Yervand Hovhannisyan, 35, was one of the first victims of the 44-day war. He died during the first minutes of the war in Mataghis. Before that, he managed to call his wife and tell her to take the children and leave the village.

Yervand’s family, his wife and three children lived with him for many years in their apartment in the village of Mataghis in the Martakert region of Artsakh, and in the early morning of September 27 they saw with their own eyes and felt on themselves the beginning of the war.

“It was terrible, there were explosions, smoke. We went down to the basements, we stayed for 7-8 hours. Our car was damaged, we could not leave in it. Then my middle brother brought his car, we drove away from Mataghis. My youngest child was very young, he did not understand anything, and my two older children were not afraid, because they knew what war meant: in 2016 they have seen it,” says Tamara. She states that, at the time of her departure, she was only focused on removing the children from the war zone and taking them to safety, and did not imagine that she would never see her husband again.

Yervand’s co-servicemen and the officer told the wife that he had died of a gunshot near his heart, but Tamara has other information. She told us that her brothers are in the military, she was born and raised in Talish, and after the war she had the opportunity to watch videos of her husband’s positions. According to Tamara, the videos show that Yervand is alive after receiving the gunshot wound, his fellow soldiers carry him for a while, but, at some point, they leave him in the position and leave. Thus, at the moment when the enemy entered the Armenian positions in Mataghis, Yervand was still alive.

Tamara now lives in a rented apartment in Yerevan and says she wants her and her children to be near the tomb of Yervand, who is buried in Yerablur military cemetary. She says that, as a soldier, Yervand always prepared his family for war and even taught their children what to do in case of war. Tamara says that probably all the soldiers tell their families all that.

Yervand Hovhannisyan was a captain, the head of a battalion rear. His older children, Alvard and Artyom, kept talking to us about their father, saying that they missed him a lot, but they also knew what had happened to him. “I remember dad calling my mom and saying, ‘Take the kids out. I love you so much,'” little Alvard recalls.

Ani Gevorgyan

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