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Chronicles of Artsakh – Artak Beglaryan | interview to “Repat Armenia”
12/06/2016English Posts, Հարցազրույցներ և ելույթներ, Քաղաքականություն
My Interview to Repat Armenia.
To be introduced to Artsakh, is to understand the people of Artsakh; it is thanks to them that this land is still Armenian. If you want to understand the strength and endurance of these people, then Artak Beglaryan’s victorious spirit, no matter the circumstances, is an example of it.
After watching Artak’s first interview with Luys Foundation, I understood that his background is all about the strong willpower and the true spirit of Artsakh as a nation. A man for whom there is no such a thing as “impossible” despite the obstacles faced.
E: Artak, we will not be talking about politics – because political process is a transitional phenomenon. Today people often use the word “patriotism” as a manipulation tool among the Armenian youth. What does patriotism mean for you and how is it shown?
A: When something is used as a manipulation or in a negative context it starts losing its true meaning. Unfortunately nowadays “patriotism” became an exploited term. In my opinion, “patriotism” is a feeling that is shown through real actions on different levels, and based on national and universal morals and values.
E: It has been 3 years since you became the spokesperson for NKR government. It is a small amount of time for a radical change, but you have gained the trust of the audience, which is important. What is your secret? What should the public institutions learn from this to gain similar trust?
A: In reality, building trust does not happen immediately. It is a lengthy process that requires action assessment in a timely manner, where you are required to be a man of principles. As a person, you have different required social roles: as a citizen, as a government official, as a friend and etc. Besides these roles, people always want to see and compare the results of operations that took place. Once you see that a person’s promised words become a reality and does not voice his actions every step of the way – this is the greatest source of trust. Throughout my career (prior working with the government of NKR) in my social, political activities and career, I constantly followed these principles. As a result, I gained the trust that allows me to move forward and achieve great results. Since my younger years, I realized that by following these principles I have set for myself, will make my work honest and transparent.
E: Many say that Armenians leave their country when it is peaceful, yet return in time of war. What do you think, how can we keep them here and should we keep them here when it is peaceful?
A: This is indeed very interesting behavior for Armenians. On the one hand, it is terrible that they are leaving the country, and on another hand it makes me pleased to see them returning when there is instability and danger in its stead. This behavior suggests that they are leaving the country because of many social and economic issues and not because of the country itself. Our main problem after border security is emigration prevention. For me, there is no simple solution for the emigration issue in a peaceful manner. However, changing some key conditions in Armenia can significantly decrease, if not entirely prevent, the rates of emigration. In the long run, it will also provide basis for repatriation. Among these conditions, I would highlight the increase in the level of social justice, the rule of law, and the establishment of the principle of equal social opportunities for workers. These conditions are idealistic, but even if we do not reach 100% results, it can significantly impact on the efficiency within the existing realities.
E: When entering NKR from Armenia’s side, there is a stunning village, with neat and excellent infrastructure that was built by Lebanese Armenians. Can you name three reasons why today Armenians have to come and live in Artsakh?
A: People (especially Armenians) can move to Artsakh for several reasons. The most important one – a conscious desire on the basis of irrational motives. The second reason is the comparative advantage of the characteristics of people living in Artsakh – kind, open, hospitable, and more. The third reason is the nature of Artsakh. These are important psychological factors for a happy life. We can also mention the rational reason. Artsakh offers quite comfortable living options for those who would like a healthy and clean environment. In addition, there is fertile soil for agriculture which can have sustainable profits with proper planning and work. The competition is not high in almost all of the sectors of the economy and here we can work effectively to achieve success, despite the fact that the domestic market has serious limitations.
E: If we are discussing skilled repatriation in Artsakh, what type of specialists are needed in 2016? What kind of difficulties can they expect?
A: I want to note that the main problem is not lack of professional managers, but often their complete absence. No sector, even with highly specialized staff, can succeed without proper control. With regard to specialists I would say farmers and engineers have to be technologically savvy. These and several other industries have a high demand for qualified professionals. The second most important problem is the skills of building a team, as there is a shortage of highly qualified specialists in all fields. As a result, the new manager will have to spend some time gathering and training the team. The positive aspect is that there are a lot of people looking for vacancies, but they will have to develop professional skills. And of course, to attract professionals, sustainable financial resources must be available.
E: Artsakh – amazingly beautiful place, land of mountains and fields. What is required for it to become part of the tourism sector not only for Diaspora but also for the local Armenian community?
A: It is difficult to make Artsakh a tourist destination independent from Armenia. The more tourism develops and becomes successful in Armenia, the more it will have a positive impact on Artsakh. Anyway, there are limitations that tourism in Artsakh faces. Besides the diverse nature, you cannot forget about the presence of conflict, which interests extreme tourism lovers. But as a whole, especially after the hostilities in April this year, there will be a relative decline in the flow of tourists.
E: In many interviews you mention that the goal you have set for yourself helps you move forward. What was the goal for Artak Beglaryan in April 2016?
A: Yes, I do move forward according to the specific goals I have set, but it is not always possible to achieve what I have intended, taking into account the timing and resource constraints. In any case, having these goals can help in the right setting and in achieving long term goals. April events certainly made major changes in our plans. During those days, for me the most important goal was to effectively use my potential for Artsakh, applying the skills and knowledge and the social status I have gained. I don’t look to quantify the targets I have set in front of me, but I try to maximize everything for one purpose and as a result I am not so unhappy with my result.
E: Many times I have heard that Armenians and Armenians from Karabakh differ. I see the difference. Do you see the difference and if so, what are they?
A: I think if we want to try and find the differences, we will find them, even when comparing the populations of two villages within the same country. On the other hand, generalization between social groups can give very mixed results. Therefore, taking account the slight differences between the psychology and behavior of the people of Stepanakert and Yerevan and the regions of Armenia, I don’t think these differences show any significant influence on the formation of identity.
E: You are an inspiration for many, without exaggeration. You brilliantly dance Armenian dances, you have climbed Ararat and you work on Sundays… Who or what inspires you?
A: A source of inspiration for me is a person who understands that to have a better world and a homeland depends on him. These type of people are an inspiration for me by the way they display responsibility and take care of people surrounding them. My various hobbies allow me to recharge for work and sometimes for bringing positive change in the world around me.
E: You are 27 years old, so I associate you as part of the younger generation. What are the problems of the Armenian youth today? What mistakes should be avoided?
A: I am hoping to always be associated with the younger generation regardless of my age, because they are a great source of energy. Of course, the plans I have, are a bit subjective, but I will say this: a continuous self-development, consistent tolerance of individuals and society, as well as the determination to live and work in Armenia. If we combine all of these, we can build a country that we dream about, gradually having all Armenians return to their homeland.
E: Artak, for a joint photo, in which corner of your room should we stand? You have a very modest office, it is hard to guess that it is a government official’s office.
A: Anywhere is fine. But let’s take off our jackets, otherwise they will say that the government of NKR does not have enough money for heating. (laughs)
P.S. There are people who have brighter personalities that can be expressed through interviews or conversations. While speaking with them you see their resilient effort to fight until the end, regardless of the complexity of the target. There are many times where Artak Beglaryan can give up and start feeling sorry for himself, filled with grief and fear. But that isn’t him. Artak has no desire to impress you. He just lives. He acts and moves forward. For me – Artak Beglaryan is the personification of the invincibility of Artsakh.
Elena Kozhemyakina, she has moved to live in Armenia in 2009. April 10, 2016.
Translated by Tatev Babayan
Edited by Tamar Najarian
Artak Beglaryan | Artsakh | Karabakh
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