Factories closed all over Armenia. Abandoned, overgrown factories:
As far as the eye can see:
After Chernobyl Armenia closed its own nuclear power plant. Then came the collapse of the Soviet Union, the debilitating war with Azerbaijan, the blockade by Turkey. There was no money and no power – and factories closed all over Armenia. Even the capital Yerevan went dark – for four years people were forced to forage in the mountainside for wood for heating and cooking.
Even now, 18 years later, the rusting infrastructure:
and bare hills remain. A post Soviet industrial landscape:
Mostly these factories have not re-opened, people just live among them. The white sign says ‘to rent’:
So why has Armenia not recovered? A corrupt oligarchy runs the country for itself – Armenia is ranked 105th out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s corruption index, in the distinguished company of Gambia, Kosovo and Mali.
So World Bank money gets misused, the average wage is $300 and 36% of the population lives below the poverty line – in 2009 $85 / year. Yes, that is 23c / day.
This type of government beggars not only the present generation, but the next: youth unemployment is 57% – no.1 in the world – higher even than the miserable West Bank – despite 99.6% literacy.
So abandoned by their factories, and abandoned by their government, Armenians work their land:
but face a road that this hard-working, well-educated, decent people don’t deserve: