“The Ministry of Defense said that it is possible that your husband hid somewhere:” The wife of a missing soldier

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Liana Meliksetyan, the wife of Vahe Manukyan, a contract soldier who disappeared from Nakhichevan four months ago, was given a puzzling answer at the Ministry of Defense when she inquired yesterday about the stage of her husband’s search. Liana had arrived in Yerevan from Yeghegnadzor with her two minor children to meet with Minister Suren Papikyan, but she was received by an official from the Ministry of Defense. And, as Liana reports,

“Someone with the last name Poghosyan, I do not know his position, told me that during these four months, it is possible that your husband hid somewhere, we can not find him. I said, ‘Where is he hiding? Do it, find him, give him to me.’ It was very insulting for me. I did not imagine that I would receive such a reply from the Ministry of Defense. They tell me to go to the Investigative Committee; from there, they tell me to go to the Ministry of Defense, and so on. They keep sending me to each other. Like we are crazy…”

The Ministry of Defense did not issue an official statement on Vahe Manukyan’s disappearance. Vahe Manukyan has been missing since November 12, 2021, however, this became known to the public only on January 26, 2022, when the information was published by forrights.am. Four months later, there is still no news from the contract soldier. We wrote earlier that Vahe Manukyan went missing on the interposition route. This information was given to us by his wife.

“One of the friends in the position asks Vahe to go and get his things from the other post, because he was wounded in the leg. My husband does not refuse and leaves. He takes his friend’s clothes and, on his way back, he talks to me on the phone. During the conversation, he asks to talk to our son. My son was outdoors; I called him, when I came back, I called him again, but he was already unreachable. It did not occur to me that he was lost. The Vayk military police came to me in the evening to inform me about it. He got lost on the way… How can we understand this? The friends did not know that my husband was not there until six or seven o’clock. They started looking for him too late,” Liana Meliksetyan said earlier.

The wife is now circulating two versions of her husband’s disappearance. “I say either my husband was killed or he was taken prisoner,” she says, but the authorities do not deny or confirm any of the hypotheses.

Recently, the Manukyan family was offered to give DNA samples so that they could identify Vahe Manukyan’s probable body.

Against the background of the uncertainty of Vahe’s whereabouts, the family is aggravated by social problems. After the disappearance of her husband, the care of the three minor children was left entirely on Liana’s shoulders. Liana Meliksetyan says she has no job at home, she takes care of the children with a 35,000 drams allowance [about $70]. She appealed to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Defense, but the authorities who claim to be operating under the slogan “Armenia is my home, the people are my family”, and who stand out by distributing lavish bonuses to themselves, refused, saying that there is no money in the budget for such cases.

The application addressed to the Prime Minister was redirected to the Ministry of Defense, from where they responded:

“You are not included in the waiting list of the housing area of ​​the RA Ministry of Defense. According to the procedure approved by the decision N 1419-N of the Government of the Republic of Armenia of December 6, 2018, only the families of servicemen who were killed (died) during military service or became handicapped by injuries, mutilations or diseases caused by military service are eligible to receive state financial assistance, to whom the social security unit of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia issued a certificate endorsing the status of a family member of the killed (deceased) serviceman or a disabled serviceman, have the right to receive state financial support to purchase an apartment.

As of today, Liana Meliksetyan and her three minor children are homeless, the owner of the rented apartment has evicted them, as Liana says, for not being able to pay the rent. She asks the state to give her children the status, to support her socially, until her husband’s whereabouts are determined.

Narek Kirakosyan