Construction is on in a town near Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital Stepanakert, which had a strategic military importance during the war with Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, for a number of state agencies of the unrecognized Armenian republic to move there. The area’s administration says construction could be completed by 2011.
Shushi, about 15 kilometers to the south of Stepanakert, had a predominantly Azerbaijani population before Nagorno-Karabakh’s de-facto secession from Azerbaijan following the 1991-1994 war. It was Azerbaijan’s major military stronghold before being captured by Karabakh Armenian forces in 1992. The battle of Shushi admittedly marked a turning-point in the war in which Karabakh Armenians managed to establish control over the region.
Rehabilitation of the town has since been a declared priority by authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh. Reconstruction activities in Shushi have been largely supported by Armenian charities.
According to head of the Shushi administrative area Gevorg Hayrian, another major project aims at providing the town with 24-hour water supply.
Hayrian told RFE/RL that the project has already been submitted to the all-Armenian fund ‘Hayastan’ for funding. ‘Hayastan’ had declared it would channel all funds raised in last year’s nationwide telethon at projects in Shushi.
Hayrian also said an allocation equivalent to nearly $185,000 had been made by the Karabakh authorities from their state budget for projects to be implemented in the Shushi area.
The area’s head said that several streets as well as a sports school are being currently repaired in the town and a picture gallery is under construction.
“Shushi is in a very bad condition. It needs revitalizing,” said Hayrian.