The first ‘Blowing the World Bank Whistle’ annual report of 11th April 2008 was accompanied by a message in which I accused the Bank and the IMF of having colluded with the Armenian authority since the turn of the century in a highly corrupt Five Billion Dollar politically motivated agenda in preparation for the imminent resolution of the Karabakh conflict. The report was distributed to hundreds of Email recipients, including Vardan Oskanian, Armenia’s outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has been reporting on the Karabakh issue for the past ten years of his tenure.
A week after that report, the Armenian press covered an analysis by Vardan Oskanian, who commented that “for the first time ever in the history of this conflict a document that they thought has reached the maturity which can be put at the OSCE Secretariat as a clear guideline”. Oskanian then makes his revelation that International financial assistance would be made available for reconstruction and resettlement of internally displaced persons - not only in the formerly occupied territories, but in all the war-affected regions of Nagorno-Karabakh. His analysis presumably includes financial assistance (which this campaign has referred to as ‘Compensation’) for resettlement of internally displaced persons who will be obliged to leave the presently occupied surrounding territories and from Karabakh.
This is the first time an Armenian or international public official has talked with the Armenian media about the question of financial assistance for displaced persons. The Minsk Group has referred to the 7 or 8 thousand Armenian and Karabakhi civilians who live in the surrounding occupied territories as ‘occupying forces’, who will simply have to leave the territory, and the 140ish thousand who presently live in Nagorno-Karabakh will apparently live in harmony with their new Azerbaijani neighbours. Neither of course is the case; there will be tens of thousands of displaced persons, and so financial assistance must be in place to compensate their losses and to assist with their re-location.
The Minsk group and the international community prefer the philosophy of Azerbaijanis and Armenians living peacefully side-by-side under an international peacekeeping force, and so they have not made public the question of compensation for displaced persons. The Armenian authorities have been eagerly looking forward to receiving the displaced persons, but preferring to keep that lucrative multi-billion dollar part of the re-settlement equation under their monopolistic control, they have withheld information about the compensation package from the Armenian and Karabakhi people. The Azerbaijani authorities keep quiet on compensation, knowing how hard it would be to explain to their people how several billions of dollars were paid to peacefully regain sovereignty of Karabakh and the surrounding territories. Russia, who will probably act as a go-between by converting the financial assistance package to investment, will be quietly sitting back and waiting to take its cut. And the World Bank and the IMF who have been supporting this thoroughly corrupt program, will have been scheduling in a few more years of economic boom for Armenia, based on foreign investment in Armenia’s construction sector.
But could this be a sign that the times are now a changing for Armenia’s new tyrannical authority. This recently announced Vardan Oskanian analysis of international finance for displaced persons is certainly a revelation. The details of the finance package must now be fully revealed to the peoples of Armenia and of Karabakh so that they will be able to claim the compensation that is due to them. After all, these are the peoples who will suffer after Serge Sargsyan eventually signs the agreement that will lead to resolution of the long-standing Karabakh conflict. It is for these peoples that the compensation money is being paid; not so that Armenia’s corrupt inner circle can make billions more dollars at the expense of the Armenian (and now the Karabakhi) people.
Let us hope that with enough pressure we will soon see more revelations to add to this latest revelation from Vardan Oskanian.