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Armenia

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Major Cities of Armenia
Abovyan | Alaverdi | Artashat | Ashtarak | Berd | Dilijan | Gavar | Goris | Gyumri | Hrazdan | Ijevan | Kapan | Martuni | Masis | Metsamor | Sevan | Sisian | Spitak | Vagharshapat | Vanadzor | Vardenik | Vardenis | Vedi | Yeghvard | Yerevan

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ARMENIA COAT OF ARMS
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Location of Armenia within Asia
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Map of Armenia
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Flag Description of Armenia: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, and orange

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Republic of Armenia

Official name Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun (Republic of Armenia)
Form of government unitary multiparty republic with a single legislative body (National Assembly [131])
Head of state President: Serzh Sarkisyan
Head of government Prime Minister: Hovik Abrahamyan
Capital Yerevan
Official language Armenian
Official religion none1
Monetary unit dram (AMD)
Population (2013 est.) 2,850,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 11,484
Total area (sq km) 29,743
Urban-rural population

Urban: (2012) 64%
Rural: (2012) 36%

Life expectancy at birth

Male: (2011) 70.7 years
Female: (2011) 77.5 years

Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate

Male: (2009) 99.7%
Female: (2009) 99.4%

GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 3,790

1The Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenian Orthodox Church) has special status per 1991 religious law.

Background of Armenia

Armenia, country of Transcaucasia, lying just south of the great mountain range of the Caucasus and fronting the northwestern extremity of Asia. To the north and east Armenia is bounded by Georgia and Azerbaijan, while its neighbours to the southeast and west are, respectively, Iran and Turkey. Naxçıvan, an exclave of Azerbaijan, borders Armenia to the southwest. The capital is Yerevan (Erevan).

Modern Armenia comprises only a small portion of ancient Armenia, one of the world’s oldest centres of civilization. At its height, Armenia extended from the south-central Black Sea coast to the Caspian Sea and from the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Urmia in present-day Iran. Ancient Armenia was subjected to constant foreign incursions, finally losing its autonomy in the 14th century ce. The centuries-long rule of Ottoman and Persian conquerors imperiled the very existence of the Armenian people. Eastern Armenia was annexed by Russia during the 19th century; western Armenia remained under Turkish rule, and in 1894–96 and 1915 Turkey perpetrated systematic massacres and forced deportations of Armenians.

The portion of Armenia lying within the former Russian Empire declared independence on May 28, 1918, but in 1920 it was invaded by forces from Turkey and Soviet Russia. The Soviet Republic of Armenia was established on Nov. 29, 1920; in 1922 Armenia became part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; and in 1936 this republic was dissolved and Armenia became a constituent (union) republic of the Soviet Union. Armenia declared sovereignty on Aug. 23, 1990, and independence on Sept. 23, 1991.

The status of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave of 1,700 square miles in southwestern Azerbaijan populated primarily by Armenians, was from 1988 the source of bitter conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. By the mid-1990s Karabakh Armenian forces occupied much of southwestern Azerbaijan, but the conflict had caused an economic crisis in Armenia.


Armenia Description

Historically Armenia and Azerbaijan have been long associated with Asia and the Middle East. In recent years some sources now consider them to be more closely aligned with Europe based on their modern economic and political trends. I.E...>>>Read On<<<

Geography of the Republic of Armenia

  • Area: 29,800 sq. km. (11,500 sq. mi.); slightly larger than Maryland.
  • Capital City -- Yerevan.
  • Terrain: High plateau with mountains, little forest land.
  • Climate: Highland continental, hot summers, cold winters.

The Land

  • Relief

Armenia is a mountainous country characterized by a great variety of scenery and geologic instability. The average altitude is 5,900 feet (1,800 metres) above sea level. There are no lowlands: half the territory lies at altitudes of 3,300 to 6,600 feet; only about one-tenth lies below the 3,300-foot mark.

The northwestern part of the Armenian Highland—containing Mount Aragats (Alaghez), the highest peak (13,418 feet, or 4,090 metres) in the country—is a combination of lofty mountain ranges, deep river valleys, and lava plateaus dotted with extinct volcanoes. To the north and east, the Somkhet, Bazum, Pambak, Areguni, Shakhdag, and Vardenis ranges of the Lesser Caucasus lie across the northern sector of Armenia. Elevated volcanic plateaus (Lory, Shirak, and others), cut by deep river valleys, lie amid these ranges.

In the eastern part of Armenia, the Sevan Basin, containing Lake Sevan (525 square miles) and hemmed in by ranges soaring as high as 11,800 feet, lies at an altitude of about 6,200 feet. In the southwest, a large depression—the Ararat Plain—lies at the foot of Mount Aragats and the Geghama Range; the Aras River cuts this important plain into halves, the northern half lying in Armenia and the southern in Turkey and Iran.

Armenia is subject to damaging earthquakes. On Dec. 7, 1988, an earthquake destroyed the northwestern town of Spitak and caused severe damage to Leninakan (now Gyumri), Armenia’s second most populous city. About 25,000 people were killed.

  • Drainage

Of the total precipitation, some two-thirds is evaporated, and one-third percolates into the rocks, notably the volcanic rocks, which are porous and fissured. The many rivers in Armenia are short and turbulent with numerous rapids and waterfalls. The water level is highest when the snow melts in the spring and during the autumn rains. As a result of considerable difference in altitude along their length, some rivers have great hydroelectric potential.

Most of the rivers fall into the drainage area of the Aras (itself a tributary of the Kura River of the Caspian Basin), which, for 300 miles (480 kilometres), forms a natural boundary between Armenia and Turkey and Iran.

The Aras’ main left-bank tributaries, the Akhuryan (130 miles), the Hrazdan (90 miles), the Arpa (80 miles), and the Vorotan (Bargyushad; 111 miles), serve to irrigate most of Armenia. The tributaries of the Kura—the Debed (109 miles), the Aghstev (80 miles), and others—pass through Armenia’s northeastern regions. Lake Sevan, with a capacity in excess of 9 cubic miles (39 cubic kilometres) of water, is fed by dozens of rivers, but only the Hrazdan leaves its confines.

Armenia is rich in springs and wells, some of which possess medicinal properties.

  • Soils

More than 15 soil types occur in Armenia, including light brown alluvial soils found in the Aras River plain and the Ararat Plain, poor in humus but still intensively cultivated; rich brown soils, found at higher elevations in the hill country; and chernozem (black earth) soils, which cover much of the higher steppe region. Much of Armenia’s soil—formed partly by residues of volcanic lava—is rich in nitrogen, potash, and phosphates. The labour required to clear the surface stones and debris from the soil, however, has made farming in Armenia difficult.

  • Climate

Because of Armenia’s position in the deep interior of the northern part of the subtropical zone, enclosed by lofty ranges, its climate is dry and continental. Regional climatic variation is nevertheless considerable. Intense sunshine occurs on many days of the year. Summer, except in high-altitude areas, is long and hot, the average June and August temperature in the plain being 77° F (25° C); sometimes it rises to uncomfortable levels. Winter is generally not cold; the average January temperature in the plain and foothills is about 23° F (−5° C), whereas in the mountains it drops to 10° F (−12° C). Invasions of Arctic air sometimes cause the temperature to drop sharply: the record low is −51° F (−46° C). Winter is particularly inclement on the elevated, windswept plateaus. Autumn—long, mild, and sunny—is the most pleasant season.

The ranges of the Lesser Caucasus prevent humid air masses from reaching the inner regions of Armenia. On the mountain slopes, at elevations from 4,600 to 6,600 feet, yearly rainfall approaches 32 inches (800 millimetres), while the sheltered inland hollows and plains receive only 8 to 16 inches of rainfall a year.

The climate changes with elevation, ranging from the dry subtropical and dry continental types found in the plain and in the foothills up to a height of 3,000 to 4,600 feet, to the cold type above the 6,600-foot mark.

  • Plant and animal life

The broken relief of Armenia, together with the fact that its highland lies at the junction of various biogeographic regions, has produced a great variety of landscapes. Though a small country, Armenia boasts more plant species (in excess of 3,000) than the vast Russian Plain. There are five altitudinal vegetation zones: semidesert, steppe, forest, alpine meadow, and high-altitude tundra.

The semidesert landscape, ascending to an elevation of 4,300 to 4,600 feet, consists of a slightly rolling plain covered with scanty vegetation, mostly sagebrush. The vegetation includes drought-resisting plants such as juniper, sloe, dog rose, and honeysuckle. The boar, wildcat, jackal, adder, gurza (a venomous snake), scorpion, and, more rarely, the leopard inhabit this region.

Steppes predominate in Armenia. They start at altitudes of 4,300 to 4,600 feet, and in the northeast they ascend to 6,200 to 6,600 feet. In the central region they reach 6,600 to 7,200 feet and in the south are found as high as 7,900 to 8,200 feet. In the lower altitudes the steppes are covered with drought-resistant grasses, while the mountain slopes are overgrown with thorny bushes and juniper.

The forest zone lies in the southeast of Armenia, at altitudes of 6,200 to 6,600 feet, where the humidity is considerable, and also in the northeast, at altitudes of 7,200 to 7,900 feet. Occupying nearly one-tenth of Armenia, the northeastern forests are largely beech. Oak forests predominate in the southeastern regions, where the climate is drier, and in the lower part of the forest zone hackberry, pistachio, honeysuckle, and dogwood grow. The animal kingdom is represented by the Syrian bear, wildcat, lynx, and squirrel. Birds—woodcock, robin, warbler, titmouse, and woodpecker—are numerous.

The alpine zone lies above 6,600 feet, with stunted grass providing good summer pastures. The fauna is rich; the abundant birdlife includes the mountain turkey, horned lark, and bearded vulture, while the mountains also harbour the bezoar goat and the mountain sheep, or mouflon.

Finally, the alpine tundra, with its scant cushion plants, covers only limited mountain areas and solitary peaks.

  • Settlement patterns

One of the more important of the distinctive regions of Armenia is the Ararat Plain and its surrounding foothills and mountains. This prosperous and densely populated area is the centre of Armenia’s economy and culture and traditionally the seat of its governmental institutions.

The other regions are the Shirak Steppe, the elevated northwestern plateau zone that is Armenia’s granary; Gugark, high plateaus, ranges, and deep valleys of the northeast, covered with forests, farmlands, and alpine pastures; the Sevan Basin, the hollow containing Lake Sevan, on the shores of which are farmlands, villages, and towns; Vayk, essentially the basin of the Arpa River; and Zangezur (Siuniq) in the extreme southeast. This last region is a maze of gorges and river valleys cutting through high ranges. It is an area rich in ores, with fields and orchards scattered here and there in the valleys and on the mountainsides.

The population density is highest in the Ararat Plain. The river valleys in the southeast and northeast are the next most densely populated areas. Half the population is concentrated in the zone marked by an upper altitudinal limit of 3,300 feet, which makes up only about one-tenth of the entire territory. Many people also live in the foothills, at altitudes of 3,300–4,900 feet, and in the mountains (4,900–6,600 feet). These regions account for a further third of the entire population. The high ranges and mountains are lightly populated; no one resides above 7,800 feet.

Fundamental changes in the distribution of Armenia’s population have been caused by the urbanization resulting from economic growth, particularly from the country’s industrialization. Before the Russian Revolution, Armenia’s four cities—Erevan (now Yerevan), Alexandropol (Gyumri), Kamo, and Goris—accounted for about one-tenth of the total population. Two-thirds of the population are now urbanized.

The high country to the north of Shirak and in the Zangezur region has small hamlets that lie in secluded glens, on riverbanks, and near springs; in the plain, such settlements cluster around mountain streams and irrigation canals, amid orchards and vineyards.

Demography of Armenia

The people

Armenians constitute nearly all of the country’s population; they speak Armenian, a distinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The remainder include Kurds, Russians, and small numbers of Ukrainians, Assyrians, and other groups. Most of Armenia’s Azerbaijani population fled or was expelled after the escalation of the conflict between the two countries. More than 3 million Armenians live abroad, including about 1.5 million in the states of the former Soviet Union and about 1 million in the United States.

The Armenians were converted to Christianity about ad 300 and have an ancient and rich liturgical and Christian literary tradition. Believing Armenians today belong mainly to the Armenian Apostolic (Orthodox) church or the Armenian Catholic church, in communion with Rome.

The Russian campaigns against the Persians and the Turks in the 18th and 19th centuries resulted in large emigrations of Armenians under Muslim rule to the Transcaucasian provinces of the Russian Empire and to Russia itself. Armenians settled in Yerevan, Tʿbilisi, Karabakh, Shemakha (now Şamaxı), Astrakhan, and Bessarabia. At the time of the massacres in Turkish Armenia in 1915, some Armenians found asylum in Russia. A number settled in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh within the neighbouring Muslim country of Azerbaijan. Armenians now constitute about three-fourths of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh; since 1988 there have been violent interethnic disputes and sporadic warfare between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in and around the enclave.

The economic crisis of the 1990s caused substantial numbers of Armenians to emigrate. By the mid-1990s an estimated 750,000 Armenians—about one-fifth of the population—had left the country.


PEOPLE AND HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF ARMENIA

  • Nationality: Noun--Armenian(s). Adjective--Armenian.
  • Population: Estimates range from 2,968,586 (CIA World Factbook, July 2008 est.) to the Armenia National Statistical Service’s estimate of 3,235,000 (October 1, 2008).
  • Ethnic groups: Armenian 98%; Yezidi 1.2%; Russian, Greek, and other 0.8%.
  • Religion: Armenian Apostolic Church (more than 90% nominally affiliated).
  • Languages: Armenian (96%), Russian, other.
  • Education: Literacy--99%.
  • Health: Infant mortality rate--20/1,000. Life expectancy--66.6 years.
  • Work force (1.24 million; 10.5% unemployed): Industry and construction--24.5%; agriculture and forestry--24.6%; trade--17.3%; education--13.4%; other--22.2%.

Ethnic groups in Armenia include Armenians (98%), Kurds, Russians, Greeks, and others. More than 90% of the population is nominally affiliated with the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is considered to be the national church of Armenia. Languages are Armenian (96%), Russian, and others.

Armenia first emerged around 800 BC as part of the Kingdom of Urartu or Van, which flourished in the Caucasus and eastern Asia Minor until 600 BC. After the destruction of the Seleucid Empire, the first Armenian state was founded in 190 BC. At its zenith, from 95 to 65 BC, Armenia extended its rule over the entire Caucasus and the area that is now eastern Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon. For a time, Armenia was the strongest state in the Roman East. It became part of the Roman Empire in 64 BC and adopted a Western political, philosophical, and religious orientation.

In 301 AD, Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion, establishing a church that still exists independently of both the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches. During its later political eclipses, Armenia depended on the church to preserve and protect its unique identity. From around 1100 to 1350, the focus of Armenian nationalism moved south, as the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, which had close ties to European Crusader states, flourished in southeastern Asia Minor until it was conquered by Muslim states.

Between the 4th and 19th centuries, Armenia was conquered and ruled by, among others, Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, and Turks. For a brief period from 1918 to 1920, it became an independent republic. In late 1920, local communists came to power following an invasion of Armenia by the Soviet Red Army, and in 1922, Armenia became part of the Trans-Caucasian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1936, it became the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union on September 21, 1991.

Genealogy of the People of Armenia. Ancestry records and the Family tree.

Economy (2008) of Armenia

  • GDP: $9.18 billion.
  • GDP growth rate (2007 estimate): 13.8%.
  • Per capita GDP (2007): $2,844.
  • Inflation (2007 estimate): 6.6%.
  • Natural resources: Copper, molybdenum, zinc, gold, silver, lead, marble, granite, mineral spring water.
  • Agriculture: Products--fruits and vegetables, wines, dairy, some livestock.
  • Industry: Types--mining, information technology (IT), diamond processing, metal-cutting machine tools, forging-pressing machines, electric motors, tires, knitted wear, hosiery, shoes, silk fabric, chemicals, trucks, instruments, microelectronics, jewelry manufacturing, food processing, brandy.
  • Trade:
    • Exports--$1.16 billion: precious and semi-precious stones and metals, mining products, foodstuffs, brandy.
      • Export partners (2007)--Russia 17.5%, Germany 14.7%, Netherlands 13.5%, Belgium 8.7%, Georgia 7.6%, U.S. 6.6%, Switzerland 4.3%, Bulgaria 4.1%, Ukraine 4%.
    • Imports (2007)--$3.28 billion: natural gas, petroleum, precious stones and metals, tobacco products, foodstuffs, textiles.
      • Import partners (2007)--Russia 15.1%, Ukraine 7.7%, Kazakhstan 7.4%, Germany 6.8%, China 6%, France 4.6%, U.S. 4.5%, Iraq 4.3%.


      • Under Soviet rule the Armenian economy was transformed from agricultural to primarily industrial; agriculture, however, remains important, accounting for about two-fifths of the gross domestic product and employing one-fifth of the labour force. Industry is heavily dependent on imports of energy and raw materials.

The massive earthquake of 1988 destroyed nearly one-third of Armenia’s industrial capacity, seriously weakening the economy. In 1989 the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh led Azerbaijan to impose a blockade, closing a vital natural gas pipeline to Armenia. The subsequent severe energy shortage—combined with the disruption of key trade routes due to civil unrest in Georgia—caused a sharp drop in industrial production, further devastating the economy. Most of the population of Armenia thus experienced severe economic hardship during the 1990s.

After independence, Armenia implemented a number of structural reforms in an effort to create the institutional and legal basis for a market economy. Reforms included substantial privatization of industry and agriculture, restructuring of the tax and financial systems, and price liberalization. A new currency, the dram, was introduced in 1993, replacing the ruble.

  • Agriculture

Agriculture in Armenia has to contend with many difficulties. Arable land is scarce; cultivated lands (plowland, orchards, and vineyards) occupy less than two-fifths of the total area. Pastures and meadows mowed for hay cover a larger area, approaching one-fourth of the territory. Farmlands in mountain regions form a mosaic of cornfields, orchards, vineyards, and pastures. Considerable tracts of arable land also are found in the Ararat Plain, the Shirak Steppe, and the southern part of the Sevan Basin.

The extensive irrigated lands in the low, sunny Ararat Plain and cultivated stretches in the northeastern and southern river valleys yield high-quality grapes and fruits. Storage lakes, dams, and pumping stations have been built and irrigation canals dug. More than half the total arable land area is irrigated. Farming, above an elevation of 3,300 feet, also combines with cattle raising; grain crops are cultivated and cattle are raised in the mountains, while tobacco and potatoes are raised in the lower, warmer part of the mountain belt. Farm products provide raw materials for many industries.

Viticulture is the leading branch of agriculture. Among the many orchard crops, peaches and apricots are the most common. Apples, cherries, mazzards (sweet cherries), and pears are cultivated in the colder climate, and walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pomegranates, and figs are also produced in this area. Vegetables are grown in the main agricultural regions, potatoes in the cooler mountains. Quality tobaccos are widely cultivated. Cotton and sugar beets, formerly grown in the Ararat Plain, are being succeeded by more valuable crops, such as grapes. The area under grain crops has been sharply reduced.

Extensive alpine pastures enhance the productivity of animal husbandry, whose main branches are the raising of beef and milk cattle and sheep. Pig and poultry raising, as well as sericulture and apiculture, play subsidiary roles.

  • Industry

Mechanical engineering, machine tools and electrical power machinery, electronics, and the chemical and mining industries hold a prominent place in Armenia’s heavy industry, but light and food industries are also fairly well advanced. Yerevan, Gyumri, and Vanadzor are machine-building cities. The centres of the chemical industries are Yerevan, Vanadzor, and Alaverdi.

Nonferrous metallurgy—in Alaverdi, Kapan, and Kajaran—includes the mining and dressing of copper, molybdenum, and other ores, the smelting of copper, and the extraction of precious and rare metals.

The food industry processes farm products, which meet domestic demand and are exported. The most advanced branches are involved in the primary processing of grapes and production of high-quality brandy, wines, canned fruits, and vegetables for export.

Light industry—a modern innovation—specializes in the production of woolen, silk, and cotton fabrics; knitted goods and clothes; carpets; and footwear.

Yerevan is the main industrial centre, accounting for nearly three-fifths of the total industrial output of Armenia. Other industrial centres and regions are developing, notably in the north, where Gyumri and Vanadzor are now major industrial centres.

  • Energy

At the initial stage of industrialization, the creation of a power base utilizing the hydraulic potential of mountain streams was of decisive importance. Production of electricity was combined with the building of irrigation works and water-supply systems for industries and cities. The Sevan-Hrazdan series of hydroelectric power stations was a first-priority project that used not only the waters of the Hrazdan but also those of Lake Sevan. This project made possible the electrification of agriculture and helped to build numerous industries. In the 1960s and ’70s emphasis shifted to thermal electric power stations burning fossil fuels and to nuclear energy. Armenia’s sole nuclear power station, near Yerevan, was shut down following the 1988 earthquake, but after Azerbaijan closed its gas pipeline to Armenia—causing a severe energy shortage—Armenia reopened the plant in 1995.

  • Transportation

The mountainous terrain is a serious impediment to the construction of land transport routes of any kind, although distances between towns and regions are not great. A railway line, leading to Tʿbilisi in the north and Baku in the east, runs through the northern, western, and southern regions of Armenia, but the rail link to Baku was closed in 1989. Yerevan is linked with the Sevan Basin by a line running along the Hrazdan River. Clustered along the rail routes are major industrial centres.

The network of roads is much denser, with Yerevan as the main hub. Road transport carries more freight than the railways; buses remain the chief mode of travel between towns and villages.

Air routes link Yerevan with Moscow and many Russian cities and with international cities including Athens, Paris, and Tehrān. Aircraft carry fresh fruits and grapes to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and elsewhere. Pipelines link Armenia with the Azerbaijani and Georgian gas fields, though the Azerbaijani pipeline was closed in 1989, and the Georgian pipeline has been subject to periodic disruption.

  • Trade

Armenia exports chemicals, nonferrous metals, machines, precision instruments, textiles and clothing, wine, brandy, and foodstuffs. Its major imports, in addition to coal and petroleum products, include ferrous metals, wood and paper products, grain, meat, milk, butter, and consumer goods. Armenia’s major import source and export destination is Russia; other trading partners include Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Iran, Syria, and the countries of Central Asia.

More about the economy of Armenia.

Government of Armenia of the Republic of Armenia

  • Type: Republic.
  • Constitution: Approved in November 2005 referendum.
  • Independence: 1918 (First Armenian Republic); 1991 (from Soviet Union).
  • Branches:
    • Executive--president (head of state) with wider powers relative to other branches, prime minister (head of cabinet), Council of Ministers (cabinet). **Legislative--unicameral National Assembly (parliament).
    • Judicial--Constitutional Court.

Administrative subdivisions: 10 marzes (provinces) in addition to the city of Yerevan, which has the status of a province. A reform of Yerevan's status, to that of a regular municipality as required by the 2005 constitutional referendum, is currently underway and was expected to occur in 2008, but has since been delayed and will likely occur in mid-2009. Once the parliament enacts legislation to change the capital's status, the mayor will no longer be appointed by the president but instead be chosen by elected city councilors. Political parties represented in the National Assembly: Republican Party of Armenia, Prosperous Armenia, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Dashnaktsutyun, Country of Law (Orinats Yerkir), and the Heritage Party. Other parties include: the Armenian National Congress, People's Party of Armenia, National Accord Party, Republic Party, New Times Party, United Labor Party, Dashink Party, National Democratic Union, and the Armenian National Movement. In addition, there are dozens of other registered parties, many of which become active only during national campaigns, if at all. Suffrage: Universal at 18.


Administrative and Social Condition of Armenia

  • Government

In 1995 Armenia adopted a new constitution, replacing the Soviet-era constitution that had been in force from 1978. The 1995 document establishes legislative, executive, and judicial branches of goverment and provides for a strong executive. A number of basic rights and freedoms of citizens are enumerated.>>>read more<<<

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS OF ARMENIA

Armenians voted overwhelmingly for independence in a September 1991 referendum, followed by a presidential election in October 1991 that gave 83% of the vote to Levon Ter-Petrossian. Ter-Petrossian had been elected head of government in 1990, when the Armenian National Movement defeated the Communist Party. Ter-Petrossian was re-elected in 1996 in a disputed election. Following public demonstrations against Ter-Petrossian's policies on the predominantly ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh that is located within Azerbaijan, the President resigned under pressure in January 1998 and was replaced by Prime Minister Robert Kocharian, who was subsequently elected President in March 1998. Following the October 27, 1999 assassination in Parliament of Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsian, Parliament Speaker Karen Demirchian, and six other officials, a period of political instability ensued during which an opposition headed by elements of the former Armenian National Movement government attempted unsuccessfully to force Kocharian to resign. Riding out the unrest, Kocharian was later reelected in March 2003 in a contentious election that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the U.S. Government deemed to have fallen short of international standards.

As a result of the May 2007 parliamentary elections, and with the February 2008 decision by the Country of Law Party to join the governing coalition, 113 seats out of the 131 in the National Assembly are held by pro-government parties. The sole opposition faction in parliament, the Heritage Party, holds seven seats. The remaining members of parliament are independent, although most of these are aligned de facto with the pro-government parties. The unicameral National Assembly has 90 seats which are elected by proportional representation (party list), and 41 are single mandate districts.

The Government of Armenia's stated aim is to build a Western-style parliamentary democracy as the basis of its form of government. However, international observers have been critical of the conduct of national elections in 1995, 1999, and 2003, as well as the constitutional referendum of 2005. The new constitution in 2005 increased the power of the legislative branch and allows for more independence of the judiciary; in practice, however, both branches remain subject to political pressure from the executive branch, which retains considerably greater power than its counterparts in most European countries.

Armenia held presidential elections on February 19, 2008. The elections, while originally deemed by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to be “mostly in line” with OSCE standards, were later seen to be marred by credible claims of ballot stuffing, intimidation (and even beatings) of poll workers and proxies, vote buying, and other irregularities. Recounts were requested, but ODIHR observers noted “shortcomings in the recount process, including discrepancies and mistakes, some of which raise questions over the impartiality of the [electoral commissions] concerned.”

Mass protests followed the disputed vote. For 10 days, large crowds of pro-opposition demonstrators gathered in Yerevan’s downtown Freedom Square. Police and security forces entered Freedom Square early in the morning on March 1, 2008, ostensibly to investigate reports of hidden weapons caches. This operation turned into a forced dispersal of demonstrators from Freedom Square by massed riot police. Following the clearing of Freedom Square, clashes erupted in the afternoon between massed demonstrators and security personnel, and continued throughout the day and evening, leading to ten deaths and hundreds of injuries. President Kocharian decreed a 20-day state of emergency in Yerevan late on March 1, which sharply curtailed freedom of media and assembly. Dozens of opposition supporters were jailed in the wake of the violence, in proceedings that many international watchdog groups have criticized as politically motivated. Armenia's media freedom climate and freedom of assembly remained poor overall, though somewhat improved after the state of emergency was lifted. Serzh Sargsian took office as President in April 2008.

The National Assembly launched a parliamentary ad hoc commission tasked with an inquiry into the events of March 1-2. The ad hoc commission showed early promise, despite concerns about its pro-government composition. The commission members summoned senior government officials to testify in public hearings, and subjected them to probing questions. This effort was expanded by a presidential directive on October 23, 2008 that formed an independent fact-finding group tasked to support and report to the ad hoc commission. It was composed of members appointed in equal numbers by ruling and opposition parties. These initiatives to uncover the truth about the March 1 events have been welcome, albeit imperfect, steps to provide public accountability.

Principal Government Officials of the Republic of Armenia

President--Serzh Sargsian Prime Minister--Tigran Sargsian Foreign Minister--Edward Nalbandian Defense Minister--Seyran Ohanian Ambassador to the U.S.--Tatoul Markarian Ambassador to the UN--Armen Martirosian

Armenia's embassy is located at 2225 R Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20008; tel: 202-319-1976; fax: 202-319-2984.

Environmental Issues of the Republic of Armenia

Armenia is trying to address its environmental problems. It has established a Ministry of Nature Protection and has introduced a pollution fee system by which taxes are levied on air and water emissions and solid waste disposal, with the resulting revenues used for environmental protection activities. Deforestation by mining concerns in certain parts of the country have resulted in periodic protests by environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and stirred controversy over government policies to support investment in the mining sector. Armenia is interested in cooperating with other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS--a group of 12 former Soviet republics) and with members of the international community on environmental issues. Armenia is under strong pressure from the international community to close its aging nuclear power plant (ANPP) at Metsamor by 2016. Given that Armenia depends on the ANPP for over 40% of its electricity, the Armenian Government sees no alternative to construction of a new nuclear plant. A U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded initial planning study was completed in September 2008, and concluded that a new nuclear plant is the least-cost option to replace the existing facility. The Armenian Government is continuing with the planning process for a new plant.

DEFENSE AND MILITARY ISSUES of the Republic of Armenia

Armenia established a Ministry of Defense in 1992. Border guards subject to the National Security Service patrol Armenia's borders with Georgia and Azerbaijan, while Russian Border Guards continue to monitor its borders with Iran and Turkey.

The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty was ratified by the Armenian parliament in July 1992. The treaty establishes comprehensive limits on key categories of military equipment, such as tanks, artillery, armored combat vehicles, combat aircraft, and combat helicopters, and provides for the destruction of weaponry in excess of those limits. Armenian officials have consistently expressed determination to comply with its provisions in spite of concerns they have about Azerbaijan exceeding that country's treaty limits. Armenia has provided data on armaments as required under the CFE Treaty and is receptive to CFE inspections. There are indications that Armenia is trying to establish mechanisms to ensure fulfillment of its arms control obligations. Armenia is not a significant exporter of conventional weapons, but it has provided substantial support, including materiel, to ethnic Armenian separatists in the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh located within Azerbaijan's borders.

In March 1993, Armenia signed the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention, which calls for the eventual elimination of chemical weapons. Armenia acceded to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons state in July 1993. The U.S. and other Western governments continue to discuss efforts and initiatives to establish effective nuclear export control systems with Armenia.

FOREIGN RELATIONS of the Republic of Armenia

Armenia is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), NATO's Partnership for Peace, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization (BSEC), the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the World Trade Organization. Armenia re-assumed the chairmanship of the CSTO for one year in September 2008 and assumed BSEC’s six-month chairmanship in November 2008.

  • Nagorno-Karabakh

In 1988, the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan, voted to secede and join Armenia. This act was the catalyst that led Armenia and Azerbaijan into a full-scale armed conflict that claimed the lives of over 30,000 on both sides. Armenian support for the separatists led to an economic embargo by Azerbaijan, which has had a negative impact on Armenia's foreign trade and made imports of food and fuel more expensive, three-quarters of which previously transited Azerbaijan under Soviet rule.

Peace talks in early 1993 were disrupted by the seizure of Azerbaijan's Kelbajar district by Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian forces and the forced evacuation of thousands of ethnic Azeris. Turkey in protest then followed with an embargo of its own against Armenia. A cease-fire was declared between Azeri and Armenian/Nagorno-Karabakh forces in 1994 and has been maintained by both sides since then in spite of occasional shooting along the line of contact. All Armenian governments have thus far resisted domestic pressure to recognize the self-proclaimed independence of the "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic," while at the same time announcing they would not accept any peace accords that returned the enclave to Azerbaijani rule. Approximately 572,000 of the estimated 800,000 ethnic Azeris who fled during the Karabakhi offensives still live as internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan (according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, quoting Azeri Government statistics, June 2008), while roughly 4,700 of 360,000 ethnic Armenians who fled Azerbaijan since 1988 remain refugees.

Negotiations to peacefully resolve the conflict have been ongoing since 1992 under the aegis of the Minsk Group of the OSCE. The Minsk Group is currently co-chaired by the U.S., France, and Russia. Negotiations have intensified since 2004.

  • U.S.-ARMENIAN RELATIONS

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and created the opportunity for bilateral relations with the New Independent States (NIS) as they began a political and economic transformation. The U.S. recognized the independence of Armenia on December 25, 1991, and opened an Embassy in Yerevan in February 1992.

The United States has made a concerted effort to help Armenia and other NIS during their difficult transition from totalitarianism and a command economy to democracy and open markets. The cornerstone of this continuing partnership has been the Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets (FREEDOM) Support Act, enacted in October 1992. Under this and other programs, the U.S. to date has provided nearly $2 billion in humanitarian and technical assistance for Armenia. U.S. assistance programs in Armenia are described in depth on the website at: http://armenia.usaid.gov/.

On March 27, 2006 Armenia signed a Millennium Challenge Compact with the United States; the agreement entered into force on September 29, 2006. Provided the Armenian Government makes progress on mutually agreed-upon policy performance criteria (corruption, ruling justly, and investing in people), the agreement will provide $235 million to Armenia over five years to reduce rural poverty through the improvement of rural roads and irrigation networks.

  • U.S.-Armenian Economic Relations

In 1992 Armenia signed three agreements with the U.S. affecting trade between the two countries. The agreements were ratified by the Armenian parliament in September 1995 and entered into force at the beginning of 1996. They include an "Agreement on Trade Relations," an "Investment Incentive Agreement," and a treaty on the "Reciprocal Encouragement and Protection of Investment" (generally referred to as the Bilateral Investment Treaty, or BIT). Armenia does not have a bilateral taxation treaty with the U.S. The 1994 Law on Foreign Investment governs all direct investments in Armenia, including those from the U.S.

Approximately 70 U.S.-owned firms currently do business in Armenia, including Dell, Microsoft, and IBM. Recent major U.S. investment projects include the Hotel Armenia/Marriott; the Hotel Ani Plaza; Tufenkian Holdings (carpet and furnishing production, hotels, and construction); several subsidiaries of U.S.-based information technology firms, including Viasphere Technopark, an IT incubator; Synopsys; a Greek-owned Coca-Cola bottling plant; jewelry and textile production facilities; several copper and molybdenum mining companies; and the Hovnanian International Construction Company.

  • U.S. Support To Build A Stable Market Democracy

The U.S. continues to work closely with international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to help Armenia in its transition to a free-market economy. Armenia has embarked upon an ambitious reform program, which has resulted in a double-digit GDP growth for the last 6 years. U.S. economic assistance programs, primarily under the administration of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have three objectives: to promote sustainable private sector economic growth; to strengthen non-executive governmental systems and civil society to build a more robust democracy; and to ensure a smooth transition towards primary healthcare and the rationalization of social support systems of the government. Other agencies, including the Departments of State, Agriculture, Defense, Commerce, Energy, Justice, and the Peace Corps sponsor various assistance projects. The U.S.-Armenia Task Force, established in 2000, is a bilateral commission that meets every 6 months to review the progress and objectives of U.S. assistance to Armenia. The last meeting was held in Washington, DC, in November 2008.

Specific USAID programs focus on private sector competitiveness and workforce development in selected industries, including information technology and tourism; development of the financial sector and fiscal authorities to achieve an enabling environment for businesses; and reforms promoting the efficient and safe use of energy and water; democracy and good governance programs, including the promotion of a well-informed and active civil society, support to decentralization of authority, independent justice sector and the parliament to ensure the separation of power; social sector reform, including benefits and public services administration for vulnerable populations; health sector reform, including improvement of primary healthcare (PHC) services with an emphasis on preventive care; strengthening of reproductive, maternal, and child healthcare countrywide to ensure access to quality PHC services in rural areas; public education programs; and training for PHC providers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Caucasus Agricultural Development Initiative provides targeted and sustained technical and marketing assistance to small and medium-sized agribusinesses, farmer-marketing associations, and the Government of Armenia. USDA's goal is to sustain the productivity of the agricultural sector by expanding access to markets and credit, increasing efficiency, and modernizing agriculture systems. USDA's priority assistance areas are: Farm Credit, Food Safety and Animal Health, support to the Armenian private sector through the NGO CARD, Agricultural Statistics and Agricultural Education. Also, as a training component of USDA projects in Armenia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cochran Fellowship Program provides training to Armenian agriculturists in the United States.

  • U.S. Humanitarian Assistance

Over the past 16 years, the U.S. has provided nearly $2 billion in assistance to Armenia, the highest per capita amount in the NIS. Humanitarian aid originally accounted for up to 85% of this total, reflecting the economic paralysis caused by closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, destruction in northern Armenia left from the devastating 1988 earthquake, and the closure of most of the country's factories.

As conditions in Armenia have improved, with the stabilization of the economy and increased energy production--including the restarting of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant near the capital--U.S. assistance programs have progressed from humanitarian priorities to longer-term development goals.

  • U.S. Support To Achieve Democracy

Technical assistance and training programs have been provided in municipal administration, intergovernmental relations, public affairs, foreign policy, diplomacy, rule of law, and development of a constitution. Specific programs are targeted at promoting elections that meet international standards, strengthening political parties, and promoting the establishment of an independent judiciary and independent media. This includes financing for programs that support civil society organizations, local non-governmental organizations (NGO) capacity building, National Assembly professional development, and local and community-level governance.

State Department and USAID educational exchange programs play an important role in supporting democratic and free-market reforms. Assistance in the translation and publication of printed information also has been provided. Exchange programs in the U.S. for Armenian lawyers, judges, political party members, business people, government officials, NGO activists, journalists, and other public figures focus on a range of topics, including the American judicial and political system, privatization, specific business sectors, the media, and civil society. The State Department has funded an ongoing project to provide Internet connectivity to schools at various levels throughout the country; these centers provide both educational and community-building opportunities.

USAID has funded international and domestic groups to monitor national elections. USAID also has funded programs to educate voters and to strengthen the role of an array of civic organizations in the democratic process.

[Also see fact sheet on U.S. Assistance to Armenia.]

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials Ambassador--Marie L. Yovanovitch Deputy Chief of Mission--Joseph Pennington Political/Economic Chief--Steve Banks Assistance Coordinator--Daniel Renna Consular Officer--Robin Busse Management Officer--Robert Frazier Regional Security Officer--Gordon Goetz USDA Marketing Assistance Project Director--Sean Carmody USAID Director--Robin Phillips Public Affairs Officer--Thomas Mittnacht

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia is at 1 American Avenue; tel: 374-10-46-47-00; fax: 374-10-46-47-42. TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program advises Americans traveling and residing abroad through Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings. Country Specific Information exists for all countries and includes information on entry and exit requirements, currency regulations, health conditions, safety and security, crime, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country because the situation is dangerous or unstable. For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings can be found. Consular Affairs Publications, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are also available at http://www.travel.state.gov. For additional information on international travel, see http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel/International.shtml.

The Department of State encourages all U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad to register via the State Department's travel registration website or at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security conditions.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone: 1-877-4-USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778); TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793. Passport information is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You may speak with a representative Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) and a web site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. The CDC publication "Health Information for International Travel" can be found at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentYellowBook.aspx.

Further Electronic Information Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://www.state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of Foreign Service posts and more. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides security information and regional news that impact U.S. companies working abroad through its website http://www.osac.gov

Export.gov provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free export counseling, help with the export process, and more.

STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides authoritative economic, business, and international trade information from the Federal government. The site includes current and historical trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities, and country analysis and provides access to the National Trade Data Bank.

Culture Life of Armenia

Armenian written literature began in the 5th century ad, and monasteries became the principal centres of intellectual life. The earliest works were historical, such as Moses of Khoren’s History of Armenia. The masterpiece of classical Armenian is Eznik Koghbatsi’s Eghts aghandots (Refutation of the Sects). The first great Armenian poet (10th century) was St. Gregory Narekatzi, renowned for his mystical poems and hymns. During the 16th to 18th century, popular bards, or troubadours, called ashugh, arose; outstanding among them were Nahapet Kuchak and, especially, Aruthin Sayadian, called Sayat-Nova (d. 1795), whose love songs are still popular. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Hakob Paronian and Ervand Otian were notable satirical novelists, and Grigor Zohrab wrote realist short stories. Paronian was also a comic playwright, whose plays still entertain Armenian audiences. The most celebrated novelist was Hakob Meliq-Hakobian, called Raffi, and perhaps the best dramatist of recent times was Gabriel Sundukian (d. 1912).

The country boasts a State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, several drama theatres, theatres for children, orchestras, a national dance company, and the Yerevan film studios, which produce feature, documentary, and science films. The traditional folk arts, especially singing, dancing, and artistic crafts, are popular. The 20th-century Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian achieved worldwide renown.

The public libraries include the A.F. Myasnikyan State Public Library and the Matenadaran archives in Yerevan, which contain 10,000 Armenian manuscripts, the largest collection in the world. There are also a number of museums, including the State Historical Museum of Armenia.

Armenian science, like its culture, has its roots in antiquity, but research institutions are a 20th-century development. The Armenian Academy of Sciences is composed of a number of institutes engaged in research problems in natural and social sciences.

The radio broadcasting system has been operating since 1926, and the Yerevan television centre since 1956. Broadcasts and telecasts are conducted in Armenian, Russian, Azerbaijani, and Kurdish. Many newspapers and periodicals are published in Armenia, most of them in the Armenian language.

History of Armenia

Early History

The region and former kingdom of Asia Minor that was Greater Armenia lay east of the Euphrates River; Little, or Lesser, Armenia was west of the river. Armenia is generally understood to have included NE Turkey, the area covered by the modern republic of Armenia (the eastern part of ancient Armenia), and parts of Iranian Azerbaijan.

According to tradition, the kingdom was founded in the region of Lake Van by Haig, or Haik, a descendant of Noah. Modern scholars, however, believe that the Armenians crossed the Euphrates and came into Asia Minor in the 8th cent. B.C. Invading the Khaldian state called Urartu by the Assyrians, they intermarried with the indigenous peoples there and formed a homogeneous nation by the 6th cent. B.C. This state was a Persian satrapy from the late 6th cent. B.C. to the late 4th cent. B.C.

Conquered (330 B.C.) by Alexander the Great, it became after his death part of the Syrian kingdom of Seleucus I and his descendants. After the Roman victory over the Seleucids at Magnesia in 190 B.C., the Armenians declared (189 B.C.) their independence under a native dynasty, the Artashesids. The imperialistic ambitions of King Tigranes led to war with Rome; defeated Armenia became tributary to the republic after the campaigns of Lucullus (69 B.C.) and Pompey (67 B.C.). The Romans distinguished between Greater Armenia and Lesser Armenia, respectively east and west of the Euphrates. Tiridates, a Parthian prince, was confirmed as king of Armenia by Nero in A.D. 66. Christianity was introduced early; Armenia is reckoned the oldest Christian state.

In the 3d cent. A.D., Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid, came to power in Persia and overran Armenia. The persecution of Christians created innumerable martyrs and kindled nationalism among the Armenians, particularly after the partition (387) of the kingdom between Persia and Rome. Attempts at independence were short-lived, as Armenia was the constant prey of Persians, Byzantines, White Huns, Khazars, and Arabs. From 886 to 1046 the kingdom enjoyed autonomy under native rulers, the Bagratids; it was then reconquered by the Byzantines, who promptly lost it to the Seljuk Turks following the Byzantine defeat at the battle of Manzikert in 1071.

With the Mongol invasion of the mid-11th cent., a number of Armenians, led by Prince Reuben, were pushed westward. In 1080 they established in Cilicia the kingdom of Little Armenia, which lasted until its conquest by the Mamluks in 1375. Shortly afterward (1386–94) the Mongol conqueror Timur seized Greater Armenia and massacred a large part of the population. After Timur's death (1405) the Ottoman Turks, whom Timur had defeated in 1402, invaded Armenia and by the 16th cent. held all of it. Under Ottoman rule the Armenians, although often persecuted and always discriminated against because of their religion, nevertheless acquired a vital economic role. Constantinople and all other large cities of the Ottoman Empire had colonies of Armenian merchants and financiers. Eastern Armenia was chronically disputed between Turkey and Persia.

  • Modern History

Russia acquired Armenia from Persia in 1828 and made it into a province. The Congress of Berlin (1878; see Berlin, Congress of) also assigned the Kars, Ardahan, and Batumi districts to Russia, which restored Kars and Ardahan to Turkey in 1921. The Armenian people, whose 19th-century population in the Ottoman Empire was approximately two million, underwent one of the worst trials in their history between 1894 and 1915. Their attempted extermination was put into action under Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Hamid II and was sporadically but regularly resumed. At the beginning of the genocide of 1915 the Armenians were accused of aiding the Russian invaders during World War I. Subsequently, more than 600,000 Armenians were killed by Turkish soldiers or died of starvation during their forced deportation to Syria and Mesopotamia. The Armenians rose in revolt at Van, which they held until relieved by Russian troops.

After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Russian Armenia joined Azerbaijan and Georgia to form the anti-Bolshevik Transcaucasian Federation, which, however, was dissolved in 1918. That same year the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk between Soviet Russia and Germany made Russian Armenia an independent republic under German auspices. It was superseded by the Treaty of Sèvres (see Sèvres, Treaty of; 1920), which created an independent Greater Armenia, comprising both the Turkish and the Soviet Russian parts.

In the same year, however, the Communists gained control of Russian Armenia and proclaimed it a Soviet republic. In 1921 a Russo-Turkish Treaty established those countries' common boundary, thus ending Armenian independence. From 1922 to 1936, Armenia was combined with Azerbaijan and Georgia to form the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, after which it became a separate constituent republic of the USSR. Until the late 20th cent. its fortunes remained tied to those of the Soviet Union.

A devastating earthquake struck Armenia in 1988, killing thousands of people and destroying most of the republic's infrastructure. Armenia had been relatively stable as a republic of the Soviet Union, but the dissolution of the USSR allowed nationalism and historical conflicts to rekindle. In mid-1988, fighting broke out between ethnic Armenians and Azeris in the Armenian-dominated Nagorno-Karabakh region of neighboring Azerbaijan, leading to Armenian demands that Azerbaijan cede the region to Armenia. Armenia declared itself independent of the USSR in Aug., 1991, and Levon Ter-Petrossian was elected as first president of the republic. Armenia then joined the Commonwealth of Independent States; since the breakup of the USSR, Armenia has had close relations with Russia.

Conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh led to war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1992, with heavy casualties. A blockade of Armenia by Azerbaijan, the country through which most of Armenia's supply routes run, caused economic hardship. By early 1994, Armenian forces had gained control of the enclave and adjoining Azerbaijani territory to the region's south and west. A cease-fire negotiated with Russian mediation in May, 1994, has generally been observed by both sides, but a final resolution to the conflict was not achieved and border clashes have occurred at times. Ongoing attempts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh situation have proved difficult, and Armenia's economy has been hurt by Turkish and Azerbaijaini blockades, making the nation somewhat dependent on Russia.

In 1995 voters approved a new constitution that strengthened the president's powers; that year Armenia signed an agreement with Russia that granted Russia a 25-year lease on the military base at Kumayri. Ter-Petrossian was reelected in 1996 but resigned in 1998, and Robert Kocharian was elected president. In Oct., 1999, terrorists stormed the parliament in an apparent coup attempt, killing the prime minister and other officials before being apprehended.

Kocharian was reelected in Mar., 2003, after a runoff election that foreign election observers said was marked by widespread fraud. Inspired by the demonstrations in Georgia that led to a change in government there, Armenian opposition leaders called for united protests against Kocharian in Apr., 2004. Accusing the opposition of attempting to destabilize the country, the government responded with arrests and legal actions against them, as well as the use of thugs to break up opposition rallies. Large demonstrations (April–June) failed, however, to martial sufficient pressure against the president. Opposition parties continued to boycott parliament, albeit on a selective basis after Sept., 2005. A referendum in Nov., 2005, that was boycotted by the opposition approved constitutional amendments that diminished the president's powers and expanded civil rights, but European observers and the opposition both questioned the reported results, saying there was ballot fraud.

A prosecutor-general's investigation of government privatizations in 2001–4 criticized many for involving noncompetitive, arbitrary sales that cost the country revenue, but despite the release of the report in Apr., 2006, the practice continued. Tensions between Georgia and Russia in 2006 adversely affected some Armenian businesses when Russia closed its transport links with Georgia, which are also used for Armenian trade with Russia. Parliamentary elections in May, 2007, resulted in a majority for the parties aligned with the president; a three-party legislative coalition was established the following month. Despite opposition claims of electoral fraud, European observers called the balloting as an improvement over the 2003 elections.

In the Feb., 2008, presidential election, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan defeated former president Ter-Petrossian, but Ter-Petrossian denounced the result as rigged. European observers initially said that the elections generally followed democratic standards, but a second assessment three weeks later documented significant failings in the election. The election led to opposition protests in the capital, deadly clashes between security forces and demonstrators on Mar. 1–2, arrests of Ter-Petrossian supporters, and a three-week state of emergency in March.

In Sept., 2008, there was a warming in relations with Turkey when Turkish President Abdullah Gül visited Armenia; in Apr., 2009, the two nations agreed in principle to normalize relations, and protocols calling for normalizing relations were signed in Oct., 2009. The protocols, however, were not ratified by either nation. Turkish legislators resisted approving them without progress toward a settlement in Armenia's conflict with Azerbaijan, and Armenia suspended its ratification process in 2010.

Meanwhile, the parliament approved (June, 2009) a limited amnesty affecting many who were convicted as a result of the events of Mar., 2008. In Aug., 2010, the lease on Russia's military base at Kumayri was extended until 2044. The May, 2012, parliamentary elections resulted in a win for the president's Republican party, which secured a majority; international observers again noted problems with campaign violations and interference by poltical parties. In Feb., 2013, Sargsyan was reelected, defeating Raffi Hovhannisyan, a former foreign minister, and other candidates, but some major opposition parties, fearing fraud, did not field candidates. Hovhannisyan accused Sargsyan of fraud and irregularities were reported, but the vote for the president paralleled the results of polling.

Armenia Photo Gallery

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Cities and Towns in of the Republic of Armenia

Armenia has 271 Towns and Cities.

Here are the other smaller towns in Armenia

Agarak, Armenia Agarakadzor, Armenia Aghavnadzor, Armenia Aghavnatun, Armenia Akhuryan, Armenia Aknalich, Armenia Aknashen, Armenia Amasia, Armenia Amberd, Armenia Anushavan, Armenia Apaga, Armenia Aparan, Armenia Aragats, Armenia Aragyukh, Armenia Aramus, Armenia Arapi, Armenia Ararat, Armenia Arazap, Armenia Archis, Armenia Areni, Armenia Arevabuyr, Armenia Arevashat, Armenia Arevashogh, Armenia Arevik, Armenia Arevshat, Armenia Argavand, Armenia Argel, Armenia Armash, Armenia Armavir, Armenia Arshaluys, Armenia Arteni, Armenia Artimet, Armenia Artsvaberd, Armenia Artsvanist, Armenia Arzakan, Armenia Arzni, Armenia Ashnak, Armenia Astghadzor, Armenia Avshar, Armenia Aygavan, Armenia Aygedzor, Armenia Aygehovit, Armenia Aygek, Armenia Aygepat, Armenia Aygeshat, Armenia Aygestan, Armenia Aygezard, Armenia Aygut, Armenia Ayrum, Armenia Azatamut, Armenia Azatan, Armenia Azatavan, Armenia Baghramyan, Armenia Bagratashen, Armenia Balahovit, Armenia Bambakashat, Armenia Bardzrashen, Armenia Bazum, Armenia Berdavan, Armenia Brnakot, Armenia Brun, Armenia Buzhakan, Armenia Byurakan, Armenia Byuravan, Armenia Byureghavan, Armenia Chambarak, Armenia Chochkan, Armenia Dalar, Armenia Dalarik, Armenia Darakert, Armenia Darpas, Armenia Dashtavan, Armenia Ddmashen, Armenia Dimitrov, Armenia Doghs, Armenia Drakhtik, Armenia Dsegh, Armenia Dvin, Armenia Dzitankov, Armenia Dzoraghbyur, Armenia Dzoragyukh, Armenia Fantan, Armenia Fioletovo, Armenia Gagarin, Armenia Gandzak, Armenia Garni, Armenia Gay, Armenia Geghamasar, Armenia Geghamavan, Armenia Geghanist, Armenia Getahovit, Armenia Getashen, Armenia Getazat, Armenia Ghukasavan, Armenia Gladzor, Armenia Gogaran, Armenia Gosh, Armenia Griboyedov, Armenia Gyulagarak, Armenia Haghartsin, Armenia Hayanist, Armenia Haykashen, Armenia Haykavan, Armenia Hnaberd, Armenia Hoktember, Armenia Horom, Armenia Hovtashat, Armenia Hovtashen, Armenia Janfida, Armenia Jermuk, Armenia Jrahovit, Armenia Jrashen, Armenia Kamaris, Armenia Kamo, Armenia Kanakeravan, Armenia Kaputan, Armenia Karbi, Armenia Karchaghbyur, Armenia Kasakh, Armenia Khashtarak, Armenia Khndzoresk, Armenia Kosh, Armenia Lanjaghbyur, Armenia Lchashen, Armenia Lenughi, Armenia Lernakert, Armenia Lernanist, Armenia Lernantsk, Armenia Lernapat, Armenia Lernavan, Armenia Lorut, Armenia Lukashin, Armenia Madina, Armenia Maisyan, Armenia Malishka, Armenia Maralik, Armenia Margahovit, Armenia Margara, Armenia Marmarashen, Armenia Marmashen, Armenia Mayakovski, Armenia Meghradzor, Armenia Meghrashen, Armenia Meghri, Armenia Merdzavan, Armenia Mets Masrik, Armenia Mets Parni, Armenia Metsavan, Armenia Mosesgegh, Armenia Mrganush, Armenia Mrgashat, Armenia Mrgashen, Armenia Mrgavan, Armenia Mrgavet, Armenia Musaler, Armenia Musayelyan, Armenia Myasnikyan, Armenia Nalbandyan, Armenia Navur, Armenia Nizami, Armenia Nor Armavir, Armenia Nor Geghi, Armenia Nor Gyukh, Armenia Nor Yerznka, Armenia Norakert, Armenia Noramarg, Armenia Norashen, Armenia Noratus, Armenia Noyakert, Armenia Noyemberyan, Armenia Nshavan, Armenia Odzun, Armenia Oshakan, Armenia Paravakar, Armenia Pemzashen, Armenia Pokr Mantash, Armenia Proshyan, Armenia Pshatavan, Armenia Ptghni, Armenia Ranchpar, Armenia Rind, Armenia Samaghar, Armenia Saramech, Armenia Saratak, Armenia Sarigyukh, Armenia Sarukhan, Armenia Sasunik, Armenia Shaghat, Armenia Shahumyan, Armenia Shatin, Armenia Shenavan, Armenia Shinuhayr, Armenia Shirak, Armenia Shirakamut, Armenia Shnogh, Armenia Sis, Armenia Sisavan, Armenia Solak, Armenia Sovetakan, Armenia Spandaryan, Armenia Surenavan, Armenia Talin, Armenia Tandzut, Armenia Taronik, Armenia Tashir, Armenia Tazagyukh, Armenia Tegh, Armenia Tsaghkaber, Armenia Tsaghkadzor, Armenia Tsaghkahovit, Armenia Tsiatsan, Armenia Tsovagyugh, Armenia Tsovak, Armenia Tsovazard, Armenia Tsovinar, Armenia Tumanyan, Armenia Urut, Armenia Ushi, Armenia Vaghashen, Armenia Vahagni, Armenia Vahan, Armenia Vardablur, Armenia Vardadzor, Armenia Varser, Armenia Verin Artashat, Armenia Verin Dvin, Armenia Verin Getashen, Armenia Verishen, Armenia Vernashen, Armenia Voskehask, Armenia Voskehat, Armenia Voskevan, Armenia Voskevaz, Armenia Vostan, Armenia Yeghegnavan, Armenia Yeghegnut, Armenia Yeraskhahun, Armenia Yerazgavors, Armenia Zangakatun, Armenia Zar, Armenia Zaritap, Armenia Zhdanov, Armenia Zorak, Armenia Zoravan, Armenia Zovaber, Armenia Zovuni, Armenia

Armenia in 2014

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 13% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Armenia in 2012

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 13% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Armenia in 2011

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 13% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Armenia in 2010

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 13% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<< ==

Armenia in 2009

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 13% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Armenia in 2008

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 16% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Armenia in 2007

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 16% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Armenia in 2006

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 16% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Armenia in 2005

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 16% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Armenia in 2004

Armenia Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 16% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under ...>>>read on<<<

Disclaimer

This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, [1],[2], [3], [4], [5],[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24],[25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30],[31], [32], [33], [34], and the [35].

Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.