"Miraculously I managed to transfer my savings from Azerbaijan, but I can’t withdraw them in Armenia."
Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan request that the Armenian government include them in the special category of people who can withdraw money from their accounts in the USSR Savings Bank without waiting in queue.
For 10 years, the Armenian government has been distributing the population’s savings deposited in the USSR Savings Bank. During the discussion of the draft state budget for 2018, the Armenian government decided to compensate only citizens who were alive and born on December 31, 1932 and earlier. Meanwhile, soldiers of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, as well as the residents of border villages whose gardens and fields remained in the firing zone, may get their compensations sooner.
Refugees and displaced people from Azerbaijan who left their property and houses in Azerbaijan, but somehow managed to transfer their savings to Armenia, are not considered part of a special category of persons eligible to receive expedited payment by the Armenian government.
Roza Danielyan survived the Armenian pogroms in January of 1990. She was taken to Krasnovodsk and then to Yerevan. "My son and I were accommodated in a boarding school in Yerevan. We’ve lived here ever since and use furniture provided for children. I lost everything in Baku—my house and property. My money was in the Savings Bank in Baku, and I was warned not to withdraw my savings there, otherwise I could be tracked down by the Azerbaijanis, robbed and killed,” Danielyan said. When she applied to the Sberkassa branch in Yerevan, the employees were unsure whether a transfer could be made from Baku. "But I worked in the government of Azerbaijan for 30 years. I was known and respected there. I wrote a statement addressed to the manager of the Savings Bank, and indeed two hours later my money was sent from Baku to Armenia by telegraph. To this day, my savings are in Sberkassa, and I can’t even use my hard-earned money to buy basic household items. I’ve slept on a worn-out bed for 30 years.
Emma Shahumyan came from Baku in 1988, abandoning all her property in Azerbaijan. She is a single woman living in a hostel in Nor-Nork. "We were counting on using this money for my sister's treatment. My sister passed away, and I still hope that I will live to the day I am able to get my savings."
Tatyana Dashyan, head of the social department Mission Armenia NGO, stressed that "the refugees had hardships while being displaced from Azerbaijan to Armenia, leaving all their property in Azerbaijan. Some people were lucky enough to transfer their savings from Azerbaijan, but in Armenia they can’t withdraw them because they aren’t eligible for expedited payment." In addition, Armenia does not provide medical services for refugees and immigrants from Azerbaijan. In particular, elderly people face a number of health problems where surgical intervention is required. The current situation of the refugees and the traumas they have survived are not taken into account by the Armenian government. Yet, the mortality rate among the refugees is very high. “People who were lucky enough to transfer their money from Azerbaijan could have used these funds to help themselves," Dashyan said. She noted that the attitude toward refugees is unfair. "It's a shame that so many people died before they could receive their money, when they could have spent it to improve their health and their living conditions.”