Armen Amiryan

Artsakh’s Government Boosts Private Sector Economy but Needs Diaspora’s Help: Video Reportage

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STEPANAKERT — As a result of the 44-day long Azerbaijani aggression in 2020, Armen Amiryan lost all his greenhouses and his own house in the Ughtasar village of Artsakh, now occupied by the Azerbaijani forces. But on December 10, 2020, exactly one month and one day after the combats were over, he planted seeds at his new greenhouse in a new village. “I participated in all three wars, but when we have peacetime, I have to work. I can’t not work. I cannot leave my motherland,” said Armen when we met near his newly constructed greenhouse in the suburbs of Stepanakert. He grows organic and pesticide-free tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and other vegetables on his new greenhouse farm.

He even plays classical music for the plants. Armen has observed that Mozart or Gomidas is good for plants. “The government assisted me in jumpstarting my new business after I left my home, greenhouses, and acres of land,” Armen added.

In the capital, Artak Beglaryan, the State Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, said that since the combats were halted two years ago, lots of work has been done to develop the irrigation system and energy security of Artsakh. The Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, however, lacks resources for private entrepreneurship.

A carpet produced by Metaks-Combinat of Artsakh

“Indeed, security is our main concern. It is not something that the diaspora could help directly, even though the political work that diaspora communities may pursue in their countries in favor of Artsakh and justice might contribute to a better security environment for Artsakh. What is more directly related to our communities is investments in our economy and their professional expertise,” noted Beglaryan.

The government chair defines the Armenian diaspora as the window of Artsakh to the world. “We do not expect investment as an act of patriotism but as a business activity. And we need the diaspora’s expertise for capacity building,” said Beglaryan.

A carpet produced by Metaks-Kombinat of Artsakh

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Before the last war, Metaks-kombinat Stepanakert (kombinat means manufacturing plant in Russian) was set up with the help of the government. Before the Covid pandemic hit, it had 550 employees producing rugs, carpets, garments, and silk products. Vladimir Balayan, the director, said the government provided the building where several private sector companies set up manufacturing. He serves as the liaison officer between the private offices that are parts of Metaks-Kombinat and the authorities.

A carpet produced by Metaks-Kombinat of Artsakh

“When the war ended, we were left with 200 employees only. Now it’s back to 350. It is getting better slowly,” said Balayan pointing to beautiful hand-made rugs on the walls. Artsakh’s traditional carpets and tapestries have always been famous. But they need markets to secure economic growth.

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