The village of Sarigyugh lays in a mountainous region in the North East of Armenia, against the border with Azerbaijan. It’s a picturesque town with incredible views, a kinder garden, a high school and several small businesses along the silk road that crosses the town towards Tbilisi in the North and Tehran in the South.
The town used to be the center of a vibrant cultural life in the region during the Soviet Union. The traces are visible and the stories are alive but younger generations have neither the memory of it nor any perspective of potential recovery.
After the independence from Soviet Union, both Armenia and Azerbaijan claimed territories in the region for their newly acquired republic and did not manage to solve the conflict peacefully. The war lasted from the late 80's to 1994, demanded many victims on both sides and left a hostile atmosphere across the full length of the border, which is less than two kilometres from Sarigyugh.
Although no major casualties have taken place recently, a wave of migration took many inhabitants towards Yerevan and abroad due to safety concerns, high unemployment rates and the lack of investments in the region. Besides agriculture and farming, the village has little to offer to its inhabitants.
The largest percentage of the government budget barely covers basic infrastructure, clean drinking water systems and public workers' salaries.
Almost no investments have been done in education, culture, sports, recreation and other community structures in the past 30 years. Some of these services are available in Ijevan, the largest city 20 km south, but due to unreliable public transportation and lack of resources, few people are actually able to use them.
Economic activity in the region contains agriculture (forestry products), mining (bentonite, gems) and small scale industry (farming, pumice block making, bakery). Many men between ages 20 and 50 find themselves working on construction sites in Russia for the biggest part of the year in order to sustain the family.