"138,000 people have left Armenia in the last six months," Azerbaijani expert Adalat Verdiyev wrote on his Facebook page. He added that 80,000 of them left the country forever.

Adalat Verdiyev

In fact, the migration from Armenia has been an unstoppable process for many years. In the last 30 years, since Armenia gained independence, 1.6-1.7 million people have left the country. Armenian experts say that this means 30% of the total population. About 1.1-1.2 million of those who left Armenia went to Russia, 150,000 immigrated to the United States, 120,000 to 150,000 chose Europe, and the rest headed to Israel and even New Zealand. Some of them also have settled in various CIS countries.

The largest emigration from Armenia was recorded in 1992-1994, during the First Karabakh War. In just three years, about 600,000 citizens, or 16% of the Armenian population at the time, left Armenia without returning. According to Armenian experts, although the number of people leaving the country stabilized in 1995-2001, about 250,000 people left the country during these seven years. It means that an average of 40,000-45,000 Armenians left the country each year.

The situation has not changed much since 2001. For example, in 2002-2007, 25,000-47,000 people left Armenia each year. In 2016-2018, the migration wave intensified again, reaching 35,000-40,000 a year.

According to official statistics, the population of Armenia as of January 1, 1991 was 3,574,500. Armenian demographers say that if we take into account that 1.6-1.7 million people have left the country in 30 years, there are now 1.8-1.9 million people left in Armenia. However, according to official statistics (per January 1, 2020), the population of Armenia is 2,961,900 people. But, Armenian experts say that this figure does not reflect the reality. They claim that, the government is increasing the number at the expense of Armenians who have Armenian citizenship according to their passports, but have not been in the country for many years. In fact, these people return to Armenia every 4-5 years to meet their relatives and return abroad, mainly to Russia. These people did not even take part in any elections in Armenia during independence.

According to Tsovinar Harutyunyan, United Nations Population Fund Armenia Head of Office, 25% of those born in Armenia in the 1990s have left the country. According to her, between 1991 and 2019, 1,120,000 Armenians - about 31% of the population - actually left the country. Some of them are simply registered in Armenia.

Meanwhile, the birth rate in Armenia has decreased in recent years. In other words, Armenia is facing not only the migration issue, but also the demographic problem caused by this issue. In the 1980s, 90,000 children were born in Armenia every year, now this figure is 10,000-12,000.

In fact, a new wave of migration was expected in Armenia after the Second Karabakh War. Armenian experts said that the defeat in Karabakh and the economic difficulties caused by the war would result in an increase in the number of people leaving the country. For example, earlier this year, sociologist Samvel Manukyan said that 20% of the Armenian population had migrant relatives in Russia, and that these families would support their relatives leaving the country.

Ruben Vardanyan, a billionaire of Armenian descent living in Russia and former head of the Troika Dialog company, also said that the population would leave Armenia en masse. The businessman told RBC that the process would intensify due to political tensions in the country. Vardanyan estimated that by 2021, at least 200,000 Armenians would leave Armenia and 200,000-300,000 Armenians consider leaving the country.

These predictions were proven right immediately after the travel ban introduced earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic was lifted. Thus, in February alone (the ban on flights to Russia was lifted in February - ed.) 58,297 people left the country through Zvartnots and Shirak airports. During that period, 31,901 people returned to Armenia. Thus, the number of those who left the country was 26,396 more than those who came to the country. The point is that in the same period of 2020, 99,065 people left Armenia and 96,970 came to the country. The difference was only 2,095 people. Armenian experts say that this decline in 2020 was due to the pandemic-related restrictions.

After the Second Karabakh War, more precisely since early 2021, the increase in the number of people leaving Armenia is reported by the Armenian media. For example, in the first four months of 2021, the number of those who left Armenia by air was 76,677 more than those who arrived in the country.

The statement came from Zvartnots International Airport spokesperson Satenik Hovhannisyan. She said that in January-April, the passenger flow at the Zvartnots and Shirak airports in Armenia amounted to 405,105 people.

  • In January 2021, the passenger flow was 64,296 people: 31,052 arrived in the country, 33,244 left the country.
  • In February, the passenger flow was 90,198 people: 31,901 arrived in the country, 58,297 left the country.
  • In March, the passenger flow was 116,481 people: 42,283 arrived in the country, 74,198 left the country.
  • The passenger flow in April was 134,130: 58,978 arrived in the country, 75,152 left the country.

Thus, the number of citizens arriving in Armenia in the first four months of 2021 was 164,214, and the number of departing citizens was 240,891.

As of late May 2021, the number of Armenians who left Armenia was 88,854 people more than those arrived in 5 months.

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan voiced similar information during the recent snap parliamentary elections in Armenia. Kocharyan said that the number of people who left the country and did not return had sharply increased in the last few months, adding that the number of those who left the country within four months had reached 80,000. He added that similar figures were recorded in Armenia in the early 1990s. It means fleeing the country.

Assessing the migration process in Armenia in January-May, Armenian economist-expert Tatul Manaseryan believes that 240,000 people may leave the country by the end of 2021. According to him, if earlier 1 in 10 migrants did not return to Armenia, now 1 in 3 does not return to the country.

These facts show that in 2021, the number of people leaving Armenia increased every month. And most of them did not return. It confirms the forecasts that there would be mass migration from Armenia after the Second Karabakh War.