Monday, December 13, 2004

The New York Times has a very sad piece about "brain drain" in Armenia (via Blogrel):

Victor Agababov, 22, earns the princely sum of $650 a month working as a computer programmer in Yerevan, making him the best paid member of his university class. Yet he tends to mock his own achievement because his job involves doing outsourced work transferred from the United States and Japan.

"We are a cheap work force," he said. "We're cheaper than Indians and probably 10 times cheaper than Americans."

Mr. Agababov is considering moving to Moscow to find a technology job that might promise advancement and independence.

This should sound all too familiar to many, many Ukrainians, unfortunately.

Right now, however, we may be heading for a breakthrough that most Armenians can only dream about:

Fluent in English and Russian as well as their native Armenian, they were impatient with the growing pains of a post-Soviet state and cynical about politics.

To Gevorg Karapetian, a doctoral student in computer engineering, the ideal leader would be a businessman, "someone educated and clever enough to make relationships with the neighboring countries."

The present crowd of politicians did not measure up. "Our president and all the presidents before him just want to be president," Mr. Karapetian said.

It's scary to be too hopeful now, especially when Yushchenko's victory is still at least two weeks away, but who knows, maybe he'll turn out to be the president capable of leading this country towards prosperity. He's managed to wake us up politically, and that's an awesome beginning.

As for Armenia, I do know one man who may turn into the next Yushchenko/Saakashvili type of leader - but he's living and working elsewhere for now, and it's completely up to him whether to accept such a huge challenge or not. I hope he will, eventually.

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