“Our children were in hell for 44 days, but the state is so indifferent today!”

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Parents of conscripts who participated in the 44-day Artsakh war applied to Forrights.am. They complain that the boys are not given vacations.

“As if it was not enough that they participated in the war for 44 days, now they are not given vacations, and their military service is not being reduced. One of our demands is that their military service be reduced by six months. Artsakh is ours, it is our land. As parents, we pushed our sons to heroism throughout the entire war. I told my son to come back after a heroic fight. But, after the war, you know well the situation in Artsakh. God forbid that they are taken prisoners of war: they will not even be considered POW’s [Azerbajian declares that POWs are not POWs but criminals], it will be worse,” the father of one of the conscripts shared his concerns with Forrights.am.

The parents think that the security of the servicemen in Artsakh is not guaranteed today.

“At the moment, their service in Artsakh is not being conducted safely; there are no normal conditions. The borders have changed. Our boys are side by side with Russian peacekeepers and Azerbaijani servicemen. The boys already have psychological and physical problems. They should at least pass [medical] examination, normal conditions for military service should be created, after that they can continue their military service. Before the war, there were normal barracks and trenches on the borders. Now those positions do not exist. They have created new positions, but there are no conditions [necessary for military service]․ The boys are in tents, on cars… Should the boys who took part in the war serve in those conditions? Do they deserve that indifference?” says our interlocutor.

The father of one of the conscripts also mentioned that a soldier serving in Armenia can get a vacation, but those serving in Artsakh do not have that opportunity either: it is not fair or honest.

“People never heard about a son of an official injured ever. Why is it that their children sit in warm houses and our boys continue their military service in such conditions? During the war, they fought under fire and phosphorus [chemical weapon of mass destruction was used by Azerbaijan]. I asked my son and the others, what were you thinking during the war, they said, we were wondering when we will die. My son had health problems, so he was allowed to come for a medical examination. He came home. The child was playing at home, he made a little mess, my son nervously squeezed the iPhone in his palm and broke it. Do you understand how tense that child’s nerves are? When somebody hears an unexpected noise, becomes terrified. Now, our children were in hell for 44 days but the state is so indifferent today!”

The parents were received by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Minister of Defense. They told the parents that they were aware of the problem and were trying to find a solution to it. However, according to the servicemen’s fathers, the same answer is heard every time: they are trying to gain time and are just indifferent.

“At the moment there is a conscription in Artsakh, but the boys are not going to Artsakh. Our children are now in tents in Artsakh. You saw that video, didn’t you? It was spread on the Internet: the tent was blown away by the wind, the beds were left․ It was not the only case. Many boys today continue their service in even more terrible conditions,” said the soldier’s father.

According to him, thousands of tons of aid came to Armenia, but nothing reached the soldiers.

“The conscripts who saw the war do not have any privileges at all today. Did they have to die so that the state would give their families several hundred thousand drams [525 AMD=$1] or a couple of privileges? Our boys fought and, if they survived, should they be treated like this? It’s been 15 days since they have collected our boys’ military ID’s. The Ministry of Defense said that it should be mentioned in their military ID’s that the boys took part in military operations. It’s been half a month: couldn’t they write that much? Were they going to make a cuneiform inscription, were they going to engrave with a hammer, do they need time, or should the writer be arriving from Antarctica?” asked the father of one of the boys, who is continuing his military service in Artsakh.

Hasmik Baleyan

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