- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
In Azerbaijan’s breakaway majority-Armenian province of Nagorno-Karabakh, 700 ethnic-Armenian couples were wed in a mass ceremony on Oct. 16. Anahit Hayrapetyan reports for Eurasianet:
Russian-Armenian businessman Levon Hairapetian, a native of the Karabakh village of Vank, financed the ceremonies. Each couple received a payment of $2,000; newlyweds living in villages received a cow. That financial support will continue with each child born: couples will receive $2,000 for their first child, $3,000 for a second child, and increasing sums up to $100,000 for a seventh child.
The ultimate aim of the event was to stimulate a baby boom in the territory. A 2005 census put Karabakh’s predominantly ethnic Armenian population at just over 145,000.
It’s certainly a novel nation-building strategy, though I’m not sure a few thousand more babies is really going to turn Nagorno-Karabakh into the next Kosovo. Then again, it is one of the former Soviet Union’s more obscure frozen conflicts, so I guess anything that gets a bit of press is at least a small victory.
Check out the rest of Hayrapetyan’s photo essay here.
Anahit Hayrapetyan for