In a conversation with Forrights.am, Valentina Ohanyan, forcibly displaced from Artsakh, recalls the difficulties she had to go through as a result of the enemy’s terrorist actions. Mrs. Valentina considers the moment of losing her grandchild to be the cruelest, along with the terrible shootings.
“I was at work, at school, when I heard shots from different places. They took the children to the basement of the school. My grandson was also there but I’m looking here and there, I’m calling, but the call doesn’t go through, the phone doesn’t work. During that time, there were so many shots from different directions and with different voices, I didn’t know what to do. I was looking for my daughter, but I couldn’t find her either,” says the woman from Martuni, recalling the cruel days.
They were able to get information from the grandson only in the evening. “I couldn’t find him all day. my daughter called in the evening and said that the child was already with her. He hid somewhere else out of fear: I was in a basement, my daughter was somewhere else, my grandson was in a completely different place. Under the shooting, I somehow go to them, we gather in the same basement. We stayed in that basement all night. They used shells,” she says.
Ms. Valentina states that they stayed in the basement until the next day, at 1:00 p.m., and were able to leave only for a short period of time and go home. As soon as they got home, they again were told to go back to the basement. “We went to another basement and stay there for two days. After that, they told us to get out of Martuni. We took a couple of clothes because it was already getting cold and left. I can’t imagine how we got here,” she says.
She mentions that her daughter’s car broke down on the road, before reaching the Hakari bridge: the car’s battery was broken. With the help of the forcibly displaced people, they managed to restore it in a way to pass through the illegal checkpoint set up by the enemy.
Valentina Ohanyan and her family have serious social problems. She was deprived of the opportunity to receive her pension. The Armenian government does not pay the pensions and allowances of Artsakh citizens; there is no information on when their provision will resume.
“We rode from Martuni, what did we bring with us? Nothing! They give 50,000. Can we pay the rent with it, utility bills? We can’t!” she says and remembers that she left two houses with property in Martuni, a shop full of commodities, cloths, but they can’t rent a one-bedroom apartment here, because the prices are astronomical.
“We lived in fear in Martuni. We were looking from our house: on one side there was a Turkish [Azerbaijani] position, on the other side there was a Turkish position, and we were in the middle. The Turks played their song, and we listened to it every morning and evening. The Russian was less than 200 meters away from our house. We were watching and they were not doing anything,” says Mrs. Valentina and adds that the Russian troops had come to Artsakh and were doing business.
“We were in the basement of the school, the Russians came and said that they couldn’t help us with anything. They were doing business in Artsakh. They said that they don’t have fuel to go to the positions, but they were selling the fuel. 20 liters of gasoline were sold to Armenians for 200,000 drams, diesel — for 60,000 drams. But the Russians helped the kindergartens. They gave food to the children so that the kindergartens did not close. We have experienced very bad days. For the past nine months, we have been standing in lines for bread, but it was difficult to call it bread,” she said.
Narek Kirakosyan is a journalist, works on the principle of "a person is an absolute value".