Nagorno-Karabakh: the inhabitants of Stepanakert improvise an underground bakery

Audio 01:17

Almost 70% of the population fled Stepanakert.

Those who remain take refuge in underground shelters like this family, here on October 22, 2020. AP Photo

Text by: RFI Follow

4 min

Fighting continues in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and the soldiers of the self-proclaimed Republic despite the announcement of a new ceasefire.

In Stepanakert, nearly 70% of the population fled, but for those who remain, it is necessary to organize supplies.

Report in an improvised bakery in Stepanakert.


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With our special envoys to Stepanakert,  

Anastasia Becchio and Richard Riffonneau 

The smell of hot bread spreads in an underground parking lot of a ten-story building.

At the end of the corridor, behind a blue tarpaulin, men are removing bread from the oven and storing them on carts.

In one corner, an electric mixer is running at full speed.

Guevorg Aratunian, a 3rd year history student at Nagorno-Karabakh University, was requisitioned to work here 12 hours a day.


We do shifts

 : a

first shift works from 10 am to 10 pm and the second from 10 pm to 10 am.

Bread is made for the soldiers, but above all to feed the population of Stepanakert. 


The breads are then distributed free of charge by volunteers who bring them to the underground shelters.

Others come to pick them up themselves.

The strategic place is protected by the military.

Arman, in his fifties, who worked as a baker in the past, came to put his skills at the service of the population.

 I never wanted to leave.

Here, it is our land, it is our homeland.

We work here with professional bakers but also with a lot of volunteers. 


How many breads leave this parking lot daily?

The baker refuses to give a figure: it is a defense secret.

Read also: Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of violating the new truce


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  • Nagorno-Karabakh

  • Azerbaijan

  • Armenia

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