Sargis and his family moved to Yerevan when he was 16 so he could receive a good education and have access to better opportunities. Sargis said the small size and the lack of opportunities in Gavar, a city 95 km from Yerevan, made it clear he could not stay there. “I knew I would leave some day,” he said.
It is not just an issue of slowed or limited development; there is simply no development in Gavar. The reason is clear: following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the “heart” of this industrial city stopped. Almost all the factories closed down, forcing thousands of people to move. But even as the Armenian economy developed, the situation in Gavar has not improved, Sargis said.
“Many of my relatives have migrated with their families,” he said, listing the relations who have already left. He argued that the government tends to focus on Yerevan, ignoring the natural resources Gavar could offer for growth and investment. “Gavar could have had — and even now could have — economic potential as it is located next to one of the most famous tourist destinations in Armenia, Lake Sevan,” Sargis noted.
Initially he struggled to adapt to city life. “I came from a very closed and traditional community ... Later, of course, I got used to the new environment,” he said.
Sargis has worked as a journalist, a TV anchor, a communication manager and an editor. Now he is working in the government and recently he has been elected as a member of Armenian National Assembly. He notes that he has never had a problem finding a job in Yerevan, and it pains him that he cannot create a similar life in his hometown.