Sofik Ghevondyan does not know how to open up in front of strangers – the journalists who arrived from Yerevan to the remote village of Gogavan in the Lori region. She has lost her self-control only on July 24. She was feeding the livestock when the police with the village head brought the news: her son, compulsory military serviceman, ordinary Vahan Petrosyan died during combat duty.

Sofik tells: “Suddenly, I saw, the police rushed into the house. The village head embraced my husband. When we found out what happened, I lost consciousness.”

19-year-old Zhorik served in the military unit of Vayk for only 6 months. He loved the military service. Even when he came to the village for a 12-days-vacation, he was bored and said that he wanted the vacation to end soon to go and serve.” On the day of his death, he had been in the positions for the first time.”

On July 24, the Investigative Committee reported that on the same day, at about 15:00, soldier Zhorik Petrosyan, a compulsory military serviceman, received a deadly gunshot wound in the combat position of the N military unit. A criminal case has been instituted in accordance with Article 373, Part 3 of the RA Criminal Code regarding violation of the rules of usage of arms, ammunition, which negligently causes human death. The shooter, Armen Adamyan, was detained.

Notwithstanding the report, here`s how they presented the incident to the deceased boy`s family. Samvel Petrosyan, Zhorik’s elder brother, a migrant worker in Russia as so many of the village men, who had returned to the village after learning about his brother’s death, tells us:

“The officers told us that he and some other boys have been sitting in the shift room drinking coffee. One of the boys, the shooter Armen Adamyan, took the weapon and directed it towards the enemy’s side. My brother and a soldier from Artashat were seating there, and the guy from Artashat turned towards Armen and said, “Take your weapon away; do not direct it to us.” During taking it aside, the trigger was squeezed. The bullet entered the kid’s cheek and exited from his shoulder blade.” Neither Samvel nor the other family members of the deceased do not believe the official version. “This is just a fairy tale. This cannot be the case,” says Samvel Petrosyan.

He suspects that his brother was killed intentionally. “If, as they tell us, he was shot from such a close–a two-meter distance, there should have been a burn on his cheek, but there is nothing like that,” says Samvel Petrosyan. He also considers it suspicious that his brother’s mobile phone was not found so far. “If there were only 3-4 people there, where was his phone lost?” asks Sophik Ghevondyan.

Sofik Ghevondyan cannot get rid of the idea that the boy could be rescued. She constantly goes back in her thoughts to the moment when the boy was wounded. She is astonished: “It was not his heart, it was his face. The vein was cut off and nobody stopped it bleeding. Why they did not take him to a hospital? Why did they leave my boy helpless?” They justified themselves telling that the ambulance car was not there. There was a nurse, but he could not stop the blood.

In fact, the serviceman has not received first aid. If he did, he might have been alive. By the way, the officers of the Vayk military unit brought the soldiers, who were considered to be witnesses, to the morgue and ordered them to tell the family members of the deceased how the incident occurred. But, instead of the boys, the officers spoke.

“The soldiers were trained by the officers,” assures the victim`s brother, “the officers were talking, turning towards them, asking the soldiers whether they were right or not. And, what should they say? Clearly, they should confirm what the officers were telling.” Samvel Petrosyan told the officers right at the morgue:

“My brother was killed.” He says he will pursue to the end the revelation of the mystery of her brother`s death. The Petrosyans do not believe in the official version of negligence and have an impression that the military unit`s leadership is doing its best to save the senior of the unit.

“They told us that the senior was sleeping and did not see anything. If I have a “greenhorn” in my post, I have to be attentive; how can I sleep? It was not a sleeping time, his resting time.” complains the mother of the soldier and again refers to the ambulance that could have saved her son but never arrived: “My son was gone like a piece of bread.”

P.S. The Petrosyans received 500,000 drams [about $1,000] to bury their son. The governor`s office also helped. Defense Minister spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan said that the victim`s family should receive about 4 million drams [about $8,000] from the Defense Ministry. “This includes funeral expenses (if the relatives refuse the soldier to be buried in the Pantheon or other state cemetery), insurance and other targeted amounts. They give it in several installments. The 500,000 AMD they received, most probably, was collected by the military unit to help the family.” He promised that he would inquire and provide detailed information about the issue.

Syuzan Simonyan

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