The deaths in the army in non-combat circumstances do not stop: the statistics are very worrying. It became known about the death of a 19-year-old conscript soldier on February 19. Two days after the incident, the Investigative Committee announced the arrest of one person. The soldier was serving in Ijevan.
The Ministry of Defense reported another incident on the same day. Near the village of Khnatsakh, due to an avalanche, the “UAZ” car of the ministry rolled into the valley, as a result of which contract servicemen Zorand Arzumanyan and Zorak Yeranosyan died. Two other servicemen were taken to the garrison hospital with various injuries. According to the Ministry, the condition of the injured servicemen is assessed as satisfactory, their lives are not in danger.
On January 29, the Ministry of Defense reported about the serviceman who received a gunshot wound. This incident followed the barracks fire incident in the Azat community of Gegharkunik region where 15 servicemen were burnt.
On December 16, 2022, Forrights.am reported on the death of Karen Danielyan, a conscript soldier who died on December 14 in the NSS border guard troops. And, neither the Ministry of Defense nor the National Security Service had an official message about this.
Last year, in 2022, the number of non-combat deaths in the army was 64, in 2021 – 74, in 2020 – 101, in 2019 – 49, in 2018 – 63. It should be noted that these deaths do not include servicemen who died during combat operations.
Back in 2016, Nikol Pashinyan made a post on Facebook, referring to the servicemen who died in non-combat circumstances. “We will not allow this (referring to the deaths, editor) to become a news headline. Behind every victim there is a specific culprit, a specific responsible person and we must find them. This is the way to deal with this monstrous news.”
Nikol Pashinyan repeated this idea in the first days of becoming the Prime Minister, on May 12, 2018, at the Ministry of Defense. “We should not allow the news about the death of soldiers to become another news headline for the public, and any incident that occurred as a result of the enemy’s actions and incidents should be seriously investigated,” Pashinyan said, emphasizing the importance of preventing deaths and saving the lives of soldiers.
Why is this phenomenon not put an end to during the 5 years of Pashinyan’s tenure, or why the cases are not decreasing and the circumstances are not resolved? If Nikol Pashinyan announced that there is a specific culprit behind every victim and we must find them, did he search for them? And maybe he searched and found himself and his political teammates in some places. Political scientist Andrias Ghukasyan mentioned in relation to these issues:
“What does it have to do with what Nikol Pashinyan wrote? As a leader, he is unable to initiate, manage and implement any reforms in the military sector. When he was not in the government, he criticized; now, the government is trying to cover up these phenomena in every possible way,” he said.
According to political scientist Andrias Ghukasyan, deaths in non-combat situations are the result of systemic problems. “In recent years, the issue of discipline seems to have become an acute problem. It is a complex problem, starting with the highest leadership, officers, and ending with the process of building the army,” said the political scientist.
According to Andrias Ghukasyan, Suren Papikyan, as the Minister of Defense, does not take enough steps to prevent deaths in the army. “The governance of Suren Papikyan is of very low quality,” said the political scientist.