On May 16, the Government of the Republic of Armenia approved the state support program for providing housing to families forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh and the lists of individual settlements in the Republic of Armenia. The purpose of the decision is to provide state support for housing access.”

Without going into details about the program, let’s just note that the RA government offers three options of assistance to Artsakh residents: to build a house, buy an apartment, or pay off existing loans. The support will be 2 to 5 million Armenian drams [about $5,000 to $13,000] per capita. the program will be implemented in three stages: for families with 3 or more minors, for families with 2 minors, and then for the rest. The main requirement is to obtain RA citizenship.

The limitations and requirements of the program are so many that, according to the results of the public figure Liana Petrosyan’s survey, 89% of participants refused to use this program.

The project will start in a month, but if a tacit decision to boycott is adopted, the project offered by the government to the people of Artsakh as a “very good” project will simply fail. Like the unilateral emigration of Artsakh citizens in 2023 defeated the plans of some forces to leave a few thousand Armenians in Artsakh, who will take Azerbaijani citizenship, and whoever does not want to, the state of Armenia would have no responsibility towards them. And, the Russians would have a reason to stay in Azerbaijan.

A boycott of this program is also possible, although, even in the absence of a boycott, the program has little chance of success. First of all, the problem is in the requirement to obtain Armenian citizenship.

According to official data, the limited resources of RA passport departments will allow 100 thousand people to submit applications only within several years. It takes up to 6 months to consider the application and grant citizenship. In other words, people have to go through hardships and long waiting times again.

In addition, not all Artsakh residents want to get a new RA passport, because they consider themselves RA citizens and do not want to change the RA passport with code 070 to another RA passport with the same code.

Many people ask why the RA government imposes RA citizenship as a condition of the program. It’s not that the international donors give money to the housing program to help the people of Artsakh specifically, that is, the donors have no problem with whether the people of Artsakh are citizens of the Republic of Armenia or not.

Has a condition been set to delay the program as much as possible and reduce the number of beneficiaries? And what will happen to international donors and state funds, if the people of Artsakh boycott the program or cannot register in the program on due to their citizenship isue? Will those amounts be “put under interest” or used in some other way? And will international donors be interested in how well the provided funds are being used?

It is difficult to find out who and how much money has been provided for the housing of Artsakh citizens and to what extent the government’s program is accounted for. Maybe there will be a need for an international audit. Especially since the RA government did not discuss the program with the beneficiaries, organizations; or discussed it, made some corrections in the initial version, but kept the main limitations.

According to Nelly Davtyan, Deputy Head of the Migration and Citizenship Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as of May 15, 1,942 citizenship applications were received from people forcibly displaced from Nagorno Karabakh, and 1,274 people received citizenship.

It is not known how many Artsakh citizens applied for citizenship after the government approved the program, but no enthusiasm has been noticed.

Naira Hayrumyan

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