The nineteenth-century city acquired a more Armenian character as the Russians settled thousands ofnew Armenian immigrants from Turkey and Persia there, but even in the 1870s, Yerevan had only around twelve thousand inhabitants. It was far smaller than Shusha, and Armenian migrant workers were far more likely to seek their fortunes in Baku. (Lourie, Yerevan’s Phenomenon, p. 177-178).
What made Yerevan the city that it now is was another, far bigger wave of migrants…
From 1918 to 1920, Yerevan was the capital of the briefly independent first republic of Armenia and the main refuge for hundreds of thousands Armenians fleeing Anatolia. In 1920, it became the capital of Soviet Armenia. When the writer Arthur Koestler visited Yerevan in 1932, as a Jew, he was reminded of the new Jewish settlements in Palestine: “… a sizeable part of the population were refugees and immigrants from Turkey, Armenia, Europe and America. It often happened that, when I asked my way from a passer-by in halting Russian, the answer was given in fluent German or French…”
(Koestler. The invisible Writing p. 109).
…Armenia had an identifiable nation that was scattered across the world but no state. The Soviet Republic of Armenia was built to fit this role and become a new Armenian homeland.
Thomas de Waal
“Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War” page 75-76