ArmeniaNow.com - Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 October 17, 2003 


The Son Shines in Armenia: Refugees react to election of Ilham Aliev


Zhanna Andriyan does not have hope that the new Azeri president will compensate Armenian refuges for their property. All what she expects from the new president, is peace.

" I would vote for him because he is his father's son."

It was a term heard often in Armenia during last winter's presidential election campaign as Stepan Demirchyan's unsuccessful campaign invoked the memory of his assassinated father, Karen.

And it is a term repeated in neighboring Azerbaijan in recent days as Ilham Aliev successfully campaigned to succeed his father as President of Azerbaijan.

Had some 360,000 Armenians not fled Azerbaijan during the Karabakh war, it is likely Aliev would have gotten their votes this week as well.

"As Ilham is a successor of his father's policy, that means he is for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict," says refugee Zhanna Andryan who lives in Yerevan."I was watching his interviews by TV and I can see that he is polite, intelligent and smart just as his father."

Andryan spent more than 20 years singing in the State Opera in Baku, Azerbaijan's capital. The mezzo soprano singer said that Heidar Aliev was fond of music and often visited the State Opera with his family.

"I do not remember his son, Ilham, but I remember his late wife who was a talented eye doctor in Baku. Once after the performances they came backstage and gave us flowers and thanked us for the performance."

Along with Armenian owners of 92,000 houses in Azerbaijan Andryan left her home in Baku in 1990.

She says she does not have hope that the new Azeri president will compensate Armenian refuges for their property. All that she expects from the new president, is peace.

Another refugee Zhanna Arutyunova also hopes that Ilham would not resume the war over Nagorno-Karabagh.

"People make war for power and money. Ilham has both. Even if he were not elected president the private capital made by his father would be enough for him, his children and his grandchildren."

Zhanna Arutyunova thinks that since Ilham Aliev has both power and money there is no sense for him to resume the war...

Arutyunova was a research officer in Baku and often communicated with local officials. As she said she and other Armenians, her neighbors and colleagues enjoyed a kind attitude by the Azeris. The pogroms in Baku of 1990 seemed to her to be chaotic, but she said only when she found herself in Armenia she realized that the anti-Armenian movement was well planned.

"If the movement did not rise up in the 1990s, it would happen one day. Armenians had no future in Azerbaijan. Despite there was an Armenian church and no one could forbid speaking Armenian it was because Baku was an international city with many Russians and Jews," Arutyunova said.

"However the Armenians could not have leading posts and Azeris were controlling the whole country," she said.

According to the recent data from the Department for the Migration and Refugees there are 280,000 refugees left in Armenia. The rest left the country, mostly for Russia.

Most of them have not been integrated into their new homes and say every day they remember their former homeland, which turned hostile toward them.

"If Ilham Aliev would conduct a tolerant policy, maybe we will have chance to go to Baku, not to stay there but at least to see one more time the place where we were born," Andryan says.


According to Agnes
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  Inside
 

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The Son Shines in Armenia: Refugees react to election of Ilham Aliev

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