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 An interview with the State Minister of the Republic of Artsakh

Artak Beglaryan

 - After the end of the war, many social programs were implemented by the state for our compatriots who suffered as a result of the war. A lot has already been done. What work is being done in this direction at the moment, what are the things to be done in the future?

- In fact, yes, after the war, quite a lot of social programs were implemented for the displaced people by the Artsakh government, the Armenian government, as well as various charitable organizations. We can consider that thanks to these programs we have largely managed to ensure a more or less stable social situation in Artsakh, especially among the displaced, avoiding extreme humanitarian social problems. It also affected the demographic situation.

Large-scale housing works have been done, which are also social works, programs that aim to provide more long-term solutions to housing problems.

The government has set a goal, a program, toprovide all the displaced people with permanent residence conditions in Artsakh within 3 years, of course, before their return to their occupied homes, settlements, which is a political priority for us.

In addition, we have implemented some employment and economic programs, but most of the shortcomings are there, as the programs were aimed at satisfying the humanitarian needs. We had a problem in terms of restoring infrastructure after the war, in the direction of which a lot of work has been done.

Within a few months, the severely damaged vital infrastructure of Artsakh was restored with a high percentage and put into operation.

After all this, we have started the implementation of infrastructure development programs, which have a stimulating effect and will have further economic development programs.

In the next one or two years, together with the Government of the Republic of Armenia, all our partners, including Diaspora organizations, we must already make the transition todevelopment programs. Thanks to them we will be able to provide a long-term, stable, prosperous environment for all the people of Artsakh.

However, in this respect, our main difficulty is the financial resource, because the state budget is quite socially oriented, including housing programs, we have quite a bit of money for development programs. As there was no bank financing in the post-war period, we can no longer involve additional resources. From this point of view, we would very much like the general pan-Armenian resource of the Diaspora, Armenia, in general, to be directed to Artsakh not in the form of direct charitable humanitarian programs, but in the form of making more investments.

The government is ready to support such programs in different directions.

- Of course, each of us wants to see the future of Artsakh peaceful, safe, and prosperous. This is the main wish of any Artsakh citizen, any Armenian. Mr. Beglaryan, what is your vision for the future of our homeland, our Artsakh?

- In my opinion, if I summarize briefly, we mustbuild our long-term future on seven main pillars.

The first pillar is sustainable security, the second is growing demographics, the third is developing economies, the fourth is quality education, the fifth is effective governance, the sixth is national ideology, and the seventh is pragmatic international relations.

We must build our future step by step with strategic planning on these seven pillars, here, the issue of Artsakh's status must be resolved, the issue of unconditional realization of the rights of the people of Artsakh, including the right to self-determination.

These goals are guarantees for all seven pillars; on the contrary, these seven pillars will gradually bring us to those goals.

By and large, our main goal is to ensure the permanent residence of the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh, the Armenian people here, so that we can continue our life in our homeland.

In general, Artsakh is of exceptional importance for the whole Armenian nation, that is, this is not only the struggle of the people of Artsakh, the Armenians of Artsakh, this is the struggle of the whole Armenian people, because in Artsakhthere are unique interests, unique values for the whole Armenian people. The basis of this exclusivity begins with historical and cultural values, demographic factors, including the fact that Artsakh is a demographic reserve for the Armenians of Artsakh, as Artsakh is the only province in the whole of Greater Armenia where the Armenian majority has existed for 3000 years. This in itself gives Artsakh an eloquent, powerful, value-based, ideological exclusivity.

- The Armenian Diaspora has been and remains a loyal friend of our statehood, the Diaspora has stood by Artsakh more than once. As a representative of the highest power, where would you like to see the more sensitive participation of the Diaspora?

-Of course, since the 90s, the Armenian Diaspora has provided a lot of support to Artsakh, due to which we have really had tangible, visible results in all spheres, but on the other hand, I can say that "according to our needs" and  according to the capacity of the Diaspora,that support was quite small. Ofcourse, there were also issues of the effectiveness of using that support, also because of us, because of the Artsakh society and the authorities, but this is a chronic problem not only for Artsakh.

However, after the war of 2020, I think we must re-evaluate the involvement of the Diaspora, its participation in the restoration of the homeland, the development of the homeland and further strengthening. Because if today or before the war of 2020, that support was reflected in more infrastructure investment and financial, social support, now we have a problem - in the short term - infrastructure rehabilitation and social assistance, and in the long-term, making a significant contribution to the development of individual, collective and institutional capacity. This can be done in the form of financial investments, in the form of human resources investment. What do we need so much? Of course, business activity is also very important. Of course, Artsakh is not a very attractive environment for business investments, but here business investment can be patriotic or charitable, which has bothideological and moral significance.

In general, the presence of the Diaspora in any sphere is important for us; especially today, in this difficult period for Artsakh.