On August 1, near the town of Shushi, near the Azerbaijani border, Russian peacekeepers stopped 32-year-old Shushi resident Isaura Balasanyan and her four children as they tried to cross the border. The woman explained her action by the fact that she has no place to live, she wants to return to her place of residence, the city of Shushi [which is not under Armenia’s control anymore].
Azerbaijani-Russian border guards returned the mothers and her children to the Artsakh Republic.
Isaura Balasanyan confirmed the information in a conversation with Forrights.am. “Yes, I went to Shushi because I do not have a home. I took the photos of my dead husband and my dead mother, my children and went to Shushi. I did not take anything with me. I reached the border, but the Russians did not allow us to enter Shushi. The Russians told me not to enter, it is a shame, it will not bring honor to your nation. I did not enter Shushi. I stood between the Turks and the Russians. At that time, the Russians had already called their commander, the commander had called the Ministry and told them that a woman from your people was surrendering to the Turks with her children. And that’s how the NSS came,” the woman told us.
On the way to Shushi, on the border, she saw Azerbaijani soldiers. “They did not say anything. They were looking at me and my children. They were looking at us with sad faces. “
After the 44-day war, Isaura Balasanyan and her four children settled in the first-floor apartment of a dormitory on Davit Bek Street in Stepanakert. She paid 100,000 drams for that house.
She says that she decided to leave when the landlord decided to increase the rent of the house by making it 150,000 drams.
Isaura appealed to various government agencies to provide her with a place to stay with her children.
“Everywhere they kept telling me ‘Come today, come tomorrow’. She tried to see the Artsakh Minister of Territorial Administration, but he did not receive the woman. “The secretary said that the minister would not accept me, that they did not care where I would live; she told me to leave, go away. So, I went to Shushi,” Isaura explains her desperate move. She told the same to the special services who brought him to Artsakh.
After the forced return, Isaura Balasanyan was given a semi-destroyed house full of snakes in the village of Khandzk in the Askeran region. Isaura has become accustomed to snakes. She even held them in her hand. But she could not stay there with the children.
One of the friends took Isaura and her children out of the house with snakes and brought them to a place called Jamalu, 2-3 kms away from Khnatsakh village. “There are several houses here. Wherever we stay, there is no bathroom, no water. There is electricity, but I do not have anything to boil water with, I light fire to bathe the children. The children walk 3 kilometers every day to get to school. I could not buy a school bag for my daughter, it is expensive; she goes to school without a bag. I bought notebooks, but not enough. Girls also need boots and warm jackets. My children are capable of education, of learning. I have to make them to move forward in life,” Isaura shared with us, hoping that someone would respond and help the children. The little one is four years old, the elder one is 12.
Isaura’s husband died in 2012 of a heart attack. She buried his mother two years ago in August. Crying, she says that the graves of the two are now in the hands of the Azerbaijanis, in the village of Ukhtadzor in Hadrut.
After the 44-day war, Stepanakert became a center of social disaster. The refugees from Kashatagh and Shushi, from the villages of Hadrut, Askeran, Martakert, hoping to find a roof and a job, flooded Stepanakert, settled in dilapidated houses and basements, and settled even in shops. A “kitchen-size” place has become a dream for many. House rents have risen. Unrepaired facilities without utilities in Stepanakert costs 60-70 thousand drams. State financial assistance to displaced people is often insufficient to pay basic rent. Total unemployment soars in the city.