In a stagnating economy and following a dispiriting defeat in the second Karabakh war, Armenians appear to be leaving the country in large numbers, AzVision.az reports citing Eurasianet portal.
According to the article published on the portal, while emigration is an unofficial process and so is not documented precisely, a proxy statistic to measure the flow is to compare the number of Armenians leaving the country to the number entering it. While that number was positive in each of the three years between 2018 and 2020 – that is, more Armenians entered the country than left – it has taken a dramatic turn in 2021.
Following the official data, 103,000 more Armenians left the country than entered it in 3Q2021, which amounts to about three percent of the country’s entire population. Most of the loss was in the first quarter of the year when the net loss represented almost 64,000 people.
According to residents of Armenia, the family’s prospects in the country appeared hopeless given the country’s political and security situation.
Analysts say that the economy remains the top reason for outmigration, but that other post-war challenges and security issues also are playing a role.
It is noted that Armenia’s economy shrank 7.6 percent in 2020.
“The economic crisis that began last year has forced people to exhaust all their savings. We see that financial flows in the economy are slow but inflation is high,” economist Hrant Mikaelian told Eurasianet.
“Demographics has long been a concern in Armenia, where the population has decreased by roughly 600,000, or about 15 percent, since the country gained independence in 1991, due to a combination of low birth rates and high levels of emigration,” Mikaelian said
Mikaelian also said that the benchmark to compare 2021 is not the years that came immediately before, but the other “crisis years” that Armenia has suffered since independence. He cited years including 1998, when there was an economic crisis compounded by a political crisis; or the global economic recession of 2008. He said both those years were followed by large spikes in emigration.
The head of Armenia’s Migration Service, Armen Ghazaryan, echoing that assessment said that migration is closely connected to the economic situation – better years show fewer people leaving,”
“2004 to 2006, 2018 to 2020 were good economic years that showed less migration,” he told Eurasianet.
But there are indications that more Armenians may be moving to Russia permanently.
According to Russia’s Federal Migration Service, about 22,000 Armenians were granted Russian citizenship in the first half of this year, which is the highest such figure in the last four years.
“While economic factors drive many Armenians to emigrate, the difficult situation following the war has also impacted Armenians with more means,” the article says.