The parents and brother of conscript soldier Volodia Nersisyan, who died as a result of a fire in the barracks located in Azat village of Gegharkunik region, do not believe the official version. In a conversation with, they mentioned that the death of the soldiers was intentional.

“It was intentional, I can’t say whether it was done by the enemy from outside or inside. It is not logical for a person to burn while sleeping and not use any efforts. The door was a wooden Soviet door: if it was not closed from the outside, opening it was a matter of a second,” said Volodya’s brother, Karlos Nersisyan.

Carlos had talked to his brother about 45 minutes before the calamity. According to official information, the fire broke out in the barracks on January 19, at 01:30 am. The brother spoke with Volodya at 00:15.

“He said that they were drinking coffee sitting by the stove. He was impressed by the fact that he said we were sitting next to the stove and drinking coffee, naturally the stove was lit. He said he was not going to sleep and will call again, but he didn’t,” said Carlos, drawing attention to the fact that there the stove was lit.

Carlos learned about the incident in the morning and left for Azat village. He noted that the entrance to the village was closed, the military police did not allow him to enter Azat. After that, when he learned that the soldiers had been moved to the Martuni morgue, he went there.

“I entered… Everyone was unrecognizable. Everyone was lying down in the position in which they sleep. There were parents who recognized their child by his sleeping position. The faces were mostly unrecognizable, the clothes were mostly burnt,” he said.

Volodya served for 1.7 months. He was in that barracks in Azat for the last year, he was transferred from the military training unit of Etchmiadzin. The family last saw Volodya in December when he came on vacation on the 17th and returned on the 21st. The mother, Mrs. Ani, does not believe what Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told and described.

“We do not believe any testimony, any version: they are all fairy tales. On the morning of January 19, the Prime Minister, who was giving a speech and showing the manners of how the captain poured gasoline into the stove and threw it away, should not tell those stories to the parents and mislead the people. Everyone is guilty, from the prime minister, the minister to the rank and file: it was intentional.

It was no random accident or fire. What was that captain doing in there at that hour when he had not been there for a single day? Did he suddenly decide to go and light the stove with gasoline on that day so that the soldiers could sleep warm? We always asked Volodya if he had a superior, he always said no. At that time of the night, no officer was near them,” she said.

The mother is sure that the soldiers were in unconscious state. “They put those children to sleep with something, poisoned them with food or water, let the investigation find out,” she said, stressing out that they will fight to the end for a fair trial.

Carlos was a frequent visitor to Azat barracks. The last time he accompanied his brother after his vacation. In his conversation with us he told us: “There were three rooms: one room was an armory, one was a place to sit, one was a place to sleep and there was a corridor where the stove was placed.” According to him, the barracks had three drivers, two of whom went to bring water, one was asleep but was saved.

Carlos raises a question: how did it happen that some of those who were asleep woke up and others did not? This is the reason why the family does not believe in the official version and puts forward other versions.

After the barracks fire, neither the Minister of Defense nor the Prime Minister nor other officials visited the families of the victims. The Nersisyans are also aggravated by the state’s attitude; they say “Why was not a day of mourning announced”?

Narek Kirakosyan

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