Armenia


Armenia
/ahr mee"nee euh, -meen"yeuh/; for 3 also Sp. /ahrdd me"nyah/, n.
1. an ancient country in W Asia: now divided between Armenia, Turkey, and Iran.
2. Also called, Armenian Republic. a republic in Transcaucasia, S of Georgia and W of Azerbaijan. 3,465,611; ab. 11,500 sq. mi. (29,800 sq. km). Cap.: Yerevan.
3. a city in W central Colombia. 135,615.

* * *

Armenia

Introduction Armenia
Background: An Armenian Apostolic Christian country, Armenia was incorporated into Russia in 1828 and the USSR in 1920. Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno- Karabakh, a primarily Armenian- populated region, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of Azerbaijan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution. Geography Armenia -
Location: Southwestern Asia, east of Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 40 00 N, 45 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 29,800 sq km water: 1,400 sq km land: 28,400 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries: total: 1,254 km border countries: Azerbaijan-proper 566 km, Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave 221 km, Georgia 164 km, Iran 35 km, Turkey 268 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: highland continental, hot summers, cold winters
Terrain: Armenian Highland with mountains; little forest land; fast flowing rivers; good soil in Aras River valley
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Debed River 400 m highest point: Aragats Lerrnagagat' 4,090 m
Natural resources: small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, alumina
Land use: arable land: 17.52% permanent crops: 2.3% other: 80.18% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 2,870 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: occasionally severe earthquakes; droughts Environment - current issues: soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; energy blockade, the result of conflict with Azerbaijan and disagreements with Turkey, has led to deforestation when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras Rivers; the draining of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan), a result of its use as a source for hydropower, threatens drinking water supplies; restart of Metsamor nuclear power plant in spite of its location in a seismically-active zone Environment - international party to: Air Pollution,
agreements: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note: landlocked in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains; Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is the largest lake in this mountain range People Armenia
Population: 3,330,099 note: Armenia's first census since independence was conducted in October 2001, but official figures have not yet been released (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.2% (male 374,597; female 363,115) 15-64 years: 67.7% (male 1,104,100; female 1,150,282) 65 years and over: 10.1% (male 141,330; female 196,675) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.15% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 12 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 9.94 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -3.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/ female total population: 0.95 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 41.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 66.59 years female: 71.12 years (2002 est.) male: 62.27 years
Total fertility rate: 1.53 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.01% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ less than 500 (1999 est.)
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Armenian(s) adjective: Armenian
Ethnic groups: Armenian 93%, Azeri 3%, Russian 2%, other (mostly Yezidi Kurds) 2% (1989) note: as of the end of 1993, virtually all Azeris had emigrated from Armenia
Religions: Armenian Apostolic 94%, other Christian 4%, Yezidi (Zoroastrian/ animist) 2%
Languages: Armenian 96%, Russian 2%, other 2%
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 99% male: 99% female: 98% (1989 est.) Government Armenia
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Armenia conventional short form: Armenia local short form: Hayastan former: Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic; Armenian Republic local long form: Hayastani Hanrapetut'yun
Government type: republic
Capital: Yerevan Administrative divisions: 11 provinces (marzer, singular - marz); Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir, Geghark'unik', Kotayk', Lorri, Shirak, Syunik', Tavush, Vayots' Dzor, Yerevan
Independence: 21 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday: Independence Day, 21 September (1991)
Constitution: adopted by nationwide referendum 5 July 1995
Legal system: based on civil law system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Robert KOCHARIAN (since 30 March 1998) head of government: Prime Minister Andranik MARKARYAN (since 12 May 2000) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; special election last held 30 March 1998 (next to be held NA March 2003); prime minister appointed by the president election results: Robert KOCHARIAN elected president; percent of vote - Robert KOCHARIAN 59.5%, Karen DEMIRCHYAN 40.5%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Parliament) or Azgayin Zhoghov (131 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: last held 30 May 1999 (next to be held in the spring of 2003) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Unity Bloc 61 (Republican Party 41, People's Party of Armenia 20), Stability Group (independent Armenian deputies who have formed a bloc) 21, ACP 10, ARF (Dashnak) 8, Law and Unity Party 7, NDU 6, Law- Governed Party 6, independents 10, unfilled 2; note - seats by party change frequently
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Constitutional Court Political parties and leaders: Agro-Technical People's Group (formerly Stability Group) [Hmayk HOVHANISSIAN]; Armenian Communist Party or ACP [Vladimir DARBINYAN]; Armenia Democratic Party [Armen SARGSIAN]; Armenian Revolutionary Federation ("Dashnak" Party) or ARF [Hrant MARKARYAN]; Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Azat ARSHAKYN, chairman]; Constitutional Rights Union [Hrant KHACHATRYAN]; Democratic Liberal Party/Ramkvar Azatakyan or DL/RA [Ruben MIRZAKHANIAN, chairman]; Law and Unity Party [Artashes GEGAMIAN, chairman]; Law-Governed Party [Artur BAGDASARIAN, chairman]; National Accord Front [Ashot MANUTCHARIAN]; National Democratic Alliance [Arshak ZADOYAN]; National Democratic Party [Shavarsh KOCHARIAN]; National Democratic Union or NDU [Vazgen MANUKIAN]; Pan-Armenian National Movement or PANM [Alex ARZOUMANYAN]; People's Democratic Party [Gagik ASLANYAN]; People's Deputies Group [Hovhannes HOVHANISSIAN]; People's Party of Armenia [Stepan DEMIRCHYAN]; Republic Party [Aram SARGSIAN]; Republican Party or RPA [Andranik MARKARYAN]; Shamiram Women's Movement or SWM [Shogher MATEVOSIAN]; Social Democratic (Hunchak) Party [Yeghia SHAMSHAYN]; Social Democratic Union (formerly National Self-Determination Union) [Paruyr HAYRIKIAN]; Twenty-first Century Party [David SHAKHNAZARIAN]; Unity Bloc [Stepan DEMIRCHIAN and Andranik MARKARYAN] (a coalition of the Republican Party and People's Party of Armenia); Yerkrapah Union [Manval GRIGORYAN] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization BSEC, CCC, CE, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE,
participation: ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (observer), OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer) Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Arman KIRAKOSIAN consulate(s) general: Los Angeles FAX: [1] (202) 319-2982 telephone: [1] (202) 319-1976 chancery: 2225 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador John M.
US: ORDWAY embassy: 18 Baghramyan Ave., Yerevan 375019 mailing address: American Embassy Yerevan, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-7020 telephone: [374](1) 521-611, 543-900 FAX: [374](1) 520-800, 542-152
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, and orange Economy Armenia -
Economy - overview: Under the old Soviet central planning system, Armenia had developed a modern industrial sector, supplying machine tools, textiles, and other manufactured goods to sister republics in exchange for raw materials and energy. Since the implosion of the USSR in December 1991, Armenia has switched to small-scale agriculture away from the large agroindustrial complexes of the Soviet era. The agricultural sector has long-term needs for more investment and updated technology. The privatization of industry has been at a slower pace, but has been given renewed emphasis by the current administration. Armenia is a food importer, and its mineral deposits (gold, bauxite) are small. The ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan over the ethnic Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the breakup of the centrally directed economic system of the former Soviet Union contributed to a severe economic decline in the early 1990s. By 1994, however, the Armenian Government had launched an ambitious IMF-sponsored economic program that has resulted in positive growth rates in 1995-2001. Armenia also managed to slash inflation and to privatize most small- and medium- sized enterprises. The chronic energy shortages Armenia suffered in recent years have been largely offset by the energy supplied by one of its nuclear power plants at Metsamor. Armenia's severe trade imbalance has been offset somewhat by international aid, domestic restructuring of the economy, and foreign direct investment.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $11.2 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 9.6% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,350 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 29% industry: 32% services: 39% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: 55% (2001 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 2.3%
percentage share: highest 10%: 35.2% (1996) Distribution of family income - Gini 44.4 (1996)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.1% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 1.4 million (2001) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 44%, services 14%, industry 42% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 20% note: official rate is 10.9% for 2000 (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $358 million expenditures: $458 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Industries: metal-cutting machine tools, forging-pressing machines, electric motors, tires, knitted wear, hosiery, shoes, silk fabric, chemicals, trucks, instruments, microelectronics, gem cutting, jewelry manufacturing, software development, food processing, brandy Industrial production growth rate: 3.8% (2001) Electricity - production: 5.69 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 36.34% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 32.34% hydro: 31.32% Electricity - consumption: 4.89 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 704 million kWh note: exports an unknown quantity to Georgia; includes exports to Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan (2000)
Electricity - imports: 300 million kWh note: imports an unknown quantity from Iran (2000)
Agriculture - products: fruit (especially grapes), vegetables; livestock
Exports: $338.5 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: diamonds, scrap metal, machinery and equipment, brandy, copper ore
Exports - partners: Belgium 23%, Russia 15%, US 13%, Iran 10% (2000)
Imports: $868.6 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: natural gas, petroleum, tobacco products, foodstuffs, diamonds
Imports - partners: Russia 15%, US 12%, Belgium 10%, Iran 9% (2000)
Debt - external: $839 million (June 2001) Economic aid - recipient: $245.5 million (1995)
Currency: dram (AMD)
Currency code: AMD
Exchange rates: drams per US dollar - 564.08 (January 2002), 555.08 (2001), 539.53 (2000), 535.06 (1999), 504.92 (1998), 490.85 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Armenia Telephones - main lines in use: 568,000 (1997) Telephones - mobile cellular: 25,000 (2001)
Telephone system: general assessment: system inadequate; now 90% privately owned and undergoing modernization and expansion domestic: the majority of subscribers and the most modern equipment are in Yerevan (this includes paging and mobile cellular service) international: Yerevan is connected to the Trans-Asia-Europe fiber-optic cable through Iran; additional international service is available by microwave radio relay and landline connections to the other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and through the Moscow international switch and by satellite to the rest of the world; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (2000) Radio broadcast stations: AM 9, FM 6, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 850,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 3 (plus an unknown number of repeaters) (1998)
Televisions: 825,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .am Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 9 (2001)
Internet users: 30,000 (2001) Transportation Armenia
Railways: total: 852 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines broad gauge: 852 km 1.520-m gauge (779 km electrified) (2001 est.)
Highways: total: 11,300 km paved: 10,500 km (includes some all- weather gravel-surfaced roads) unpaved: 800 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)
Waterways: NA km
Pipelines: natural gas 900 km (1991)
Ports and harbors: none
Airports: 7 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 7 over 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 3 under 914 m: 1 (2001) Military Armenia
Military branches: Army, Air and Air Defense Forces, Border Guards Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 912,650 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 722,035 (2002 est.)
service: Military manpower - reaching males: 34,998 (2002 est.)
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $135 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 6.5% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Armenia Disputes - international: Armenia supports ethnic Armenian secessionists in Nagorno-Karabakh and militarily occupies almost one- fifth of Azerbaijan - Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) continues to mediate dispute; border with Turkey remains closed over Nagorno-Karabakh dispute; traditional demands regarding former Armenian lands in Turkey have subsided
Illicit drugs: illicit cultivator of cannabis mostly for domestic consumption; increasingly used as a transshipment point for illicit drugs - mostly opium and hashish - to Western Europe and the US via Iran, Central Asia, and Russia

* * *

I
officially Republic of Armenia

Country, Transcaucasia.

Area: 11,484 sq mi (29,743 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 3,008,000. Capital: Yerevan. Armenians constitute nine-tenths of its population; there are also small numbers of Azerbaijanians, Kurds, Russians, and Ukrainians. Languages: Armenian (official), Russian. Religion: Christianity (Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic). Currency: dram. Armenia is a mountainous country with an average elevation of 5,900 ft (1,800 m). The Lesser Caucasus ranges lie across its northern portion, and Lake Sevan lies in the east-central part. Armenia has a dry and continental climate that changes dramatically with elevation. Though it has become highly industrialized (as a result of the development of hydroelectric power during Soviet rule) and increasingly urbanized, agriculture is still important. Armenia is a successor state to a historical region in Caucasia. Historical Armenia's boundaries have varied considerably, but old Armenia extended over what is now northeastern Turkey and the Republic of Armenia. The area was equivalent to the ancient kingdom of Van, which ruled с 1270–850 BC. It was later conquered by the Medes (see Media) and Macedonia and still later allied with Rome. Armenia adopted Christianity as its national religion in AD 303. For centuries the scene of strife among Arabs, Seljūqs, Byzantines, and Mongols, it came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in 1514. Over the next centuries, as parts were ceded to other rulers, nationalism arose among the scattered Armenians; by the late 19th century it had caused widespread disruption. Fighting between Ottomans and Russians escalated when part of Armenia was ceded to Russia in 1878, and it continued through World War I (1914–18), leading to widespread Armenian deaths (see Armenian massacres). With the Ottoman defeat, the Russian part was set up as a Soviet republic in 1921. Armenia became a constituent republic of the U.S.S.R. in 1936. As the U.S.S.R. began to dissolve in the late 1980s, Armenia declared its independence in 1990. In the years that followed, it fought Azerbaijan for control over Nagorno-Karabakh until reaching a cease-fire in 1994. About one-fifth of the population has left the country since 1993 because of an energy crisis. Political tension escalated, and in 1999 armed dissidents killed the prime minister and several legislators.
II
(as used in expressions)
Republic of Armenia
Armenian Secret Army to Liberate Armenia
Lesser Armenia

* * *

▪ 2009

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 Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2008 est.): 2,996,000 (plus 138,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
Presidents Robert Kocharyan and, from April 9, Serzh Sarkisyan
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Serzh Sarkisyan and, from April 9, Tigran Sarkisyan

      Nine candidates, including former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan, registered to participate in the Feb. 19, 2008, Armenian presidential ballot; the constitution barred incumbent Robert Kocharyan from seeking a third term. Official returns gave outgoing prime minister Serzh Sarkisyan 52.82% of the vote, compared with 21.51% for Ter-Petrosyan; former parliament speaker Artur Baghdasaryan polled third with 16.69%, and Vahan Hovannisyan of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (HHD; also known as Dashnak) secured 6.18% of the vote. International observers described the balloting as valid despite some serious irregularities.

      Claiming the results were rigged, thousands of Ter-Petrosyan's supporters convened daily protests in Yerevan to demand repeat elections. Police intervened on March 1 to disperse the demonstrators, and eight people were killed in violent clashes that evening; two others died later of their injuries. Dozens of Ter-Petrosyan supporters, including former foreign minister Alexander Arzumanyan, were arrested; some were charged with plotting to overthrow the government. Kocharyan declared a 20-day state of emergency.

      On March 21 the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) signed an agreement with the Prosperous Armenia party to form a coalition government with the HHD and the Rule of Law Party. Sarkisyan was inaugurated on April 9 and immediately named Central Bank Chairman Tigran Sarkisyan (no relation) prime minister.

      In response to international pressure, President Sarkisyan also created an ad-hoc parliamentary commission to probe the causes of the March 1 violence. Sarkisyan and Ter-Petrosyan were never able to establish a dialogue, however, and the latter declined to nominate a representative to the commission. Instead, Ter-Petrosyan supporters staged more antigovernment protests in Yerevan on June 20, July 4, August 1, and September 15 . Sixteen small political groups that backed Ter-Petrosyan aligned in a new Armenian National Congress. Meanwhile, on September 16, Tigran Torosyan announced that he would step down as parliament speaker. Hovik Abrahamyan was named to succeed him.

      Prime Minister Sarkisyan took decisive measures to eradicate corruption and tax evasion and to curb inflation. GDP grew by 10.3% during the first six months of 2008, but the August war between Russia and Georgia disrupted transportation and inflicted serious short-term economic damage. In the realm of foreign affairs, Turkish Pres. Abdullah Gul accepted an invitation from President Sarkisyan to attend a September 6 soccer match in Yerevan between the Armenian and Turkish national teams.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2008

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 Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2007 est.): 3,002,000 (plus 138,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Andranik Markaryan and, from April 4, Serzh Sarkisyan

      Armenian Pres. Robert Kocharyan named Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan, a prominent member of the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), prime minister after Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan died suddenly of heart failure on March 25, 2007. HHK emerged the clear winner in the May 12 parliamentary elections, garnering 65 of the 131 seats. The Prosperous Armenia party polled second with 25 seats, followed by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (16), the Country of Law party (9); and the Heritage party (7), led by former foreign minister Raffi Hovannisian.

      On June 6 HHK and Prosperous Armenia signed an agreement to form a coalition government headed by Sarkisyan; in the arrangement Prosperous Armenia was given three ministerial posts. The coalition partners then signed a separate cooperation agreement with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which also would control three posts.

      Opposition parties began talks in July on forming an alliance to back a single candidate to run against Sarkisyan in the presidential ballot due in early 2008 (Kocharyan was barred from seeking a third consecutive term), but they failed to reach any agreement. Former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan emerged from obscurity in August to meet with supporters and on October 26 announced his presidential candidacy.

      Nagorno-Karabakh war veterans Zhirayr Sefilyan, Vardan Malkhasyan, and Vahan Aroyan, arrested in late 2006 on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the Armenian government, were sentenced on August 6 to between 18 months' and two years' imprisonment. Former foreign minister Alexander Arzumanyan, head of a small opposition group, was arrested on May 7 on charges of money laundering, which he claimed were politically motivated. After spending four months in an isolation ward of the National Security Service, Arzumanyan was inexplicably released.

      The strong economic growth of recent years continued as GDP increased by 11.2% in the first six months of 2007. On March 19 Kocharyan and Iranian Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held the inauguration of the first section of a pipeline that provided Armenia with Iranian natural gas.

 The January 19 murder in Istanbul of Armenian author Hrant Dink (Dink, Hrant ) triggered widespread outrage in Armenia. Armenian officials nonetheless persisted with efforts to persuade Turkey to open its border as a prelude to establishing diplomatic relations.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2007

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 Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2006 est.): 2,976,000 (plus 138,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan

      A realignment of the political landscape that began in late 2005 gathered momentum in 2006. Prosperous Armenia, a new party created by wealthy businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, emerged as the main challenger to Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan's Republican Party of Armenia in the parliamentary elections due in early 2007. Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisyan, regarded as the most likely candidate to succeed Pres. Robert Kocharyan when the latter's second and final term expired in early 2008, joined the Republican Party in July and was immediately elected chairman of its board.

      Parliament Speaker Artur Baghdasaryan, long rumoured to be at odds with Markaryan, finally stepped down on May 22, following a policy dispute with Kocharyan, and his Orinats Yerkir party quit the ruling three-party coalition government and went into opposition. Tigran Torosyan was named new parliament speaker. The United Labor Party, headed by businessman Gurgen Arsenyan, which had six parliament mandates, joined the government on May 22 and took over the culture portfolio and other posts previously held by Orinats Yerkir.

      Former prime minister Vazgen Manukyan and American-born former foreign minister Raffi Hovannisyan formed a new “civic movement” (not yet formally named) in July to mobilize popular demand for regime change.

      Two parliamentarians quit the opposition Artarutyun faction, reducing its strength to 10 deputies. International media watchdogs protested the four-year jail sentence handed down on September 8 to opposition journalist Arman Babadjanyan on charges of evading compulsory military service.

      The IMF in June commended Armenia's continuing double-digit economic growth, as reflected by an 11.5% increase in GDP during the first six months of 2006. A 6.1% decline in agricultural production over the same period and the continued strengthening of the Armenian dram against the U.S. dollar, however, evinced widespread popular concern. By year's end GDP growth had reached 13.4%.

      Armenia continued its systematic implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan signed with NATO in December 2005. It also concluded negotiations with the European Union on the terms of its participation in the EU European Neighbourhood Program. Following a visit by President Kocharyan to Moscow in late October, Armenia ceded to the joint venture ArmRosGazprom a further stake in its gas-distribution network and control of the gas-export pipeline from Iran.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2006

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 Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2005 est.): 2,983,000 (plus 145,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan

      A public spat in Armenia in February–March 2005 between Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan and parliament speaker Artur Baghdasaryan highlighted dissent within the three-party ruling coalition. On May 11 the parliament approved in the first reading government-drafted constitutional amendments intended to curtail the powers of the president and augment those of the legislature, expand basic freedoms, and formalize dual citizenship. Those amendments were reworded following harsh criticism on May 27 by the Council of Europe's Venice Commission, which approved the revised draft on July 21. Opposition parties nonetheless continued to demand further changes and boycotted an emergency debate on August 29–31 and September 28 during which lawmakers approved the revised draft.

      In early September the opposition National Accord Party and eight of the nine parties aligned in the Artarutyun (“Justice”) bloc announced the end of the boycott of legislative proceedings they had begun in February 2004 and launched a campaign to persuade voters to reject the draft constitutional amendments. Former prime minister Aram Sarkisyan's Republic Party continued its parliament boycott; seven prominent members of that party defected in early September and later founded a new party, National Rebirth. According to official returns, 65.3% of Armenia's 2.4 million voters endorsed the constitutional changes in a nationwide referendum on November 27. Artarutyun, however, claimed that fewer than the required minimum one-third of all voters approved the changes, and it convened a rally on November 29 to protest the apparent falsification, which Baghdasaryan indirectly admitted.

      The economic upswing of recent years continued, with a 12.2% increase in GDP during the first 10 months. On May 25 the IMF approved a new three-year, $34.2 million loan program.

 In late April Armenia formally commemorated the mass killings of some 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. An exchange of letters in April–May between Armenian Pres. Robert Kocharyan and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not culminate in the hoped-for meeting between the two men on the sidelines of the Council of Europe summit in Warsaw on May 16–17, and bilateral relations remained strained.

      In November Armenia began talks with the EU on an Action Plan within the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy. In mid-December NATO formally endorsed the Individual Partnership Action Plan that Armenia had submitted in June. Close military and economic cooperation also continued with Russia.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2005

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 Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2004 est.): 2,991,000 (plus 130,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan

      The antagonism between the Armenian three-party coalition government and the opposition generated by the flawed presidential and parliamentary elections in 2003 continued to pervade domestic politics in 2004. On February 4 opposition deputies walked out of the parliament to protest the majority's refusal to debate proposed constitutional amendments that would have paved the way for a referendum of confidence in Pres. Robert Kocharyan. In March–April opposition leaders convened a series of protest demonstrations to call for the resignation of Kocharyan and the government. Police violently dispersed one such protest during the night of April 12–13, injuring and arresting scores of participants. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on April 28 condemned the violence and called for the release of persons detained after the protests and a resumption of dialogue between the authorities and the opposition.

      The opposition rejected repeated government offers to resolve differences through dialogue but suspended public protests in mid-June in a search for more effective tactics. Although the opposition renewed its boycott of the fall parliament session, the authorities did not make good on their threat to strip absent deputies of their mandate.

      Economic growth continued, with GDP increasing by 9.6% during the first eight months of the year. The Armenian dram strengthened against the U.S. dollar by almost 10%.

      In May the U.S. government named Armenia as eligible for financial aid under the Millennium Challenge Program, and in June Armenia was formally included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy. Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan met twice, in June and late September, with his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, but no breakthrough was reached in establishing formal diplomatic relations. During a visit to Yerevan by Iranian Pres. Mohammad Khatami, an intergovernmental agreement was signed on September 8 on construction of a 140-km (87-mi) pipeline to export Iranian gas to Armenia. Despite domestic opposition, the parliament in December approved the deployment of 46 noncombat military personnel to serve with the international peacekeeping force in Iraq.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2004

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 Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2003 est.): 3,061,000 (plus 130,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan

      On March 5, 2003, Robert Kocharyan was reelected as Armenian president in a fiercely fought ballot. In the first round on February 19, Kocharyan polled 49.5% of the vote, less than the 50% needed for an outright win, while the People's Party of Armenia chairman, Stepan Demirchyan, placed second of eight rival candidates with 28.2%. Demirchyan's supporters staged daily protests against alleged voter fraud both before and after the runoff, which Kocharyan won with 67.4%.

      Demirchyan's opposition Justice bloc suffered a further defeat in the May 25 parliamentary election, winning only 15 of the 131 mandates. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe criticized both the presidential and the parliamentary ballots as having fallen short of international standards for free elections.

      The Justice bloc and the National Unity Party boycotted parliamentary sessions until September to protest the alleged falsification of the parliamentary election results.

      Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan's Republican Party, the largest faction, with 40 parliamentary seats, formed a new coalition government with the Law-Based State Party (20 seats) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun (11 seats). Markaryan remained prime minister, while the Law-Based State Party chairman, Artur Baghdasaryan, was named Chairman of the National Assembly. Disagreements swiftly arose between the three coalition parties, however, over the distribution of deputy minister posts, relations with Turkey, and proposed anticorruption measures.

      Having failed to meet a June deadline to do so, on September 9 the National Assembly voted under pressure from the Council of Europe unconditionally to abolish the death penalty. On November 18 Armen Sargsyan, a brother of former prime minister and opposition Republican Party leader Aram Sargsyan, was jailed for 15 years for plotting the murder in 2002 of Public Radio and Television head Tigran Naghdalyan. The five gunmen who killed eight senior officials in the parliament building in 1999 were sentenced to life imprisonment on December 2.

      Armenia registered double-digit economic growth for the second consecutive year, with a 15.7% increase in GDP during the first 10 months. In August the government adopted a 12-year antipoverty program. In September the government ceded control of the Medzamor nuclear power station for five years to Russia's Unified Energy Systems in payment of debts for supplies of nuclear fuel.

      In June Armenia hosted NATO war games in which 19 countries, including Turkey, participated. Annual joint maneuvers with Russia took place in early August.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2003

Area:
29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). About 14% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2002 est.): 3,800,000; actually present 3,008,000 (plus 140,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan

      Armenian opposition forces continued to cooperate increasingly closely in 2002 with the aim of ousting Pres. Robert Kocharyan. Outraged by a controversial tender that stripped the country's most respected independent TV station, A1+, of its broadcast frequency, 13 opposition parties aligned and staged weekly demonstrations in April and May to demand Kocharyan's impeachment for allegedly having violated the constitution and having failed to improve economic and social conditions. They failed, however, to garner support in the parliament for a debate on the issue during either the spring or the fall session. In early September, 16 opposition parties signed a declaration of intent to remove Kocharyan from power and to prevent his supporters from rigging the presidential election scheduled for Feb. 19, 2003, in order to ensure his reelection. They further vowed to field a single candidate for that election. Within weeks, however, the Communist and National Unity parties were threatening to back out of that alliance and nominate their own presidential candidates. Former president Levon Ter-Petrossyan decided not to run despite rumours that he might do so, but several small parties that had split in the late 1990s from the former ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement realigned in preparation for contesting the May 2003 parliamentary ballot. In the October 2002 local elections, Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan's Republican Party of Armenia scored an impressive victory. In February a Yerevan court handed down a suspended sentence to a member of Kocharyan's bodyguard accused of having beaten a man to death in a café brawl in 2001. Despite persistent pressure from the Council of Europe, Armenia refused to annul a loophole in the criminal code adopted in June that would permit a court to sentence to death the five gunmen responsible for parliament shootings that resulted in eight deaths in 1999.

      Armenia's economic recovery continued. Gross domestic product grew by 10.1% during the first half of the year to reach approximately $771 million; industrial output over that period increased by 12.1%. In July Armenia and Russia finally signed an agreement whereby Yerevan ceded ownership of at least four major enterprises in payment of its outstanding $98 million debt, and the deal was ratified by parliament in December. Opposition parties and international financial organizations questioned the sale of the Armenian energy-distribution network in late August to a little-known offshore company.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2002

Area:
29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). Some 12–15% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq-km [1,700-sq-mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2001 est.): officially 3,807,000; actually about 3,000,000 (plus 100,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan

      The configuration of forces within the Armenian parliament underwent sweeping changes during 2001. In February former prime minister Aram Sarkisyan and several supporters quit the Republican Party of Armenia to form a new opposition party named Hayastan (“Armenia”). During the summer several deputies, including parliament speaker Armen Khachatryan and one of his deputies, Gagik Aslanyan, quit the People's Party of Armenia, the Republican Party's partner in the majority Unity bloc. Aslanyan founded the new People's Democratic Party. The Communist Party of Armenia expelled two of its senior leaders. Two leading members left Vazgen Manukyan's National Democratic Union and established rival parties.

      On September 5 People's Party chairman Stepan Demirchyan officially declared the Unity bloc defunct, and two days later he, together with Sarkisyan and National Unity Party chairman Artashes Geghamyan, announced their shared intention to impeach Pres. Robert Kocharyan for violating the Armenian constitution, condoning terrorism, precipitating a crisis in the country, and thwarting the investigation into the October 1999 parliament shootings. (The trial of the five perpetrators of those murders began in February.) President Kocharyan announced on September 8 that he would seek a second presidential term in 2003. Members of his bodyguard were implicated in the death in a Yerevan cafe on September 25 of an ethnic Armenian from Georgia.

      Armenia's economy performed quite well, with 9.1% gross domestic product growth during the first 11 months and an 11.5% increase in agricultural output. The World Bank warned in July, however, that economic growth had still not translated into an improvement in living and social conditions for the majority of the population. Visiting Yerevan in September, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov and Pres. Vladimir Putin both stressed the strategic significance of military cooperation with Armenia. The Russian government nonetheless insisted on Armenia's prompt repayment of debts for supplies of gas and nuclear fuel.

      In January Armenia was accepted into full membership of the Council of Europe. President Kocharyan's visit to Iran in November reaffirmed the importance both countries attached to economic cooperation.In late September Pope John Paul II traveled to Armenia to participate in celebrations to mark the 1,700th anniversary of the country's adoption of Christianity as the state religion.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2001

Area:
29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). Some 12–15% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq km [1,700-sq mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been under Armenian control since 1993.
Population
(2000 est.): officially 3,810,000; actually about 3,000,000 (plus 150,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Aram Sarkisyan and, from May 12, Andranik Markaryan

      The suspicion and mutual hostility generated by the shootings in the National Assembly on Oct. 27, 1999, poisoned relations between Armenian Pres. Robert Kocharyan and the government of Aram Sarkisyan during the early months of 2000. In late February Sarkisyan reshuffled his cabinet and thereby secured the cooperation of opposition parties represented in the National Assembly. Mutual recriminations over the investigation into the killing continued until Kocharyan finally fired Sarkisyan in May and appointed as his successor Andranik Markaryan, leader of the Republican Party of Armenia parliament faction, the senior partner within Miasnutiun.

      That appointment alienated the Republican Party's coalition partner, the People's Party if Armenia, whose chairman, Stepan Demirchyan, repeatedly rejected Markaryan's demand that the People's Party should accept shared responsibility for implementing the government's program. Demirchyan met with the head of the National Unity Party, Artashes Geghamyan, in August but failed to reach agreement on possible cooperation. Geghamyan called repeatedly for the resignation of Markaryan's cabinet and pre-term elections.

      In late September, on the initiative of the Republican Party, the National Assembly narrowly voted for the removal as its speaker of People's Party member Armen Khachatryan, thereby further exacerbating tensions between the Republican and People's parties. The case was referred to the Constitutional Court, however, which ruled that the vote was invalid and reinstated Khachatryan

      Kocharyan traveled to France in October for a previously unannounced medical examination, after which his staff denied that the 46-year-old president was suffering from a heart ailment.

      Ties with Russia remained central to Armenia's foreign policy. Serzh Sarkisyan, who was named defense minister in Markaryan's cabinet, made a high-profile visit to Moscow in June, which engendered speculation that Kocharyan intended to appoint him prime minister in place of Markaryan. In September, Kocharyan and Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin signed a declaration on cooperation in the 21st century. The Council of Europe, of which Armenia had been a guest member since 1996, voted in June to accept Armenia into full membership.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 2000

Area:
29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). Some 12–15% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq km [1,700-sq mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been occupied by Armenian forces since 1993.
Population
(1999 est.): officially 3,800,000; actually about 3,000,000 (plus 150,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Capital:
Yerevan
Chief of state:
President Robert Kocharyan
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Armen Darbinyan, Vazgen Sarkisyan from June 11 until October 27, and, from November 3, Aram Sarkisyan

      The alignment of political forces was twice fundamentally reconfigured in Armenia during 1999, on both occasions weakening Pres. Robert Kocharyan.

      The May 30 parliamentary elections resulted in a convincing victory for the Unity coalition comprising the Republican Party, headed by Defense Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan (see Obituaries (Sarkisyan, Vazgen )), and the People's Party, led by former Armenian Communist Party first secretary Karen Demirchyan. Sarkisyan was duly named prime minister, while Demirchyan was elected parliamentary speaker. Sarkisyan, hitherto regarded as pro-Russian, presented an economic program aimed at combatting corruption and attracting increased foreign investment. It also met the conditions imposed by international financial organizations on whose help Armenia was relying to bridge a larger-than-anticipated budget deficit. Sarkisyan and Demirchyan, together with five other parliamentary deputies and one Cabinet minister, were shot dead in the National Assembly on October 27 by five gunmen who said they were protesting corruption within the leadership.

      President Kocharyan rejected the proposal by a group of army generals that Minister for Industrial Infrastructure Vaan Shirkhanyan, a close associate of Sarkisyan, be named prime minister, instead tapping Sarkisyan's younger brother Aram, a little-known cement factory director, for the post. The delay in investigating the shootings impelled Shirkhanyan and other members of the Yerkrapah union of Karabakh war veterans (which Vazgen Sarkisyan had founded and headed) to demand Kocharyan's resignation in early December. Late in that month 14 people, including two high officials, were arrested in connection with the shootings.

      A further victim of political violence was Deputy Minister of the Interior and National Security Maj. Gen. Artsun Markaryan, who was found shot dead in February. In September the trial of former interior minister Vano Siradegyan, a leading member of the former ruling Pan-Armenian National Movement, began on charges of having arranged contract killings in 1994–96.

      Catholicos Karekin I, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, died of cancer in June. (See Obituaries (Karekin I, Catholicos ).) The election in October of Ararat Archbishop Karekin Nersisyan to succeed him was marred by claims by other candidates that leading Armenian officials were lobbying in Nersisyan's favour.

      Cooperation with Russia, especially in the economic and military spheres, remained a cornerstone of Armenia's foreign policy. The government simultaneously continued to promote regional cooperation, however, primarily with Georgia and Iran, and to seek to improve its relations with Turkey. In line with Kocharyan's policy of strengthening ties with the diaspora, several hundred Armenians from around the globe attended a major conference in Yerevan in September.

Elizabeth Fuller

▪ 1999

      Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). Some 12-15% of neighbouring Azerbaijan (including the 4,400-sq km [1,700-sq mi] disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh [Armenian: Artsakh]) has been occupied by Armenian forces since 1993.

      Population (1998 est.): officially 3,800,000; actually about 3,000,000 (plus 150,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)

      Capital: Yerevan

      Chief of state: Presidents Levon Ter-Petrosyan and, from February 4 (acting until April 9), Robert Kocharyan

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Robert Kocharyan and, from April 10, Armen Darbinyan

      A fundamental disagreement surfaced in January 1998 between Pres. Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Prime Minister Robert Kocharyan over the best way to resolve the conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Ter-Petrosyan advocated the peace plan proposed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in September 1997 as a basis for negotiating concessions, but Kocharyan rejected it. After the defense and security ministers made clear their support for Kocharyan, Ter-Petrosyan's authority rapidly crumbled. Ter-Petrosyan resigned as president on February 3. In accordance with the constitution, the presidential powers devolved on Kocharyan pending elections for a new president on March 16. In that poll none of the 12 candidates gained the required 50% majority. In the second round on March 30, Kocharyan won with 59% of the vote; the election was, however, marred by charges of fraud.

      Kocharyan proclaimed a policy of national reconciliation, lifting the ban imposed by his predecessor on the Dashnak (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) party and releasing its leading members from prison. He also offered one of the Dashnak leaders and three defeated presidential candidates posts as his advisers and created a presidential council intended to provide those political parties not represented in the National Assembly with a forum to discuss policy. Kocharyan appointed Economy and Finance Minister Armen Darbinyan prime minister. Neither those appointments nor encouraging economic trends succeeded, however, in dispelling public suspicion that the new leadership was as corrupt as its predecessor. The murder in August of respected Prosecutor-General Henrik Khachatryan in his office by a subordinate who then committed suicide marked the definitive end of Kocharyan's political honeymoon. Deputy Defense Minister Vakhram Khorkhoruni was shot dead outside his home on December 10.

      In November, after months of debate, the National Assembly adopted a new election law drafted by the Yerkrapah, which had become the largest faction in the National Assembly, that allocated most of the seats in the next legislature to single-member districts. Ten opposition parties decried that provision as intended to facilitate vote-rigging and threatened to boycott the election scheduled for June 1999. The Yerkrapah merged with the Republican Party of Armenia in November to create a new centrist nationalist-oriented party, described by its leader, Defense Minister Vazgen Sargsyan, as Kocharyan's power base.

      Kocharyan during the year initiated a reevaluation of Armenia's foreign-policy priorities, seeking to accelerate the nation's integration into Western organizations. He also sought to promote cooperation with neighbouring Georgia and Iran, especially in regard to energy and transportation.

ELIZABETH FULLER

▪ 1998

      Area: 29,743 sq km (11,484 sq mi). The disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with an area of 4,400 sq km (1,700 sq mi), and has been part of Azerbaijan since 1923.

      Population (1997 est.): officially 3,773,000; actually about 3,000,000 (plus 150,000 in Nagorno-Karabakh)

      Capital: Yerevan

      Chief of state: President Levon Ter-Petrosyan

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Armen Sarkisyan and, from March 20, Robert Kocharyan

      The unresolved Karabakh conflict continued to have an impact on both domestic politics and foreign policy in Armenia in 1997. In March Pres. Levon Ter-Petrosyan appointed as prime minister Robert Kocharyan, president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic, who embarked on a crackdown on corruption and tax evasion. Powerful Yerevan Mayor Vano Siradegyan was elected chairman of the ruling Pan-Armenian National Movement in July. Although Kocharyan and other senior officials met with representatives of the banned main opposition Dashnak (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) party in April to discuss conditions for its reinstatement, the trial of 31 Dashnak members on charges of terrorism continued. Ter-Petrosyan's announcement in September that Armenia had accepted a peace plan for Nagorno-Karabakh that required major unnamed compromises from Armenia provoked calls by the opposition for his resignation and new parliamentary elections.

      In May several tiny left-wing political groups began lobbying for Armenia's accession to the Russia-Belarus union, collecting over a million signatures in favour. Ter-Petrosyan and Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin signed a major treaty on friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance in August. A second agreement on supplying Russian gas to Armenia and its export via Armenia to Turkey was also signed.

ELIZABETH FULLER

      This article updates Armenia, history of (Armenia).

▪ 1997

      A landlocked republic of Transcaucasia, Armenia borders Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Iran to the south, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan to the southwest, and Turkey to the west. Area: 29,800 sq km (11,500 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.) 3,765,000. Cap.: Yerevan. Armenia claims the predominantly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been part of Azerbaijan since 1923. Monetary unit: dram, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 412.32 drams = U.S. $1 (649.53 drams = £ 1 sterling). President in 1996, Levon Ter-Petrosyan; prime ministers, Hrant Bagratyan and, from November 6, Armen Sarkisyan.

      The presidential election scheduled for Sept. 22, 1996, overshadowed other political developments throughout the year. Eager to avoid either jeopardizing the tenuous economic upswing that began in 1994 or exacerbating tensions within his party, the Pan-Armenian National Movement, incumbent Pres. Levon Ter-Petrosyan refused in late January to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Hrant Bagratyan. Of the seven presidential candidates formally registered in August, three withdrew in mid-September and pledged their support for the leading opposition challenger to Ter-Petrosyan, former prime minister Vazgen Manukyan. International monitors registered serious violations during the poll and vote count and queried the legality of the official results that gave Ter-Petrosyan 51.75% and Manukyan 41.29% of the vote. Manukyan's supporters launched mass demonstrations in Yerevan to protest alleged falsification of the vote and on September 25 attacked the parliament building. Fifty people were injured in ensuing clashes with government troops.

      On November 4 Bagratyan resigned, as did Foreign Minister Vahan Papazyan and powerful Interior Minister Vano Siradeghyan, who was subsequently appointed mayor of Yerevan. Armen Sarkisyan, former ambassador to the U.K., was named prime minister, and Alexander Arzumanyan, former ambassador to the UN, was appointed foreign minister. (ELIZABETH FULLER)

      This article updates Armenia, history of (Armenia).

▪ 1996

      A landlocked republic of Transcaucasia, Armenia borders Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Iran to the south, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan to the southwest, and Turkey to the west. Area: 29,800 sq km (11,500 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.) 3,548,000. Cap.: Yerevan. Armenia claims the predominantly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been part of Azerbaijan since 1923. Monetary unit: dram, with (Oct. 6, 1995) an official rate of 400 dram = U.S. $1 (632.36 dram = £ 1 sterling). President in 1995, Levon Ter-Petrosyan; prime minister, Hrant Bagratyan.

      The ruling Armenian National Movement (ANM) consolidated its grip on power in 1995. In January, despite Western expressions of concern, the Armenian Supreme Court upheld a six-month suspension of the activities of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF)—the country's main opposition party, which was thus prevented from fielding candidates in the July 5 parliamentary elections. Several other small opposition parties were similarly barred from participating in the elections, which were subsequently designated by international observers as "free but not fair." The ANM won more than 60% of the 190 seats. In a simultaneous referendum, voters endorsed a new constitution that bestowed broad powers on Pres. Levon Ter-Petrosyan. After the elections the Armenian security service threatened a permanent ban on the ARF, accusing it of planning terrorist activities; four of its members went on trial on charges of terrorism, and several more were arrested.

      The incipient economic upswing of 1994 gathered momentum in 1995. Gross domestic product for the first seven months of the year was up 9.4% from 1994, and industrial production was up 9%. The inflation rate for the first 10 months was 20%. Privatization made steady progress, and the World Bank granted Armenia a credit of $60 million to underpin economic stabilization. In late October the controversial Medzamor nuclear power station, mothballed in 1989, was reactivated in order to circumvent the energy shortage that had paralyzed industry for the past four years.

      Armenia's special relationship with Russia was further underscored by the signing in March of a 25-year agreement allowing Russia to maintain two military bases in Armenia. In September, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati visited Yerevan to sign agreements on political and economic cooperation. Armenian leaders continued to seek improved relations with Turkey. (ELIZABETH FULLER)

      This updates the article Armenia, history of (Armenia).

▪ 1995

      A landlocked republic of Transcaucasia, Armenia borders Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Iran to the south, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan to the southwest, and Turkey to the west. Area: 29,800 sq km (11,500 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.) 3,553,000. Cap.: Yerevan. Armenia claims the predominantly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been part of Azerbaijan since 1923. Monetary unit: dram, with (Oct. 3, 1994) a free rate of 356.68 dram = U.S. $1 (556.44 dram = £ 1 sterling). President in 1994, Levon Ter-Petrosyan; prime minister, Hrant Bagratyan.

      The standoff between the unpopular leadership of Pres. Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Armenia's fractious opposition continued in 1994. In anticipation of parliamentary and presidential elections in 1995, several opposition parties (excluding the revitalized communists) formed a shadow cabinet in March and then a tentative alliance in September in order to intensify pressure on the ruling Armenian National Movement and to block the adoption of a new constitution. Former prime minister Vazgen Manukyan's National Democratic Union convened repeated protest demonstrations—at which former national security adviser Ashot Manucharyan accused the police of corruption and the leadership of the abuse of power. In late December Ter-Petrosyan suspended the activities of the opposition Dashnaktsyutyun party because of its suspected terrorist connections. Venerated patriarch Vazgen I died. (See OBITUARIES (Vazgen I ).)

      After two years of stagnation, in 1994 the Armenian economy began to recover, but there was no tangible improvement in abysmal living standards although industrial production increased slightly, the monthly inflation rate fell from 82.5% in January to 9.1% in June, imports and exports increased, and the national currency exchange rate stabilized. In desperation an estimated 750,000 emigrated. The International Monetary Fund agreed to a $500 million loan to support economic reform contingent on price liberalization beginning in December.

      Armenia emerged in 1994 from the international isolation that resulted from the Karabakh Armenians' occupation of much Azerbaijani territory in the autumn of 1993. Ter-Petrosyan's August visit to the U.S. at Pres. Bill Clinton's invitation signaled a warming in bilateral relations and resulted in promises of additional humanitarian aid, which in turn exacerbated relations with Turkey. In October Armenia joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program.

      (ELIZABETH FULLER)

      This updates the article Armenia, history of (Armenia).

▪ 1994

      A landlocked republic of Transcaucasia, Armenia borders Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, Iran to the south, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan to the southwest, and Turkey to the west. Area: 29,800 sq km (11,500 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.) 3,550,000. Cap.: Yerevan. Armenia claims the predominantly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been part of Azerbaijan since 1923. Monetary unit: Russian ruble, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 1,165 rubles = U.S. $1 (1,765 rubles = £ 1 sterling). The dram, the new national currency, was introduced on November 22 at a rate of 14.50 dram = U.S $1 (22.04 dram = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Levon Ter-Petrosyan; prime ministers, Khosrow Arutyunyan and, from February 2, Hrant Bagratyan.

       Armenia enjoyed relative political stability in 1993 despite severe economic hardships and waning popular support for the leadership of Pres. Levon Ter-Petrosyan, repeatedly accused by the opposition of incompetence and authoritarian methods. In early February, Prime Minister Khosrow Arutyunyan was dismissed in a disagreement over the 1993 budget. The standoff in Parliament between Ter-Petrosyan's ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement and the eight opposition parties continued throughout the year, delaying adoption of the budget and of a law on citizenship and the drafting of a new constitution. An opposition demand in September for new parliamentary elections to be held in March 1994 was rejected.

      Foreign policy continued to be dominated by the war over Nagorno-Karabakh. Despite mediation efforts by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and by the U.S., Turkey, and Russia acting jointly, little progress was made toward a political settlement. Relations with Turkey, Russia, and Iran deteriorated following the summer offensive in southern Azerbaijan by Karabakh Armenian forces, for which all three countries blamed Yerevan, and Armenia's political isolation increased.

      Acute shortages of electricity, resulting from the 1989 closure of the Medzamor nuclear power station, paralyzed industry and urban transport during the winter months; in early March only 50 of 400 major enterprises were working. Repeated sabotage of the gas supply pipeline from Georgia compounded the damage, leaving homes in Yerevan without heat or hot water for extended periods.

      Economic relations were strained by the Russian central bank's decision in July to withdraw from circulation all pre-1993 banknotes. Although Armenia initially reiterated its readiness to remain within the ruble zone, on November 22 a new national currency, the dram, was introduced. (ELIZABETH FULLER)

      This updates the article Armenia, history of (Armenia).

* * *

Introduction
in full  Republic of Armenia,  Armenian  Hayastan,  or  Hayastani Hanrapetut'yun,  
Armenia, flag of 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 AD. The centuries-long rule of Ottoman (Ottoman Empire) 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.

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 (Aragats, Mount) (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 (earthquake). 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 (Kura River)—the Debed (109 miles), the Aghstev (80 miles), and others—pass through Armenia's northeastern regions. Lake Sevan (Sevan, Lake), 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.

The people
      Armenians (Armenian) 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.

The economy
      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.

Administration and social conditions

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.

      Legislative authority is vested in a 131-member legislature, the National Assembly. Members are elected to four-year terms. The legislature has the authority to approve the budget, ratify treaties, and declare war.

      The president is the head of state and is elected directly to a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms. The president appoints the cabinet and members of the high courts (subject to approval by the legislature), serves as commander in chief of the armed forces, and has broad authority to issue decrees.

      The judiciary consists of trial courts, appellate courts, a Court of Cassation (the highest appellate court), and a nine-member Constitutional Court, which determines the constitutionality of legislation and executive decrees.

      Armenia is divided into numerous oblasti (provinces). Local authority at the community level is held by mayors or village elders.

      During the Soviet period political life was directed by the Communist Party of Armenia, which was controlled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Major political parties now include the Armenian National Movement, a moderate nationalist party that has governed Armenia since independence; the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), which ruled Armenia during the brief period of independence before the Soviet takeover; and the Democratic Party of Armenia, the successor to the Communist Party.

      Armenia was a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1992 Armenia joined the United Nations.

Armed forces and security
      The Armenian military, formed partly out of forces that had belonged to the Soviet Union, includes an army and an air force. Military service is compulsory, though draft evasion is common. Armenia supplies weapons, matériel, and troops to the Karabakh Self-Defense Army in Nagorno-Karabakh.

      The Ministry of Internal Affairs controls the regular Armenian police force. Organized crime increased sharply during the 1990s.

Education
      Countrywide eight-year schooling has become the standard. There are trade schools, secondary specialized educational establishments, and institutes and colleges. Establishments of higher learning include Yerevan State University; polytechnical, medical, agricultural, pedagogical, and theatrical institutes; and a conservatory.

Health and welfare
      Medical treatment in hospitals and clinics is free of charge for all citizens, being supported, like education, by taxation. The government provides modest benefits to the elderly, the unemployed, and parents of young children.

Cultural life
      Armenian (Armenian literature) 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.

Aleksey Aleksandrovich Mints G. Melvyn Howe

History

Ancient and premodern Armenia
 The Armenians (Armenian), an Indo-European people, first appear in history shortly after the end of the 7th century BC. Driving some of the ancient population to the east of Mount Ararat (Ararat, Mount), where they were known to the Greeks as Alarodioi (“Araratians”; i.e., Urartians), the invaders imposed their leadership over regions which, although suffering much from Scythian and Cimmerian depredations, must still have retained elements of a high degree of civilization (e.g., walled towns, irrigation works, and arable fields) upon which the less-advanced newcomers might build.

      The Hayk, as the Armenians name themselves (the term Armenian is probably the result of an Iranian or Greek confusion of them with the Aramaeans), were not able to achieve the power and independence of their predecessors and were first rapidly incorporated by Cyaxares into the Median empire and then annexed with Media by Cyrus II (the Great) to form part of the Achaemenian Empire (Achaemenian Dynasty) of Persia (Iran, ancient) (c. 550 BC). The country is mentioned as Armina and Armaniya in the Bīsitūn inscription of Darius I (the Great; ruled 522–486 BC) and, according to the 5th-century Greek historian Herodotus, formed part of the 13th satrapy (province) of Persia, the Alarodioi forming part of the 18th. Xenophon's Anabasis, recounting the adventures of Greek mercenaries in Persia, describes the local government about 400 BC as being in the hands of village headmen, part of whose tribute to the Persian king consisted of horses. Armenia continued to be governed by Persian or native satraps until its absorption into the Macedonian empire of Alexander the Great (331) and its successor, the Seleucid kingdom (301).

      For additional information on the ancient peoples and cultures of Armenia and the surrounding region, see Mesopotamia, history of; art and architecture, Mesopotamian.

The Artaxiads
      After the defeat of the Seleucid king Antiochus III (the Great) by Rome at the Battle of Magnesia (winter 190–189 BC), his two Armenian satraps, Artaxias (Artashes) and Zariadres (Zareh), established themselves, with Roman consent, as kings of Greater Armenia and Sophene, respectively, thus becoming the creators of an independent Armenia. Artaxias built his capital, Artashat (Artaxata), on the Aras River near modern Yerevan. The Greek geographer Strabo refers to the capital of Sophene as Carcathiocerta. An attempt to end the division of Armenia into an eastern and a western part was made about 165 BC when the Artaxiad ruler sought to suppress his rival, but it was left to his descendant Tigranes II (Tigranes II The Great) (the Great; 95–55 BC) to establish, by his conquest of Sophene, a unity that was to last almost 500 years.

      Under Tigranes, Armenia ascended to a pinnacle of power unique in its history and became, albeit briefly, the strongest state in the Roman east. Extensive territories were taken from the kingdom of Parthia in Iran, which was compelled to sign a treaty of alliance. Iberia (Georgia), Albania, and Atropatene had already accepted Tigranes' suzerainty when the Syrians, tired of anarchy, offered him their crown (83 BC). Tigranes penetrated as far south as Ptolemais (modern ʿAkko, Israel).

      Although Armenian culture at the time of Tigranes was Iranian, as it had been and as it was fundamentally to remain for many centuries, Hellenic scholars and actors found a welcome at the Armenian court. The Armenian empire lasted until Tigranes became involved in the struggle between his father-in-law, Mithradates VI (Mithradates VI Eupator) Eupator of Pontus, and Rome. The Roman general Lucius Licinius Lucullus (Lucullus, Lucius Licinius) captured Tigranocerta, Tigranes' new capital, in 69 BC. He failed to reach Artashat, but in 66 BC the legions of Pompey, aided by one of Tigranes' sons, succeeded, compelling the king to renounce Syria and other conquests in the south and to become an ally of Rome. Armenia became a buffer state, and often a battlefield, between Rome and Parthia. Maneuvering between larger neighbours, the Armenians gained a reputation for deviousness; the Roman historian Tacitus called them an ambigua gens (“ambiguous people”).

The Arsacids (Arsacid dynasty)
      Both Rome (ancient Rome) and Parthia strove to establish their own candidates on the Armenian throne until a lasting measure of equilibrium was secured by the treaty of Rhandeia, concluded in AD 63 between the Roman general Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo (Corbulo, Gnaeus Domitius) and Tiridates (Trdat), brother of the Parthian king Vologeses I. Under this treaty a son of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, the first being Tiridates, would occupy the throne of Armenia but as a Roman vassal. A dispute with Parthia led to Armenia's annexation by the Roman emperor Trajan in 115 or 116, but his successor, Hadrian, withdrew the frontier of the Roman Empire to the Euphrates. After the Roman emperor Caracalla's capture of King Vagharshak and his attempt to annex the country in 216, his successor, Macrinus, recognized Vagharshak's son Tiridates II (Khosrow the Great in Armenian sources) as king of Armenia (217).

      Tiridates II's resistance to the Sāsānid dynasty after the fall of the Arsacid dynasty in Persia (224) ended in his assassination by their agent Anak the Parthian (c. 238) and in the conquest of Armenia by Shāpūr I, who placed his vassal Artavazd on the throne (252). Under Diocletian, the Persians were forced to relinquish Armenia, and Tiridates III, the son of Tiridates II, was restored to the throne under Roman protection (c. 287); his reign determined the course of much of Armenia's subsequent history, and his conversion by St. Gregory the Illuminator (Gregory the Illuminator, Saint) and the adoption of Christianity as the state religion (c. 314) created a permanent gulf between Armenia and Persia. The Armenian patriarchate became one of the surest stays of the Arsacid monarchy and the guardian of national unity after its fall. The chiefs of Armenian clans, called nakharars, held great power in Armenia, limiting and threatening the influence of the king.

      The dissatisfaction of the nakharars with Arshak II led to the division of Armenia into two sections, Byzantine (Byzantine Empire) Armenia and Persarmenia (c. 390). The former, comprising about one-fifth of Armenia, was rapidly absorbed into the Byzantine state, to which the Armenians came to contribute many emperors and generals. Persarmenia continued to be ruled by an Arsacid in Dvin, the capital after the reign of Khosrow II (330–339), until the deposition of Artashes IV and his replacement by a Persian marzpān (governor) at the request of the nakharars (428). Although the Armenian nobles had thus destroyed their country's sovereignty, a sense of national unity was furthered by the development of an Armenian alphabet and a national Christian literature; culturally, if not politically, the 5th century was a golden age. (See Armenian literature.)

The marzpāns
      The Persians were not as successful as the Byzantines in their efforts to assimilate the strongly individualistic Armenian people. The misguided attempt of the Persian Sāsānian king Yazdegerd II to impose the Zoroastrian religion upon his Armenian subjects led to war in 451. The Armenian commander St. Vardan Mamikonian and his companions were slain at the Battle of Avarayr (June 2?, 451), but the Persians renounced their plans to convert Armenia by force and deposed their marzpān Vasak of Siuniq, the archtraitor of Armenian tradition.

      The revolt of 481–484, led by Vahan Mamikonian, Vardan's nephew, secured religious and political freedom for Armenia in return for military aid to Persia, and with the appointment of Vahan as marzpān the Armenians were again largely the arbiters of their own affairs. Their independence was further asserted in 554, when the second Council of Dvin rejected the dyophysite formula of the Council of Chalcedon (451), a decisive step that cut them off from the West as surely as they were already ideologically severed from the East. (According to the dyophysite formula, Christ, the Son of God, consists of two natures, “without confusion, without change, without separation, without division.”)

      In 536 the Byzantine emperor Justinian I reorganized Byzantine Armenia into four provinces, and, by suppressing the power of the Armenian nobles and by transferring population, he completed the work of Hellenizing the country. In 591 its territory was extended eastward by the emperor Maurice as the price of helping the Sāsānian king Khosrow II regain the Persian throne. After transporting many Armenians to Thrace, Maurice (according to the Armenian historian Sebeos) advised the Persian king to follow his example and to send “this perverse and unruly nation, which stirs up trouble between us,” to fight on his eastern front. During the war between the emperor Phocas and Khosrow, the Persians occupied Byzantine Armenia and appointed a series of marzpāns, only to be ousted by the emperor Heraclius in 623. In 628, after the fall of Khosrow, the Persians appointed an Armenian noble, Varaztirotz Bagratuni, as governor. He quickly brought Armenia under Byzantine rule but was exiled for plotting against Heraclius (635).

The Mamikonians and Bagratids (Bagratid Dynasty)
      The first, unsuccessful, Arab raid into Armenia in 640 found the defense of the country in the hands of the Byzantine general Procopius and the nakharar Theodor Rshtuni. Unable to prevent the pillage of Dvin in 642, Theodor in 643 gained a victory over another Arab army and was named commander in chief of the Armenian army by the Byzantine emperor Constans II (Constans II Pogonatus) Pogonatus. In 653, after the truce with Muʿāwiyah, then Arab governor of Syria, Constans voluntarily surrendered Armenia to the Arabs, who granted it virtual autonomy and appointed Theodor as governor (ostikan).

      Theodor's successor, Hamazasp Mamikonian, sided with Byzantium, but after 661 Arab suzerainty was reestablished, although Byzantine-Arab rivalry, Armenian resistance, and reluctance to pay the tribute made the region difficult to govern. An unsuccessful revolt led by Mushegh Mamikonian (771–772) resulted in the virtual extinction of the Mamikonians as a political force in Armenia and in the emergence of the Bagratunis and Artsrunis as the leading noble families. (See Bagratid Dynasty.) The Arabs' choice in 806 of Ashot Bagratuni the Carnivorous to be prince of Armenia marked the establishment of his family as the chief power in the land. The governor Smbat Ablabas Bagratuni remained loyal to the caliph al-Mutawakkil when al-Mutawakkil sent his general Bughā al-Kabīr to bring the rebellious nakharars to submission, although Smbat too was dispatched in 855 with the rest of the captive nobles to Sāmarrāʿ.

      The election by the nobles of Smbat's son Ashot I (the Great), who had been accepted as “prince of princes” by the Arabs in 862, to be king of Armenia in 885 was recognized by both caliph and emperor. Throughout the 10th century, art and literature flourished. Ashot III (the Merciful; 952–977) transferred his capital to Ani and began to make it into one of the architectural gems of the Middle Ages.

      The Bagratids of Ani—who bore the title shāhanshāh (“king of kings”), first conferred upon Ashot II (the Iron) by the caliph in 922—were not the sole rulers of Armenia. In 908 the Artsruni principate of Vaspurakan became a kingdom recognized by the caliph; in 961 Mushegh, the brother of Ashot III, founded the Bagratid kingdom of Kars; and in 970 the prince of Eastern Siuniq declared himself a king.

      By the time of the invasions of the Turkish Seljuqs in the 11th century, the Armenian kingdoms had already been destroyed from the west. The province of Taron had been annexed to the Byzantine Empire in 968, and the expansionist policy of the Byzantine emperor Basil II finally extinguished Armenian independence. The possessions of David of Tayq were annexed in 1000 and the kingdom of Vaspurakan in 1022. In the latter year, the Bagratid king of Ani, Yovhannes-Smbat, was compelled to make the emperor heir to his estates, and in 1045, despite the resistance of Gagik II, Ani was seized by Constantine IX (Constantine IX Monomachus) Monomachus.

      The Byzantine conquest was short-lived: in 1048 Toghrïl Beg led the first Seljuq raid into Armenia, in 1064 Ani and Kars fell to Toghrïl's nephew and heir Alp-Arslan, and after the Battle of Manzikert (Manzikert, Battle of) (1071) most of the country was in Turkish hands. In 1072 the Kurdish Shāddādids received Ani as a fief. A few native Armenian rulers survived for a time in the Kiurikian kingdom of Lori, the Siuniqian kingdom of Baghq or Kapan, and the principates of Khachen (Artzakh) and Sasun. In the 12th century many former Armenian regions became parts of Georgia, and between 1236 and 1242 the whole of Armenia and Georgia fell into the hands of the Mongols. Armenian life and learning, centred around the church, continued in monasteries and village communities.

Lesser Armenia (Little Armenia)
      On the collapse of Greater Armenia, many Armenians emigrated to Georgia, Poland, and Galicia, while others crossed into Cilicia, where some colonies had already settled at the end of the 10th century. One of Gagik II's lieutenants, Ruben, established himself about 1080 at Bardzrberd in the Taurus Mountains and another noble, named Oshin, at Lambron; the former became the founder of the Rubenid dynasty of barons and kings who ruled Cilicia until 1226, and the latter was the ancestor of the Hethumid dynasty, which succeeded them and ruled until 1342. The barons Constantine I (1092–1100), Thoros I (1100–29), and Levon I (1129–39) enlarged their domains at the expense of the Byzantines, and by 1132 Vahka, Sis, Anazarbus, Mamistra, Adana, and Tarsus were under Rubenid rule. Although the Byzantine emperor John II (John II Comnenus) Comnenus succeeded in annexing the whole of Cilicia during 1137–38, Thoros II (1145–68) and Mleh (1170–75) restored Armenian rule, with some Turkish aid. Levon I (the Great; 1199–1219), an ally of the German emperor Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa), received the royal crown from Frederick's son Henry VI and Pope Celestine III and was crowned king of Armenia in Tarsus in 1199 by the cardinal Conrad von Wittelsbach. The Byzantine emperor lost no time in sending a crown also, but Little Armenia was now firmly allied to the West.

      Intermarriage with Frankish (Frank) Crusading families from the West was common, and Frankish religious, political, and cultural influence, though resisted by many barons, was strong. Levon reformed his court and kingdom on Western models, and many French terms entered the language. Little Armenia played an important role in the trade of the Venetians and Genoese with the East, and the port of Lajazzo (on the Gulf of Iskenderun) rivaled Alexandria. Levon left no son, and the throne passed to his daughter Zabel (Isabelle). Her first husband, Philip of Antioch, who refused to accept the Armenian faith—Levon's lip service to Rome as the price of his coronation being largely ignored—was deposed by the barons, and the regent Constantine, who was baron of Lambron and a descendant of Oshin, arranged the marriage of Zabel to his son Hayton (Hetum or Hethum) I (1226–69), the first of the Hethumid dynasty. Hayton employed the Mongols against the growing menace of the Mamlūk dynasty of Egypt and was present with the Mongol army that entered the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Damascus in 1260. His successors followed his policy, but the Mongols weakened and, after their defeat in 1303 near Damascus, were unable to protect Cilicia.

      On the death, without heir, of Levon V (or IV), the crown passed to Guy de Lusignan, the eldest son of Hayton II's sister Zabel and her husband Amaury (Almaric) de Lusignan. (See Lusignan Family.) He was assassinated by the barons in 1344 for doctrinal reasons, and the next two kings, Constantine IV and V, were elected from their own ranks. On the assassination of Constantine V, the crown passed again to a Lusignan, to Guy's nephew Levon VI (or V; 1374–75). By this time, as a result of the Mamlūk advance, little remained of Armenia except Sis and Anazarbus; Lajazzo had finally fallen in 1347, followed by Adana, Tarsus, and the Cilician plain in 1359. In 1375 the capital of Sis fell to the Mamlūks, and the last king of Armenia was captured; ransomed in 1382, he died in Paris in 1393. The title “king of Armenia” passed to the kings of Cyprus and thence to the Venetians and was later claimed by the house of Savoy, but from the end of the 14th century the history of Armenia as separate states is replaced by the history of Armenians under foreign domination.

Ottomans (Ottoman Empire) and Ṣafavids (Ṣafavid Dynasty)
      After the capture of Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey) by the Ottoman Turks, Armenians, as non-Muslims, were greatly disadvantaged. Yet they retained, as zimmîs (Arabic dhimmī, “people of the Book”), the management of their own affairs in what would later be known as the millet system. By the late 18th century the Armenian patriarch of Constantinople headed the Armenian community, the ermeni millet, though the amira (wealthy Armenians) and sarafs (moneylenders) usually controlled his election and administration. The number of Armenians within Ottoman realms was increased at the beginning of the 16th century by the Ottoman conquest of Cilicia and Greater Armenia.

      On the death of the great Turkic conqueror Timur in 1405, the eastern Armenian regions had passed into the hands of rival Turkmen tribal confederacies, the Kara Koyunlu (Black Sheep) and the Ak Koyunlu (White Sheep), until the defeat of the Ak Koyunlu by the Persian shah Ismāʿīl I in 1502. Armenia again became the battlefield between two powerful neighbours, and in 1514–16 the Ottomans wrested it from Persian rule. During the war that broke out in 1602, Shah Abbās Iʿ strove to regain the lost territories, and in 1604–05, with the aim of stimulating trade in his dominions, he forcibly transferred thousands of Armenians from Julfa to Eṣfahān, Iran, where those who survived the march settled in the quarter named New Julfa. At the peace of 1620, while the greater part of Armenia remained in Ottoman hands, Persia regained the regions of Yerevan, Nakhichevan (Naxçıvan), and Karabakh. In mountainous Karabakh a group of five Armenian maliks (princes) succeeded in conserving their autonomy and maintained a short period of independence (1722–30) during the struggle between Persia and Turkey at the beginning of the 18th century; despite the heroic resistance of the Armenian leader David Beg, the Turks occupied the region but were driven out by the Persians under the general Nādr Qolī Beg (from 1736–47, Nādir Shah) in 1735.

      In New Julfa the Armenian merchants played an important role in the economic life of Iran, serving as links between Europe (including England, Spain, and Russia) and the East, exporting Persian silk and importing such items as glass, clocks, spectacles, and paintings. During the 17th century they amassed great wealth and built many magnificent churches and mansions, thereby attracting Persian envy, and from the beginning of the 18th century, when Nādir Shah penalized them with excessive taxation, they began a gradual decline that has continued to the present day.

Modern Armenia
Armenia and Europe
      At the beginning of the 19th century the Russians advanced into the Caucasus. In 1813 the Persians were obliged to acknowledge Russia's authority over Georgia, northern Azerbaijan, and Karabakh, and in 1828 they ceded Yerevan and Nakhichevan. Contact with liberal thought in Russia and western Europe was a factor in the Armenian cultural renaissance of the 19th century. In the Ottoman Empire the Armenians benefited with the rest of the population from the measures of reform known as the Tanzimat, and in 1863 a special Armenian constitution was recognized by the Ottoman government. But social progress in the Ottoman state was slow, and the Armenians in Anatolia were subject to many abuses. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, in which Russian Armenians had taken part, Russia insisted in the Treaty of San Stefano (San Stefano, Treaty of) that reforms be carried out among the sultan's Armenian subjects and that their protection against the Kurds be guaranteed or Russia would continue to occupy Turkish Armenia. This demand was softened at the Congress of Berlin (Berlin, Congress of), but the “Armenian question” remained a factor in international politics, with Great Britain taking on the role of the Ottomans' protector until the end of the century.

      The socialist Hënchak (“Bell”) party was founded in 1887 and the more nationalist Dashnaktsutyun (“Confederacy”) party, whose members were commonly called Dashnaks, in 1890, and, in the face of increasing Armenian demands for much-needed reforms, both the Ottoman and Russian governments grew more repressive. In 1895, after Abdülhamid II had felt compelled to promise Britain, France, and Russia that he would carry out reforms, large-scale systematic massacres (Armenian massacres) took place in the provinces. In 1896, following the desperate occupation of the Ottoman Bank by 26 young Dashnaks, more massacres occured in the capital. In Russia both Tsar Alexander III and his son Nicholas II closed hundreds of Armenian schools, libraries, and newspaper offices, and in 1903 Nicholas confiscated the property of the Armenian church.

      The greatest single disaster in the history of the Armenians came with the outbreak of World War I (1914–18). In 1915 the Young Turk (Young Turks) government resolved to deport the whole Armenian population of about 1,750,000 to Syria and Mesopotamia. It regarded the Turkish Armenians—despite pledges of loyalty by many—as a dangerous foreign element bent on conspiring with the pro-Christian tsarist enemy to upset the Ottoman campaign in the east. In what would later be known as the first genocide of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were driven from their homes, massacred, or marched until they died. The death toll of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey has been estimated at between 600,000 and 1,500,000 in the years from 1915 to 1923. (See Researcher's Note: Armenian massacres.) Tens of thousands emigrated to Russia, Lebanon, Syria, France, and the United States, and the western part of the historical homeland of the Armenian people was emptied of Armenians.

The republic of Armenia
      In 1916 the Armenian regions of the Ottoman Empire fell to the Russian army, but in March 1918 the Soviet Union (having succeeded Russia) was forced by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (Brest-Litovsk, treaties of) to cede all of Ottoman Armenia and part of Russian Armenia to the now moribund Ottoman Empire, though some Armenians continued to hold out against the advancing Ottomans. On April 22, 1918, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan formed the Transcaucasian Federal Republic, but their basic diversity soon caused them to split into separate republics; Armenia declared independence on May 28. Although short-lived, this Armenian republic was the first independent Armenian state since the Middle Ages. On June 4 Armenia was forced to sign the Treaty of Batum with the Ottoman state, acknowledging the pre-1878 Russo-Turkish frontier along the Arpa and Aras rivers as its boundary, but after the Allied victory in World War I the Armenians reoccupied Alexandropol (now Gyumri) and Kars. A short war ensued with Georgia for the possession of the cities of Borchalu (modern Marneuli, Georgia) and Akhalkʿalakʿi and with Azerbaijan for the Karabakh region; despite temporary military success, these areas were destined to remain outside Armenia. On January 15, 1920, the Allies recognized the de facto existence of the three Transcaucasian republics. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson (Wilson, Woodrow) hoped to persuade the United States to accept a mandate for an independent Armenia, but the Senate refused the responsibility (June 1, 1920). On August 10 Armenia, now recognized de jure, signed the Treaty of Sèvres (Sèvres, Treaty of), by which the Ottomans recognized Armenia as a free and independent state. On November 22 Wilson, as instructed, announced projected boundaries that ceded to Armenia most of the provinces of Erzurum, Trabzon, Van, and Bitlis. Already in the summer of 1919, however, the new Ottoman Turkish government of Ankara, under Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk (Atatürk, Kemal)), had repudiated Constantinople's treaties with Armenia. In September 1920 the Turks attacked, seizing Kars and Alexandropol by November 7. By the Treaty of Alexandropol on December 2, 1920, Armenia renounced all pre-1914 Turkish territories and Kars and Ardahan, recognized that there were no Armenian minorities in Turkey, and accepted that the region of Nakhichevan should form an autonomous Turkish state.

Charles James Frank Dowsett Ronald Grigor Suny
      That same day a new Armenian government at Yerevan, a coalition of communists and Dashnaks, proclaimed Armenia a Soviet republic. The Dashnaks were soon driven from the government, provoking an abortive revolt in February 1921. In March 1922 Armenia joined Georgia and Azerbaijan to form the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, which joined the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) on December 30, 1922. Nakhichevan, a largely Muslim region, was awarded to Soviet Azerbaijan, as was Nagorno-Karabakh, an overwhelmingly Armenian district. In 1936 Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan became separate union republics of the Soviet Union.

      The 71 years of Soviet rule in Armenia were a period of relative security from hostile neighbours, of great economic development, and of cultural and educational achievements. But full expression of Armenian national aspirations was impossible under the imposed Soviet regime. Particularly harsh were the years of Joseph Stalin's rule (1928–53), during which state terror was used to suppress the political and intellectual elite in the republic, to crush peasant resistance to the collectivization of agriculture, and to destroy the influence of the church.

      With the rise of the reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Armenians organized a massive nationalist movement focused on recovering Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia. This movement grew into a popular democratic organization, the Armenian National Movement (ANM). In the 1990 elections the ANM won a majority in parliament. Armenia declared sovereignty on August 23, 1990, and independence on September 23, 1991. In October Levon Ter-Petrossian was elected the first president of Armenia.

Ronald Grigor Suny
      Meanwhile, the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was intensifying. Ethnic violence between Armenians and Azerbaijanians in the enclave, which had begun in 1988, escalated into war; Karabakh Armenian forces, supported by Armenia, subsequently established control of Nagorno-Karabakh and occupied territory connecting the enclave with Armenia.

      By the mid-1990s thousands of Armenians had been killed. A blockade imposed by Azerbaijan in 1989 had devastated the Armenian economy; the resulting severe decline in living conditions led hundreds of thousands of Armenians to emigrate. Despite an economic turnaround in the early 21st century, many Armenians stayed abroad, and no permanent solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was at hand. Ter-Petrossian, who was reelected in 1996, appointed Robert Kocharian (Kocharian, Robert), a former leader of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, prime minister of Armenia in 1997. A fallout between the two over negotiations with Azerbaijan the following year led to Ter-Petrossian's resignation and Kocharian's election as president. Kocharian pressed for closer ties to the West—Armenia joined the Council of Europe (Europe, Council of) in 2001—and was reelected in 2003.

      A presidential election was held as Kocharian's second term neared expiration in early 2008. Although Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan defeated Ter-Petrossian in an election that international observers largely deemed free and fair, a number of sizable pro-opposition protests held in Yerevan criticized the integrity of the vote and the validity of the election's outcome.

      In November 2008 Sargsyan signed an agreement with Azerbaijani Pres. Ilham Aliyev that aimed to intensify the countries' efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Ed.

Additional Reading
The geography, economy, culture, and history of the region are explored in Glenn E. Curtis (ed.), Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Country Studies (1995). The best general introduction remains H.F.B. Lynch, Armenia, Travels and Studies, 2 vol. (1901, reprinted 1990), a classic traveler's account, rich in geographic and ethnographic material. Richard G. Hovanissian (ed.), The Armenian Image in History and Literature (1981), collects essays on the ways the people have been perceived and represented by themselves and others. Armenian cultural history is surveyed by an art historian in Sirarpie Der Nersessian, The Armenians (1969). Jean-Michel Thierry, Patrick Donabédian, and Nicole Thierry, Armenian Art (1989; originally published in French, 1987), offers a richly illustrated survey of arts, crafts, and architecture, including the art of the Armenian diaspora.G. Melvyn Howe George A. Bournoutian, A History of the Armenian People, 2 vol. (1994), offers an overview from prehistory to the present. The early history of the Armenian people is chronicled in Paul E. Zimansky, Ecology and Empire—The Structure of the Urartian State (1985). M. Chahin, The Kingdom of Armenia (1987, reissued 1991), offers a historical survey from the Bronze Age to the 15th century. The single most important work on Armenian social structure of the early medieval period is Nicholas Adontz, Armenia in the Period of Justinian: The Political Conditions Based on the Naxarar System, trans. by Nina G. Garsoïan (1970; originally published in Russian, 1908), written by an Armenian scholar at the beginning of the 20th century. George A. Bournoutian, Eastern Armenia in the Last Decades of Persian Rule, 1807–1828: A Political and Socioeconomic Study of the Khanate of Erevan on the Eve of the Russian Conquest (1982), treats the transition from Persian to Russian rule. Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties Through the Nineteenth Century (1963), explores the beginnings of the revolutionary nationalist movement. Christopher J. Walker, Armenia: The Survival of a Nation, rev. 2nd ed. (1990), is a pioneering modern study tracing the hopes and disappointments that preceded 1915, when the government of imperial Turkey began the systematic deportation and killing of the Armenian population. Gerard J. Libaridian (ed.), A Crime of Silence: The Armenian Genocide (1985; originally published in French, 1984), prepared by the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, is an excellent source of information on the topic. David Marshall Lang, The Armenians: A People in Exile (1981), offers the history of the Armenian dispersion with a graphic account of the persecution by the Turks from 1895 to 1922 and a survey of the Armenian contribution to the countries of the Armenian diaspora. Akaby Nassibian, Britain and the Armenian Question, 1915–1923 (1984), studies diplomacy in relation to Armenian genocide. Detailed reconstructions of the politics and diplomacy of the first independent Armenian republic are presented in Richard G. Hovanissian, Armenia on the Road to Independence, 1918 (1967), which discusses the separation of Transcaucasia from Russia and its subsequent division into the three republics, and The Republic of Armenia, 2 vol. (1971–1982). Mary Kilbourne Matossian, The Impact of Soviet Policies in Armenia (1962, reprinted 1981), studies the social and political transformations of the Soviet period. Ronald Grigor Suny, Armenia in the Twentieth Century (1983), offers a short analysis of the formation of the Soviet Armenian state and is updated by his Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History (1993). Essays on the Armenian national democratic movement of the 1990s are included in Gerard J. Libaridian (ed.), Armenia at the Crossroads: Democracy and Nationhood in the Post-Soviet Era (1991).Ronald Grigor Suny

 city, capital of Quindío departamento, west-central Colombia. It lies on the western slopes of the Cordillera Central at an elevation of 4,865 feet (1,483 metres), between the Espejo and Quindío rivers. The city lies along a spur of the railway from Puerto Berrío to Popayán and is the transfer point for road traffic to Bogotá via Ibagué (30 miles [50 km] southeast). Armenia (named for the ancient kingdom) was founded in 1889 by Jesús María Ocampo and Antonio Herrera. Coffee, corn (maize), beans, sugarcane, silk, and plantains are marketed, and there is some light manufacturing. Coal deposits are nearby. Armenia is the seat of the University of Quindío (1960). Pop. (2003 est.) 303,939.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Armenia — • A mountainous region of Western Asia occupying a somewhat indefinite area to the southeast of the Black Sea Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Armenia     Armenia      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • ARMENIA — ARMENIA, in Transcaucasia. Historically its boundaries embraced a much wider area in different periods. The Armenian diaspora is scattered in many countries of the world and still identifies its past history and future aspirations with the wider… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Armenia 1 TV — Armenia 1 Հայաստան 1 Tipo Empresa pública Fundación 5 de septiembre …   Wikipedia Español

  • Armenia — V. «bol de Armenia, papel de Armenia». * * * Armenia. □ V. bol de Armenia, bolo de Armenia. * * * Para otros usos de este término, véase Armenia (desambiguación). La República de Armenia, o simplemente Armenia (en armenio Հայաստան, Hayastan), es… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Armenia — Armenia, vielfach für Armenien, steht für die Regionen: Armenia Minor, Kleinarmenien Armenia Maior, Großarmenien Armenia (Provinz), römische Provinz Armenia ist Ortsname von: Armenia (South Carolina), eine Ortschaft in den Vereinigten Staaten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Armenia TV — Création Début 1999 Langue Arménien Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Armenia — (Гарлява,Литва) Категория отеля: Адрес: Stanaičių kaimas, LT 44001 Гарлява, Литва …   Каталог отелей

  • Armenia — ☛ V. bol de Armenia, bolo de Armenia …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Armenia — n. 1. a country in the Caucasus, formerly a part of the Soviet Union. [WordNet 1.5 +PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Armenia — [är mēn′yə, ärmē′nē ə] 1. region & former kingdom of W Asia, south of the Caucasus Mts.: now divided between Turkey, Iran, and present day Armenia 2. ARMENIAN SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC 3. country in W Asia: became independent upon the breakup of… …   English World dictionary

  • Armenĭa — (a. Geogr. u. Gesch.), so v.w. Armenien …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.