Armenians in Russia

Armenians in Russia or Russian Armenians[n 1] are one of the country's largest ethnic minorities and the largest Armenian diaspora community outside Armenia. The 2010 Russian census recorded 1,182,388 Armenians in the country. Various figures estimate that the ethnic Armenian population in Russia is actually more than 2 million. Armenians populate various regions, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Krasnodar Krai in the North Caucasus and as far as Vladivostok in the East.

Armenians in Russia
Total population
2010 census: 1,182,388[1]
estimates: 1,700,000 (2017)[2]2,000,000+ (Putin, 2020)[3]
0.8%-1.7% of the Russian population
Regions with significant populations
Moscow, Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, Rostov Oblast
Russian, Armenian
Christianity (predominantly Armenian Apostolic)[4][5]


Early periodEdit

There has been an Armenian presence in Russia since the Late Middle Ages, when various artisans, merchants and traders ventured north to the Crimea and the northern Caucasus in order to set up trade ties and conduct commerce.

Russian EmpireEdit

Portrait of Russian-Armenian General Valerian Madatov by George Dawe from the Military Gallery, 1820

A significant number of Armenians were already living in the Russian Empire before the 1820s. After the destruction of the last remaining independent Armenian states in the Middle Ages, the nobility disintegrated, leaving Armenian society composed of a mass of peasants plus a middle class who were either craftsmen or merchants. Such Armenians were to be found in most towns of Transcaucasia; indeed, at the beginning of the 19th century they formed the majority of the population in cities such as Tbilisi. Armenian merchants conducted their trade across the world and many had set up base within Russia. In 1778, Catherine the Great invited Armenian merchants from the Crimea to Russia and they established a settlement at Nor Nakhichevan near Rostov-on-Don.[6] The Russian ruling classes welcomed the Armenians' entrepreneurial skills as a boost to the economy, but they also regarded them with some suspicion. The image of the Armenian as a "wily merchant" was already widespread. Russian nobles derived their income from their estates worked by serfs and, with their aristocratic distaste for engaging in business, they had little understanding or sympathy for the way of life of mercantile Armenians.

Nevertheless, middle-class Armenians prospered under Russian rule and they were the first to seize the new opportunities and transform themselves into a prosperous bourgeoisie when capitalism and industrialisation came to Transcaucasia in the later half of the 19th century. The Armenians were much more skilled at adapting to the new economic circumstances than their neighbours in Transcaucasia, the Georgians and the Azeris. They became the most powerful element in the municipal life of Tbilisi, the city regarded by Georgians as their capital, and in the late 19th century they began to buy up the lands of the Georgian nobility, who had gone into decline after the emancipation of their serfs. Armenian entrepreneurs were quick to exploit the oil boom which began in Transcaucasia in the 1870s, having large investments in the oil fields in Baku in Azerbaijan and the refineries of Batumi on the Black Sea coast. All this meant that the tensions between Armenians, Georgians and Azeris in Russian Transcaucasia were not simply ethnic or religious in nature but were due to social and economic factors too. Nevertheless, in spite of the popular image of the typical Armenian as a successful businessman, at the end of the 19th century 80 percent of Russian Armenians were still peasants working the land.[7]

Soviet RussiaEdit

Commemoration of the Armenian genocide in Volgograd, 2012

According to the Union of Russian Armenians, there are 2.5 million Armenians living in Russia today. According to the same source, about 850,000 are immigrants from Armenia, 350,000 from Azerbaijan and 250,000 from Georgia, including 100,000 from Abkhazia and 180,000 from Central Asia, mostly Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.[8]

The Russian government is encouraging Armenians to immigrate and settle in Russia and is providing financial and settlement incentives.[9]

Armenians in Russia have one of the highest rates of educational attainment. According to the 2002 census 21.4% of Armenians have higher education, 31.8% have "middle special" education (i.e. vocational education), and 46.1% have secondary education.[10]


Distribution of Armenians in Russia, 2010
Protests in Moscow against the extradition and pardon of Ramil Safarov, 2012
Rank Federal subject 1897 1959[11] 1970[12] 1979[13] 1989[14] 2002[15] 2010[1]
1 Krasnodar Krai 13,926[16] 78,176 98,589 120,797 182,217 274,566 281,680
2 Stavropol Krai 5,385[17] 25,618 31,096 40,504 72,530 149,249 161,324
3 City of Moscow 1,604[18] 18,379 25,584 31,414 43,989 124,425 106,466
4 Rostov Oblast 27,234[19] 49,305 53,620 56,902 62,603 109,994 110,727
5 Moscow Oblast N/A 5,353 5,683 7,549 9,245 39,660 63,306
6 Volgograd Oblast N/A N/A 2,898 4,229 6,784 26,974 27,846
7 Saratov Oblast 168[20] 1,046 1,815 3,531 6,404 24,976 23,841
8 Samara Oblast N/A 1,027 1,629 2,216 4,162 21,566 22,981
9 City of Saint-Petersburg 753[21] 4,897 6,628 7,995 12,070 19,164 19,971
10 North Ossetia 2,093[22] 12,012 13,355 12,912 13,619 17,147 16,235
11 Adygea N/A 3,013 5,217 6,359 10,460 15,268 15,561


The Armenian Cathedral of Moscow, completed in 2011

The 2010 Russian census put the number of Moscow Armenians at 106,466. Another 63,306 Armenians lived in Moscow region at the time. There are various estimates on the number of Armenians in Moscow: 400,000,[23] 600,000,[24] 1,000,000.[25][26] Moscow is often regarded as the largest Armenian community outside Armenia.

Saint PetersburgEdit

In 1708 the first Armenians came to St. Petersburg, and in 1710 in the city already existed "Armenian offices". In 1730, under the leadership of the priest Ivan Sheristanova organized the first parish of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Throughout the 20th century Armenian population of St. Petersburg has been steadily increasing. The number of Armenians in St. Petersburg increased from 1,759 in 1926 to 19,164[15] in 2002.

According to Soviet 1989 census 47% Armenians speak Armenian as native language, 52% speak Russian as native language. At the same time almost all fluent in Russian language. About half of the Armenians have higher education and, consequently, higher social status.[27]

According to the head of Saint Petersburg's Armenian community Karen Mkrtchyan, currently about 100,000 Armenians are living in the region of Saint Petersburg. There are 2 Armenian churches, a Sunday school, "Havatamk" Armenian monthly and a printing house.[28]


The Krasnodar Krai is one of the biggest communities of the Armenian diaspora.[29] According to the Russian 2002 census, there were 274,566 Armenians. 211,397 of them spoke Armenian as their native language and 6,948 had Armenian citizenship.

According to estimates some 500,000,[30][31] 700,000[32] or 1,000,000[33] Armenians resided in Krasnodar.

They are chiefly concentrated in Greater Sochi (80,045[34]–125,000)[35] the city of Krasnodar (28,022[n 2]–70,000),[37] the city of Armavir (18,262[36]–50,000)[38] Tuapse (18,194)[n 3], Novorossiysk (12,092[36]–40,000)[39] Apsheron (10,659),[36] and Anapa (8,201).[36]


Historically, the Don region was home to the largest Armenian community on the territory of the modern Russian Federation. Armenians were resettled from Crimean Khanate in 1779 by orders of Catherine the Great and founded several settlements around the territory of modern Rostov-on-Don. The largest of them, Nakhichevan-on-Don, was merged into the Rostov city in 1928. Armenians still constitute the majority of Myasnikovsky District population. In 2010 Rostov-on-Don had the third largest Armenian population of all Russian cities (after Moscow and Sochi, Krasnodar Krai).

Notable Russian ArmeniansEdit

RT and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan

Arts and entertainmentEdit

King of Russian pop Philipp Kirkorov

Politics and militaryEdit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Bagramyan


Nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian


First vice-president of Russian Football Union Nikita Simonyan


World chess champion Garry Kasparov

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Note that this article is about the Armenians living within Russia's current borders. Through large parts of the 19th and almost the entire 20th century, part of the Armenian homeland (known as Russian Armenia or Eastern Armenia) was under Russian and later Soviet rule. For Armenians in countries that have been part of Russia in the past, see Armenians in Azerbaijan, Armenians in Georgia, Armenians in Ukraine, Armenians in Belarus, Armenians in Moldova, Armenians in the Baltic states, Armenians in Central Asia and Armenians in Poland.
  2. ^ 21,390 in the city itself and 6,632 in the municipality[36]
  3. ^ 5,335 in the city itself and 12,859 in the district[36]
  1. ^ a b (in Russian) Национальный состав населения по субъектам Российской Федерации
  2. ^ "Փորձագետ. ՌԴ-ում բնակվող 2.5 մլն հայերի մասին տեղեկությունը հավաստի չէ" (in Armenian). PanARMENIAN.Net. 2 June 2017. Archived from the original on 19 August 2019. Իմ գնահատականով Ռուսաստանում 1 մլն 700 հազարից մինչև 1 մլն 800 հազար հայ է բնակվում:
  3. ^ "Interview with Rossiya TV channel". President of Russia. 7 October 2020. Archived from the original on 7 October 2020. Suffice it to say that some 2 million Azerbaijanis and over 2 million Armenians live in Russia, as far as we know.
  4. ^ Arena - Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia.
  5. ^ "Арена в PDF : Некоммерческая Исследовательская Служба "Среда"". Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  6. ^ Suny. Armenian People, p. 110
  7. ^ See Suny Chapter 2 "Images of Armenians in the Russian Empire" in Looking Toward Ararat: Armenia in Modern History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993 ISBN 0-253-20773-8
  8. ^ В России проживает более 2,5 млн армян (in Russian). РИА "Новости". December 16, 2002. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  9. ^ "Armenia Urges Russia to Discourage Armenian Migration". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  10. ^ Народы России. Атлас культур и религий. 2009. ISBN 9785287007188. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Демоскоп Weekly - Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  15. ^ a b National composition of population for regions of the Russian Federation Archived 2007-02-17 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ (in Russian) Кубанская область
  17. ^ (in Russian) Ставропольская губерния
  18. ^ (in Russian) Московская губерния
  19. ^ (in Russian) Облась Войска Донского
  20. ^ (in Russian) Саратовская губерния
  21. ^ (in Russian) г. Санкт-Петербург
  22. ^ (in Russian) Терская область - Владикавказский округ
  23. ^ (in Russian) В России армян "обласкали и дали им охоту"
  24. ^ (in Russian) В России проживает более 2,5 млн армян
  25. ^ (in Russian) Сколько русских осталось в Москве?
  26. ^ Armenian population in the world Archived May 11, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Бизнес Санкт - Петербурга - Информация о организации". Archived from the original on 14 July 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  28. ^ Տերտերյանը "վերադարձավ" Հայրավանք // Havatamk, #8, 2015, p. 6, by Samvel Danielyan
  29. ^ "АРМЯНЕ КРАСНОДАРСКОГО КРАЯ В КОНТЕКСТЕ СОВРЕМЕННОЙ МИГРАЦИОННОЙ СИТУАЦИИ. по Михаил Савва, "Нораванк"" (PDF). Retrieved 21 April 2018.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ Savva, Mikhail (2007). "Армяне Краснодарского края в контексте современной миграционной ситуации [Krasnodar Krai Armenians in the context of the recent migration situation]" (PDF) (in Russian). Noravank Foundation. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  31. ^ Կրասնոդարի երկրամասում 500 հազար հայ է բնակվում. Armenpress (in Armenian). 20 January 2003. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  32. ^ Կրասնոդարի հայերի գլխավոր խնդիրը հայապահպանությունն է, ասում է համայնքի ղեկավարը. PanARMENIAN.Net (in Armenian). 8 June 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  33. ^ "В России проживает более 2,5 млн армян [Over 2.5 million Armenians live in Russia]" (in Russian). RIA Novosti. 15 December 2003. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  34. ^ Сочинская Городская Администрация (2002 г.) (in Russian). Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  35. ^ Schreck, Carl (5 May 2006). "Sochi's Armenian Diaspora Weeps". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on 30 May 2014. With 125,000 ethnic Armenians in Sochi, out of a total of 400,000 people...
  36. ^ a b c d e f (in Russian) НАСЕЛЕНИЕ КРАСНОДАРСКОГО КРАЯ
  37. ^ Коновалова, Евгения (February 12, 2007). Армяне на Кубани: мигранты или местные жители? (in Russian). ЮГА.ру. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  38. ^ "People speak Armenian in Armavir". A1plus. January 25, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  39. ^ (in Russian) Армянское культурное общество «Луйс»
  40. ^ Amo Elyan
  41. ^ Alexei Sisakian
  42. ^ President ARB


External linksEdit