• Հայերեն
  • Русский
  • English


THE BIGGEST ASSET“Every morning, Yakov Altunyan rushes to his vineyard in the magnificent mountain village of Mets Tagher in the Hadrut region. He walks by the vines of his garden and takes care of it. He looks and admires what he has created, and praises the new peaceful dawn in his Homeland…” (an abstract published in the February 2, 2020 issue of the Hay Zinvor.)

Veteran of the Artsakh war, recipient of the Combat Cross 2nd degree medal, freedom fighter Yakov earned the right to live and create on his native land with the perseverance and dedication of his grandfathers. During the days of the Artsakh liberation war, after being severely wounded, he found the strength to continue to flourish and revive his birthplace. His love and attachment to the homeland is genetic, as Hadrut, the historical Dizak, is one of those Armenian dogs that has not been touched by an enemy for millennia. They kept it at the cost of blood, precious lives քիչ A little over a year has passed since the publication of the above-mentioned article, a year full of losses and pain…


I had promised to visit Artsakh, the village of Mets Tagher in Hadrut. I really wanted to be in the Archaeological Museum, in front of which is shown the birth of this land, USSR Aviation Marshal Armenak Khanperyant’s MiG-17 fighter. I wanted to visit places I wrote about but never saw! Take a walk in the “laughing” vineyard founded by Yakov, drink from the cold spring water of the garden. To see how this amazing, never-depressing family lives, to be in their grandparents’ house, that they repaired with their own strength, superhuman will and effort, adapted to their unusual, difficult but full life.

We talked on the phone, but from afar I felt great warmth from them, admired their willpower, aspiration to live, create and… their immeasurable, inexhaustible Generation ական as a God-given force that irrigates and guides their daily life…

… I did not go to Hadrut… They came to Abovyan against their will…

I was met by Yakov Altunyan and his wife Inna in the temporary shelter park provided by one of my relatives. Waves of heat flooded me… At the same time, the grief and unbearable pain of the people who lost the hearth woven with love.

THE BIGGEST ASSET– I was supposed to come to see you, but you came.

Inna tries to wipe her eyes unnoticed.

– Well, it never crossed my mind that we would not return. We thought that everything would end in a few days like the Four Day War…

Last year, when we still had only vague thoughts about the war, in my review I told about the type and fate of these unusual people. I managed to send Yakov’s conscript son, Grigor, to the army with a wish for peace. I did not forget the determination, kindness that flowed from Grigor’s eyes, his unique noble attitude from his family.

They left the village on October 12, when news was already reaching that Hadrut was controlled by the enemy, and that they would soon enter the village…

– Until the last moment we were in not sure whether we should leave or not. We knew we already had hundreds of victims. The Turks were trying to enter Hadrut in groups. Inna was saying. “Yakov, maybe it’s time?” “Don’t be afraid,” I said, “there are two hundred people. “Our people will surround them and kill them.” It was October 3 or 4, my friend called from Hadrut. “Can we stay overnight at your house?” The city is constantly being shelled. ” Mets Tagher is a little far from the border, in the depths. During the war of the 90s, we accommodated 5,000 people in our village. But this time the weapon that fired at us was different. When the situation became very tense, the border population started moving to our village. Who would have thought that Turks would reach us… Some of them left the village through the forest. Thank God, I managed to drive past the enemy unharmed. The elderly, who flatly refused to leave their homes, were killed by the Turks who invaded the village… Before that, the village was hit by planes, rockets fired by various drones.

– Now they are talking about coexistence again. “Is it possible?” I ask Yakov.

– Hadrut has been inhabited only by Armenians for thousands of years, but during the Soviet era we always felt the “advantage” of being part of Azerbaijan. There was no water. We were carrying from afar, there was no gas, we were burning wood. After 5-10 years of persistent applications, let’s see a beautiful day, they brought pipes in big cars. It turned out to be old pipes taken from oil wells. Finally, there came a time when we had water, gas, a way… there are two ways to live with an Azerbaijani, when the statuses are equal or when yours is higher.

THE BIGGEST ASSETDuring the first days of the 44-day war, they had no information about their soldier son, Grigor. Prior to the war, he served in Ivanyan’s tank unit. He is a mechanic of a self-propelled artillery installation. The most difficult battles in several directions were in the direction of Jrakan and Martuni.

“One morning, one of our relatives, Avet, one of the nurses at the Grigorents military unit, called,” says Yakov. “Uncle Yakov, if you see a person with the surname Altunyan among the ‘non-returners’, it is not Grigor.” A couple of hours later, the deputy commander of the military unit called. He had never called me. “Everything is fine with Grigor, do not worry.”

In another two hours Grigor called. “Dad, everything is fine.” Then it turned out that their unit had suffered heavy losses that day. A day or two before that, a whole column of Azerbaijani tanks had been destroyed by accurate strikes. Their division was a “bone in the throat” of the enemy. Days later, drones opened fire on our positions… Miraculously, only a rocket did not hit Grigor’s trench … Victims, wounded …

At the end of the war, Grigor’s unit was on the outskirts of Shushi for three days. Changing the firing positions, they were near Stepanakert on November 6-9. Yakov was restless. was receiving contradictory information.

– It was the night of November 9, I wanted to sleep and rest. In the morning I had to go and bring my car from Goris, but I was worried. “I was receiving contradictory news,” says Yakov. It was Gregory. “Dad, what’s going on?” They cut the votes… What’s happened? ” I said, “Dear Grigor, yes, that’s it!”

Just as Grigor’s departure from the army coincided with my first interview with Yakov, so did this coincide with his vacation. Grigor and I are sitting on the same bench in Freedom Square. I promised I would not ask too many questions.

“Do you know,” he says, “that the issue of the Hay Zinvor, which contained material about my family, was with me throughout the war?” I kept it all the time. I did not want to lose … When the longing was suffocating, I took it out of my backpack, read, looked at our photos…

I soon learned that our village was already in the hands of the enemy. I knew it, but there was no time to think about it. And that is not the hardest part. True, we lost land today, but we will bring it back tomorrow, but … we cannot bring back the golden boys that we lost …

THE BIGGEST ASSETOctober 6 is my birthday. In the morning the boys managed to say “Happy Birthday”. I called home for a moment, they congratulated me … Then we learned that a long march to Jrakan was planned. We arrived the next day, in the evening. It was the most unique birthday of my life … In those days, until the 10th of the month, we had losses. Then we moved in the direction of Martuni. During 8 days we hit a column of tanks and many other military equipment. On October 25, the situation was serious, the shells were pounding us. The road that was supposed to deliver ammunition to us was shelled. There was hail of drone missiles in our direction… We were able to get 4 of my wounded friends out, 11 were killed …

We were in the military unit for three days. Our colonel asked, “Who is not baptized?” My friend Narek was not baptized. I was the godfather. This cross, the cross on my neck shows, was given to me that day. One thing I can say for sure – faith, prayer saves the most difficult moments…

Then it was Shushi. There were no victims there, thank God … When the 9th of the month was over, I called our people and asked if they had taken the cross of my baptism, our family photos or stayed in the village … There was a whole life in them. “Nothing is possible,” said my father. “It is true that it is my father’s house, it is painful, but … you are the most important thing for us …”

“How do you feel when you walk around the city now?” I try to move Grigor to the present.

– When I look at the passers-by, in the eyes of young people my age, I have the feeling that nothing has happened … They do not realize that a lot needs to change in our lives. People do not realize that they really have much more value. Every morning, when they wake up, they see the sunrise, the colors of life, the tree, the mountain, their loved ones … That is the greatest happiness and wealth … I agree, it is bad now. But we must understand why it is bad and what each of us can do to be good …

Grigor and his friend Marat were nominated for the Courage medal. By the way, Marat’s father was also a participant in the Artsakh liberation war and was also awarded the Medal of Courage.

“Those medals have a meaning for us,” says Grigor. “We should put them next to our parents’ medals and say, ‘This is the proof of our work …'”


Category: #17 (1388) 5.05.2021 - 11.05.2021, Destinies, News, Spotlight