A sharp decline in remittances from Russia, coupled with a soured domestic economic outlook, may sharpen political tensions within Armenia over the next few months, some economists are forecasting.
Information provided to EurasiaNet by the Central Bank of Armenia shows a 28-percent drop between the volume of foreign-sourced, private remittances that entered the country from Russia in January 2008 ($60.17 million) and what entered the country in January 2009 ($43.58 million).
Officially, the total number of such transfers from Russia, the United States and other countries has dropped by 25 percent for this same period.
One economist, though, notes that the situation could be far worse than the available statistics indicate.
"The official figures do not reflect the real picture," said Zoya Tadevosian of the Armenian State University of Economics. The data only reflects bank transfers; not the funds that are often brought into the country by friends or relatives. "We still need time to get the real one. Thousands of families getting financial support from Russia, the United States, or European countries have ended up in a tough situation."
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan.