February 27 – Ruben Vardanyan, the former owner of the Troika Dialogue investment company, says that the current political crisis in Armenia may lead as many as 200,000 more Armenians to leave their homeland for life and work abroad and even more to think about doing so in the near future.
If that happens, Armenia risks becoming something like a second Abkhazia, with an ever-weaker economy and a political system incapable of maintaining control of the situation without the intervention one way of another of an outside power, most likely Russia (rbc.ru/politics/26/02/2021/603911009a79478687048143).
The only way to avoid this, Vardanyan suggests, is for the Armenian diaspora to take a more active role in the country rather than as now sitting and criticizing what is going on, especially in the wake of Yerevan’s defeat at the hands of Baku in the recent fighting over Qarabagh and the formerly Armenian-occupied buffer zone in Azerbaijan.
Two Moscow experts on Armenia, Gevorg Migzayan of the Finance University and Mikhail Neyzhmakov of the Agency for Political Economic Communications, say that Vardanyan’s projections need to be taken seriously because he is a serious analyst but that there are more ways forward than he suggests (svpressa.ru/society/article/291089/).
If Armenia continues to lose population at a high rate, some outside power will have to play a role to keep things from disintegrating, Migzayan says. But it is possible in his view that a group of technocrats could come to power in Yerevan, stabilizing the situation and limiting the outflow of Armenians.
Neyzhmakov agrees, but he adds in addition that Abkhazia has proved relatively stable despite its small population and that Armenia may surprise everyone by proving to be more stable overall as well, even if it suffers from periodic outbursts of anti-government protests. Population size alone doesn’t drive politics, he suggests.