In a letter dated January 9, 2011, Kajaran Mayor Rafik Atayan has thanked all those who stood with the villagers in their opposition to an “eminent domain” land grab that would transfer tens of hectares to the Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine (ZCMC).
On December 14, 2011, Atayan had told Hetq that he resigned from his post and from the ruling Republican Party as well, saying that he had been pressured by the party to sign off on the agreement.
“The entire village has decided to oppose the deal. We will not cave in and hand our homes over to anyone,” Atayan stated.
In the public statement, Atayan questions the concept of eminent domain regarding Kajaran, noting that his village is being told to part with its lands for the personal gain of a few “hidden” individuals.
He pointedly asks what is the good of more taxes going to the national coffers, an argument used by supporters of eminent domain, when this strategic border village will be emptied of its residents?
“In the end, one of the aims of state taxes is to bolster the borders of Armenia. So what if there is money in the budget but deserted border villages?”
Atayan also takes to task officials from Yerevan and their backers who have seen fir to recently travel to Kajaran and spread disinformation about the prevailing situation.
Atayan points to the recent visit of Maksim Hakobyan who later stated that there were only twelve families residing in Kajaran.
“Such statements are not only lies and slander but should serve to shame ZCMC General Director Maksim Hakboyan and the combine mamagement. It just means that the village has been neglected for so long, forcing many to leave," writes Atayan.
The mayor states that his perception of what Armenia should be and that of Hakobyan's are diametrically opposed.
“These people, who don’t even have to send their sons to serve in the military, have long since muddled national and public interests with personal ones.”