In 2014, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office published an analytical note on the Armenian diaspora which is spread across various countries of the world. According to the document, the Armenians constitute the largest diaspora in the post-Soviet countries. Overall, there are 10 million Armenians worldwide.
Outside the Republic of Armenia, the largest Armenian diaspora is in Russia – 2.3 million – followed by the United States with its 1.5-million Armenian diaspora. France is third – 400 thousand – and Lebanon is fourth — 200 thousand. The Armenian diasporas of Ukraine, Poland, Argentina, Canada, Syria, Turkey, and Iran each number 80 thousand or more. In the UK, 18 thousand Armenians reside.
From the point of view of participation in the political life of the country, the most active foreign Armenian community is the US Armenian Diaspora, which is expected to increase its influence in politics in the coming years.
The participation of the Armenian diaspora in the life of Armenia is primarily manifested in economic assistance and investments, as well as in the development of human capital. In this regard, a number of technical assistance programs for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh can be noted.
The report remarked that the diaspora contributes to Armenia not only with its own resources. It also lobbies for the assistance of foreign governments to Armenia and Karabakh. Lobbyist organizations in the report are mentioned as structures that effectively promote the Armenian issue in the international arena. As an example, the lobbyist organizations of the Armenian diaspora in the United States are mentioned.
In regard to Armenia-Diaspora relations, it is noted that, despite the unity, contradictions arise between them sometimes. For example, contradictions occurred on the issue of Armenian-Turkish relations.
The report notes that the relations between Yerevan and the diaspora became aggravated during the presidency of Levon Ter-Petrosyan (1991-1998) who criticized the diaspora for an unrealistic perception of the political situation in Armenia and around it. A connection is revealed between the banning of the activities of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun party, the resignation of Levon Ter-Petrosyan, and the situation in the negotiation process on Nagorno-Karabakh.
The authors of the report note that Armenia has not fully managed to use the potential of the diaspora, especially in terms of economic investments, which is mainly due to the monopolies in the Armenian economy.
The report remarks that during the presidency of Serzh Sargsyan, a ministry of diaspora appeared in Armenia, aimed at developing Armenia’s ties with the diaspora.
Summing up the report, the authors believe that the diaspora will retain a significant role in the economic support of Armenia, but in terms of foreign policy issues – including the Karabakh settlement and Armenian-Turkish relations – certain contradictions may arise.