A few months ago, during the meeting with members of the public council, RA Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan introduced the “I Have the Honor” and “I am” conditional programs as elements of the “Nation-Army” concept.
During the discussion, the defense minister noted, “In Armenia, where every fortieth person is a soldier, there is not much alternative. That is, we are a nation-army, regardless of the fact whether we want it or not”.
However, the statistical data cited by Sargsyan are problematic.
Thus, at the beginning of 2017, the Union of Informed Citizens NGO published a report about the number of armed forces and armaments, which was based on reports of member states of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. The report clearly mentions that the total number of military servicemen in Armenia is 44.800, 41.850 out of which are ground forces (the rest serve in the air force and air defense).
At the same time, according to the RA National Statistical Service, the number of permanent population of the Republic of Armenia was 2 million 986.5 thousand people as of January 1, 2017. Simple arithmetic shows that every 66th person is a military serviceman in Armenia.
Armenia and Artsakh
And though Vigen Sargsyan is the defense minister of Armenia only, let us try to include the population and armed forces of Artsakh as well.
The figures are not absolute in the report about Nagorno Karabakh Republic as the NKR is not member of CAFE treaty and is not accountable to it. Nevertheless, according to the report, the number of armed forces of Artsakh is 18-20 thousand. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that part of the armed forces personnel and equipment attributed to Artsakh is also included in the number declared by the RA armed forces.
According to the aforementioned report of Union of Informed Citizens NGO, the total number of all types of servicemen of the RA and Artsakh armed forces does not exceed 55 thousand, out of which about 18-20 thousand are in Artsakh (this calculation is based on the number of soldiers participating in elections).
According to the population census in Artsakh in 2015, the number of NKR population is 145.053 (there are no more recent data on the population of Artsakh).
If we again turn to elementary arithmetic, we will see that on average every 57th citizen is a military serviceman in the two Armenian republics.
Trying to get closer to the number mentioned by the defense minister, we supposed that national security service and police personnel also have to be included in order to have every fortieth citizen as a soldier. However, in that case, we will deal with partly nation-policeman, rather than nation-army concept.
Thus, we are left to understand whether the Defense Minister is lying, or the RA population is 2 million, rather than 3 million (this claim is made by a number of Armenian opposition figures).