Society 17:34 14/10/2011

British photographer: Armenian soldiers are being forcibly held to ransom in Azerbaijan

“Over the last 17 years more than 150,000 people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have slowly re-built the infrastructure of their major cities, and returned to some semblance of normality in their daily lives,” says the UK freelance photographer Russell Pollard in his blog publication “The Missing Soldiers of Nagorno-Karabakh war” at .

The Grigoryan family of Stepanakert, says Pollard, just like many fellow citizens, suffered the constant bombing and sniping from the Azeri troops. All around them was being destroyed: buildings, lives; neighbours were receiving sad news from the military of the loss of their relatives; bodies of killed men were being re-patriated home and funerals were taking place.

In 1994 the son of the Grigoryan family - Felix, a 23-year-old young man, was an accomplished musician with great prospects. His parents were looking forward to their old age, knowing that their son would be there to look after them. Felix was part of a 7 man unit carrying out an operation near Fizuli when, one day, he disappeared without trace. “The investigation was not able to confirm whether he had been killed, or captured; there was no evidence, only the fact that he never returned home,” notes the British photographer.

Whilst their neighbours have re-built their lives, the life of Grigoryan family remains, forever empty, but hopeful. They are grasping at any opportunity that would return their son back home. “On one occasion they received a mysterious call from a man who announced that he would visit them shortly, and that he would be known to them – cruelly the whole episode turned out to be a mistake”, writes Russell Pollard. Family's dreams are regularly punctuated by scenarios where their son, but only the monochrome picture of their handsome son, is always present for his proud parents to remember his, and their, sacrifice. Only there isn't a place to visit, or to lay flowers.

The photographer Pollard says, the story of the Grigoryan family in Artsakh is only one of over 700 similar stories, and it is quite likely that a proportion of these men will be dead, however more sinister possibilities are a reality. “Evidence exists ( I have seen the original of one letter) that people are being held in Azerbaijan, against their will, and that ransoms are being requested for their release,” writes the author, noting that there are also views that the Armenians, captured in Azerbaijan, have had to integrate within Azeri life in order to save themselves, and, now feel too ashamed to return. And the lack of correct identity papers makes it impossible to obtain a passport, or finance, thus neutralising the key ingredients for a return to Armenia.

The trafficking and exchanging of soldiers during and after the war, was a reality. The good work of Albert Voskanyan who the British photographer met in Stepanakert secured the release of 500 men and 150 bodies. “Whilst the Grigoryan’s continue to wait, hope and pray for their son’s return, another 700 families are suffering the same torment and the “needle” of quality information in the “haystack” of confusion gets more difficult to find as each year passes,” writes Russell Pollard at the end.

The ceasefire declared in the Nagorno-Karabagh war in 1994 provided a much needed respite to the bloodshed that lasted in the region for 6 years. The politicians have continued to talk since then to bring this conflict to a final resolution, however, a final peace agreement is not substantially closer, says Pollard.

Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:


Iraq cancels Turkish Defense minister visit, summons ambassador: statement
Iraq cancelled on Tuesday the Turkish defence minister’s visit to the country which was scheduled for Thursday, Iraq’s foreign...
Museums, libraries to reopen in Armenia as Covid-19 restrictions ease
Museums and libraries will reopen in Armenia as the government is gradually easing the Covid-19 restrictions imposed in March, Deputy Prime...
Avinyan: 57 coronavirus patients in critical condition in Armenia
A total of 258 coronavirus patients are in serious condition, while 57 others are in critical condition in Armenia, Deputy Prime Minister,...
Fallen soldier Sasha Galstyan would have turned 24 today
Today, August 12, marks the birthday anniversary of Sasha Galstyan, who heroically fell while defending the Artsakh borders during the 2016...
Analyst: Mediators have a lot of work to do to bring Azerbaijan back into political arena
The Turkish-Azerbaijani joint military exercises, which were initially scheduled for July 29-August 10, have in fact been extended. Tigran...
Twitter now lets users limit replies to their tweets
Twitter introduced a new feature that allows users to limit who can reply to their tweets, USA Today reported on Tuesday, citing a...
Trump says Americans will have to ‘learn Chinese’ if Biden wins
China would overtake the United States as the global superpower and force Americans to learn to speak Chinese if Joe Biden wins the election,...
Georgia reports 14 new COVID-19 cases
Georgia confirmed 14 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 1,264, according to Xinhua. Two of the 14 new patients are...
Armenian PM’s assistant meets with angry protesters outside government building
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s assistant Nairi Sargsyan on Wednesday met with angry protesters in front of the government...
First batch of Russia's Covid-19 vaccine to be released in two weeks, health minister says
The first batch of the Russian vaccine against Covid-19 is expected to be released within two weeks, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on...
Armenia extends coronavirus state of emergency, removes some restrictions
The Armenian government extended the coronavirus state of emergency for another month at a special meeting on Wednesday. Presenting the...
Belarus post-election protests extend into third night
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Minsk and several other cities in Belarus on Tuesday evening, in a third straight night of protest...
Armenia reports 201 new COVID-19 cases on August 12
Armenia has confirmed 201 new coronavirus infections in a 24-hour period, bringing the national tally to 40,794 as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, August...
Around 100 Armenians return home from Lebanon
Nearly 100 Armenians have returned to their homeland from Lebanon by the three planes that delivered relief aid to Beirut after the massive...
Artsakh reports no new coronavirus cases for second day in a row
Artsakh has reported no new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the second day in a row. The national virus tally stands at 251. A...
Quake hits near Turkish city, jolts felt in Armenia
A magnitude 4.3 earthquake struck near a city in eastern Turkey in the early hours of Wednesday. According to the European-Mediterranean...
Diaspora commissioner welcomes non-Armenian migrants to Armenia
By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier On the top of all the other disputes among Armenians, a new controversy was added...
U.S. ban on TikTok could cut it off from app stores, advertisers – White House document
President Donald Trump’s executive order banning China’s TikTok could prevent U.S. app stores from offering the popular short-video...
Temperatures set to drop in Armenia by 4-5 degrees
Showers and thunderstorms are expected in separate regions of Armenia from August 11 to 16, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reports....
Beirut explosion death toll rises to 171
Lebanon's caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan announced on Tuesday that the death toll from the Beirut explosion has reached 171 while...
Treaty of Sevres has been and will remain a historical fact, Armenia tells Turkey
The Treaty of Sevres has been and will remain a historical fact, which cannot be edited or wiped away, Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman...
Armenian government to hold special meeting on Wednesday
The Armenian government will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday to discuss the extension of the coronavirus state of emergency....
Yerevan mayor takes two-week vacation
Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan has taken a two-week vacation until August 25, his spokesperson Hakob Karapetyan wrote on Facebook. The mayor...
Turkey-Azerbaijan military drills not different from previous ones, says Armenian analyst
A preliminary analysis of the videos from the Turkey-Azerbaijan joint military exercises show that although they covered a large area, the...
EU relations with Belarus under review following election
The European Union’s relationship with Belarus is under review following the contested presidential election, the European Commission said...
Artsakh president hosts Armenian army chief
Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan on Tuesday received Chief of the General Staff of Armenian Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Onik Gasparyan....
Court postpones hearing in case of Robert Kocharyan, three other former officials
The Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction, presided over by judge Anna Danibekyan, on Tuesday had to postpone another hearing in the case of...
WHO sees ‘green shoots of hope’ in coronavirus fight as global cases near 20 million
The World Health Organization said Monday there are glimmers of hope in the fight against the coronavirus, even as global cases from the virus...
Armenian FM highlights Francophonie family’s aid to Lebanon
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on Monday held a phone conversation with Secretary-General of the International Organisation of La...
Russia first to register coronavirus vaccine worldwide, Putin says
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Tuesday that Russia has developed the first coronavirus vaccine and said his daughter has taken it,...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}