Introduction

Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman. The eastern area of Armenia was ceded by the Ottomans to Russia in 1828; this portion declared its independence in 1918, but was conquered by the Soviet Red Army in 1920. Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict with Muslim Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated region, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of Azerbaijan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution. Turkey imposed an economic blockade on Armenia and closed the common border because of the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.
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Geography

Location
Southwestern Asia, east of Turkey

Geographic Coordinates
40 00 N, 45 00 E

Area
total: 29,800 sq km; land: 28,400 sq km; water: 1,400 sq km

Area Comparative
slightly smaller than Maryland

Land Boundaries
total: 1,254 km; border countries: Azerbaijan-proper 566 km, Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave 221 km, Georgia 164 km, Iran 35 km, Turkey 268 km

Coastline
0 km (landlocked)

Maritime Claims
none (landlocked)

Climate
highland continental, hot summers, cold winters

Terrain
Armenian Highland with mountains; little forest land; fast flowing rivers; good soil in Aras River valley

Elevation Extremes
lowest point: Debed River 400 m; highest point: Aragats Lerrnagagat’ 4,090 m

Natural Resources
small deposits of gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, alumina

Land Use
arable land: 16.78%; permanent crops: 2.01%; other: 81.21% (2005)

Irrigated Land
2,870 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural Hazards
occasionally severe earthquakes; droughts

Environment – Current Issues
soil pollution from toxic chemicals such as DDT; the energy crisis of the 1990s led to deforestation when citizens scavenged for firewood; pollution of Hrazdan (Razdan) and Aras Rivers; the draining of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan), a result of its use as a source for hydropower, threatens drinking water supplies; restart of Metsamor nuclear power plant in spite of its location in a seismically active zone

Environment – International Agreements
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants

Notes
landlocked in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains; Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is the largest lake in this mountain range

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People

Population
2,976,372 (July 2006 est.)

Age Structure
0-14 years: 20.5% (male 322,189/female 286,944); 15-64 years: 68.4% (male 949,975/female 1,085,484); 65 years and over: 11.1% (male 133,411/female 198,369) (2006 est.)

Median Age
0-14 years: 20.5% (male 322,189/female 286,944); 15-64 years: 68.4% (male 949,975/female 1,085,484); 65 years and over: 11.1% (male 133,411/female 198,369) (2006 est.)

Population Growth Rate
-0.19% (2006 est.)

Birth Rate
12.07 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death Rate
8.23 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net Migration Rate
-5.72 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex Ratio
at birth: 1.17 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.12 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female; total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate
total: 22.47 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 27.59 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 16.51 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth
total population: 71.84 years; male: 68.25 years; female: 76.02 years (2006 est.)

Total Fertility Rate
1.33 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate
0.1% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS
2,600 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths
less than 200 (2003 est.)

Nationality
noun: Armenian(s); adjective: Armenian

Ethnic Groups
Armenian 97.9%, Yezidi (Kurd) 1.3%, Russian 0.5%, other 0.3% (2001 census)

Religions
Armenian Apostolic 94.7%, other Christian 4%, Yezidi (monotheist with elements of nature worship) 1.3%

Languages
Armenian 97.7%, Yezidi 1%, Russian 0.9%, other 0.4% (2001 census)

Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 98.6%; male: 99.4%; female: 98% (2003 est.)

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Government

Country Name
conventional long form: Republic of Armenia; conventional short form: Armenia; local long form: Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun; local short form: Hayastan; former: Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic; Armenian Republic

Government Type
republic

Capital
Yerevan

Administrative Divisions
11 provinces (marzer, singular – marz); Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir, Geghark’unik’, Kotayk’, Lorri, Shirak, Syunik’, Tavush, Vayots’ Dzor, Yerevan

Independence
21 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National Holiday
Independence Day, 21 September (1991)

Constitution
adopted by nationwide referendum 5 July 1995; amendments adopted through a nationwide referendum 27 November 2005

Legal System
based on civil law system

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch
chief of state: President Robert KOCHARIAN (since 30 March 1998); head of government: Prime Minister Andranik MARGARYAN (since 12 May 2000); cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister; elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 19 February and 5 March 2003 (next to be held in 2008); prime minister appointed by the president and confirmed with the majority support of the National Assembly; the prime minister and Council of Ministers must resign if the National Assembly refuses to accept their program; election results: Robert KOCHARIAN reelected president; percent of vote – Robert KOCHARIAN 67.5%, Stepan DEMIRCHYAN 32.5%

Legislative Branch
unicameral National Assembly (Parliament) or Azgayin Zhoghov (131 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms; 90 members elected by party list, 41 by direct vote); elections: last held 25 May 2003 (next to be held in the spring of 2007); election results: percent of vote by party – Republican Party 23.5%, Justice Bloc 13.6%, Rule of Law 12.3%, ARF (Dashnak) 11.4%, National Unity Party 8.8%, United Labor Party 5.7%; seats by faction – Republican Party 39, Rule of Law 20, Justice Bloc 14, ARF (Dashnak) 11, National Unity 7, United Labor 6, People’s Deputy Group 16, independent (not in faction or group) 18; note – as of 10 March 2006; voting blocs in the legislature are more properly termed factions and can be composed of members of several parties; seats by faction change frequently as deputies switch parties or announce themselves independent

Judicial Branch
Constitutional Court; Court of Cassation (Appeals Court)

Political Parties and Leaders
Agro-Industrial Party [Vladimir BADALYAN]; Armenia Party [Myasnik MALKHASYAN]; Armenian National Movement or ANM [Alex ARZUMANYAN, chairman]; Armenian Ramkavar Liberal Party or HRAK [Harutyun MIRZAKHANYAN, chairman]; Armenian Revolutionary Federation (“Dashnak” Party) or ARF [Levon MKRTCHYAN]; Democratic Party [Aram SARKISYAN]; Justice Bloc (comprised of the Democratic Party, National Democratic Party, National Democratic Union, the People’s Party, and the Republic Party) [Stepan DEMIRCHYAN]; National Democratic Party [Shavarsh KOCHARIAN]; National Democratic Union or NDU [Vazgen MANUKIAN]; National Revival Party [Albert BAZEYAN]; National Unity Party [Artashes GEGHAMYAN, chairman]; People’s Party of Armenia [Stepan DEMIRCHYAN]; Republic Party [Aram SARKISYAN, chairman]; Republican Party or RPA [Andranik MARGARYAN]; Rule of Law Party [Samvel BALASANYAN]; Union of Constitutional Rights [Hrant KHACHATURYAN]; United Labor Party [Gurgen ARSENYAN]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders
Yerkrapah Union [Manvel GRIGORIAN]

International Organization Participation
ACCT (observer), AsDB, BSEC, CE, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, NAM (observer), OAS (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO

Diplomatic Representation in the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Tatoul MARKARIAN; chancery: 2225 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; telephone: [1] (202) 319-1976; FAX: [1] (202) 319-2982; consulate(s) general: Los Angeles

Diplomatic Representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador John M. EVANS; embassy: 1 American Ave., Yerevan 375082; mailing address: American Embassy Yerevan, Department of State, 7020 Yerevan Place, Washington, DC 20521-7020; telephone: [374](10) 464-700; FAX: [374](10) 464-742

Flag Description
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue, and orange

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Economy

Overview
Under the old Soviet central planning system, Armenia had developed a modern industrial sector, supplying machine tools, textiles, and other manufactured goods to sister republics in exchange for raw materials and energy. Since the implosion of the USSR in December 1991, Armenia has switched to small-scale agriculture away from the large agroindustrial complexes of the Soviet era. The agricultural sector has long-term needs for more investment and updated technology. The privatization of industry has been at a slower pace, but has been given renewed emphasis by the current administration. Armenia is a food importer, and its mineral deposits (copper, gold, bauxite) are small. The ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan over the ethnic Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the breakup of the centrally directed economic system of the former Soviet Union contributed to a severe economic decline in the early 1990s. By 1994, however, the Armenian Government had launched an ambitious IMF-sponsored economic liberalization program that resulted in positive growth rates in 1995-2005. Armenia joined the WTO in January 2003. Armenia also has managed to slash inflation, stabilize its currency, and privatize most small- and medium-sized enterprises. Armenia’s unemployment rate, however, remains high, despite strong economic growth. The chronic energy shortages Armenia suffered in the early and mid-1990s have been offset by the energy supplied by one of its nuclear power plants at Metsamor. Armenia is now a net energy exporter, although it does not have sufficient generating capacity to replace Metsamor, which is under international pressure to close. The electricity distribution system was privatized in 2002. Armenia’s severe trade imbalance has been offset somewhat by international aid, remittances from Armenians working abroad, and foreign direct investment. Economic ties with Russia remain close, especially in the energy sector. The government made some improvements in tax and customs administration in 2005, but anti-corruption measures will be more difficult to implement. Investment in the construction and industrial sectors is expected to continue in 2006 and will help to ensure annual average real GDP growth of about 13.9%.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$15.7 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)
$4.868 billion (2005 est.)

GDP – real growth rate
13.9% (2005 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)
$5,300 (2005 est.)

GDP – composition by sector
agriculture: 19.8%; industry: 41%; services: 39.2% (2005 est.)

Labor Force
1.2 million (2005)

Labor Force – By Occupation
agriculture 45%, industry 25%, services 30% (2002 est.)

Unemployment Rate
31.6% (2004 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line
43% (2003 est.)

Household Income or Consumption by Percentage Share
lowest 10%: 1.6%; highest 10%: 41.3% (2004)

Distribution of Family Income – Gini Index
41.3 (2004)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices)
-0.2% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed)
25% of GDP (2005 est.)

Budget
revenues: $786.1 million; expenditures: $930.7 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Agriculture – Products
fruit (especially grapes), vegetables; livestock

Industries
diamond-processing, metal-cutting machine tools, forging-pressing machines, electric motors, tires, knitted wear, hosiery, shoes, silk fabric, chemicals, trucks, instruments, microelectronics, jewelry manufacturing, software development, food processing, brandy

Industrial Production Growth Rate
7.5% (2005 est.)

Electricity – Production
6.317 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity – Consumption
4.374 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity – Exports
650 million kWh; note – exports an unknown quantity to Georgia; includes exports to Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan (2003)

Electricity – Imports
463 million kWh; note – imports an unknown quantity from Iran (2003)

Oil – Production
0 bbl/day (2005)

Oil – Consumption
40,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil – Exports
NA bbl/day

Oil – Imports
NA bbl/day

Natural Gas – Production
0 cu m (2005 est.)

Natural Gas – Consumption
1.685 billion cu m (2005 est.)

Natural Gas – Exports
0 cu m (2005 est.)

Natural Gas – Imports
1.685 billion cu m (2005 est.)

Current Account Balance
$-237.7 million (2005 est.)

Exports
$800 million f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports – Commodities
diamonds, mineral products, foodstuffs, energy

Exports – Partners
Belgium 18%, Israel 15.3%, Germany 13.3%, Russia 12.5%, US 8.1%, Netherlands 7.2%, Iran 5.5%, Georgia 4.3%, UAE 4% (2004)

Imports
$1.5 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports – Commodities
natural gas, petroleum, tobacco products, foodstuffs, diamonds

Imports – Partners
Russia 11.3%, Belgium 10.1%, Israel 8.4%, US 7.6%, Iran 7.1%, UAE 6.1%, Ukraine 5.9%, Italy 5.5%, Germany 5.2%, Georgia 4.6%, France 4.5% (2004)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold
$625.6 million (2005 est.)

Debt – External
$1.819 billion (20 September 2005)

Economic Aid – Recipient
ODA, $254 million (2004)

Currency (Code)
dram (AMD)

Exchange Rates
drams per US dollar – 457.69 (2005), 533.45 (2004), 578.76 (2003), 573.35 (2002), 555.08 (2001)

Fiscal Year
calendar year

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Communications

Telephones – Main Lines in Use
582,500 (2004)

Telephones – Mobile Cellular
203,300 (2004)

Telephone System
general assessment: system inadequate; now 90% privately owned and undergoing modernization and expansion; domestic: the majority of subscribers and the most modern equipment are in Yerevan (this includes paging and mobile cellular service); international: country code – 374; Yerevan is connected to the Trans-Asia-Europe fiber-optic cable through Iran; additional international service is available by microwave radio relay and landline connections to the other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and through the Moscow international switch and by satellite to the rest of the world; satellite earth stations – 3 (2005)

Radio Broadcast Stations
AM 9, FM 6, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television Broadcast Stations
3 (plus an unknown number of repeaters) (1998)

Internet Country Code
.am

Internet Hosts
8,852 (2005)

Internet Users
150,000 (2005)

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Transportation

Airports
16 (2005)

Airports – With Paved Runways
total: 11; over 3,047 m: 2; 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4; 914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2005)

Airports – With Unpaved Runways
total: 5; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2; 914 to 1,523 m: 2; under 914 m: 1 (2005)

Pipelines
gas 1,871 km (2004)

Railways
total: 845 km; broad gauge: 845 km 1.520-m gauge (828 km electrified); note: some lines are out of service (2004)

Roadways
total: 7,633 km; paved: 7,633 km (includes 1,561 km of expressways) (2003)

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Military

Military Branches
Army, Air Force, Air Defense Force

Military Service Age and Obligation
18-27 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation – 12 months; 18 years of age for voluntary military service (May 2004)

Manpower Available for Military Service
males age 18-49: 722,836 (2005 est.)

Manpower Fit for Military Service
males age 18-49: 551,938 (2005 est.)

Manpower Reaching Military Service Age Annually
males: 31,774 (2005 est.)

Military Expenditures – Dollar Figure
$135 million (FY01)

Military Expenditures – Percent of GDP
6.5% (FY01)

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Transnational Issues

Disputes – International
Armenia supports ethnic Armenian secessionists in Nagorno-Karabakh and since the early 1990s, has militarily occupied 16% of Azerbaijan – Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) continues to mediate dispute; over 800,000 mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis were driven from the occupied lands and Armenia; about 230,000 ethnic Armenians were driven from their homes in Azerbaijan into Armenia; Azerbaijan seeks transit route through Armenia to connect to Naxcivan exclave; border with Turkey remains closed over Nagorno-Karabakh dispute; ethnic Armenian groups in Javakheti region of Georgia seek greater autonomy; tens of thousands of Armenians emigrate, primarily to Russia, to seek employment

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
refugees (country of origin): 235,101 (Azerbaijan); IDPs: 50,000 (conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh) (2005)

Illicit Drugs
illicit cultivation of small amount of cannabis for domestic consumption; minor transit point for illicit drugs – mostly opium and hashish – moving from Southwest Asia to Russia and to a lesser extent the rest of Europe

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