YEREVAN, October 12, /ARKA/. Russian government-designed program Compatriots, a controversial scheme encouraging and helping Armenians and citizens of other former Soviet republics, to migrate to Russia, can not be carried out in Armenia against its will, a deputy foreign minister, Shavarsh Kocharian, said today after a recurrent session of Armenian-Russian intergovernmental economic cooperation commission held in Yerevan.
He said Armenia’s position is spelled out clearly in the protocol signed after the session by both sides. According to him, the Russian side wants the scheme to continue while Armenia is against. He said this means the scheme can not be implemented in Armenia.
Kocharian refused from further comments.
The scheme was defended last week by Russian ambassador to Armenia, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, who downplayed Armenia’s concerns saying no one forces Armenians to leave their country and go to Russia.
“Answers to the question about why people leave Armenia should be sought somewhere else,” he added.
This concern was shared also last week by prime minister Tigran Sarkisian who said at a cabinet session that such activities of Russian immigration authorities in Armenia were “unacceptable”. He added that his government was in discussions with Russian counterparts to stop the program in Armenia “in its present format” The Compatriots program is effective since 2006. -0-