Last week, discussions were held in the National Assembly of Armenia on the developments and partnership in Armenia-Diaspora relations. During questioning by the members of the Parliament, Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan touched on a number of issues related to the current situation in the diaspora and the difficulties facing it.
First, let’s state that the Ministry of Diaspora and Ms.Hakobyan herself are doing positive work, which should be appreciated, in developing and maintaining permanent link between Armenia and the Diaspora, especially, considering the limited resources available to them. Though, there is no lack of criticism and accusations, in the Armenian press, towards the Ministry of Diaspora, in our opinion they are mostly exaggerated and unfair.
During the above mentioned discussions, the Minister expressed a number of thoughts about which some discourse is worthwhile.
“We raised the question of return to being Armenian, not repatriation, and we urged the communities to engage the Armenians who have stopped being Armenians”, the minister said. Theoretically, this idea is quite attractive, but returning Armenians to their roots is a very difficult undertaking and beyond the abilities of the diaspora structures. Repatriation is more realistic and achievable.
Among the concerns of the Diaspora Armenians, Hagopyan mentioned the issues of the Armenian Genocide, the Artsakh problem and the blockade of Armenia. There are also other concerns that need to be added to this list. The lack of competition in the Armenian economy, the absence of fair elections and other freedoms, and the violations of human rights are reasons, which not only discourage repatriation, but also cause the younger generation to abandon their roots.
If favorable economic and political conditions are created in Armenia, a percentage of Armenian emigrants may think about returning to their homeland. Consequently, emphasis should be placed on repatriation and not on other issues.