Larisa Paremuzyan

Destroy…Destroy…Until the End!

This is the story of yet another private enterprise, a holdover from the Soviet era of manufacturing, which has met its demise. Its owner, Hovik Galinyan, is taking it apart, piece by piece, and selling the parts as construction material. The factory, located in the town of Akhtala, Lori Marz, used to employ 500 people. Built in the waning years of the Soviet Union, it would buy, reprocess and bottle the fruit and vegetables grown by the villagers of Shnogh, Metz Ayrum, Tchotchkan and neighboring rural settlements. In 1996, the plant was privatized and bought by Hovik Galinyan. The dismantling of the plant is a source of consternation among the local populace. They had always held out hope, however faint, that times would eventually change for the better and that the plant would once again start up reprocessing the agricultural produce of the region and offer people much needed jobs. Clinging to this vision of a brighter future, the villagers of these communities set about restoring the peach and other fruit orchards that had gone uncultivated for many years. When he asked plant owner Hovik Galinyan why he was dismantling an otherwise technically sound structure, he answered that while he had done all he could to restart operations at the plant, his efforts had come to naught. “All my efforts during the past few years to operate the plant with loans and such, have failed. Moreover, much of the valuable equipment has been looted. All that remains are the walls. But they even started to rip them apart and carry them off. Thus, I am now forced to do the same and sell what remains as construction material.” Mr. Galinyan said. The dismantling of the canning factory speaks volumes about the lack of attention paid by the Lori Regional Administration to the economic development of the region and making headway in creating new jobs. What makes the situation even more absurd is the fact that every year the Lori Regional Administration drafts economic development programs that it presents to the state government for consideration; proposals that talk about the need for restoring orchards and building a reprocessing plant. What is beyond doubt is that in the years to come, these villagers will face similar problems selling the produce of their newly replanted orchards as the villagers of Arevatzak, Aygehat and Karmir Aghek now face when it comes to selling their potato crop. The Akhtala reprocessing plant, had it not been dismantled, could have been a prime market for these goods. In the accompanying photos, the readers will see that next to nothing is left of the plant. It’s difficult to say if local villagers will ever get a new plant to replace the one that is now just a memory. What’s most sad of all is that no one at the Lori Regional Authority or in the state government has so far understood that tearing things down comes easy and that building is the hard part.