Notes From Hairenik

I wanted to persuade readers to learn more about the situation in Kashatagh, the region formerly referred to as Lachin, and where the town Berdzor, which was also called Lachin, is located. Kashatagh is a strategically important region to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh, which is one of several occupied territories or liberated lands, depending who you speak with, now anticipated to be returned in a peace deal the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are still trying to hammer out, with a push for another presidential meeting by the end of this ear. Supposedly the cards on the table are for Armenia to return all the territories, including Kelbajar and Kashatagh which fill the gap so to speak between Armenia proper and Nagorno-Karabagh, in return for the alleged official relinquishment of Nagorno-Karabagh by Baku. Only a narrow corridor will remain, based on the one that already exists, supposedly ranging anywhere from 5 km to 20 km in width, depending on the rumor you hear.

Kashatagh is being depopulated at an alarming rate. According to statistics accrued by photojournalist Onnik Krikorian, who has discussed in detail the crisis Kashatagh is facing, “The population of the town of Lachin, now renamed Berdzor, is 2,200 according to the 2005 census. There are believed to be around 5,000-7,000 people in the entire Kashatagh region, including Lachin, although the 2005 census says there are 9,800. Most people, including officials speaking privately, in the town of Lachin put the entire population of Kashatagh at not more than 6,000.”

Dozens of Armenians from the diaspora chose to settle in the region after the war’s ceasefire, many of them relocating from Lebanon or Syria. They have been forced to endure severely harsh conditions, such as a lack of electricity and water— both in some places virtually non-existent. Most of them have already left, unable to withstand the extremities they endured patiently for so long in anticipation of things gradually improving. Economic development of the region has never really happened, not to the expectations of the area’s residents. The assumption is that Armenian and Nagorno-Karabagh authorities are turning a blind eye to the depopulation and economic stagnation as they are supposedly preparing to return the territory to Azerbaijani governance.

Edik Baghdasaryan summed up the situation best in a short commentary which was published on Monday, October 23 on Hetq. He states, “It is hard to understand how the whole nation can unite for the cause of genocide recognition, can spend so many resources on it and spare no effort or expense, but also be indifferent to its real motherland and hard-earned victories.”

He also points out that “Armenian political parties are only interested in one thing—seizing power in order to make money, start businesses and exploit the people… None of them wants to speak out on these issues. And this is not because they are afraid of being wrong, but simply because they have nothing to say—this holds for both the 115-year old Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Prosperous Armenia, founded recently and mainly dealing in the distribution of wheat and potatoes.”

I agree entirely with Edik’s comments, as they are points I have been trying to make during the near last two years of this blog’s existence. The same party, namely the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, that sent countless members to fight in the war between 1990-1994 now has nothing viable to say regarding the depopulation of Kashatagh—where some of its members chose to reside—nor has it really made any comments regarding the return of these lands to Azerbaijani control, another issue that was hotly debated by the party only five years ago. These things have to be acknowledged—politicians don’t care about the future of Nagorno-Karabagh and all that was sacrificed during the war, it can’t be more obvious.

If you have doubts, read articles that can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

To sign a petition addressed to the presidents of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh for them to resolve the dire situation in Kashatagh, go to http://www.kashatagh.com.

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3 Comments:
Blogger Christian Garbis said...
Apparently the latest talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers held in Paris on October 24 produced no results regarding a possible peace agreement before the end of the year. However, there was discussion of "new ideas," whatever that means. Perhaps the Armenian side will agree to hold a referendum to determine the final status of Karabagh in 20 years after the deal is signed instead of 10 as previously discussed. They may be willing to give up the Lachin corridor--the road transport lifeline--as well and allow for people to fly to Karabagh by helicopter or a glider.

Supposedly more discussions will be held in Brussels on November 13. I can't say that I hope headway will be made.

You can read the story here: http://www.armenialiberty.org/armeniareport/report/en/2006/10/B44680D2-3B3E-4375-8AEB-6C186AAAA223.ASP

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I will be amazed if headway is made. I don't see the sides as that close. Do you really think Kocharian will give up sovereignty over Karabagh? Or that Azerbaijan will agree to a referendum that can only go one way?

BTW, Christian, I tried to call you but couldn't get through. Will try again.


Doug M.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The destiny of the nation is left to a clique of mediocre politicians and their counterparts in the protected business elite.

Who speaks for those who waged the Artsakh liberation struggle and now are neglected by the officials in charge.

Where is the Diaspora in all of this. Who is going to contribute more money to build roads when politicians use people as negotiating pawns.

It is sickening...

Chello

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