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Marine Martirosyan

Vahe Sarukhanyan

Mayor Wants to Transform Kapan into European Town, with Armenian Ethics, by 2027

Gevorg Parsyan, mayor of Armenia’s southern Syunik provincial capital Kapan, is on a mission to turn the community of 35,000 into something resembling a small European town while retaining what he calls “our ethics”.

The community of Kapan, enlarged in 2017 to include 38 villages, sits on Armenia’s M-2 highway linking Meghri, on Armenia’s border with Iran, to the capital Yerevan.

Parsyan tells Hetq his vision is doable by 2027 if all goes smoothly.

Parsyan says security is his main issue since Kapan now sits on Armenia’s new border with Azerbaijan following the 2020 Artsakh war.

Rural residents can no longer access fields and forests near the border given the Azerbaijani military threat and because new Armenian military defense structures have been installed there. The local cattle industry has suffered as a result.

Despite new security challenges. Parsyan, who’s served as Kapan mayor since 2018 is upbeat about the town’s prospects and singles out tourism as a potential growth sectors.

“Since Kapan is an industrial city, and mining is the dominant branch of the economy, little attention has been paid to tourism. There is a marketing problem,” Parsyan tells Hetq, adding that while the tourist infrastructure has been revitalized and new facilities open, much more needs to be done.

Armenian and Russian border guards are on duty in the Kapan area. Parsyan believes the Russian presence is a deterrence to any Azerbaijani aggression and has provided a sense of security for the populace.

Parsyan is quick to point out that people, for the most part, are staying in Kapan.

"It is due to one factor, being relatively well-off socially. Of course, it has something to do with the mining industry,” Parsyan says with a note of caution. He points to growing inflation as a looming issue that might force some to emigrate.

“We also have very patriotic citizens who love their land and birthplace, who, I am sure, will not leave under any circumstances, even if they find themselves in the direst of situations. We are not going to give up something, to leave, we stand firmly in our birthplace, on our land.”

Parsyan doesn’t dwell on the potential negatives, preferring to focus on the positives in Kapan.

He says the area, rich in natural beauty, can attract Iranian tourists who now drive past the town on the way to Yerevan.

Parsyan admits managing the town and 38 villages is difficult. He spends five days in the town and visits the villages on weekends. Aghvani, one of the villages, is 34 kilometers away.

Azerbaijani troops have blocked a section of the Kapan-Tsav-Meghri highway since November 2021, greatly isolating the villages of Chakaten, Shikahogh, Srashen, Nerkin Hand, Tsav and Shishkert. The Armenian government is building a new road to bypass this part of the highway.

Parsyan says Kapan’s enlargement has afforded new development resources to the villages.

“We can now implement rural projects that were unimaginable in the past. Now, we can build a 180-million-dram potable or irrigation network in a village,” Parsyan says.

The Kapan mayor concludes by pointing to the possible opening of an Iranian consulate in his community an additional incentive for Iranians to visit Kapan.

Comments (2)

This plan for Kapan sounds good. However, Russia is doing little about the ongoing illegal occupation of parts of Armenia by Azeri troops. Russia and the CSTO are violating their defense agreements with Russia. Apparently, Russia and the CSTO believe that betraying Armenia is in their best interests. What conclusion should we draw from this?
Համոզված եմ , որ շատ հարցերում առաջընթաց ու դրական փոփոխություններ կլինեն , որովհետև տեսանելի է համայնքապետի աշխատանքն ու սերը մեր քաղաքի նկատմամբ , սակայն զայրացնում է մի տհաճ երևույթ ՝ մաքուր պահեք , մի ժարդեք ... համաքաղաքացիներ ջան դուք նույնպես եղեք սրտացավ

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