"Build Armenia": Working with the state, not state money

14.07.2018 | 10:32 Home / News / Interviews /

Interview with Sevak Artsruni, the founder and director of the "Eranav" LLC, famous company in the field of repatriation and construction.

- Literally yesterday, a document was issued that calls on Diaspora Armenian businessmen to join the "Build Armenia" project. Please open the brackets.

The project, with its capacity, ideological axis, conceptual clarity and practical applicability, is unprecedented in the Armenian reality. This is a "roadmap", based on the approach that Armenians living in any part of the world should participate in the construction of the Eastern section of the Homeland for a favorable environment for its activities. By this project we invite Armenian businessmen worldwide to invest in Armenia thus contributing to repatriation.  World economic and geopolitical developments have put us in a dilemma either to record a stable demographic and economic growth, or to remain marginalized in a "banana" country.  The centralized pan-Armenian potential is able to neutralize this threat. With this project, we are launching a calculated, profitable repatriation.

- Who is in the origin of the initiative and whose initiative he got the pan-Armenian project look on? Who can join the initiative group?

At the origins of the initiative are businessmen and lawyers who have appealed to the Armenian business world to join the project. The group leader is Swiss-Armenian businessman Vartan Sirmakes, whose investments have made considerable progress in economical Armenia for decades. The project is open for everyone. The group works openly and transparently, the programs have professional bases, all Armenian and international expertise, they are prospective, long-term, tangible, and most importantly profitable.

- Describe your next steps. In practical terms, what should we expect from the initiative?

In autumn we will announce the official start of the project in Yerevan. In the first quarter of 2019 we will organize a forum of Armenian businessmen in Paris, during which we will present our truly unprecedented economic projects. Now we are working out the conceptual directions of the project with experts, which will be published in a few months.

- Is it about appropriate economic environment missing in Armenia for Diaspora Armenians to settle in their homeland?

There is a lot to do, but ... time to "repatriate" with patriotic songs and toasts has passed.  The danger of assimilation is hung above the head of a Diaspora Armenian, like the Diocese of Damocles, and by realizing that, they want to "insure" their reputation and revenues accumulated during the time.  And only the RA can be the guarantor.  The repatriate shouldn't be expected by poverty in Armenia. The country should be economically attractive.

- Armenian authorities had great expectations with the right of dual citizenship, hoping that it would boost the country's economy. Why didn’t it happen?

If instead of spending so much time and resources, the state adopted a law of repatriation, we would have different overview today.  We Armenians have a huge economic and demographic potential and thus we can make Armenia an influential economic crossroad of global importance. This is the idea that unites the businessmen standing on the basis of the "Build Armenia" project, who will contribute to the implementation of individual and community repatriation programs.

- Each project should have a "recruiting" ideological axis. What is the ideological axis of the "Build Armenia" project?

If you do not give the repatriate economic and security guarantees, he/she will not leave his comfortable residence and move to Armenia. Those who called "Hooray! Homeland" failed because their "capital" of repatriation was the resource to influence on exclusively emotional and emotional perceptions of the Diaspora. The "Build Armenia" project has two ideological and strategic principles: first, Armenia is a homeland for those, who want to participate in its construction, and second, Armenia can become a safe and attractive for any investor.

- What do you mean by saying that Armenia is their homeland who wants to participate in its construction?

It is not official Yerevan to organize the repatriation of the full potential of Armenians. The Diaspora communities, individual entrepreneurs and associations should be involved in that work. The Republic of Armenia should demonstrate a flexible participation not to control the economic means of the Diaspora by preparing a legislative basis that will allow the repatriate to avoid thoughts about leaving.

- Many do not share the opinion that "Armenia can become attractive for any investor". They are convinced that Armenia can be visited only in status of a tourist as the conditions for living are not satisfactory.

We must immortalize the imperative of a flourishing, prosperous and developed state. together with the collective memory, language and culture of the three main components of our identity. Armenia, unlike even developed countries, has wonderful conditions for everyday life and work. Even the laws are flexible. If the state proves that the repatriate in economic, health, legal and

educational spheres will have a development perspective, I assure you, he/she will repatriate. Armenians are very traditional and our society is liberal, based on the "family" cell. These two realities can activate the economy and the market to create favorable conditions for any investment. All of us have to show the world that repatriation has an endless number of "successful stories" and that it is possible to organize business repatriation. This is our conviction and we will definitely implement it.

Davit Alaverdyan talked to Sevak Artsruni

Photos by Emin Aristakesyan

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