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:


Erdogan: Turkey plans to buy more S-400 air defense systems from Russia
Ankara plans to buy additional S-400 air defense systems from Moscow, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview for CBS published...
Tigran Abrahamyan: Aliyev's ‘only concern’ is possible removal of current Armenian government
Opposition lawmaker Tigran Abrahamyan, who represents the I’m Honored bloc, says the “only concern” of Azerbaijani President...
Armen Ashotyan criticizes Pashinyan for ‘weak’ speech at UN General Assembly
Deputy Chairman of the opposition Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) Armen Ashotyan criticized Nikol Pashinyan for his...
Armenia's daily Covid-19 cases rise by 1,066
Armenia has confirmed 1,066 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 257,620 as of 11 a.m. Saturday, September 25,...
Times Square Disney Store evacuated after bomb threat
Police evacuated Times Square for a short time on Friday"out of precaution" as cops investigate a "bomb threat" call...
Ara Zohrabyan: Fully vaccinated man died of coronavirus in Armenia in September
A fully vaccinated man died of COVID-19 in Armenia in September, outgoing Chairman of the Chamber of Advocates Ara Zohrabyan said on Friday,...
Armenian, Azerbaijani FMs hold first post-war meeting in New York
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan held their first meeting since November 2020 on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN...
Armenian defense minister, UK ambassador discuss regional security
Armenia’s Defense Minister Arshak Karapetyan on Friday hosted British Ambassador to Armenia John Gallagher, the Defense Ministry reported....
Elon Musk says he and girlfriend Grimes are 'semi-separated'
Elon Musk and his girlfriend, Canadian singer Grimes, are "semi-separated" after three years together, the billionaire chief executive...
Azerbaijan systematically fighting against Armenian cultural values in Artsakh - Ombudsman
"The fierce struggle waged by Azerbaijan against the state symbols of the Artsakh Republic is another manifestation of the xenophobic...
Air temperature to go down by 7-10 degrees at night of September 25
Rain with thunderstorm is predicted in most regions of Armenia at night of September 25 and on September 29 in separate places, Hydromet...
Azerbaijanis handed over remains of one soldier to the Armenian side
On September 23, Azerbaijanis handed over a body of servicemen to the Armenian side in Shushi, killed during the 44-day war in Artsakh...
Exhibition dedicated to Alexandr Spendaryan's 150th anniversary to open in Yerevan
A unique exhibition dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Armenian composer Alexandr Spendaryan will open on September 25, at 14:00 in the large...
Surprise rate cut sends Turkish lira to a new record low
Turkey’s lira fell to a record low after the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate on Thursday, unleashing a new bout of market...
Magnitude 6.1 earthquake registered near Adak, Alaska
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake was reported Friday morning at 4:52 a.m. Pacific time 114 miles from Adak, Alaska, according to the National Oceanic...
Parliament adopted legislation on community enlargement
The National Assembly of Armenia adopted in the second and final reading the draft legislation proposing amendments to the laws “On...
Affordable mortgage and more - Converse Bank is the partner of Build Armenia
As a partner of Build Armenia, Converse Bank within the framework of the expo-exhibition, will present mortgage lending products with partner...
Defense minister receives the Head of ICRC Delegation
Armenia's Defense Minister Arshak Karapetyan received on Friday the Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Delegation...
US House passes $768 billion defense spending bill
The US  House approved a wide-ranging bipartisan defense policy bill Thursday despite strong opposition from a conservative wing of the...
Armenia ready to normalise relations with Turkey - Armen Grigoryan
"We believe that one of the opportunities to normalise relations with Turkey is through high-level talks. We have announced at different...
Russian peacekeepers provided educational institutions of Artsakh with drinking water tanks
Russian peacekeepers, together with the association of charitable organizations, handed over 14 tanks for storing drinking water as part of a...
September 28 is International Day for Universal access to Information
Every year, the United Nations celebrates International Day for Universal Access to Information on September 28. The day had been proclaimed...
Russian, French FMs express readiness to continue stabilizing situation in Nagorno-Karabakh
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday had a conversation with French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le...
Ex-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont detained in Italy
Carles Puigdemont, a member of the European Parliament, was arrested after arriving in Sardinia, Italy, for a Catalan folklore festival,...
Only 286 out of 11,470 coronavirus patients are vaccinated, says Armenian health minister
85% of hospital beds secured for Covid-19 patients in Armenia have been used, Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan said. Speaking at a...
Minute's silence to be observed in Artsakh on Sept. 27
According to a decision of the competent Artsakh authorities, a minute's silence will be observed in Artsakh on September 27, at 11am, to...
Artsakh reports 4 fresh Covid-19 cases
Artsakh confirmed 4 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the Ministry of Health reported on Friday, September 24. In total, 54...
Armenian FM meets with UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi
Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan, on the margins of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, met with the UN High Commissioner...
Azerbaijan files case against Armenia at UN court
Azerbaijan on Thursday instituted proceedings against Armenia before the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the...
Armenian opposition MPs boycott debates on community merger bill
Lawmakers from the two opposition factions in the Armenian parliament on Friday decided to boycott a parliament sitting in protest against a...

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?"}