Armenian Migrants: Happily Ever After in Russia?
Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian has told Russia to be a good country and stop tempting Armenians to migrate to its greener pastures. The steady outflow of Armenia's population, fueled by a prolonged economic slump, is already causing existential concerns in the tiny Caucasus state, and Russia’s state policy of sponsoring immigration from former Soviet republics is only making matters worse, critics contend.
At a July 22 meeting with various Armenian intellectuals, Prime Minister Sarkisian put much of the blame for the ongoing exodus of Armenians on Russia’s policy of fast-lane naturalization, accommodation and employment for married couples from the ex-Soviet neighborhood, RFE/RL reported. Many of these couples choose to honeymoon in Russia for good, some Armenian politicians and public figures say.
Sarkisian requested Moscow to toughen the immigration rules for Armenians, but, with Yerevan a major recipient of Russian financial and military aid, Armenia may not be in a position to wag its finger at Russia. Nor in a position to reverse those labor migration numbers. As long as job opportunities at home remain scarce, Armenians, no doubt, will find a way to move abroad -- with or without Russia’s migration policy.
Giorgi Lomsadze is a journalist based in Tbilisi, and author of Tamada Tales.
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