OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Armenia
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 29,800 Sq Km (11,500 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 3,876,300
LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY: Armenia is a former republic of the
USSR. It is bound by Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to
the east, Turkey to the west and southwest as well as Iran
to the southeast. Topographically, the country can be divided
into four regions. (1.) The northeastern area of folded
back mountains which are the central ranges of the Lesser
Caucasus. (2.) The central volcanic area which stretches
to the Gukasian and Dzharakhetskii Ranges in the southwest
and to the Karabakh Highlands in the southeast. This area
also consists of lava plateaux, highlands and massifs with
little surface drainage. (3.) The southern area which consists
of a broken network of valleys and deep gorges and (4.)
the northwestern area which comprises the Ararat Plain that
is marked by a flat aggregated relief. The principal rivers
are Arak and its tributaries while the largest lake is Lake
Sevan. Major Cities (pop. est.); Yerevan 1,250,000, Gyumri
163,000, Kirovakan 76,000 (1989). Land Use; forested 14%,
pastures 23%, agricultural-cultivated 19%, other 44% (1993).
CLIMATE: The climate of Armenia is influenced by the Black and
Caspian Seas as well as the surrounding highlands. In general, Armenia
has a continental climate with dry hot summers and cold winters. Average
annual precipitation varies from 300 to 635 mm (12 to 25 inches) while
average temperature ranges are from 16 to 23 degrees Celsius (62 to 75
degrees Fahrenheit) in July to -12 to -9 degrees Celsius (10 to 15 degrees
Fahrenheit) in January.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are Armenians who account
for 93% of the population while around 3% are Azerbaijanis. Other ethnic
minorities include Ukrainians and Russians.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 119 persons per sq km
(309 persons per sq mi) (1993). Urban-Rural; 69.5% urban, 30.5% rural (1991).
Sex Distribution; 49.5% male, 50.5% female (1992). Life Expectancy at Birth;
67.4 years male, 73.3 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 30% under 15,
26% 15 to 29, 21% 30 to 44, 14% 45 to 59, 6% 60 to 64, 3% 65 and over (1990).
Birth Rate; 21.6 per 1,000 (1992). Death Rate; 6.5 per 1,000 (1992). Increase
Rate; 15.1 per 1,000 (1992). Infant Mortality Rate; 17.9 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians of the Armenian Orthodox, Roman
Catholic and Evangelical Churches.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Armenian while Russian is
also widely spoken and each ethnic minority also has its own language.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: primary or no
formal schooling 7.4%, incomplete secondary 18.6%, complete secondary 57.7%,
higher 13.8% (1989). Literacy; N/A.
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: On Dec. 12, 1991 Armenia declared
its independence, although prior to independence its history was closely
tied with that of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
In Mar. 1953 Yosef Stalin died and was succeeded by Georgy Malenkov who
was in turn forced to relinquish the party leadership to Nikita Khrushchev
after a little over one week in power. In 1955 the Warsaw pact militarily
aligned the Soviet Union with other communist countries and in Nov. 1956
the Soviet Red Army invaded Hungary to quell uprisings. In 1957 three communist
ministers unsuccessfully attempted to depose Khrushchev which resulted
in their expulsion from the central committee. In 1962 under Khrushchev's
rule the USSR was involved in the Cuban Missile crisis and in the same
year relations with China were broken off as a result of ideological differences.
In Oct. 1964 Khrushchev was forced to retire and was succeeded by Leonid
Brezhnev. In Aug. 1968 the Warsaw Pact forces led by the Red Army invaded
Czechoslovakia to halt their Prague Spring reforms. In 1977 Breshnev was
elected President. In Nov. 1982 Brezhnev died and was succeeded by Yuri
Andropov, the former head of the KGB. Andropov introduced limited economic
reforms and established an anti-corruption program. In Feb 1984 Andropov
died and was succeeded by Konstantin Chernenko who in turn died on Mar.
10, 1985. On Mar. 11, 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as Chernenko's
successor and Gorbachev embarked on a program which restructured the USSR's
relations with the West. Gorbachev also established Glasnost (openness)
as well as Perestroika (restructuring and reform). In Apr. 1986 a meltdown
in the reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine sent radioactive
fallout across northern Europe. In Dec. 1987 the USSR and USA signed the
Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF). In Feb. 1988 a dispute erupted
between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh which
resulted in mass demonstrations and strikes in the two republics. In Dec.
1988 an earthquake in Armenia killed some 50,000 people. In Apr. 1989 troops
violently repressed demonstrations in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
In Dec. 1989 the Lithuanian Parliament adopted multiparty politics. In
Jan. 1990 Gorbachev visited Lithuania and was met by some 250,000 pro-independence
demonstrators. In Feb. 1990 some 18 people were killed in riots over housing
discrimination in Tajikistan. In May 1990 Boris Yeltsin was elected President
of the Russian Federation and on Nov. 1, 1990 launched a 500 day plan to
give the Russian Republic a free market economy. In June 1990 Nakhichevan
an Azerbaijani enclave bordering Iran declared its intention for a unification
with Iran while a civil war was escalating between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
In the same month around 150 people were killed during ethnic clashes in
Kyrgyzstan. In Jan 1991 another 15 people were killed as the Red Army seized
a television station in Lithuania while in Latvia the Soviet Black Berets
killed 5 people in an attack on the ministry building. In the same month
troops were being deployed in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova. In
Mar. 1991 pro-Yeltsin demonstrators held a mass rally. On Aug. 18, 1991
as Gorbachev was vacationing in the Crimea, the Politburo hard liners attempted
a coup to remove Gorbachev from power through the declaration of a State
of Emergency under the control of a State Committee. Almost immediately
republic leaders declared the emergency committee illegal as well as unconstitutional
and began to barricade their parliaments as troops and tanks were deployed
throughout the republics. By Aug. 20 senior officers had refused to order
their troops to use force against the civilians and on Aug. 21, 1991 the
coup collapsed as troops were ordered to return to their barracks. Immediately
following the unsuccessful coup many republics suspended or purged the
communist party and on Sept. 5, 1991 after 3 days of debate the 74 years
of centralized communist control came to an end. In Jan. 1992 Armenia became
a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Since
the break-up of the USSR, fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan has escalated
over the disputed enclave, Nagorno-Karabakh, that has been territory of
Azerbaijan since 1923 although the population is predominately Armenian.
In Feb. 1992 the Armenian forces captured Khojali providing them with access
to the only airfield in the region. This allowed the Armenian forces to
ferry in supplies to continue the war and to gain air control thus halting
the indiscriminate bombing of Armenian towns and villages there. After
taking the enclave a land corridor through Azerbaijani territory was secured
linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave declared its independence
as the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and requested Armenian recognition.
Pres. Levon Ter-Petrosyan refused to recognize the republic arguing that
Armenia shouldn't be the first to do so. The Nargorno-Karabakh parliament
disagreed with Ter-Petrosyan who was prepared to accept autonomy and free
access for the enclave. The conflict with Azerbaijan was bringing economic
hardship for Armenia as it had been cut of from its energy resources which
forced a slowdown in manufacturing with industrial capacity running at
only 18% in October 1992 while the state bank had no foreign reserves and
money due from the collapse of the USSR was frozen in the Bank for Foreign
Trade in Moscow. During 1993 Armenia was relatively politically stable
despite the severe economic hardships and the waning support for Pres.
Ter-Petrosyan. In Feb. 1993, Prime Minister Khosrow Arutyunyan was dismissed
after a disagreement on the 1993 budget. In July 1993 economic relations
with Russia were further strained when the Russian Central Bank decided
to withdraw from circulation all pre-1993 banknotes. In Sept. 1993 an opposition
standoff and demand for new parliamentary elections to be held in March
1994 was rejected. On Nov. 22, 1993 Armenia officially introduced a new
national currency the Dram. Also during 1993 little progress had been made
regarding a satisfactory political settlement over the war and disputed
enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Foreign relations with Iran, Turkey and Russia
deteriorated after Karabakh Armenian forces launch fresh summer offensive
in southern Azerbaijan. The offensive was thought to be Yeravan inspired
and resulted in Armenia's further political isolation.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Dram (D) formerly the
Rouble (R) divided into 100 Lumas.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $2,462,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; N/A. Imports; R 290,477,000,000 (1993). Exports; R 155,666,000,000
(1993). Tourism Receipts; N/A. Balance of Trade; R -1,039,000,000 (1990).
Economically Active Population; 1,592,000 or 42.4% of total population
(1994). Unemployed; 5.6% (1994).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partner is the CIS.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Antimony, Arsenic, Barley, Chromites, Citrus
Fruits, Copper, Cotton, Gold, Iron, Limestone, Livestock, Magnesium, Mercury,
Molybdenum, Potatoes, Pumice, Silver, Sugar Beets, Tobacco, Wheat, Wine
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Automobiles, Cement, Ceramics, Chemical and Petrochemical
Processing, Electronics, Food Processing, Glass, Machinery and Machine
Tools, Construction Materials, Sugar Refining, Textiles, Timber Processing.
MAIN EXPORTS: Automobiles, Ceramics, Chemicals, Electronics, Glass,
Machine Tools, Machinery, Petrochemicals, Processed Foods, Textiles, Timber.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 823 km (511 mi) (1991), passenger-km
316,000,000 (196,000,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 4,884,000,000
(3,345,000,000 short ton-mi) (1990). Roads; length 7,700 km (4,785 mi)
(1991). Vehicles; cars 230,110 (1990). Merchant Marine; nil. Air Transport;
passenger-km 5,556,900,000 (3,452,897,000 passenger-mi) (1993), cargo ton-km
49,000,000 (33,560,000 short ton-mi) (1993).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 7 with a total circulation
of 82,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 642,000 (1993). Television; receivers
722,000 (1993). Telephones; units 584,000 (1993).
MILITARY: est. 32,700 (1994) total active duty personnel with
100% army while military expenditure accounts for 2.3% of the Gross National
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