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 Eurasianet.