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Country of Dust

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A lot has been happening in Armenia: war, immigration, shifting alliances, a rising economy, and so much more. Country of Dust tells the stories of the people who are living through this important, in-between moment in Armenia’s history. We capture the odd, inspiring and perplexing ways in which Armenia keeps going, despite the odds.

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10 Episodes
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Gayane Milonyan, a mother of two, has just been forced to flee her home in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), along with over 100,000 people – the entire indigenous Armenian population left in the region after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. We spoke to Gayane a day after her arrival in Armenia about what she lost, what she survived, and how she survived it. Content warning: this episode contains descriptions of violence.If you’re looking for a place to donate to help alleviate the refugee crisis, he...
Wine has been part of Armenia’s story since the beginning, and it can be a bridge from its ancient history, to the Soviet era, to today. In our final episode of the season, we talk to Mariam Saghatelyan, co-owner of In Vino wine bar, about the resurgence of wine culture in Armenia. And we delve into the unexpected ways that uncorking a bottle of wine can connect you to the pulse of the country. Support the Show.
After the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, Armenia woke up with thousands of Russians moving here – escaping the draft, political crackdowns and economic uncertainty. Many of them were young creatives, a few dozen of whom ended up staying at an old Soviet factory in a small town in northern Armenia. We spoke to Arseniy Zykhowski and Lisa Khoreva, two artists living there, about their journey to Armenia, the unlikely corner of the country they ended up in, and how it’s been going.Support t...
Ara Aslanyan designed one of the most iconic symbols of Armenia’s 2018 revolution - the dukhov hat. But he says he never cared about the movement, that he only wanted to make a successful design. When we spoke in 2022 he said, “I’m really out of politics. But if you need some services, as a professional, I'm there.” How did someone so apolitical end up creating the emblem of a revolution?Support the Show.
Mane Gevorgyan was Nikol Pashinyan’s press secretary during the most turbulent period of his premiership. She entered as part of a rockstar government, but after the war, she had to deal with all the frustration and anger directed at the administration. Mane’s story offers a glimpse into the complexities of post-war Armenia.Support the Show.
The nation’s hopes rose with the 2018 Velvet Revolution, then came crashing down during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. Ruben Malayan is a calligrapher who not only lived through these ups and downs but, through his art, helped shape them. Support the Show.
Ashot Gabrielyan moved to an isolated village in Artsakh to work as a teacher after the 2020 war. He has loved living there, but repeated aggressions from Azerbaijan have made everyday life in Artsakh more and more difficult. How can he plan for his future, when so much is uncertain?Support the Show.
In this episode, we delve deeper into Nikolay Stepanyan's personal journey during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, and hear his remarkable story of survival. If you missed part 1 of Kolya’s story, go back and listen to the first episode before listening to this one. Support the Show.
In our first episode, we introduce Nikolay Stepanyan, a young Armenian from Russia. We learn about the circumstances that shaped his life and that ultimately led him to become a soldier. Support the Show.
Meet your hosts, listen to the poem that helped inspire our podcast, and hear why we think the best way to understand Armenia is by following the stories of the people who live here.Support the Show.
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