On December 7, Armenia is commemorating the victims of the 1988 earthquake. Let us recall that December 7, 1988, a catastrophic earthquake hit Armenia. An earthquake with magnitude of 7.2, happened at 10:41 Moscow time, in the northwest of the Armenian SSR, completely destroyed the city of Spitak and 58 villages, the city of Leninakan (now Gyumri), Stepanavan, Vanadzor and more than 300 settlements were partially destroyed. At least 25 thousand people died, 514 thousand people were left homeless. Altogether, the earthquake swept across about 40% of the territory of Armenia.
Despite the fact that it has been 28 years, 4000 families in Gyumri are still considered homeless, many of them were transferred to the houses of temporary residence or railway carriages. And all this against the background of luxurious villas of senior officials of Sargsyan administration, each of which is worth more than one million dollars.
According to the Armenian media, public organizations of Armenia estimated that for the resettlement of all who need decent housing, an amount of $35 million is required. The other day, head of the Gyumri club “Asparez” Levon Barseghyan said that $35 million is 1% of the state budget of Armenia. If 0.25% of this amount will be annually allocated to the solution of this issue, then in 4 years, housing problem of all those who live in temporary houses can be solved permanently.
Let’s agree that $35 million is not such a big amount. In a normal country, where they care for their citizens, the housing problem of those affected by the earthquake would be solved in maximum one and a half or two years. But in Armenia, the problem of people affected by the earthquake is not solved for 28 years. And this indicates that Ter-Petrosian, Kocharyan, Sargsyan don’t care that 4000 Armenian families are crammed into wagons and temporary shelters. Let alone an amount of $ 35 million that seems ridiculous against the background of undeniable wealth accumulated by officials and oligarchs close to the richest people in Armenia – Kocharyan and Sargsyan. For example, the fortune of the Armenian president’s brother – Sashik Sargsyan – allows him to build new homes in almost half of Armenia. Seyran Ohanyan, Gagik Tsarukyan, Samvel Aleksanyan, Armen Avetisyan, Hrant Vardanyan, Andranik Manukyan, Maxim Hakobyan, Khachatur Sukiasyan – those are the richest people of Armenia. If Sargsyan had a political will, he could shake them down not only for the construction of houses for Gyumri residents, but also for the overhaul of the total housing stock of Armenia. But no, according to their logic, they didn’t rob the Armenian people so then to share the loot with the same people.
Well, the oligarchs headed by Sargsyan don’t care for the people of Gyumri. But what about regular TV marathons and collected millions of dollars that the Armenian diaspora is funneling to Armenia. For example, the nineteenth telemarathon of All-Armenian Fund “Hayastan” held in November this year raised more than $15 million. A couple of these telemarathon, and the problem of housing for the victims of the earthquake could be forgotten (recall that in total there were19 of these telemarathons draining money from rich Armenian Diaspora).
However, as is already known, most of the funds begged from the diaspora successfully ended up in the pockets and accounts of Armenian officials and oligarchs. It is no coincidence that at the time a billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who allocated more than 1 billion dollars for the improvement of Armenia over two decades, demanded a report from the Sargsyan’s government on where and on what has his money been spent. Of course he did not receive a consistent answer, because the top of the “Karabakh clan” reigning in Armenia could not openly admit that it basically pocketed the money of the Armenian billionaire.
Put all those telemarathons and Armenian oligarchs aside! Now, Russian cinemas actively promote the film by Sarik Andreasyan “Earthquake”, produced jointly by Armenia and Russia. As it is clear from the title of the film, it is dedicated to the events of December 7, 1988. Well, 3 million 126 thousand dollars were spent on the production of this movie! Another hundred thousand was spent on the promotion of the film. Gyumri residents bitterly joke that this money could provide permanent housing for several hundred families affected by the earthquake. Anyway, residents of Gyumri, who live in carriages, have nothing to watch that movie on, because many of them do not even have a TV.
If we add here the fact that the Karabakh clan spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on police and army, it becomes clear that Armenian authorities have no interest in unfortunate Gyumri residents. Authorities remember them only on the eve of the anniversary of the earthquake. Although officially December 7 in Armenia is a day of remembrance of victims of the earthquake, the residents of Gyumri themselves sadly joke that the date of December 7 for them has long been turned into a “Day of Shame”.