Russian journalists: “The town of Aghdam does not exist any more, actually it is a stony desert”

Russian journalists: “The town of Aghdam does not exist any more, actually it is a stony desert”
# 11 January 2013 09:35 (UTC +04:00)

Baku – APA. The Russian-Ukrainian magazine AutoReview has published a reporting in its 23rd edition on the visit of its correspondents to the occupied Nagorno Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, head of the Azerbaijani community of Crimea Rahim Humbatov told APA. According to him, the article contains information on the current situation in the occupied territories. I would like to present a few quotes from the reporters’ impressions on the Armenian border: “It took a few minutes to stamp the foreign passports. The formal procedures on the customs were carried out within three hours. No, no, the cause was not a cognac, this is how they are working here. Gloomy people are sitting at the table, entangled with computer cable and nearby crowds many drivers, who don’t understand anything. There is reference data, but all are in Armenian. The xerographic copier is scratching, printers are chewing papers, the blanks are stamped and printed receipts are flying from one table to another. And then – silence! There is no connection with server. Wait! Ten minutes, twenty, forty… The connection was lost for the second time when applying for insurance, we spend more than an hour instead of 10 minutes. Every car on the border cost about $65.

The journalists, who came to Karabakh in several cars, described the interesting episodes happened at the beginning of the way: “Where are you going? To Istisu? May I take you to Kalbajar? I agreed moving my head. Who knows, when will the other car come to this mountainous village? Thin Armenian woman is sitting in Mazda. I’m trying to specify: Kalbajar? Maybe you mean Karvachar? This is shown on the map. Which of these names are correct? The response – silence. I feel that it is difficult for them to answer. Kalbajar and Istisu - are the Azerbaijani names, but those living here still use those names.”

Another quote from the article:

“You can travel all day long, but will not meet anyone, and at night you walk along the ruins.”

The journalists write that the town of Aghdam exists no more.

“The town of Aghdam, which once the most famous Soviet port wine was named after, does not exist any more. Everything, which has not been destroyed by Grad rockets, have been dismantled as a construction material. This is the administrative center of Eskeran region, but actually this is a stony desert. One can meet here only sappers. On all political maps and officials documents Karabakh is the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. In reality – cars with Armenian number plates, Armenian passports, Armenian currency… The difference is only in the language. If sometimes in Yerevan you can speak to people in English, in Stepanakert all talks and advertisements, even graffiti are in Russian.”

The journalists write that the separatist regime’s statements do not reflect the reality.

“I am looking through the news bulletin of Karabakh government. “2012 budget forecasts are coming true prematurely”. The volume of the budget is $175 million, despite this, 30 million ‘charity dollars’ have been spent on the construction of North-South highway from Stepanakert to Gandzasar. According to the Foreign Ministry, 60% of the funds needed for the republic has been donated by the Diaspora.”

According to Rahim Humbatov, the debris of Istisu, which was once an important resort in the union, made sad impressions on the Russian journalists.

“With the exception of some moments related to history, in general Russian journalists tried to be unbiased and managed to do it to some extent. I talked to the chief editor of the magazine’s Ukraine branch Maksim Kadikov, he said they are far from politics and would not want to violate the territorial integrity of any state,” he said.

Nagorno Garabagh