Inadu 3 | Blockade: day 246. We’re Tired 

On December 12, 2022, at around 10:30 a.m., a group of Azerbaijanis, dressed in civilian clothing and posing as “environmental activists”, blocked the Goris-Stepanakert Highway which, as stipulated in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh Trilateral Statement, passes through the Lachin corridor, connecting Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) with Armenia and the outside world. On April 23, 2023, Azerbaijan announced the installation of an illegal Azerbaijani checkpoint at the Hakari River Bridge along the Goris-Stepanakert road. On April 28, so-called Azerbaijani “environmental activists” reported their withdrawal from the blocked section of the road, to be replaced by representatives of the Azerbaijani police and other services. From June 15, the peacekeepers’ transit was forbidden for ten days, too. From June 25, the operation of the ICRC resumed: however,  medicine importation and transportation of medical personnel into Artsakh remained prohibited. Peacekeepers were also prohibited from providing essential food and other goods.   


The ongoing blockade, entailing the physical obstruction of the only corridor, had left Artsakh’s population of 120,000, including 30,000 children, in a state of absolute isolation, causing massive violations of individual and collective human rights, as well as multifaceted existential and security threats.   


Concurrently, Azerbaijan was deliberately disrupting the regular functioning of Artsakh’s vital infrastructures: gas supply, electricity supply, and communication networks. This deliberate action intensified the already severe humanitarian crisis and inflicted further suffering on the population of Artsakh.     


On September 19, 2023 Azerbaijan unleashed another large-scale aggression against the people of Artsakh. These military operations represented the continuation of the blockade commenced on December 12, 2022. On September 20, 2023, the Artsakh Government accepted the ceasefire proposal. On September 21, the representatives of Stepanakert and Baku met in Yevlakh, on September 25 — in Ivanyan, and on September 29 — again in Yevlakh. On September 24 the forced deportation of Artsakh residents to Armenia began: As of 4 pm on October 4, according to the data reported by the “Humanitarian Center” of the RA Government, 100,632 people were transferred from Artsakh to RA. According to the decree signed by Artsakh President Samvel Shahramanyan on September 28, 2023, all state institutions and organizations of Artsakh should be dissolved by January 1, 2024, by which, de  facto, the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) ceases to exist.


Publications of these episodes of the “Out of Defiance” podcast are carried out post factum.

The authors of the podcast are Nina, a teacher and a blogger, and Shogher, a presenter and an actress. Through this podcast, they represent the life in blockaded Artsakh from the first day to the present reality; they share their concerns, emotions, and expectations. They have chosen this way to communicate the situation in Artsakh more vividly, Nina explains: “The pace of events is so rapid and there is so much to say that no televised program, Instagram post or article can truly reveal what exactly is going on.”

Blockade: Day 246. We’re Tired

“Inadu” podcast | Episode 3

Within the scope of this edition of the “Inadu (Out of Defiance)” podcast, Nina and Shogher discuss the situation in Artsakh, as of the 246th day of the blockade, share their emotions, concerns, discuss the existing problems like the lack of food, hygiene supplies, hopelessness, uncertainty. 

In addition to the problems increasing day by day, their weakening faith that the authorities are doing or will do their best to get the Artsakh Armenians out of the situation is a painful problem for the girls. 

Discussing the prospect of opening the Aghdam road, the girls strongly oppose it. “At the moment, I don’t know a single person in Artsakh who would agree to the operation of Aghdam road. For me, it will mean losing this fight”,  says Shogher, predicting the dangers that are expected in that case. 

The girls also discuss the case of the abduction of Vagif Khachatryan by the Azerbaijanis, which had a serious psychological impact on them. They understand that it could have easily been a relative of theirs. Nina regretfully notes that her father’s name is also included on the Azerbaijani lists, and it’s very hard for her to realize that her father cannot leave Artsakh even in case of having a severe health condition. 

Nina presents the struggles of a person with health problems in Artsakh from her own experience: no medicine in the pharmacies, long queues in hospitals, and what is the point of walking such a long distance to the hospital under the burning sun, if it won’t be possible to get the medicines prescribed by the doctor anyway?

Empty shops in Artsakh ©️ Artsakh Information Center 

On the other hand, there is a strong need for hygiene products: there is no shampoo, toothpaste, sanitary pads, etc., and this makes the already difficult situation even more complicated.

Waste collection has also become a serious problem in Artsakh. Due to the delayed waste collection, the streets stink, and despite the huge efforts of the municipality, the resources are not enough to organize the waste collection properly.

Overflowing trash cans in Artsakh, ©️ Artsakh Information Center

There are many educational problems in Artsakh as well. The students do not have stationery, primers, it is difficult to organize lunch for the students at school, and soon the problem of heating will arise both in educational institutions and in people’s apartments. Even if wood stoves are installed in the buildings, where will wood be found, how will it be cut and moved, and what will happen if fires break out suddenly? The chain of problems is endless. “Any way you slice it, the situation seems hopeless,” says Shogher.

Unaware of the upcoming catastrophic events, the girls discuss winter preparations in Artsakh. “My mom is very happy with the blockade because Dad has finally started doing some housework,” Nina jokes. In this regard, people in Artsakh are divided into two parts. Some are not preparing for winter because they believe that the blockade will end soon and life in Artsakh will take its natural course during winter, while others are preparing for winter in every possible way. They dry the fruits and vegetables that they can get, collect and store everything, and save the food they have to use in the winter.

The nearly empty market of Stepanakert, ©️ Davit Ghahramanyan

The situation is particularly difficult for mothers who have small children and pregnant women. “I believe that if the road is opened, it’ll be done by women and mothers,” says Nina. According to her, while men react to the situation with rage and aggression, women take practical steps and look for ways to cope. After all, they are the ones who stand in lines for hours to get bread, they try to put food on the table every day and, despite the most severe situation, they are up for only decent solutions.

The girls also talk about the problems caused by the scarcity of bread, water, electricity, and cash. They touch upon the terror spread in the information field, which has a heavy impact especially on the elderly. In a seemingly endless series of problems, the positive side is that people continue to help each other, willing to share the last of what they have.

Queue at the ATM in Stepanakert, ©️ Artsakh Information Center

At the end of the podcast, Nina and Shogher discuss the scenario of opening Lachin road in exchange for Nakhichevan road, rejecting the prospect of opening the road at the price of concessions and expressing hope that there are decent solutions to get out of the situation.

Authored by Narine Galoyan

Translated by Inesa Avagyan

“Inadu” podcast – Blockade: day 246. We’re Tired 

The material is published with the consent of the “Inadu” podcast authors, Nina Shahverdyan and Shogher Sargsyan. The original videos are published on the YouTube page of “Inadu”. The textual and visual representation and translation of the publications are carried out by “Enlight”.

You can support the “Inadu” podcast on Patreon through this link.

Read other publications about the Artsakh issue and the blockade in the Artsakh Chronicle.