By Jamila Babayeva
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan admitted in his recent remarks that the migration is one of the painful and critical problems for the country, but was not shy to lie that the migration outflow slowed in 2013.
Boosting migration and mass outflows from the country remains a challenge for Armenia, which has turned out face to face to demographic problems amid poor living conditions.
"The migration process has slowed and gradually turn to a process of return of citizens back to their homeland," he said bringing no statistics.
On the contrary, Former Prime Minister and MP Grant Bagratyan slammed Sargsyan's statement on the migration outflow. He said 230,000 people left the country with a population of nearly 3 million people for the last six years.
Sargsyan, whose government is almost unable to tackle the country's most painful problem, seems not to reconcile with Armenia's reality, which confirms that the migration outflow has reached the catastrophic level.
Armenian migration program "People in need" indicates that five percent (around 105,000 people) of Armenian people have left the country during the first nine months of 2013. The program sounds the alarm that migration is a catastrophe for Armenia, a notion that the Armenian authorities apparently have not fully understood yet.
Furthermore, the Armenian State Migration Service recently alarmed with the rising percent of citizens leaving the homeland with families.
If some years ago the share of citizens leaving the homeland with family was 40 percent of the total migration outflow, now this indicator has risen to 60 percent.
Armenian sociologists believe that the country is a temporary abode for the representatives of Armenian Diaspora. While choosing Armenia as a homeland Armenians living abroad face serious objective problems such as lack of jobs in terms of integration to the society.
Armenian demographers in turn said an unemployment and poor economic conditions were a valid reason for migration outflow in the past. But today lack of confidence in the future in many cases comes as the primary cause of emigration, people no longer believe that their children can have a bright future in their homeland.
The situation with Armenian migrants turned into next concern for the authorities. Some 700,000-800,000 Armenian labor migrants in Russia now are face to face with problems due to revised Russian laws, effective from January 1, 2014. The law provides that the citizens of some former Soviet republics, including Armenia, have the right to remain in the territory of the Russian Federation without registration for only 90 days within every 180 days. This means that citizens of Armenia cannot continuously live in Russia for more than six months.
Some 170,000 Armenian citizens face the risk of being deported from Russia, the Russian embassy in Armenia reported. These are Armenian citizens, who long ago or not so long ago traveled to Russia and have their permitted 90 days in Russia expired, but still remain in the country illegally. Furthermore, Russia banned entry to 31,500 Armenians as of February 10.
Now, Yerevan asks Moscow to simplify visa regime for Armenian migrants. The Secretary of the Armenian National Security Council Arthur Baghdasaryan addressed a letter to his Russian counterpart Nikolay Patrushev requested changes in the Russian migration legislation.
The Armenian President believes that the migration problem is not solved by weeping and discussing, but by real measures. But he could not name any measure which the Armenian government carried out to stop the people who seek better opportunities abroad.
Growing discontent with the government is on rise in society and this is a reality of today's Armenia, no matter Sargsyan admits it or not. High migration well mirrors serious social problems in the country, unfortunately the authorities are not in a hurry to solve them.