“My Max called me on the night of the war, made me wake everyone up to talk to the whole family. His voice was sound, loud, he excitedly was telling us that he was cleaning and preparing his weapon. Everyone was surprised by this urgency. I understood that if my son was preparing so seriously, then it was not an ordinary situation: it is war.”
As you enter the town of Vedi in the Ararat region, you are greeted by a smiling photo of 20-year-old soldier Maxim Hovhannisyan. He died a year and a half after his service in the army. He was a student at the Department of Cybernetics at Yerevan State University, but nothing has stopped him from fulfilling his duty to the homeland. The father remembers with grieving heart how happy and excited he was to receive the notice of conscription.
In reality, Maxim should not have served in the army at all because he had a serios heart condition. The boy, however, hid that fact from the military doctor, then, as he called it, has “cheated” the medical equipment:
“During a regular medical examination, a device for checking the heart rhythm was attached to his chest to monitor the heart for 24-hours. We did not know about the device. He happily told his uncle, “You know, I cheated the equipment.’ Later, I went to our hospital with that paper. I showed it to the cardiologist. He was astonished. He said that Max should not have served at all with such heart condition. But he wanted to serve at any cost, and that cost was too high for us,” Maxim’s father Sahak tells the Armenpress.
He did not wait to become an adult; during the Four-Day War, when he was still 16 years old boy, volunteered with his friends, then resented when they were not drafted… Maxim received the long-awaited notice of conscription on January 29. He came out from the military commissariat holding the paper high above his head and announcing happily that he was going to the army․
On September 27th, the war entered the Hovhannisyans’ house…
Maxim started serving in Hadrut. During a year-and-a-half duration of his service, he never complained about anything. He was very proud with his anti-tank missile system skills. He mastered his “tool” so well that five months after his service, the command staff awarded him a Certificate of Merit and a vacation.
“It happened just once: he was happy when he came and was excited when he left. We did not know that it would be the last time we saw him… the very last time…”.
If the beginning of the war was unexpected for everyone, it was predictable for Maxim and the other soldiers. The father says that, days before the war, his son made them understand that they were preparing for some important action. The father who has took part in the first Artsakh war understood that this was not going to be an ordinary clash. The attack started on September 27, and from that moment the war “entered” the Hovhannisyans’ home.
“My child’s voice was enough for our day to blossom. We lived from phone call to phone call. We were in touch during the whole war. We spoke briefly; he did not say anything about the attacks. Again, he never complained, always said that he was fine. When he heard an explosion, he ended the conversation, then called back saying that everything was normal…It was later, that we learned that they had the hottest fights.”
The boy spoke with his family on November 1, the same evening he spoke also with his friends. Everyone noted that Maxim spoke with high courage, he believed that everything would be fine and the lost lands will be returned․
“He infected us with his faith. We only believed what my child said, we knew that if he said it, then he would do it. … He was my pride, my yearning, which I lost on the night of November 2 in the village of Chartar․ At first, the plane bomb hit, then Smerch hit the same place,” the father who lost his son sighs deeply.
“My son died for the Homeland; he deserves to have his name on the list“
A large corner of the house was completely “breathing” with Max. Photos, Letters of Appreciation, Certificates of Merit… During each story about his son, the father would approach one of the son’s photographs, as if talking to him.
In the corner stood out the package of the Military ID and, damaged by the explosion, a prayer book that the father gave to him, Sahak takes it in his hands: “This did not save my child either…”
“The war has entered our home and it will not come out, it will never come out,” said Maxim’s mother, who did not speak during the whole conversation, only sobbed silently during every word of her husband.
The news of Maxim’s death was first known by the relatives, but they hid it from the parents until the boy’s body was found on November 4 in Goris․
“He had become completely unrecognizable; the body armor only kept his chest unharmed — the part for which he should not have joined the army at all.”
Almost 5 months have passed since Maxim’s death, but his name is not in the officially published lists. The father regularly called the Ministry of Defense and Defense Army, but did not receive a clear answer․
“My son died for the Homeland; he deserves to have his name on the list.”