The Russian version of Forbes magazine (February 2006), according to 168 Hours Weekly, has published an article on the “economics of the Armenian Diaspora” stating that “The money made in the Armenian Diaspora amounts to 100 billion dollars, which is a hundred times more than the state budget of Armenia.”

By no means I argue that 100 billion dollars are not being made by expatriated Armenians. But the article is a reflection of the myth of the “powerful Armenian Diaspora” that in the eyes of many people (mostly Turks and Azerbaijanis) is responsible for everything in the world.

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The Armenian Diaspora is not a structure; it is as diverse as the world itself and it has a lot of inter conflicts; and every single person of the “group” who makes 100 billion dollars has his/her own self-interests. By saying that Armenian Diaspora makes 100 billion, there is a presumption that some portion of the money is spent on a particular “pan-Armenian” activity. What is ignored is that the money is made in other countries; therefore at least 20 billion in taxes (if the article means that 100 billion is made annually) is paid to other countries every year.

How does the Armenian nation or the Republic of Armenia benefit from that 100 billion?
Most of Armenia’s population lives in poverty and those who are above the poverty level are generally supported by family members who live abroad. But this is less than 1 billion dollars (the money that is wired to families in Armenia), and what this does is to keep some part of the population out of poverty. Yes, there are also funds provided for construction of highways (or hyeways) and other activities; and Kerkorian alone has given generous donations of about 100-200 millions over several years. But Kerkorian himself has 10% of the “income of the Armenian Diaspora” and what he has donated (thanks him very much!) is only 1% of what he has. So even if “Armenian Diaspora” has 100 billions, no more than 1 billion goes to Armenia.

And the one billion is equivalent to Armenia’s state budget.