On August 16, 2021, a conscript soldier, private Arman Hakobyan, who turned 19 just a few days ago, was killed in the Gegharkunik section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. He was the eldest son of the family; he had two younger brothers.

The official message referred to the incident with one line: “As a result of a large-scale intense shootout, a soldier of the Nth military unit of the RA Armed Forces Private Arman Hovhannes Hakobyan, born in 2002, received a fatal gunshot wound from the enemy.” It was also reported that as a result of the retaliatory actions taken by the Armenian side, the enemy has at least three dead and wounded.

Beyond the dry reporting, there is what is invisible to the public: the tragedy of the family, the mental anguish of the mother of the boy, Taguhi Hakobyan, her one-year reflections on her son’s fate.

After reporting about Arman’s death to Taguhi and later, people tried to calm the soldier’s mother, saying that Arman was a real hero, that he took the main fire on himself, destroyed the enemy, that the 3-5 casualties of the enemy were the work of Arman. They even showed video tapes to the mother where it is seen how Arman got into hand-to-hand combat with the Turks, and they said, “Look what kind of fight your hero is fighting.”

On August 10, Arman’s birthday, in his native Talin, a pavilion and a fountain were installed in Arman’s yard in memory of him. He was posthumously awarded with the 1st degree medal “For Services to the Motherland”, an honorary certificate, the title of which reads: “For securing our right to live and keeping the gates impregnable at the expense of his life in the hot battles fought for the defense of the homeland’s borders.”

Arman’s mother told the medal bearers. “If it’s a good thing, take one each of you home.” It sounded like a curse, but Taguhi does not regret it: “I don’t regret saying it: let them understand what a parent goes through.”

Taguhi Hakobyan cannot get rid of the thought that Arman was treated unfairly. First, on May 12, 2001, about a month after he was drafted into the Zod military unit of Vardenis, her son was taken to positions.

“How can a soldier of just one month be taken to the front line? They were supposed to take to positions not sooner than after six months. Why didn’t they keep my child for at least 5 months?” Taguhi Hakobyan gets upset.

It was the period when the enemy regularly opened fire in the direction of Sotk, Kut, Norabak villages.

“At that time, the Turks had already entered that area, and, after that, my son stayed in the front lines of Zodk, Norabak, Kut, Verin Shorzha until July 5. Finally, on July 6, they gave him a leave and he came home. And, I was also surprised that a soldier of three months has come home. And when I found out what difficulties he went through, what complicated things he participated in, I was very sad. On July 16, when I was seeing my son off, I felt that I would never see him again,” says Taguhi.

Arman Hovhannisyan had spinal deformity, which was a consequence of flat feet. Taguhi believes that, with this diagnosis, he should not have been taken to the army at all, and this was the second injustice to her son.

“On February 18, 2021, my son received a notice that he had to pass a “general commission”. He was flat-footed, had a crooked spine; he was very tall. For a month, they called him back and forth, examined him, took him from hospital to hospital, finally they diagnosed him with third-degree flat feet and wrote that he is fit for military service, but he will serve with restrictions.”

They lied to Taguhi, saying, “Madam, your son will serve with restrictions; he will not stand in line, he will not rise to a position, he will not take up arms.”

“I replied, ‘Actually, are you taking my child to a spa?’ After a month, he was already sent to positions with an “Alarm” order. He was fearless, he was nicknamed Eagle Eye, my son was so far-sighted. I said to him: ‘Arman, sweetheart, when you are being taken to positions, why aren’t you telling them that you are there under an article’? He was laughing, saying: ‘Come and see what kind of boys are there, flat feet is not a big deal, you come and see the boys.’ Now, if they didn’t do that, my son would be alive, I don’t know who to complain to,” the victim’s mother sadly records. She can talk endlessly about her son.

During the 44-day war, Arman asked to be taken to the front as a volunteer, but was refused at the military commissariat due to his feet problem. After the war, the soldier filled the gap, being in new hotbeds of tension: Syunik and Gegharkunik.

He was a soldier for 1.5 months when the enemy invaded the Sev Lich area of ​​Syunik region. Arman Hakobyan actively participated in military operations there. Then, he performed combat duty in Verin Shorzha and Norabak, after which he was transferred to positions near the village of Kut.

Syuzan Simonyan

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