Sunday, March 23, 2003


I wanted to share with you some observations and first-hand experiences I had in the last month while I was working in Stepanagert.

I noticed that everyplace I turned while I was in Stepanagert, I encountered what I could only call opportunitisum (sp?).

If this is the effect of living in a big city, I can�t really say. All I know is the surplus of opportunists was quite overwhelming for me and made my stay in Stepanagert quite unpleasant.

It started with the machinist who was making my stone cutting equipment. Then the truck I had to rent to bring an air-compressor and the person who sold me said air-compressor, that ended up not working well at all. Then there were those people who provided their services or materials I needed to complete my work.

There were a few people who wanted to convince me that their services would have to be extensive, even when I knew well that there was not much to what they really had to do and I guess it was seeing my Mercedes and my western smile that for them was smelling ripe for the pickings. To say the least, I kept clear of them at all costs.

On the non-work side, I encountered merchants, taxi drivers and common people trying to take advantage of me in a financial way.

While I was in Stepanagert, I gave a radio interview and when we took calls from the listeners, I was complimented for moving to Artsakh, but was also given some very negative questions to answer in regards to corruption, lack of jobs and is it not difficult to live here? Even the DJ asked me off air if I was not sick of this place and all the corruption and opportunists? Since it was early into my visit, I still had not really experienced too much of the negative experiences and told him no, I love living here (which I still do, but now understand why he was asking me).

It is interesting for me, but I have very few encounters in Martuni with opportunists and can only conclude that it has to do with the greater population not being exposed to too many corrupt officials. I say this as I know for a fact that the mayor does not take bribes from the people, but know for a fact that this has not been true in the past in Stepanagert. I�m even guessing that this problem still holds true today.

I had mentioned my observations to a government official here in Martuni and that official told me that he had always known this to be true, but had never mentioned it to me as he didn�t want to influence my opinion and added that Martuni and Hadrut are similar in this way (a lack of dishonest people in comparison to Stepanagert).

Oh, while I was in Stepanagert, I had an opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister�s chief of staff about my dual-citizenship issue and my inability to get the President to meet with me and sign the final documents. He said that he was not up to speed on this issue, but said that he was involved with the process to approve my application and knew that it was sent off to the President 2 years ago for his signature. He said he would talk to the Prime Minister about it and ask him to talk to the President to see what he plans on doing about it. To say the least, he was not happy that the process was not completed and felt that there should not be a problem to get some resolution soon. I hope that this is not another act of opportunitisum, like I have encountered with the President and his staff members in the past.

I do want to make it clear to the reader that even with this problem that we are facing today, if you are in tune with this problem, it�s not too difficult to protect yourself. Also it should be made clear that the majority of the people are not opportunists and they too are very concerned with this problem.

If you wondering why this log is being posted so late, it's because my connection from Stepanagert is not working well again. In fact, while I was in Stepangert for the last month and would come home for a day, it was not working. In the past, it was due to my good quality line that the head of the phone services has insisted be given to me, has been switched with one of the lines that has problems as far as line quality. It will take me to get really upset with the local telephone people and tell them if they can't fix the problem, I will have to call the head of the phone company to find some other alternative. Then within a day, the problem is sloved.

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