There are names on the stones and photos on the walls. The memorial dedicated to the memory of those who died during the three wars of Artsakh looks like this. Over the years, the number of names written on the stones has reached 7,500. The photos on the walls show boys of 18, 19, 20 and other ages who did not spare their lives for the motherland. The memorial was named “X military unit”: it is the military unit of all soldiers, says Aghabek Khachatryan, nicknamed Bek, a participant in the Artsakh Liberation War, a member of the “Artsiv” [“Eagle”] battalion that has sworn to fight to death. He is the founder of this place, where the parents of the killed boys often gather and pay respect to the memory of their sons.

“X military unit” is equipped like a trench, and all supplies were brought from the battlefield.

Aghabek Khachatryan shows one by one the things in the area. A piece of tin brought from the roof of the Church of the Holy All-Saviour Ghazanchetsots Church in Shushi, with the inscription “A lamentation from the last wounds”, next to it are lined up fragments of struck down grad [volley jet fire system], mortar, bayraktar [very powerful unmanned aerial vehicle], cluster weapons of the enemy’s arsenal, which were destroyed by the Armenian soldiers.

This memorial has been operating since 2010, but three years after the 44-day war, it faced the threat of destruction. Aghabek Khachatryan says that the owner of the area demands them to leave the place.

“In 2020, a man came and said that this area is theirs and that we should leave. I found out that they have 14,000 square meters of land there, but these bous died for one meter of a land, and now this person says get out, I have to sell. He is a man who lives in America; he did not come here. Armen (he is the owner of the land), you come here once and light a candle and say that you have 14 thousand square meters of land here, so you let these 300 meters remain for these guys, as a museum. What should that person say to these boys? We owe them their lives, we live thanks to them,” said Aghabek Khachatryan.

According to him, the executive director of the owner’s company suggested to move the photographs of the dead boys, the relics of weapons brought from the battlefield and other samples to another place.

Melik, the owner’s friend, also confirms the information about moving the memorial built for the boys who died in the war. In a conversation with, he said that they decided to buy a new area and move the memorial to the boys to another place.

Nothing will be demolished; all should be moved to another plot of land, built up nicely. We will move it to Kharberd, we have reached an agreement with Aghabek Khachatryan and now we are waiting for the owner of the land to do the paperwork,” he said. Answering the question about what purpose they want to use the area for, he mentioned: “It is not yet known what will happen in that area: it will probably be a residential building.”

The parents of the fallen soldiers, however, do not agree with moving the memorial: they consider the area a sanctuary.

Hamlet Hakobyan, the father of Grigor Hakobyan, a border guard soldier who died in the 44-day war, said: “We exclude demolition and relocation. They come, they convince, they offer another place. There were threats too, but then they got smarter. It is not likely that they will come and destroy it. This was there and existed. Which judge made such a decision?

How can this small plot of land be taken away from the boys who gave their lives for the motherland, the father of Abraham Marukhyan, Tigran Marukhyan, askes distressed. “This place is a place named after our sons, this is a place where the relatives of the victims come to honor the memory of their sons, to get to know each other. Have people lost their moral sense and reasoning that they do not wish to let an inch of land to remain as a museum for thousands of boys?

The mother of the fallen soldier Edgar Baghumyan, Eliza Shahnazaryan, considers the dismantling of the memorial offensive. “I regret the dear lives of our boys, who departed for these unpatriotic people. We are fighting for a small open museum. They eliminate what is there, but for what? If they remove the pictures of the boys, what will be added, a business? What else can we say? Let a small relic remain from them. This is an insult to the spilled blood of our boys.”

Melik, the friend of the land owner, notes in this regard: “We are also parents, our children also fought, we have victims among our children… they came and built this place illegally, now we have to solve this issue in a civilized manner, we do not damage, we do not destroy, we will take it as it is and install it on the plot we bought so that none of us will be offended. ”

On Saturday, the parents gathered in the area of the memorial complex. One of the Armenian families living in Russia decided to erect a memorial stone in memory of the victims. Aghabek Khachatryan announced that notices are coming from the Compulsary Enforcement Service regarding the forced eviction from the area, and this may be the last event held there. “There is an Armenian person who wants to destroy this. This is probably the last event here. I have been in courts for three years: they sued me because I made this. They gave an order from America to demolish this, ask him the questions,” he said.

Narek Kirakosyan

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