“Arthur loved the military uniform, the lieutenant’s shoulder straps. He probably has 10 uniforms,” Varsik Harutyunyan begins her memories of her son’s patriotism with these words. She is the mother of Lieutenant Artur Sahakyan.
Arthur is one of the four Armenians who, at the cost of their lives, stopped the advance of the enemy army on the way to Tegh village in Syunik. The border incident took place two months ago, on April 11, when the Azerbaijani servicemen obstructed the fortification works of the Armenian positions.
“When they tried to carry out engineering works, the enemy demanded to retreat, which the Armenian side did not comply with. As a result of the uncompromising position of the Armenian side, in which Arthur also participated, there was no retreat,” Gagik proudly talks about his friend’s patriotism.
Artur Sahakyan was the platoon commander and acting company commander. His friends tell that also a hand-to-hand fight took place between Armenian and Azerbaijani servicemen on April 11.
“There are legends about the strength of Arthur’s hand. I witnessed how he hit the wall with his hand, the wall cracked. The fight was at close range, and there was a skirmish, and a hand-to-hand fight, during which, unfortunately, he was killed,” says Gagik. Information reached Tigran from other friends that, before being killed himself, Arthur hit a high-ranking Azerbaijani officer with a weapon.
“On the enemy’s side there was a general, a corps commander. The conversation got heated, there was a fight, during which Arthur hit the Azerbaijani general with a weapon,” said Tigran.
We met Arthur’s friends, Gagik and Tigran, in the yard of the Department of International Relations of the Yerevan State University, where Arthur told about his dreams during his student years. “He wanted to be useful to the motherland both as a diplomat and as a soldier. For this purpose, he joined the service under the “My Honor” program. He wanted to become an ambassador and represent Armenia in the Arab world,” friends say.
Arthur made the decision to serve in the Armenian army with the “My Honor” program when he was in school. “He came from school one day and said that there was a program called “My Honor”, and he wanted to participate. I did not agree. An entire month he begged me to agree and sign the application. We did it on the last day. Arthur loved the army, the motherland, too much,” says his mother, Varsik Harutyunyan, and remembers how her son was against the idea of being released from the army with the option of having a Russian passport. “He said: even if you get a Russian passport for me, it won’t matter, I will serve in the Armenian army.”
Arthur served and defended his homeland without sparing his life. After the combat operations that took place on April 11, the residents of Tegh village admired the heroism of the Armenian servicemen, which they witnessed from a few meters away.
Arthur and his parents lost contact on April 11. “On taht day, we learned that he was in positions. It was already 6 o’clock, we did not hear from him: we texted, we called, but he did not answer. At 10:30, we found out that everything was over, Arthur was gone, gone…” said the mother, noting that her son had also volunteered to defend Artsakh.
“During the 44-day war, I said: Arthur, sweetheart, you won’t go, will you?” He said, “No, mom.” The next day, he went to Yerevan to sign up as a volunteer… he would do anything for the motherland,” said his mother.
Artur Sahakyan was from Gyumri, the only son of the family, he has a sister. In the Gyumri Academic College, where Arthur studied, there is a corner of glory in memory of Arthur and the other boys who died during the war. Roza Khachaturyan, one of Arthur’s teachers, says that Arthur’s patriotism is passed on to other students. “The whole school mourned Arthur’s death. There are more victims from that same school. We bear the death of each soldier with great pain, and Arthur’s death opened a new wound. It seems that life has become meaningless, but this is a school, there are new Arthurs here, it gives hope that life continues, because they also live with patriotism,” he said.
Narek Kirakosyan is a journalist, works on the principle of "a person is an absolute value".