Samvel Kotanjyan’s barn in Sizavet is being emptied little by little. The father of a large family has to sell a cow and a calf every month to pay off the bank loans.

Samvel, 45, who lives in the Sizavet community of the Shirak region, borrowed $8,000 from a bank and bought a truck to carry out agricultural work. A year later, the 44-day war broke out and Samvel received a notice from the Ashotsk military commissariat to go to war.

“I received a notification from the military commissar that I should report with my car. I was taken from Ashotsk to one of the military units in Gyumri, from where I went to Hoktemberyan for training. I stayed there for about twenty days, but, since I have minor children, I was not taken to Artsakh and was sent back. After I arrived, the car was driven to Artsakh, but on the way the engine was broken and they brought it back to Hoktemberyan,” says Samvel.

Samvel has five minor children. The eldest son will be revruited in winter conscription, which starts on October 25, and one of the children has a disability since early childhood. The family is in a unsound situation. Samvel had bought the truck to take care of the family.

“I hav carried grass, gravel. I did village work. This year too there was a lot of work; there was no grass in the village, we brought it from the regions. I bought it to take care of the family and make money from the side. There are seven of us at home and only my wife works, she works as a teacher at school, she hardly receives 70,000 drams [about $150] monthly, and there are the two pensions, but it is not possible to live on that,” he says, noting that if the barn empties too, the family will find itself in extreme poverty. Let us remind that 26.4% of the population in Armenia is poor, and food prices are getting higher and higher.

“It [the vehicle] has been out of order for a year now. I bought this car taking a loan from a bank eight thousand dollars. At present, I am repaying the loan by selling livestock. If I sell the animals, I do not know what our situation will be. I have already sold five calves and three cows so that I would not be blacklisted,” he said.

Samvel Kotanjyan hopes that the decision made by the government on May 6, 2021 will be implemented, according to which financial compensation will be provided to legal entities and individuals whose property was used free of charge during the war and now it is impossible to return it. According to the decision, compensation will also be given to those whose property is returned by the state damaged. Earlier, the Ministry of Defense reported that the number of vehicles belonging to citizens or legal entities that were damaged or destroyed during the 44-day war was 507.

Samvel Kotanjyan sent letters to the government and the Ministry of Defense. Both departments turged o wait. According to Samvel’s calculations, he needs three million drams [about $6,000] to repair the car.

The Journalists for Human Rights NGO has addressed questions to the Government of the Republic of Armenia regarding this issue, to which we have not yet received an answer.

Narek Kirakosyan

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