Paradigm Shift

Berge Minassian, Toronto, 30 December 2015

Armenia is a typical developing country stuck in Daron Acemoğlu's 'extractive' phase of governance. This cripples the economy and encourages depopulation. Given Armenia's particularly precarious geopolitical situation, including the already shrunken population of 2 million, this is uniquely unsustainable. It may be a catastrophe of untold proportion for the Armenian nation to let this problem unaddressed and hope somehow things will improve. 

There are only two ways in which the above can be reversed: The current rulers of Armenia change their ways, or new leaders come to power who govern differently, i.e. in Acemoğlu's 'inclusive' fashion.

Berge Minassian, Toronto, 30 December 2015

Armenia is a typical developing country stuck in Daron Acemoğlu's 'extractive' phase of governance. This cripples the economy and encourages depopulation. Given Armenia's particularly precarious geopolitical situation, including the already shrunken population of 2 million, this is uniquely unsustainable. It may be a catastrophe of untold proportion for the Armenian nation to let this problem unaddressed and hope somehow things will improve. 

There are only two ways in which the above can be reversed: The current rulers of Armenia change their ways, or new leaders come to power who govern differently, i.e. in Acemoğlu's 'inclusive' fashion.

Obviously, the crucial switch from extractive to inclusive governance will be realized only by local Armenians. This essay is written by a Diasporan addressing Diasporans. The question therefore is: What can the Diaspora do to help in the switch?

Unsurprisingly, in the recent referendum the people of Armenia screamed loud and clear: NO to the extractive regime.  Who, after all, prefers extractive over inclusive rule? However, just as clearly, the people of Armenia did not come out to march with the "Clean Opposition". The dual message is evident: The people reject extractive governance but do not yet trust the members of the organized "Clean Opposition", at least not enough to risk their livelihoods or the country's stability by coming showing where they stand..

Rightly, the official Diaspora formed close ties with the initially democratically-elected government of Armenia. However, as democracy faded, and was plainly eliminated in the recent referendum, these close ties remain. A particularly representative example is the All-Armenian Fund. This organization encompasses the major Diasporan parties, churches and charities and is chaired by Armenia's president. These groups are obviously aware of the extractive regime of governance in Armenia. But can they speak up against it to help the regime change its ways? No, because it is impossible to speak up against institutionalized corruption while collaborating with the same said institution.  As for trying to influence change in the regime by private whispering in the ears of its leaders, it does not seem to have worked over 25 years of trying.

As mentioned above, the only other way to help achieve a switch to inclusive governance is for the Diaspora to support the development of a viable, ultimately trustworthy "Clean Opposition" which would democratically replace the extractive regime and run the country in inclusive mode. If the Diaspora is sufficiently awake and can see the clear and present danger of allowing the country to languish in extractive phase, then it has no choice but to identify the "Clean Opposition", relinquish its regime related perks and ties, and support, nurture, and help build this opposition.  

Following the 1988 earthquake, the entire Diaspora came together to help rebuild physical structures. It is now time for a Diaspora-wide conference to help build a nation… starting with building a clean-governance alternative to the present extractive rule. Once adequately constructed, and once it gains the trust of Armenia's population, the inclusive "Clean Opposition" can come to power despite all attempts at election fraud. At that point, the critical paradigm shift would have occurred, the country would be on the right track, the economy would jump-start, Diasporan aid and investment would flow, immigration would occur, emigration will slow, and the country will have a chance to survive.

Opposition: it is a word that disturbs many Diasporans and their leaders. Its most immediate effects are unpleasant.  However, when one is awake to the reality that a grave danger is threatening our nation, one cannot but be opposed.

Do Diasporans and their leaders care enough; are they strong enough, to oppose what in Armenia's case is fatal (extractive governance)? Or has the Genocide succeeded in making us blind and too weak to fight this battle for survival? 


  1. No Trust

    This kind-hearted article is a prime example why there is close to no trust in the so-called clean opposition: Let me start, point by point.

    1) Daron Acemoglu has no doubt written an excellent book. But the big problem is that theoreticians don't build nations. And most importantly, in today's world, it is so naive and destructive to promote one-size-fits-all theories, as wonderful as they may be. We all remember the heartfelt odes the world paid five years ago to the Arab Spring. Everyone believed in the dawn of democracy in the Middle East, and how it will change the Arab countries for the better. It turned out to be the biggest lie. What on paper looked like an ideal scenario, became the worst tool of destruction. The idealism of the wonders of democracy gave birth to one of the most vicious cycles of violence, brutality and genocide the world has seen. Arab Spring gave birth to ISIS. Because humans have a tendency to fall into the same trap more than once, the same thing happened in Ukraine, shortly after. Everyone praising the heroic Ukrainian nation that same way Berge Minassian and the Sefilian-Hovannisian duo advocate… that new leaders come to power to "save" the country. We all know where Ukraine ended up. A country destroyed, divided with little hope of ever recovering. A "revolution" to "save" the country? No, thank you, you can keep it to yourself.

    2) We've been hearing this or similar expressions of "catastrophe of untold proportion", "the end of Armenia", "population of barely 1 million is left in the country"and "Pity the nation" for the last 25 years! Enough of these naive, senseless warnings of apocalypse and fear-mongering. Instead, go and make an investment so that people have jobs. Without making up excuses. Because whether oligarchy, dictatorship, or democracy, what matters most are jobs.

    3) There is no Clean Opposition; that’s a lie. Searching and promoting Clean in politics, in a country like Armenia, and where it lies geopolitically, is naive and dangerous. I want a president who's more Turkish than a Turk, more Russian than a Russian, and more Azeri than an Azerbaijani. Someone who’s a wolf and a fox rather than a clean innocent sheep. Someone who puts all his abilities of maneuvering, changing loyalties, ruthless calculations, dividing and conquering, strategizing and treating politics as a real chess game, for the good of Armenia. That’s exactly what we need and what we have in Serge Sargsyan and his school of thought. There is no doubt that he has faults, but I also have no doubt about his patriotism. Now close your eyes and imagine Raffi or Jiro sitting down and negotiating with Vladimir Putin. I don’t know if I would laugh or cry.

    4) Minassian makes two statements, one true, another false. The statement that the people of Armenia did not come out to march with the "Clean Opposition" is true. More people show up at the average Armenian wedding. The statement that "the people of Armenia screamed loud and clear: NO to the extractive regime" is false: The result  66% YES , 33% NO speaks for itself. There were minor violations during the referendum, violations which could not have affected the outcome even by one percent. This new constitution is excellent for Armenia in the long-run. 

    5) Let’s just say hypothetically that one unlucky day, by some devil-sent miracle the Hovhannisyan-Sefilian group takes over the government by street protests. Elections are held; they take control. But as a result another group of people (only because they lost) claim the elections were fraudulent, and they start street protests to take over the government. And they take over. And after this, yet another group shows up and says, only through them can true democracy be established. And this goes on and on. Is this what we want? Nation-building or a joke in the name of democracy?

    6) A little comparison between Hovhannisyan and Sargsyan. Hovhannisyan has had four great chances in the last 25 years to become an important figure in Armenian politics. He has failed miserably in all four instances. As foreign minister he was fired (mostly because emotions have no place in politics and he was inadequate). As head of the AAF, he was unofficially fired because he was not capable of managing the fund, and the complaints from Diaspora about his incompetence were staggering. He then founded Heritage. Everyone had high hopes, they even had seven seats in parliament. The party fraction has gone down to one mostly because of his careless leadership. As presidential candidate, he simply wasted more than 500,000 votes cast for him, simply because he just didn't know what to do. Other than putting on a comedy show with the police chief at Tsitsernakaberd. He simply should have no place in politics. Sargsyan is the exact opposite. He has been involved in literally every aspect of political life since independence. When he took on the Republican Party, it was a relatively minor political party. He has transformed it into a formidable power, where he controls almost everything. This is what I call strong leadership.

    7) Solution: Change Armenia starting from the bottom up and NOT from the top to bottom. Start from the people, make a change in their lives and in their thinking, and in their commitment not to lie and cheat. Forget about street revolutions. There are elections coming up in 2017. Campaign and participate in them. Make sure that you have 6,000 individuals of opposition affiliation as election observers at the polls, and fraud will effectively be non-existent. Rather than claiming that the elections are fraudulent before they even start. Street revolution is the lazy and mindless way to do politics. 

    I can add 10 more points to this list. But I will end it here.

  2. Factual rebuttal to Doom & Gloom prognosticators

    1.Population of Armenia in 2015 was 3 million,  10 thousand (approx).

    2. Headline: “Armenian IT Boom Continues” (RFE/RL 2105-12-20)
    {Preliminary estimates by the Armenian Economy Ministry show that the combined output of some 450 IT firms operating in the country rose by nearly 20 percent to a level equivalent to roughly $550 million….Ministry officials dealing with IT say that the sector now employs 15,000 or so people — 13,000 of them software developers and other hi-tech engineers. They put the number of skilled specialists working in the burgeoning industry at 11,600 a year ago…..There are still an estimated 2,000 job vacancies in the sector,..}

    3. Average Salary Armenia year by year (in  drams).
    2015  173,000. (US$360)
    2014  158,580.
    2013  146,524.
    2012  113,163.
    2011  108,092.
    2010  102,652.
    2009  96,019.
    2008  87,406.
    2007  74,227.
    2006  62,293.
    2005  52,060.
    2004  43,445.
    2003  34,783.
    2002  27,324.
    2001  24,483.
    2000  22,706.

    {The crisis has already translated into some embarrassing economic statistics for Aliyev: at less than $300 a month, the official average wage in Azerbaijan is now considerably lower than that in resource-poor Armenia} (source: RFERL 2016-12-28)

    This last one is really funny: the nomads sitting on land that gushes cash, have much lower average salary than "doomed" Armenia. How is that possible ?

    4. GDP Per-capita purchasing parity Armenia year by year (in  US$) (source: World Bank)
    2015 $8,600. (estimate)
    2014 $8,069.
    2013 $7,720.
    2012 $7,398.
    2011 $6,803.
    2010 $6,376.
    2009 $6,158. (Global recession after Fall 2008 global crash)
    2008 $7,097.
    2007 $6,483.
    2006 $5,562.

    5. RoA GDP based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) valuation of country GDP.  IN US$ Billions..
    2006 $16.583 16.67% (change)
    2007 $19.365 16.78%
    2008 $21.117 9.05%
    2009 $18.266 -13.50%
    2010 $18.896 3.45%
    2011 $20.193 6.86%
    2012 $22.022 9.06%
    2013 $23.139 5.07%
    2014 $24.282 4.94%
    2015 $26.000 (estimate)

    People have been predicting Armenia’s demise if citizens  of Armenia or the leaders they elected didn’t listen to so and so, and didn’t do such and such since its Independence in 1991.  Fortunately, despite the mistaken belief of many Diaspora Armenians that they know what’s good for Armenia, the people of Armenia know better. Evidence is there for all to see.

  3. For Comparison

    For comparison, I would like to present the GDP of RoA's next-door neighbor Georgia, the darling of the West with wide open access to the Black Sea  (no blockade), rich agricultural land, temperate Black Sea coast (tourism magnet):

    (GDP Per-capita purchasing parity Georgia year by year–source: World Bank)

    2014  $7,582
    2013  $7,160
    2012  $6,823
    2011  $6,322
    2010  $5,818
    2009  $5,461 (Global recession after fall 2008 crash)
    2008  $5,667
    2007  $5,427
    2006  $4,695.

    1. Doing Business

      Another myth presented here is the claim that Armenia is an oligarchy and once you remove it, and the messiahs of the "Clean Opposition" take control, the economy will flourish. Nonsense.

      Looking at the data provided by World Bank's prestigious "Doing Business" research for 2015, which objectively measures business regulations and their enforcement across 189 economies of the world, ranking them according to 10 sets of indicators,  Singapore, New Zealand, Denmark, Korea,  Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States and Sweden are in the top eight. Canada is in 14th place. And guess where Armenia is? In the very honorable 35th place, only behind Japan (34th place), Spain and the UAE , and ahead of the Czech Republic, Mexico, Hungary, Belgium, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Greece, China, Azerbaijan, and 140 other economies. Yes, you read that right. And this is a vast improvement on the ranking Armenia had in 2008.

      Let us please stop the gossip and the pessimism. It is very easy and lazy to condemn the government for everything. And most of all, do not attempt to destroy all that has been achieved by virtual and "peaceful" revolutions. Search the solutions elsewhere, and remember we only have two enemies, Azerbaijan and Turkey. 

  4. Started to Change

    Artur, we have started the change from bottom up. We will constantly inform and educate the new generation in Armenia and in the Diaspora the spirit of self-governance (ինքնիշխանություն) and eradicate the spirit of enslavement. We will continue to educate about the right model of leader and leadership, which has nothing to do with theft and crime. We will continue to inform and educate that in order to become a strong nation we can’t have a criminal leader, non-elected leader, or a thief leader.

    Artur, under your beloved Serjik Sargsyan’s strong leadership, $9 billion was flown from Armenia to offshore accounts and Serjik’s most famous international negotiation with Eurasian leaders took place while he was literally sleeping at the negotiation table. 

    From bottom up and back down, we will constantly inform and educate that no crime will go unpunished. We will continue to inform and educate that although this situation has gone on for too long, it is temporary and the end is near. Armenians deserve a better life. They will decide their future, not Serjik’s gangs.

    I understand that for you Daron Acemoglu is just a theoretician and you can’t accept Raffi or Jiro as leaders. I understand that you are sympathetic to the Serjik’s model of governance. The government model in which we live now in Armenia is called kleptocracy (գողապետություն). Sargsyan fits very well in this model. At least 1/3 of Armenians did not fit in the kleptocracy model and left the country to defend their dignity. 

    1. Great News

      This is great news, except that I am not sure who is "we" that you are referring to. If you're referring to the Raffi and Jiro associated acts, then trust me that would not look "clean" or respectable on your "resumé". Demagoguery and hearsay will not get you very far in your well-intentioned objectives.

      By what you have written and the way you have written you might as well say  US$150 trillion was flown off from Armenia and Serjik was at the casino having a drink with the ghost of Stalin while the negotiations were going on. You see, hearsay, gossip, profanity and hate in general are dead ends. They frustrate you and create a temporary division among your countrymen. You might feel like Napoleon Bonaparte in your comfortable home in Canada while the "New Armenia revolutionaries" will feel like Che Guevara.

      The majority of the population in Armenia  supports the president, or at least, isn't against him. They do so not because they love him, but because today's opposition is a joke. When you promise the population a revolution on Dec.1 or 6 and the only thing you offer to the few people showing up is a walkathon through the streets of Yerevan, then yes, people will prefer Sargsyan's solid leadership rather than an opposition which has zero ideas, or has ideas which are utopian at best and dangerous at worst.

      Most countries in the world, including most of the so-called civilized Western countries can be called kleptocracies. Don't fool yourself in thinking otherwise. So before you pick on your homeland and supposedly provide solutions which are full of hatred, you can contribute to your homeland in numerous other ways.

      And have some respect towards the commander-in-chief of the heroic army, which is protecting the borders against Azeri and Turkish monsters. Only that way can you leave any legacy as a patriotic Armenian.

  5. Bloomberg Economic 2016 Forecast

    Armenia is in 49th place among 182 world economies, with a 2.5% growth forecast, equal to that of the United States, Australia, a bit behind Israel (3%) and Turkey, and ahead of oil-rich Azerbaijan (2.4%), United Kingdom (2.3%), Hong Kong (2.3%), Singapore and Kazakhstan (2%), Belgium , France, Japan, Finland, Russia, Brazil, and Greece. Ukraine, that lucky land which had a revolution to "destroy" an oligarchic system is at barely 1%. And Armenia achieves all this, despite a blockade.

    Now who will believe the lies of the Jiro-Raffi revolutionary council? Or the Armenian Renaissance doom and gloom predictions and cries of "Armenia is an oligarchic state and only a revolution will save it"? Trouble in paradise…

  6. Armenia a Dictatorship

    One of the best ways to measure freedom in the world is to see how free the internet is in each country. Freedom House 2015 report indicates:

    Armenia alongside Canada, United States, Germany and Australia is one of the freest countries in the world when it comes to the internet. Ranking much higher than Mexico, Ukraine, and Turkey. Azerbaijan and Russia find themselves in the company of Cuba, Syria and Iran… 

    So who or what is the revolution against? To ruin what has been achieved?

    1. Matter of Barometer

      I was utterly surprised to read that the 2015 census indicates the population of  Israel is 8.4 million and that a sizeable number of Jews have moved from Western Europe to Israel. Its population in 1991 was 4.8 million.

      What about Armenia since 1991?

      Take a leisurely walk down the streets of Glendale or visit the offices of the Los Angeles social services, glance the bulletin boards and read the official communiqués issued in Eastern Armenian so as to reach the tens of thousands of Armenians who have left Armenia since 1991 for Los Angeles and now rely on social support.

      Another not-so-intellectual test one may conduct, but this time in Yerevan, is the taxicab "research". When you hop into a Yerevan cab ask the driver who has he in ardasahman, i.e. outside Armenia. You will be shocked by the great number of his family members and relatives who are overseas.

      Apparently even the trickle down economy is not working well enough. Or is that the trickling process is leaving a large segment of the population destitute?

      Apparently Artur has had no need to frequent LA social services or to quiz a taxi driver in Armenia but through the Internet barometer he manages to gauge accurately the well-being of the citizens of Armenia. That surely leaves out many households which do not have computer to access the Internet.

      1. Not the Same Situation

        Re Vahe's comments about Jews moving to Israel and Armenians leaving Armenia…when you have rich Uncle Sam that pouring money into your country every year then you have a bit of an economic advantage. The US gives Israel $3 billion a year in direct payment for a population of about 8.5 million (about 6.3 million Jews, and rest Arabs). Indirect US government aid is estimated at $7 billion annually. Major US corporations establish subs in Israel, providing well-paid jobs. What's produced by those subs are then exported to the US: Win-win for Israelis. 
        (Care to guess how US corps are "persuaded" to open subs in Israel?) 

        And that does no include the massive private aid wealthy and well- established Jewish-American community of US (6 million strong) pours into Israel every year. I will not list the number of Jewish-American billionaires, centi-millionaires, deca-millionaires, and just millionaires.

        We had one Armenian-American billionaire, and he passed away. Yes, why not compare Armenia to Israel?

        About Jewish migration to Israel…

        Jewish migration to Israel up 40% so far this year, according to The Guardian in London (Sunday 3 May 2015).  "Jewish immigration into Israel has surged more than 40% this year, but it is Ukrainians and Russians who are responsible for the rise, not western Europeans fleeing after the Paris attacks.

        "Between January and March, 6,499 Jews arrived in Israel, the vast majority from Europe. But the figures produced in an interim report by the Jewish Agency for Israel, an NGO, reveal that the only substantial increase came from eastern Europe with numbers from western Europe remaining more or less steady.
        In all, 1,971 people came from Ukraine in the first three months of 2015, a 215% rise on the 625 in the same period last year. The number of Russians rose by almost 50% to 1,515."

        "Immigration from North America decreased by 7%, with only 478 new arrivals in the first three months of this year." Jews fleeing anti-Semitism and rise of Islam in Europe. Jews fleeing war in Ukraine. What a surprise. But apparently Jewish-Americans don’t find Israel so attractive. Meanwhile the RoA took in about 15,000 Syrian-Armenians: but you never hear doomsters talk about anything good about Armenia. Israelis get stabbed or shot regularly by Islamist terrorists inside Israel. When was the last time an Islamist hurt anyone inside Armenia?

        I have Jewish-American friends. They are mostly from former USSR and Israel. Not one of them badmouths Israel. Yet there is a veritable industry among Armenians  badmouthing Armenia day in, day out. The evidence is right in here.

      2. Psychological Condition

        Thank you so much Avery for yet again debunking all the gloom and doom talk of a self-hating Armenian, with very clear facts.

        I've stated here once that this is psychological condition prevalent in some Armenians. I think bad-mouthing, self-pity, low self esteem, and gossiping ironically gives this type of people a secret pleasure, which they don't even notice anymore. There is a great Armenian saying: Շունը կը հաչէ՝ բայց կարաւանը իր ճամբէն չի շեղիր:

        I just want to add one thing on all the facts Avery provides: The Muslim population of Israel today (not counting Gaza and West Bank) is 25% of the total population! By a conservative prognosis, in about 20 years muslims will become majority in Israel. Population growth, yes. But at what expense?

        Thank God that Armenia has circumvented this problem. And this is yet another reason that the arguments presented by Vahe are total demagoguery.

        Incidentally Vahe, in Freedom House rankings, one important criteria is the general population's accessibility to computers and internet. And guess what: Even in that, Armenia ranks high, on a per capita basis.

        Once again, and for your own sake, stop these nonsensical , non-factual, sadistic comments.

        1. Caravan Analogy

          During my recent trip to Armenia my Lebanese-Palestinian engineer friend made a remark that had eluded me although I was born and raised in Lebanon. He said the combined real estate of Armenia and Artsakh is five times the real estate of Lebanon. It was an eye-opener. Barren lands, poverty–not slum-like because one would except that slums would not be empty of people–made his observation all too poignant when I left Yerevan for other sites and cities.

          Armenia is bleeding of its inhabitants reports say but the observations I shared with the readers of were based on my experiences at the Los Angeles social services and my conversations with Armenia taxi drivers who never missed an opportunity to reveal they had relatives out of Armenia.

          Incidentally, I feel it necessary to say that it is fair and right for me to note that both of my parents were hard-working taxpayers who worked full-time in the U.S. for some quarter of a century until they were in their mid-seventies. We all know that the best of social security and the average person’s savings would not be enough and would be soon depleted in a nursing home. Consequently, from that stand point my parents were on the same footing as the new immigrant from Armenia who has not worked a single day in U.S. Both would need the assistance of U.S. taxpayers and would get the same nursing care under the same roof and amply deserve the same care. That is how I came to find out about the bulletins in Eastern Armenian, met Armenians from Armenia in the waiting room at the LA social services and dealt with officials who are immigrants from Armenia.

          My quizzing the taxi drivers in Yerevan was simply to engage in conversation with them. They never missed the opportunity to reveal they had relatives in Ardasahman.

          As to my computer observation, I was in Armenia some forty years ago as a newly-minted idealist college student who was not yet tempered with the unfolding of life. My relatives hosted me royally. This time around it was their children–who are now parents and grandparents–who hosted me in the same house the patriarch had laid down by his bare hands as a newly-repatriated mason in 1947. They are dear to me in every sense of the word. I relate to Armenia through them. I regard offensive those who hurl uncalled-for adjectives. They are inconsiderate, to say the least. My relatives do not own computer for reasons that should be amply clear to any reader.

          My stay in Armenia was superb. The hotels I stayed in the center of Yerevan and Stepanagerd provided impeccable round-the-clock service. Hot shower was available at any moment. The breakfast was superb with Armenian delicatessen we do not see in U.S. In short, Armenia is an Armenian tourist’s paradise. My observations are intellectual in nature. My economic and social wellbeing are not affected by what goes on in Armenia. I have been an American of good standing for the past forty years and I do not intend to move and settle in Armenia.

          But Artur likened my comments, in case a reader does not read Armenian, to the dog that barks as the caravan moves on. I have not met Artur and I believe that his analogy was not meant to be take verbatim, however uncalled for it was. It would have been fair for Artur to have seen the broader picture of the dog barking at the caravan analogy and also ask: "where did the caravan get its load, who loaded them on the camels and where is it that it is being hauled to?"

          I know that during my travels in U.S. I have stayed at hotels that were no less comfortable and offered decent breakfast that were even cheaper than what I paid in Armenia. I am alluding to hotels in mid-town Manhattan. What kind of “social conditioning” makes it acceptable for servants at the hotels I stayed in Armenia be  not paid nearly the same minimum wage as the servers in U.S. hotels when both work in institutions that charge no less from their customers? Am I being “a self-hating Armenian” when I wonder why are there so many from Armenia at the LA social services or in Glendale, California?

          One more thing, the bedding in one of the hotels I stayed was made in Turkey. Did I get mad? Absolutely not. Money comes hard–be it in Armenia or America: one should get the most from it. We in America do it daily. Why not in Armenia? Good for them for getting it cheaply from Turkey.

  7. Armenia Comparisons

    Armenia was compared to Israel to presumably “prove” that if not for the regime of Serjik and the presence of oligarchs, the population of the RoA would be around 6 million or so by now (my estimate). I will present stats from three countries which are Armenia's size that debunk the canard proffered by the doom-sayers re the reason RoA’s population is not increasing.

    The three counties have no oligarchs; are arguably democratic; are not landlocked; are not at war and they have access to the sea, access to EU markets and unlike Armenia are not “…a typical developing country stuck in Daron Acemoğlu's 'extractive' phase of governance. Yet the three are losing population.

    Care to guess which countries those are?
    Lithuania: In 1990 about 3.7 million; in 2015 about 2.9 million.
    Latvia: In 1990 about 2.7 million; in 2015 about 2 million.
    Estonia: 1990 about 1.6 million in 2015 about 1.3 million.

    The reason RoA’s population is not increasing has nothing to do with the economy or democracy or the rule of law.
    Proof? The Palestinian Territories (PT) are an open-air prison. Anyone care to compare living conditions in the RoA with that of the PT?
    In 1970 the population of the West Bank and Gaza was about 1 million.
    In 2014 population of the West Bank and Gaza was about 4.6 million.

    The reason the RoA population is not increasing is no secret, but it is not politically correct to discuss it publicly. On the other hand, it's convenient and popular to blame Serjik and the oligarchs.

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