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.
-Mr. Manasyan, emigration growing trends are worrisome; in the past emigration used to be short-term, however, now it is long-term. What do you think about this situation? What trends do you see in this?
-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.
The official sources report that the difference between the population census number in 2001 and 2011 is negative. Reports say that currently Armenia’s population is 2,8 million, and the permanent population is 3 million. Taking into consideration the difference between the numbers of births and deaths in the past ten years, as well as the natural growth, we see that in the past 10 years (2002-2012) approximately 320 people left Armenia. This stands at 32,000 people a year. In the recent years this trend is even bigger and every year approximately more than 40,000 people leave Armenia.
According to the official information, emigration stands at 60,000 people a year. This means that the data of the population census is more by five times than the official statistics reports.
-Is this done not to let people panic?
-People have discussed the issue of emigration so much that nobody in Armenia believes in the official information anymore. It is more important to discuss the reasons and consequences.
Unfortunately there is a new trend, and now people leave with families. There is emigration of women as well. In the past, men used to go to find jobs but now families and women are emigrating as well. Of course, main reasons of emigration are the social poor conditions, lack of jobs, salaries, however, we should also add on the top of that a lack of justice, hope in the future, as well as corruption as people do not see future in this country. The role of non-social factors in emigration is growing.
-Do you think the integration with the Customs Union will make emigration trend even faster or no?
-Unfortunately in this process I see a dangerous trend of uniting the lands of the former Soviet Union. Let’s pay attention to the fact how easy Russia has made for the citizens of former Soviet states to apply and get Russian citizenship. Emigration is being very painful for us; the youth leaves, the society is getting older, and such new prospects attract young professionals. I believe the integration with the Customs Union will make the emigration process even faster. I see a bright future for Armenia only through the development of Armenia.