‘Art knows no bounds,’ but double standards apply to Nagorno-Karabakh – official

11:14 • 15.12.14



Despite the claims that “art knows no bounds,” it is not the case with the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), which is not de jure recognized, NKR Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs Lernik Hovhannisyan told Tert.am.

However, Nagorno-Karabakh is overcoming the barriers and presents its culture to both the Armenian Diaspora and the world.

Like in other cases, double standards are applied to culture.

“Europe is speaking of human rights, but, pleading our state not being a recognized as a reason, does not allow Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] to present its culture,” Mr Hovhannisyan said.

The NKR Ministry of Culture is located in Shushi. In this respect, Mr Hovhannisyan said that it promotes cultural development of the NKR regions.

“In Shushi, cultural life has become more active, and the town is now a center of arts and trades. We have an Arts Museum, as well as history and carpet museums. Other arts are also presented in Shushi: the Gyurjyan Institute of Applied Arts is operating there.”

The main reason why Nagorno-Karabakh’s applications for participating in different cultural events are rejected is the NKR being an unrecognized state.

“But in some cases even Azerbaijan and Turkey do not participate, and the organizers allow us to present Artsakh. In some cases, we present Armenia. Of course, we have the same cultural environment with Armenia, which does not know any bounds. Armenia is all Armenians’ homeland. So we are all trying to overcome the difficulties.”

As regards Azerbaijan’s claims on Nagorno-Karabakh culture, in the context of UNESCO’s decisions, which cause “minor cultural wars” (the Armenian lavash being an example) and steps to curb Azerbaijan’s policy, Mr Hovhannisyan said:

“Azerbaijan’s policy involved our tangible and intangible heritage. Azerbaijan does not miss a single chance to present our culture and traditional cuisine as its own. Artsakh is world-famous for its ‘zhengalov hatz’ (pancakes stuffed with greens). But Azerbaijani websites claim that it is an Azerbaijani national dish. But such a dish is typical of settled peoples, while nomadic tribes cannot have either lavash or zhengalov hatz. The same can be said of monuments, music, choreography. Our task is to continue creative activities, and our policy is to preserve our heritage in Artsakh, conduct studies and popularize our arts and culture regardless of Azerbaijan’s policy or claims.”





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