Tears choke the words of Marina Galstyan, forcibly deported from Artsakh. She speaks with great difficulty about the homeland, their home, her husband and crossing the path of deportaion. She lives with her three minor children in a rented apartment in the city of Hrazdan. In one of the corners of the living room are the photographs of her husband, Major Igor Galstyan, who died on September 20, and next to them is a small copy of the “We Are Our Mountains” memorial, which has become a “business card” of Artsakh. “We bought it from a churchyard in Stepanakert, a few days before the war,” said Mrs. Marina in a conversation with Forrights.am.
Ms. Marina cannot find words to describe the unacceptableness of this reality, where Artsakh is occupied. The husband was an officer for 27 years; he fought for Talish, Mataghis, Askeran, and, in recent days, he was in the Tsor military unit near Stepanakert.
“He was very dedicated to the army, very much so! When we were coming to Armenia for the 2020 war, I said: ‘Igor, where should I go with my three children?’ He replied: ‘You have three, do you know how many children I have?’ He was very honest, dutiful, smart, a good person by his essence, a good husband, a good father,” says Mrs. Marina.
They lived together for 20 years and never thought about leaving Stepanakert. The wife says that for her husband, the children were as important as the soldiers. Igor Galstyan was last seen by his wife and children on September 17.
“On September 17, they called and said there was an alarm. He left and we didn’t see him again. On the 19th of the month, the children came from school. They were bombardments. my daughter told me to call papa: she was scared. I called, we talked for a few minutes, he said that he will come home in the evening, and that everything was fine. Whenever I said, Igor, there are accumulations, the situation is bad, he said, don’t panic. During the 44-Day War, I would call scared, he would laugh and say, ‘We’re playing’, and it was the same this time.”
The last time Marina Galstyan spoke with her husband was on September 20, for two minutes, after which the connection was interrupted and they could no longer talk. The woman was informed in the hospital that her husband died while she was searching for him.
“On the 19th of the month, we were in the basement, like everyone else. I was feeling very bad, I felt that something was going to happen. Everyone came with weapons or had laid down their weapons, no one had any information about him, I would ask, have you seen him, they would say no. In the morning, I sent the children to the regiment to find out what news there is from papa,” said Mrs. Marina and mentioned that her son, Vova, is very similar to his father. “When the children came and told me, I went to the hospital; I was looking for him, but couldn’t find him. They lied to me that he was seriously injured, then an acquaintance said that he was killed, do not look for hima any more. I can’t believe that he is no more; I have this feeling that he is in positions and will enter home soon.
Igor Galstyan was killed at 26th post by an enemy sniper shot. In a conversation with Forrights.am, one of his comrades-in-arms, Gegham, presented some episodes of Igor Galstyan’s exploits.
“During the 44-day war, we were in Jrakan, it was very difficult to bring weapons and food by car, almost every car was hit by drones. Odd people were delivering weapons and food. Gegham was brought to Jrakan so that the crew could perform combat operations. Then we retreated to Fizuli: we were on the newly created front line, there were vehicles hit by the enemy. Thanks to Igor, our crew was supplied with weapons and food several times. It was necessary to keep the rear in order to establish a new front line, Igor and two lieutenants were with me, they went to the enemy and fought for five to six hours so that the battalion could bypass and move to a new front line. … Igor Galstyan has won because he didn’t see the reality we have now, he didn’t see the destruction of Karabakh,” said the comrade-in-arms.
Igor Galstyan’s family buried him in the fraternal pantheon of Stepanakert, but they did not let the body of the officer who sacrificed his life for the homeland to remain in the enemy-occupied Artsakh. “Igor’s brother did everything to bring his brother to Yerablurin Armenia]: he fought at all costs, we could not leave him there,” said the woman.
Igor Galstyan’s family, along with the difficult problems of losing their fatherland and father, is in need of financial support.
Narek Kirakosyan is a journalist, works on the principle of "a person is an absolute value".