Cash-rich Azerbaijan appears policy-poor when it comes to the thousands of veterans who fought in its 1988-1994 conflict with Armenia and ethnic Armenian separatists over the breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh.
Some veterans receive financial support, free medical treatment, cars, apartments and government praise. Other veterans, though, claim that they receive nothing and criticize the authorities for it.
The government, for its part, remains mostly silent. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, which handles veteran policy, declined to speak with EurasiaNet.org about provisions for Karabakh veterans.
That silence, in part, reflects Azerbaijani society’s own ambivalence toward the 11,500 registered veterans of the Karabakh war, a conflict that ended disastrously for Azerbaijan, which lost control over 20 percent of its territory and saw hundreds of thousands of its residents displaced.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku. Sitara Ibrahimova is a freelance photojournalist based in Baku.