One year after the second Karabakh war, Armenians are unsure of the future
Anahit Esayan, a wild blueberry picker in Berd, said the community was “completely cut off from all interstate roads.”
She added: “Cities on the highway to Georgia or Iran are better off. There is more movement there. Here life becomes more and more difficult but nobody notices it. When I go to Yerevan, I see the gap between the rich and the poor. Everyone here is poor.
For others in Berd, however, there are concerns about neighboring Azerbaijani enclaves inside Armenia. The Armenian authorities have not ruled out that the three Azerbaijani enclaves inside Armenia are exchanged with Artvashen, an Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan.
Anahit Badalian, who runs a women’s resource center in the city, said “the uncertainty” over Voskepar and Barkhudarly, two Azerbaijani enclaves located on the main road to Berd, was the “biggest problem” for the city. .
The Silk Road in Armenia
Unlike Berd, Meghri, which is Armenia’s southernmost city, was well connected during Soviet times.
Meghri, which is on the border with Iran, had a direct rail line through the Azerbaijani Nakhichevan to Yerevan, along the Araxes River. This railway line was blocked in 1993 due to the Nagorno-Karabakh war, which then separated the residents of Meghri from Yerevan by a winding and mountainous eight-hour journey, resulting in high transport costs for the people. everyday products.
The end of the war, it seems, could speed up Meghri’s transport links. While the construction of a 556-kilometer north-south highway began in 2012 under Serge Sarkissian, the country’s kleptocratic leader ousted in 2018, it has not been completed, despite an initial budget of $ 962 million.
The former president once claimed that the highway would allow Armenians to reach ports in the Black and Caspian seas, shortening Meghri’s journey to Armenia’s northern border with Georgia from ten to five. Since Sarkisian’s removal from power, however, 29 people have been charged with highway-related corruption offenses, including the former president’s brother.