By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The demographic revolution promised by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan never took place. Armenian population continues to shrink amid dire economic situation in the country.
The data provided by the National Statistical Committee of Armenia, showed that the country’s permanent population was 2,957,000 people as of October 1, 2019. Thus, the country’s population decreased by 11,700 people compared to the same period in 2018.
It is notable that compared to early 2019, Armenia’s population has decreased by 7,800 people. Given that Armenia is a small country with a small number of population, any change in demographics is crucial. Armenian experts note that a population of less than three million in the country is an extremely dangerous phenomenon.
The population is decreasing both in cities and in villages. The number of the urban population of Armenia was 1.89 million (a decline of 9,000 over nine months) as of October 1. In rural areas, the population is 1.07 million people, which is 6,100 less compared to that in early 2019.
Armenia’s population was 3,574,000 in 1991 versus 2,957,000 in 2019. That is, over the 28 years of independence, Armenian population decreased by 616,000 people. By comparison, the population of Azerbaijan in 1991 was 7.218.000 people. Today, the country has 10.03 million inhabitants. In other words, the population of Azerbaijan has grown by 2.8 million people over 28 years. The figure amounts to almost the whole population of modern Armenia.
Azerbaijan’s increased demographics, combined with its economic strength gained in the past two decades puts Baku in a very advantageous position over Armenia that occupied its territories in the war in early 1990s.
The gap between the two countries is also widening in the sphere of military. Today, Azerbaijan is equipped with the most modern weapons. The combat readiness of the Azerbaijani army resulted in the victory that took place during the four-day April war in 2016 and the Gunnut operation in 2018 when the Azerbaijani Army, over a very short period of time, liberated more than 20 and 110 square kilometers of the previously occupied territories.
The defeat of the Armenian army was the logical result of its political failure, economic, demographic and military regress. It also predetermined the development of the domestic political situation in Armenia, the logical result of which was the overthrow of the previous government. Armenian citizens, disappointed in the regime of ex-president Serj Sargsyan, pinned their hopes on Nikol Pashinyan.
Pashinyan was also quick to disappoint Armenians as reflected in polls that show his declining popularity.
Not seeing any economic prospects for themselves and their children, many Armenians prefer to leave their country. Growing corruption, high mortality rate in the army and the lack of spending in the army add to the vast dissatisfaction among Armenian citizens.
Yerevan has lost its credibility in the Collective Security Treaty Organization for its lack of funding for its armed forces.
In addition, the new Armenian government has also failed in the foreign policy, spoiling ties with Russia, Armenia’s main military and strategic ally.
All these reasons are an incentive for Armenians to leave their homeland. They prefer to live as a diaspora abroad, loving their country from distance, without endangering themselves and their families. They have come to realize that Pashinayn is not realizing any of his pre-election promises, is corrupt as the previous leader and is ready to do anything to maintain power, including provocation on the front lines. As Russian and European senior politicians have noted in their statements, many of Pashinyan’s statements are provocative, inappropriate, and increase the risk of a new war.
Armenian residents who understand all these leave their country.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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