Narek Sahakyan: “Armenian youth today love the homeland with posters…”
Interview with head of Baghanis village Narek Sahakyan.
The youngest village head talked about the village’s problems, achievements, as well as the youth defending the border and their demands. Eritasard.am: By saying ‘bordering village’ we understand ‘a village that defends the border’. How would you describe the youth of Baghanis defending the border? What are their characteristics? Narek Sahakyan: The residents of Baghanis directly and indirectly defend the border since the day they are born, and this is a status for us. Our youth stand out with their willingness to defend the border. Today, unfortunately, young Armenians love their homeland with posters or Facebook comments, but if they hear a shot at night, they will forget about their Facebook comments. Eritasard.am: What are the current problems of the youth who are always in a state of war? N. S.: As in all villages, the youth of Baghanis also face the issue of employment. I believe this is something that the government should solve. Eritasard.am: What are your solutions? N. S.: As the head of this village, I feel it is my duty to create conditions for the people to live and work. To develop agriculture, I have provided water for 12 ha of vineyards and 54 ha of gardens to be irrigated, and I have already started working on providing drinking water. These are issues, the solutions to which can help raise the standard of living. We also plan on building a small cheese factory that can create jobs for 10 young residents. Eritasard.am: The socio-economic situation facing the youth and young families in the provinces is troubling. Does Baghanis face this issue? If yes, what actions are being taken? N. S.: Like other villages of Armenia, Baghanis also faces this issue. I am pleased to mention that two new homes were built in our village in 2015. This is inspiring in these dire conditions. Each resident does something on his own. Eritasard.am: The government makes some allocations to the youth. How would you assess the government’s support to youth in the provinces? N. S.: As I already said, the major issue that the youth of the provinces want to see solved today is the issue of employment, and it wouldn’t be bad if there was a small youth center. Although I have allocated the former library of the village to the local youth so that they can gather there during the months of winter, the conditions are poor. Eritasard.am: You are young yourself, and I am certain that you have a better picture of the issues of youth concern. What problems have been solved during your term in office? N. S.: Throughout my three-year term, a 7.5 km water pipeline was built in the village through various programs. I have provided the entire village with lighting at night and have obtained agricultural equipment. Five modern bus stops and 15 garbage cans have been placed in different districts of the village. Garbage is disposed in an organized manner. Nevertheless, there is a lot of work to do. Eritasard.am: Recently, singer Kristine Pepelyan did something beautiful for Baghanis. Have there been similar cases that haven’t been touched upon? How do you view such initiatives in general? N. S.: If you take a look at my Facebook page, you won’t see any personal comment. All my links refer to my activities, meaning it’s safe to say that my page is the official page of Baghanis village. I keep the people updated about any action via Facebook. For instance, I met Armenian American Harutyun Karmiryan via the Internet. For the past two years, Harut has become a good friend of Baghanis and has provided funding for about 5 programs, and everyone knows about that. What Pepelyan did deserves appraisal. I commend her. It was a great step, and it will help two small districts have lighting at night. Eritasard.am: Perhaps it is no secret that living in a bordering village is risky. Is there a fear that the youth will want to leave the village? N. S.: There is always a fear, but they are here, and if the issues that I mentioned are solved, they will stay in their village. Eritasard.am: As a young leader, what would you wish the youth living in bordering villages? N. S.: I always say that it is high time for “the generation of independence” to take part in governance. Be active, aspiring and love our homeland whether it is strong or weak! Everyone will love a strong homeland. A real patriot is he who loves his homeland when it is weak. The homeland is also a parent, and a parent is never bad. The homeland is the only thing to which we should always give, without taking. Be healthy! Satenik Khachatryan