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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 2,797 2,367 2,100 139
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 950 790 570 143
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Armenia


Update No: 336 - (25/3/10)

Armenia in amazement
The Armenians cannot get over their astonishment at what has happened in Georgia. Government TV news on March 14, carried an extraordinary story as its number one item. Its import is well conveyed by its heading, ‘Russia invades, Saakashvili dead’. Footage of Russian soldiers on the rampage came next. There had been a disclaimer about its genuineness at the outset. But this was hardly noticed and people went into the streets and screamed. One woman had a heart attack and died.

Quite what was the point of it all has been perplexing everybody. Clearly, Saakashvili, arch-demagogue that he is, is trying to tell his people: “Russia is your mortal foe and cling on to me as your true leader”.

The Armenians regard the Russians as their dearest allies. They have a respect for their president, Serzh Sargsyan, but see none of their leaders as indispensable. They have not the slightest desire to foment enmity with Russia, their great ally against Azerbaijan in the 1988-94 war over Nagorno-Karabakh, their enclave there.

A meeting of minds
On March 17, President Sargsyan met with Patriarch Kirill and Catholicos Karekin II. “Russia is our strategic ally and reliable partner. We continue political dialogues both on bilateral and regional issues,” Serzh Sargsyan noted, welcoming the leader of Russian Orthodox Church. Friendship and spiritual connection between Russian Orthodox and Armenian Catholic Churches is a cornerstone of bilateral relations, the Armenian President emphasised.

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill emphasised the importance of the human factor in the development of bilateral relations. He gave high assessment to the role of the Armenian nation and Armenian Apostolic Church in the dissemination of Christian values.

Diasporas matter
Armenia has more people who deem themselves Armenian outside its borders than within. California alone has over three million. There is a move afoot to place a motion in the US Congress, condemning the massacre of one and a half million Armenians in 1915 at the hands of the Turks as a genocide. A previous attempt under President Bill Clinton in the early 1990s went awry. It is hoped that a successor move under his wife, Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, could succeed – a case of one woman upmanship as it were.

As a prelude there has long been agitation among the Armenians of Sweden to obtain support from the Swedes in condemning the alleged genocide, which almost certainly did happen, at an early date in Stockholm. This has duly occurred.

If Russia is Armenia's protector, as the US is Israel's, Turkey is the big brother of Azerbaijan. It is clear enough who is the support group of Palestine.

The Azeris never miss the chance to express their solidarity with the Turks. Their diaspora in Sweden turned up in force on March 21 in Stockholm to protest against the Swedish parliament's resolution on the Armenian genocide of 1915 in Turkey. As Hitler asked in 1938: ‘who remembers the Armenian genocide?’ He had one of his own in mind of course.

Still on a war footing
The defence budget in Armenia is the highest as a proportion of GDP in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), at over 4.25%. It is equivalent to $600 million.

This is much more than the impoverished Caucasus nation can afford. It would be better for it to resolve its quarrel with Azerbaijan forthwith – give up the Lachin corridor to Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange for recognition of its enclave there as independent by the Azeris. If they ever got chirpy again, Armenia always has the military might of Russia to fall back upon.

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