Today, RA Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Nazeli Baghdasaryan reported during a press conference that 100,520 forcibly displaced people from Artsakh have arrived to Armenia. “Only officials and, of course, a small number of the population have remained in Nagorno-Karabakh,” she said.
The forcibly displaced people we talked to report that the few residents who remained in Karabakh today also wish to move to Armenia. No one believes the promise of Azerbaijani President Aliyev that he will provide a good life to the people of Artsakh.
“I don’t think anyone will stay in Artsakh. Everyone wants to come. It’s just that people haven’t been able to come yet,” assures Stepanakert resident Saten Gabrielyan, who was displaced from Kashatagh region back in 2021.
“My mother does not tell anything about the captivity, she is very scared:” Saten
Her old mother stayed in Artsakh, in the village of Chldran; she had no contact with her for a long time.
“My mother was captured on September 19, the very first day of the attack. She was lost and we didn’t hear from her for eight days. She was taken prisoner; the Azerbaijanis took her picture. Then the Red Cross brought her to Stepanakert. I was worried, how would she come [to Armenia]? She waited for a whole day in the government building. She finally got on a bus on September 29 and now she is with me. My mother does not tell anything about the captivity: she is very scared. She is in a psychologically depressed state. She is very scared,” Saten Gabrielyan tells Forrights.am.
These days, she was busy with gathering documents for her mother, after which they will definitely seek a psychologist’s help.
“I only brought a handful of soil and a stone from The Granny-Grandpa:” Isaura
Izaura Balasanyan, a mother of four children, came on Sunday by bus with her children. After the 44-Day War, she emigrated with her children from her native village to Stepanakert, where renting a house was difficult and expensive. In the end, she ended up on the streets. As a sign of protest, she took her children and went to Shushi to surrender [to Azeris]. But the Russian peacekeepers did not allow them to take to go to Azeri controlled Shushi.
Now she is outside again, this time — in Yerevan. At the moment, she and her four children stay in a small one-bedroom apartment rented by a relative’s family of 10 people from Artsakh. But she can’t stay long and bother people.
“I’m going to see a house in Etchmiadzin today,” says Izaura.
She left 21 head of cattle in Jamilu village of Artsakh. She rejoiced at the birth of every calf. She boasted that she was able to grow black tomatoes in her garden, that people were hungry during the siege, but she was able to get cheese, milk, and feed the children.
“And now, I left all my crops and goods, I left my livestock and came here in an acquaintance’s car. I couldn’t even take all the children’s things. “I brought only a handful of soil and a stone from The Granny-Grandpa [the We Are Our Mountains monument at the entrance of Stepanakert, Artsakh, which many call Granny-Grandpa: the monument symbolized unbreakable spirit and antiquity of the people of Artsakh],” says the woman. She assures that many people used to tear stones from The Granny-Grandpa and take them to Armenia as a relic, memory.
RA authorities suggested Izaura to go to Tavush, a border village.
“I am losing my third house; I am being displaced for the third time. How can I go to the border with the children, near the military positions?” says Iza. She assures that she got no other help. She asks me to give her addresses where food is distributed to dispersed people from Artsakh.
“Don’t you know me? I’m the head of the Talish medical aid station:” Laura
Nurse Lora Avanesyan is one of the last soldiers to leave the combat position of Mataghis. She was the only woman in the position. Today she is in Yeghvard, at the house of an acquaintance. She is looking for a residence near Yerevan with cheap, up to 100 thousand drams monthly rent. She cannot pay more. She left her native soil with bitter thoughts.
“We ended the war and everyone went their own way. We did not understand what happened. As if there never was an army, we had never seen nor heard about it. I came to Goris as I could. We registered there. A lawyer, human rights defender, named Narine approached. She said, “Do you want to go to the border?” I said no, I’m just coming back from the war, my hands are still covered with blood, my psyche is not normal, I won’t be able to. I would like to move to Yeghvard, to my friend’s house. Narine said, I understood you, and left. Two men came. One’s face was familiar; he had served in Mataghis. I said, ‘Don’t you know me? I am the head of the Talish medical aid station.’ He said: ‘Wow, my dear nurse, how old you look, how changed you are! He hugged me, kissed with tears in his eyes. They decided to help us. They provided us with a transit Ford, they took us, five women, to Yerevan,” Lora says.
She says she was not ready that to hand over Karabakh so soon, and have no single piece of land left, “even just one meter for us to say this is called Karabakh.”
“So much blood was shed, and an indescribable scene… I take out the wounded. I am with them until the last minute… You will not imagine how much I kissed the walls of our house. I cannot describe my grief and emotions when I left Karabakh. I participated in three wars; in vain. My suffering was in vain. The only result of my suffering is that I stayed alive. But it would have been better if I didn’t stay alive. I wish I died not to feel anything. They would bring me, bury me next to the children, and everything would end with Karabakh with me. I can’t say anything. For so many years, I have served as the only female soldier at the posts, and now I am naked, barefoot, outdoors…”
Lora says that there were doctors by her side who refused to go after the wounded, saying, “How can I go? They are shooting.” “But that doctor is a hero today, they gave him a medal, they will give him an apartment, but nothing for us.” Loretta remembers all the wounded, whom she pulled out of the fire, and those who died, and the corpses. She was the last one to get out of the position. She sees them every night in her dreams.