Society 19:27 21/09/2018 Armenia

‘We have to be strong’: Armenian border villagers celebrate Independence Day

Author Hasmik Hakobyan

Like many other municipal and rural communities across Armenia, the border villages in the northeastern Tavush region have also organized festivities to celebrate the 27th anniversary of Armenia’s independence.

The village of Baghanis, located just 1km away from the border with Azerbaijan, has organized Independence Day celebrations in the local school.  

The village mayor, Narek Sahakyan takes special pride in the independence. “The idea of independence is firmly rooted in our mindset, in that of children of border villages. Recently, I watched a program where a child was speaking about border villages, saying, ‘we have no right not to firmly defend our borders.’ This means, the idea of independence has also been transferred to the new generation,” he told

The situation is stable in Baghanis at the moment after it faced shelling by Azerbaijani military a few days ago. 

According to the mayor, the local residents have got used to the shelling sounds and continue to build the village amid shootings. “We are more worried about kids during the shootings; there are houses targeted by Azerbaijani fire in the village, but people won’t abandon them, continue to live and raise their children,” he said, stressing the importance of people living in border villages as a key support for the soldiers who defend Armenian borders.   

Chinari, another border village in Tavush, was set to host major festivities to celebrate the Independence Day, but they were cancelled given the recent border tensions. “Like every year, this year as well we have visited the tombs of the fallen [servicemen] and laid flowers, but have not organized special events. Everything is visible by the adversary; it is not safe to bring together large crowds of people. Though no shootings are recorded at the moment, we have inner anxiety and have refrained from organizing big events due to security concerns,” the village mayor, Samvel Saghoyan told us.

Meantime, he stresses the border villagers have to be strong, as they have no other option. “I wish peace to our country so that we manage to develop and build it. This independence has been hard to achieve, we must be able to preserve it,” he said.  

Speaking to, Nerkin Karmir Aghbyur village Mayor Levon Arakelyan says festive mood has gripped his village today, with people congratulating each other and first of all wishing peace. He says the holiday started with festive events organized at the village school.

Arakelyan states the Independence Day is of special importance for the village which has faced a war. “We know the price for peace very well. The border residents certainly appreciate what they have, that is why I have only one wish: peace to our country. The rest will come, peace is the most important thing,” he stressed. 

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