Dangerous Depopulation: Armenian scholars urge government to take measures against migration

Dangerous Depopulation: Armenian scholars urge government to take measures against migration


(From left to right) Karen Aghamyan, Tatul Manaseryan, Levon Ananyan and Karine Danielyan speak about migration

A group of intellectuals concerned with the growing sizes of emigration from Armenia have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and National Assembly Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan urging action to reverse what they view as a dangerous trend for the country.

The authors of the letter suggest that within the shortest possible time specific and credible measures to improve the demographic situation in Armenia should be presented to the public and the National Assembly.

Armenian Writers Union Chairman Levon Ananyan says that migration has been recorded in Armenia for years, but now it has reached a stage when it is no longer possible to simply stand and watch and action is required.

“Villages and small towns have become empty. We should be aware of the depopulation of our borderland villages in the case when our neighbors are persistently trying to realize their aggressive designs. We should understand that our borderland populated areas are our fortresses,” he says.

Intellectuals are particularly concerned about people’s voluntary participation in migration programs offering resettlement to remote regions of Russia that need cheap labor.

“This is the Russian program ‘Assistance to Compatriots’. This is no longer a behavior of an independent state. Demographically, such processes will put the country at risk,” says Karine Danielyan, the head of the Association “For Sustainable Human Development” NGO.

Ethnographer Hranush Kharatyan, meanwhile, says: “For people in poor and corrupt countries with poor human rights protection like ours such programs are simply a salvation from living in utter squalor. With patriotism alone we can no longer encourage people to stay in our country.”

The ethnographer hopes that as a result of hearings organized in the National Assembly a working group will be set up to develop programs for analyzing and evaluating the situation and eventually taking concrete steps.

According to the data of the National Statistical Service, during the period of January-April 2011 the negative balance of the arrivals in and departures from Armenia made 47,610 people.

Meanwhile, speaking at the opposition rally on June 30, senior member of the Armenian National Congress Aram Manukyan claimed that as many as 250,000 people have abandoned Armenia for good during the past two years and a half.