Arayik Melkumyan, a member of the Democratic Party of Artsakh, heads two villages at a time, though only one family resides in the village of Tsakhkavan in Artsakh's Hadrut region. The other village, Blutan, has 14 families.
Every year, the members of the Sargsyan family living in Tsakhkavan have to be separated from each other. As the village does not have a school, 45-year-old Vachagan Sargsyan rents an apartment in the regional center for his three school-age children.
In the 1990s, 25 families lived in the village. They were forced to leave their homes after the Azeris set the village on fire. Vachagan's family was the only one to return to the village after the arson.
Vachagan works as a locksmith in a military unit in Hadrut. He was wounded four times during the Karabakh war. Talking to A1+, the 45-year-old man said he is not going to follow his co-villagers and leave his home.
"This is my village, why should I abandon it?" he said.
In fact, in 1995, a new resident settled in Tsaghkavan. In 1996, Vachagan married a girl from Drakhtik village who came to live with him in Tsaghkavan.
"She did not know where she was going and what was awaiting her," Vachagan said smiling.
Asked what problems the village is facing today, headman Arayik Melkumyan said, "When you utter the word ‘community,' it already implies multiple problems."
Then he began enumerating some; roads need to be repaired, the population is aging, there is no water in the village. Without sponsors it is impossible to solve these problems, said Mr. Melkumyan.
Although Blutan is only 7 km away from Hadrut, the headman says one needs to cover 23 km in dust to get to the village.
"If the North-South highway stretches along our villages, as it is supposed to, more young people will come to the village," said Mr. Melkumyan who has been heading the community for 11 years.