– Karen, sweetheart, how can I leave you and go?
– Mom, I’m well; I do not feel well just because you are there. I am worried about you, my thoughts are with you, go away from there so that I can be free in my actions.
This was the last phone conversation between Karen Beglaryan and his mother on October 5.
My Karen was named after a killed freedom fighter. During the first Karabakh war, my husband’s friend, Karen Kostandyan, died in his arms at the age of 16. After that he promised that if he had a son, he would definitely name him Karen. I was so proud of him, I said it was my gift.
From a young age, everyone in our yard called him Commandos because he was a very playful child. His father, uncles were in the military, and he went their way. He used to say, “Dad, the boys don’t cry, do they?” He had gone to Novosibirsk to study intelligence; he was very good at his job.
He was still a spy during the April war, but I seemed to have peace of mind. The military leader of the school would come and say, “Karen was hiding very well, very well, you can not imagine; even if a Turk would pass over him with a tank, he would not know that Karen was there.” It was as if they were not talking about my child. I used to say, “What are they talking about: my son is a little child?” But when they were telling about his bravery during both the April War, I was proud but also worried. I thought he would return. Everyone was saying, “Why do you let him go to serve?” I would answer that, if a war starts, he would go anyway, and this way he will at least be more experienced and learn and master defense rules. It was as if I was pacifying myself. After the April War, when he went to serve again, my husband was very nervous, he persuaded him to leave the service. But he said, “Dad, you do not know what that is.”
He would always repeat: “Do not worry; everything will be fine, mom, everything will be fine.”
The war started
We were at home when the war started. It was Sunday, and Karen was at home on vacation due to health problems.
When we got up in the morning, he took us all down to the basement, laughed and said to the neighbors to go down to the basement, then put on his clothes, took everything, and left. Every morning he would call and say, “I’m fine, Mom, don’t worry, you go out.” I sent his wife and daughter to Yerevan, she was pregnant, I was left in the basement. He said, “You go so that I can be free in my actions.”
The last call was on October 5․ He said:
– Mama, you do not know what we are doing here, we are in your village, we are fiercly fighting. We will take your village.
– Karen, I do not need a village, I need you.
Now our village is called New Garden, it was left to the Azerbaijanis after the First War.
Karen was there during the conquest of the Varangatagh plateau, for the first time they, two of them, climbed and captured it, then the MOB boys had to keep it, but for some reason, they were sent to defend elsewhere, and the Azeris took that plateau. Karen and they came to capture again, and that’s when he got a brain injury, from a shard. The friend brought him down the hill, then their commanders told him to leave him in the nearest hospital, but the friend said, “I can’t leave Karen in that condition and go,” he took him to Martakert, where they provided first aid. They sent him to Stepanakert hospital, my daughter is a nurse there, her friends saw him and recognized his his blue eyes and knew that it was him. They operated again, then he was in a coma and they sent him to Erebuni hospital in Yerevan.
On the morning of the 6th of the month, I asked his friends if they had called Karen, they said, yes, of course, he is well. We were afraid to call because they [the Azeris] were detecting the calls and hitting the locations where the calls were made from, he had to find a right place and moment to make calls. On the morning of the 6th, his wife called from Yerevan and said, “Mom, it is impposible for him not to answer my calls but answer his friends’ calls.” Then he called Karen, one of his fellow servicemen answered the phone and said that Karen had taken a soldier somewhere. But it was strange, because he did not drive a car during the war, how could he take a soldier? Angelina did not believe, she made different calls to different places, one of his friends mistakenly said that he was injured and that they artificially put him in a coma.
On the 6th of the month I had to take medicine from the hospital, I went, but I did not understand that at that moment my son was being operated on, as if someone pushed me, told me to go to the hospital. Everyone was looking at me in astonishment, because they understood that I did not know. I was not told anything. On the morning of October 7, I got up and came to Yerevan. As soon as I got home, I said to my brother, “Probably, I am a traitor; I left my child on the battlefield and I got out of there. I feel like a traitor.” He said, “You are not a traitor, your child is in Erebuni [hospital].” We went to the hospital, my unconscious child was lying. He struggled for 5 days and… died.
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Courage, the Combat Cross Medal of the second degree. He received many diplomas, certificates and commendations during his military service. And he saving everything so carefully.
He had married Angelina five months before the war. They were seeing each other for almost 6 years, they loved each other very much. They should have had a child, they fought for it, but it didn’t remain.
We were all so connected to each other. Only now I understand that we were the happiest then.