora and Artsakh,” said Tatev Ghazaryan. more


More Than a Quarter Century

The RA Ministry of Urban Development has answered the letter of Shirak Center NGO, dated October 31, 2014, asking to clarify the terms and conditions of the Armenian government’s project to give apartment purchase certificates to 430 families in Gyumri. The letter of the Urban Development Ministry writes that the certificates will be provided in two phases in 2015 and provides details, terms and conditions of selecting families eligible to receive certificates to buy apartments. It is worth mentioning that there are 4,300 families in Gyumri that still live in the same makeshifts they went into following the earthquake more than a quarter century ago. The Armenian government’s project covers only 430 families, which means that more than 3,800 families will not receive any support from the government. The only hope of the people of Gyumri is the Diaspora. more


DEPOP presentation at Pomegranate film festival

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Findings of “The Depopulation Crisis in Armenia” Research report were presented before “Our Village” film screening during Pomegranate Film Festival in Toronto on November 6th, 2014. The presentation was focused on main reasons of emigration from Armenia, demographic situation in villages with an example of an Armenian village dominated by elder population, whereas young people are out to seek greener shores. The presentation also included facts and figures about Gyumri, where over half of the population still lives in poverty and there are 4,300 homeless families that still live in makeshifts they went into following the earthquake more than a quarter century ago. The audience was informed about the decision and efforts of the Kololian Foundation of Toronto to implement a new project, “From Depopulation to Repopulation,” to be primarily focused on Gyumri. more


People of Gyumri in Expectation of the Government’s Promise

People of Gyumri are waiting in expectation of the Armenian government’s promise to provide them with certificates enabling to purchase apartments. Shirak Center NGO of Gyumri has submitted a letter to Prime-Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and Minister of Urban Development Narek Sargsyan asking about the expected dates of distribution of certificates and priorities of the program. The letter of Shirak Center, dated November 30, 2014, writes that “since the government’s decision following the cancellation of construction works in Gyurmi in 2012 and recognition of 432 families in Gyumri to be eligible to receive certificates enabling them to buy homes, the process has not started yet.” more


Reduction of Benefits for Pregnant Women May Trigger a New Wave of Emigration

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The civic society of Armenia is against the bill on reducing benefits for pregnant women proposed by the Armenian government. There have been a number of demonstrations by civic society representatives, organizations and pregnant women in Yerevan. A report entitled “Who Gets Pregnant but Who Goes on Vacation” by 168 Hours (October 30, 2014) writes that the National Assembly of Armenia is discussing a bill on “Temporary leave benefits” which is set to connect the amount of average salaries with years of work experience (benefits to be equal to 40-80% of salaries, depending on years of work experience). more


Azerbaijan is waiting to see Armenia emptied

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Yerevan News reports that instead of a strategy to harass Armenia with armed pressure Azerbaijan is adopting a policy of waiting till Armenia emptied. In a recent presentation event of a book about Karabakh written by “historian” and head of the Azerbaijani president’s office Ramiz Mekhtiyev the deputy PM and coordinator of refugee department of Azerbaijan Ali Hasanov said they would prefer waiting till Armenia is emptied. more


Virtual State Run by Oligarchy

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In a democracy, the government is a team elected by the people and civil servants hired by that government to pass and administer laws that optimize the well-being and prospects of the people. In the wake of the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia was naturally unready to set up such a system. As a result power fell into the hands of persons who soon realized that money is power. Where was this money to come from? Naturally from the sources intended for the people. Soon, a coalition of clans formed and the oligarchic system of governance was established. Within this syndicate, struggles for leadership led protagonists to forever try to enhance their strengths, i.e. grab more and more of the people’s resources. The oligarchy then became increasingly more sophisticated. Thus the members of the major opposition party in parliament are also members of the syndicate. more


Destruction of Cultural Heritage Stimulates Emigration from Armenia

The DEPOP team condemns any decisions against the will of the people of Armenia to demolish historical buildings, moreover, any actions meant to apply pressure on peaceful people that demand justice and protection of what belongs to them. Destruction of historical values and architecture cuts the root of people with their home country and stimulates emigration. more


“Emigration Bus”: Interview with people before departure

1in.am presents series of short films on emigration. In the series of short films entitled "Emigration Bus" people are interviewed before their departure. more


Presentation of DEPOP findings at a corruption conference in Canada: a positive development project to be initiated in Gyumri

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Findings of “The Depopulation Crisis in Armenia” were presented at a conference organized by Armenian Renaissance Toronto Chapter in Toronto on May 31, and in Montreal - on June 7, 2014, on the topic of “Corruption in Armenia, Solutions and the Role of the Diaspora”. The conference in Toronto was opened by renowned film director Atom Egoyan, who also spoke and presented his film, “The Illuminator” which shows how cheating and stealing, at their core, are human frailties. DEPOP representatives announced the decision of the Kololian Foundation and DEPOP to transform the efforts of the team into a positive development project, which would primarily focus on Gyumri as a largely affected rural area in Armenia. more


Emigration from Armenia to be tackled at a conference on corruption in Toronto

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A representative of the DEPOP Research Team is invited to present the findings of “The Depopulation Crisis in Armenia” report at a conference on corruption in Toronto on May 31, 2014. The conference is organized by the Toronto chapter of Armenian Renaissance and will focus on corruption-related issues. During the meeting, film director Atom Egoyan will present his new short film on corruption. more


“Return to Armenia” TV program of Los Angeles tackles emigration from Armenia and a lack of an immigration strategy

“Return to Armenia” TV program of Los Angeles discussed issues related to emigration from Armenia and a need to have an immigration policy / strategy, in a program in April 2014. The program discusses ideas of different sides. more


Professor Maxim Manasyan: 1,5 million people left Armenia in twenty years

1in.am has interviewed professor Maxim Manasyan during the annual conference 2014 on Migration in Globalized World. Professor Manasyan commented on current trends of emigration and said, “Since late 80s the positive migration balance in Armenia turned into a negative one. The trend became even faster in 90s. Only in 1992-94 more than a half million people left Armenia. Many of them sold their properties and left. At that time I was a parliamentarian, and I remember people selling their apartments for one-way airline tickets. This was mostly caused by blockade, energetic crisis and other factors. Approximately one and half million people have left Armenia during the past twenty years, and most of them left forever. Unfortunately, the reality and official information are far different.” more


Difference between departures and arrivals in three months – 31,800

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The RA Government reports that the difference between the number of departures and arrivals registered in Armenia in January-March 2014 is 31,800. The Armenian Territorial Administration Ministry’s Migration Department has analyzed the data on departures and arrivals provided by the Armenian Statistics Service and published numbers on migration. According to this information, the difference between departures and arrivals in January-March 2014 is smaller by 14,2% (5,300) compared to the same period of the previous year. During these three months the number of people that left Armenia by airplane, train and vehicles was 511,053, and the number of arrivals was 479,219. The most inflow and outflow number was registered by vehicles. During these three months 311,622 crossed the border of Armenia, and 303,604 returned. The difference is 8,018. more


DEPOP Research Group representatives visited Gyumri

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DEPOP Research Group representatives (Kamo Mailyan, Yelena Muradyan and Ani Avetisyan) visited Gyumri on April 6, 2014, to see the living conditions in makeshifts people went into following the earthquake in Gyumri a quarter century ago. The purpose of the visit was to get familiar with the social and living conditions in makeshifts, as well as the work of non-for-profit organizations in Gyumri. more


Emigration tackled at Urvagits TV program in Yerevan

Urvagits TV program of Kentron TV, hosted by journalist Petros Ghazaryan, discusses emigration issues with Ruben Eganyan, demography expert, and Tatevik Bezhanyan, coordinator of People in Need project in Armenia. Ruben Eganyan shared his findings of emigration trends and mentioned that their organization had presented their findings at a government's session, and the government decided "to continue research of emigration trends as this issue is important." Tatevik Bezhanyan discussed the Armenian project of the People in Need, supported by European funding, as well as the ground work their organization is doing to help returned migrants integrate (through providing micro-finance grants, helping to adapt, counselling, etc.) more


Emigration as high as up to 50 families a day?

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Chorrord Ishkhanutyun reports that according to official information the number of Armenians who emigrated in 2013 was 42,000. The web site reports that in 2012 the number of emigrants was 50,000. In consideration of the fact that most emigrants are young families with one child at average, we may assume that emigration from Armenia in 2012-2013 was as high as up to fifty families a day. more


Valerie Gortsounian: “I left my soul in Armenia”

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The Armenian society knows Valerie Grostounian as an exceptional woman who came to Armenia at most difficult times, and by creating Le Café De Paris, one of the most iconic corners downtown Yerevan, contributed to the Armenian society and economy. “I came to Armenia in 1995, when the country was living hard times. We had been helping Monte, and decided to participate in Armenia’s economy as well. For me it was a dream to come to Armenia,” Valerie Gortsounian said in her interview (February 3, 2014, Paris). more


Radio Sevan of Beirut discussed Armenian emigration crisis with DEPOP representative

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On February 1, 2014, “Radio Savan” Armenian radio of Beirut hosted Kamo Mailyan, Chief Editor of www.depop.am . “Djeshmardoutian Oughiyov” (Through the Truth Path) radio program tackled issues related to emigration form Armenia and reasons behind growing emigration trends. Kamo Mailyan was hosted by Radio Sevan during DEPOP Speaking Tour 2014 to meet Armenian Diaspora communities in Beirut, Paris, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles, organized by the Kololian Foundation of Toronto and the Armenian General Benevolent Union jointly. more


Emigration reproduces the power (yerkir.am)

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“Emigration allows the government to be reproduced,” says Arsen Manukyan, post-graduate student of the Russian Economic School. In an interview with Yerkir.am he said that comparison of migration flows from Armenia and statements made by PM Tigran Sargsyan at different times shows that the two trends are connected. “I mean the PM’s comment about emigration saying that if the critical mass stays in Armenia, they will make revolution. This was not a simple statement but well-thought policy,” says Arsen Manukyan. more


Outward Bound: Emigration stats don’t match reality specialists say

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Armenian political analysts and economists consider controversial the latest out-migration figures published by the National Statistical Service (NSS) that suggest that fewer people left the country in 2013 than in previous years. According to the statistics, the number of people who entered Armenia in 2013 made a total of 1,452,085, while the number of those who departed from the country totaled 1,494,086. The negative balance thus stands at 42,001 people, which is by 7,659 less than in 2012 (-49,660), which means that the rate of out-migration in 2013 slowed down as compared to the previous years. According to the NSS data, passenger traffic by air was down 0.3 percent, which shows no negative balance, but instead the negative balance is present at the land checkpoints at the Armenian-Georgian border that people cross by buses or minibuses as a less expensive and suitable way of traveling for families. According to the 2013 data a total of 39,726 citizens left the country through the Bagratashen checkpoint as compared to 21,144 in 2012. The figures for the Bavra checkpoint in 2013 and 2012 made 13,000 and 8,288, respectively. “The population shrinks and the outmigration is calculated from that reduced number. If it continues like that and there is barely a population left in Armenia to emigrate, for example, in 10 years, I assure you that the outmigration rate will be down to 10,000-15,000,” former prime minister, now opposition lawmaker Hrant Bagratyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. more


Local small businesses shut down under pressure

www.hraparak.am reports that there is a growing trend of closing small and medium enterprises in Armenia. The news agency has talked to people, who had gathered at the State Registration Office at Komitas avenue, Yerevan, for the purpose of closing their businesses through filing applications. Business owners that were there to dissolve their enterprises said that the main reason was unauthorized visits of tax officials, which was pressure that they were unable to resist. more


-7: Father of three children, son of two disabled planning to emigrate due to government’s negligence (video)

The Khachatryans (residing at Shinararner 15, Yerevan) live with three children and two disabled parents in a building that is in emergency situation, and want to emigrate from the country due to government’s failure to answer their letters and solve the problem of water supply. The Khachatryans do not have water and gas supply for more than a month, and the local government is ignoring their letters. “This is not the Yerevan I dreamed of; they are increasing the numbers of emigrants. We are 7 potential emigrants now. For more than a month I am asking them for help as my children do not have water, my two disabled parents that live with us do not have water, but the city municipality does not respond and does not send anyone to see the situation here,” Arman Khachatryan told NEWS.am .   more


DEPOP Speaking Tour in Toronto covered by Nor Hai Horizon TV

Nor Hai Horizon TV of Toronto covered the DEPOP presentation in Toronto on February 5, 2014, which was broadcast in a morning show in Toronto on March 8, 2014. In this program Kamo Mailyan, Chief Editor of www.depop.am shares his thoughts about the DEPOP Speaking Tour 2014 to Armenian Diaspora communities in Beirut, Paris, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. In the presentation coverage Vahan Kololian, funder of the DEPOP demographic project and chairman of the Kololian Foundation shares his thoughts about the The Depopulation Crisis in Armenia report published by academics from Armenia. more


Community heads left Armenia

On February 18, 2014, Armenian news agency www.hraparak.am published an article entitled “Please flip out,” according to which in 2013 a number of community heads have left Armenia, and now the mayor of Ararat city wants to emigrate. more


Interview with DEPOP Research Group published in Nor Haratch newspaper of France

On February 22, 2014, Nor Haratch Armenian newspaper of France published interview with representatives of the DEPOP Research Team (Kamo Mailyan and Lena Muradyan). The group was interviewed during their stop in Paris in the middle of a speaking tour to meet Armenian communities in Beirut, Paris, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. more


DEPOP presentation in New York covered by Voice of Armenians NY TV / Interview with DEPOP research team

The DEPOP research team was in New York to present the findings of the "Depopulation Crisis in Armenia" report to the Armenian community in New York on February 6, 2014. Voice of Armenians NY TV covered the presentation and interviewed representatives of the DEPOP research team. To watch the video click more


DEPOP Research Team representatives hosted by Veradardz TV Program in Los Angeles

DEPOP Research Team representatives were hosted by Harout Bronozian's Veradardz program in Los Angeles following the DEPOP speaking tour to Armenian diaspora communities in Beirut, Paris, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles to present the reasons behind emigration and demographic challenges in Armenia. To watch the video click more


Bagrat Asatryan tackles emigration issue on Shoghakat TV

Bagrat Asatryan: "If emigration continues at this pace, shortly our country will be faced with a very serious danger. A result of the emigration, first of all, is weak villages: as of 2012 the birth rate in villages was lower than in Yerevan. From the point of view of natural reproduction the most dangerous area is the region of Syunik, followed by Tavush and Vayots Dzor, which are borderline. Among reasons of emigration are low social protection, an absence of rule of law and marred moral values." more