Return


What happens when Armenian Americans, pick up, and move to Armenia? Produced and Directed by Robert Davidian. (Part 1, 2, 34, 5, 6)

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Return

    • For example Aram Khachadurian is based in Ashotsk region, in a village. That is a place where I rarely visit more than once a year and in winter the place is totally cut off from the rest of the world.

      I remember a couple of years ago when Aram wrote an email from the village telling how he finally, after years of being offline, got some meager access to the internet.

  1. The problem is there is no working opportunities in Armenia. If some diapora return, they would be competing on already very few jobs that do not exist for local Armenians.

    I went once with the though to do something in the free territories, being a donkey Hayaser. I was literally told, don’t consider getting any kind of public employment (including school tutoring) …. there are no private employers…so either I put the few bucks I have to build a house and keep a cow until I starve and die…or I just drop the idea of moving there…

    These people in the video have $$$ …if you don’t have money, there is nothing in Armenia for you

    • :) Speaking of “donkey Hayaser”, for a while I was thinking about moving to Yerevan and opening a consulting business for investments, financial management and such. But then I paid a visit and saw who the clients would be. These kind of services are for wealth management of rich people. Rich people there are an inherently unpleasant folk who have become rich not due to smarts or work but by very sinister means. A sane person would not want to deal with them.

      After March 1, 2008, I have lost any desire to reconsider any scenario that one considers as “donkey Hayaser”.

  2. @ Hayk and Independent Armenia,
    Don’t you need to have $$$ to move anywhere in the world nowadays? And what guarantees that if you do have money, you will make money? Isn’t there very limited jobs around the world? If you’re smart, well educated and a businessman, then I’m sure you can make it in Armenia. It’s all about having the desire to move, and seems as though you have no desire.

      • so either the diaspora businessman will go there to milk the locals (and they indeed are often successful), or the average educated diasporan goes to Armenia and gets milked by the mob.

        @Garo. I have moved twice in my life, in both cases I had little money, but always had a decent job and was able to pay my bills and live with integrity.

        With respect to Armenia, the rhetoric is the same, bring some money and open a business. Without money, one is useless for Armenia.

        Bottomline, it is high time to reform the government in Armenia. Equally important for the people to get rid of the corrupt elite. By doing so a fair living and business environment will be created for people who have some good will left.

        This video is wonderful, but it does not reflect reality.

        • @Hayk and Independent Armenia ,
          So what do you think the video reflects, other than the given of encouraging repatriation? Do you really think that the Armenians in this video are milking the locals, or are being milked by the locals?

          I don’t know about taking money and opening a business. What about working with the established companies that exist in Armenia?

          How will the people get rid of the corrupt elite? I personally don’t think it’s logical to sit behind our computers thousands of miles away from Armenia and say what the locals need to do. You shouldn’t wait for something to change, you should put effort in making a change. One statement that always makes me laugh is, “I’ll go back to Armenia when it changes”.

          The reality is that these people got up and moved to Armenia. That to me is the first step in change.

  3. Return is a necessity, but not with the current mindset of the “government” of Armenia. In 20-30 years the last remaining old dogs of the Soviet Union will die out and then maybe improvements can be made in a meaningful way. At the current rate, diaspora Armenians who return will not be in significant numbers. And the ones that do will only go to establish connections with their existing money, and not through employment. That’s the sad reality of Armenia.

    In another scenario, a bloody revolution will have to take place, and I don’t think many Armenians both in Armenia and outside want this.

    • actually, you neither have to wait 20-30 years, nor does there need to be a bloody revolution. When was the last time you were in Yerevan? I follow things VERY closely. A year ago even, it would have bee unheard of to spread youtube clips of things that go wrong in Armenia. within the last few months I’ve seen live clips of police taking the law into their hands, corrupt leaders lying through their teeth, people marching to save Teghut Forest, women standing up for their rights and spreading awareness of domestic violence, etc. If all that began only a few months ago, can you imagine where things will lead to in the near future? People are not putting up with bullshit anymore. The youth are standing up, the middle aged innocents are realizing they have a voice and the elderly are smiling again. You can’t go “poof” and everything changes 180 degrees overnight, but the progression is not as slow as we think. You’re right on one point, return IS a necessity. It’s time for every Armenian who feels any love for his/her homeland to come back home. No one said it’s easy, but it definitely ain’t much harder than moving anywhere else in the world.

      • Those are merely a natural progress which is expected, but I’m talking about the people that are in ownership and influence of things they should not be. From what we are observing the government of Armenia is not behaving as a government, but rather like a company interested in profit. There is a major conflict of interest in the Armenian government. When one moves to Armenia, does business and the local ‘Al Capone’ shows up at your door who has all his relatives working as politicians, judges, officials etc, it becomes a losing game for an Armenian coming from the diaspora and wanting to live and improve and strengthen his homeland. The people can gain personal freedom to act out their feelings, but that will not change the things that count.

        I am not saying that it cannot change, and I agree with your opinion that things will improve, although I myself feel that it will be slower than you say. From what I understand people there even openly discuss corruption and everyone even agrees.

        • of course things are corrupt :P the 1st step to fixing something is accepting that the problem exists. However, as much as I have heard such rumours about the Al Capone’s coming to your door and wanting a share in your profits, the truth from those who HAVE moved is that so long as you don’t get into the businesses they have a monopoly on like oil/gas and sugar, you’re left alone. I’m not sure you speak from experience, but considering your tone, I think it’s safe to bet that what you believe is based on what others have told you. In that case i can easily counter with the opposite side of the spectrum :D Those who move out of Armenia criticize it heavily, while those living in there, or who have moved over, have a different viewpoint (unless they’re angry that they haven’t won their green card yet).

          • I don’t speak from personal experience, but in a way I do since I know people personally who all have had bad experiences as well as stories I have read which reinforces what I hear from people I know. From what everyone says the problem is that there are laws, but they are being manipulated by authorities in anyway that they wish. Basically there is law but not the integrity of law. This is one of the things that can make Armenia change for the better, when an average person can establish and receive his/her rights.

            I imagine myself moving to Armenia one day, but I don’t think I will get involved in doing business there when I do, at least until I see proof that things have improved and corruption is being addressed properly.

            I believe that Armenians who are moving to Armenia from places like Europe, USA, Mideast, etc have the potential to make Armenia a great place to move to and live. But consider again the government: why aren’t they doing their job by telling Armenians worldwide that when they come to Armenia they can be automatic citizens? Here we are 20+ years later and the call has not gone out. That alone tells me that we don’t have a government in Armenia, but rather a “government”.

  4. Actually, I know 9-10 Armenians rather closely who have moved there, 2 of which are my own cousins. They don’t milk anyone and they are careful not to get milked. My 1st principal from school has actually taken over rebuilding the village of Oushi.

    For those who think there are no jobs, you are incorrect. There are multiple sectors you can get into. Any job field is competitive and the whole “taking jobs away from locals” is a silly observation. If they are not qualified for the position, they will never get it, or if they do, will do a terrible job at it.

    These people who have moved have the right attitude. They see potential, they see themselves making a change. If you want to work for others, expect a monotonous life and like things that are well tried and secure, then don’t go to Armenia. In Armenia, it’s a different world. Expect a frontier, rough lands that have yet to be tamed and people whose mentality ranges from sheep like behaviour to extreme sly competitiveness. It’s not a stupid dream to want to move and I met many who moved with nothing in their pockets and simply a dream of creating something from scratch. Go talk to the owners and employees of Eden Cafe and Kalume nightclub. Hell, even the crazy “That Place”. While you’re there, say hello from me. You’ll notice that 90% of those who have moved there are beyond happy with their choice. and half of that population didn’t have much to begin with, if anything.

    • Andranik, why don’t you write more politely, please? E.g. your comment on Gyumri mayor was very interesting, you had a point or two there, but I couldn’t publish it because of the way you formulate you ideas with offensive words. I mean – why is it so hard for you to follow the rules?

  5. I moved back twice, once in mid-later 90s when I was 20 years old, not with much money but with very positive attitude and energy. That lasted only 6-7 months,- I realized that the only thing one can do there was setup a business or go and live in a village as a small farmer. For the first one I didn’t have the funds, for the 2nd, I was too young to isolate myself with cows and pigs.
    The 2nd move was more success as I was a young professional, knew better what to do, made some preps in advance and had concrete plans. At that time stayed for only 3 years because there are no prospects and there is no social justice. In such cases to survive you isolate yourself in a babel, then one would say what’s the reason living in a country where you intentionally isolate yourself.

    • I know many who have moved and do not own their own business, nor are farmers. They are beyond happy there. You have to create for yourself wherever you go. A lot more manual labor is wanted in the US, cheap labor while the massive companies make billions of their dollars. Armenia doesn’t have such companies, but they are starting to spring up. You need to set a goal on what you want to do, research it and then go over :)

  6. Imagine if all Armenians just pick up and leave their foreign countries and move to Armenia and Artsakh. This is not gonna happen soon, but at least we can start the process. That’s one way we can overcome all our enemies – Azerbaijan will not stand a chance and eventually neither will Turkey.

    But for this to happen, first of all the government in Armenia needs to change so that it acts like a government for all Armenians worldwide instead of just in Armenia, because face it, more Armenians live outside Armenia than inside. For this to also happen, diaspora Armenians need to start integrating into the government of Armenia as well. If this does not happen, Armenians are always going to stay divided and therefore weaker.

    After WWII Soviet Armenia lost a considerable number of its population, and so a call was made for Armenians worldwide to repatriate. Some Armenians did, but did not like it, they did not feel welcomed and in addition the Soviet system was a lot worse than most of the places they came from because of its poor economy. Thus now the number one thing the Armenian government can do is to make Armenians worldwide welcomed, because after all the Soviet Union does not exist any more, and there are more comforts in life.

    The Armenians in not so prosperous countries need to start moving to Armenia first. For example, it is easier for an Armenian from Iraq to move to Armenia rather than from say the USA, because in the USA we feel that there are a lot of opportunities, whereas a place like Iraq, what kind of future does that offer an Armenian? I can’t think of anything positive.

    Regardless, eventually all Armenians worldwide need to think about the return to Armenia, it is the only hope for our culture to survive and thrive.
    The Turks fear unity among Armenians the most… it is time Armenians give them this gift.

    • Arlen, I would beg to differ on a few points there. You can’t wait for something to change before you move because if you do, that could take 50 years or more. The way things are going to change, are going to be FORCED to change, is if a large number of diaspora’s Armenians move at once. Imagine a sudden influx of 10,000 Armenians from around the world. What do you think that can accomplish? What if that number increases to 50,000 in a year or 2? What government can withstand pressure from the inside if those 50,000 rally the common people, teaching them how things ought to be and their right to protest and receive better treatment? Pressure form the outside won’t topple us, but from the inside, there’s much good that can be achieved. It requires people from everywhere however, cultured people, people with money and people with the education and experience required to rule.

      • I really don’t think you said anything significantly different than I did. But my point was, it is much more difficult for US Armenians to return than Armenians from smaller countries. I can say that for instance if I was living in a place like the mid east, the only thing on my mind would be to leave for Armenia/Artsakh immediately and take all my family with me. It is sad but true though that the US Armenians are in a different category.

        It is wonderful to think that all Armenians can return en mass but is the speed with which you propose realistic in light of the current environment? In a prosperous and comfortable country like the US, it is difficult to just pick up and leave and venture into the unknown, leaving behind the possibility of business and career. Armenians who have already established themselves, have careers, and especially have all their family in the US are not returning any time soon. I’m not saying they shouldn’t, I’m saying it is not how things are going in the US at the moment. In light of this, the biggest hope lies with the younger generations and also those who do not have very big families and businesses. I myself living in the US would like to return, but before I do there are a lot of things I need to take care of. There are very few people lucky enough (or free enough) to just pick up and leave.

Comments are closed.