Politics 17:36 17/02/2020 Armenia

Artsakh official stresses need to properly ‘diagnose’ army problems

Panorama.am has interviewed Artsakh president’s security advisor Tigran Abrahamyan over the increased deaths in the Artsakh Defense Army, their causes, reactions they received and steps to prevent similar incidents.

Panorama.am: A total of 10 servicemen died in "still unknown circumstances" as a result of various incidents in different military units of Artsakh in January-February. Before the investigation reveals what happened, can you unveil some reasons behind the incidents? Are they new or have further deepened?

Tigran Abrahamyan: In parallel to the launched criminal cases, internal investigations are also underway. Naturally, it’s still difficult to make complete assessments at this stage, but a large number of factors influence the environment in the army.

A great deal of work is being done to prevent and minimize them. Defense Army and law enforcement agencies are working not only on getting the whole picture in all military units, but also on reducing the possibility of future incidents.

Each incident has its own peculiarities and is treated individually. There are phenomena that have deeper causes, while others are of situational character.

All measures are being taken to reduce crimes in the armed forces and create the necessary environment.

Panorama.am: Always a reference is made to deeply-rooted issues in the military, could you please name some of them?

Tigran Abrahamyan: The topics related to the Armed Forces go through an active phase of discussions, but not everything can be made public. If the Defense Ministry sees such a need, the competent authorities will speak up. In such cases, I submit my observations and recommendations to the relevant authorities, after which they are processed and become a subject of internal debates.

Panorama.am: Many blame the command staff for the tragic deaths. The stricter a commander, the fewer the problems, the proponents of this thesis claim. How would you comment on this?

Tigran Abrahamyan: Commanders of different units have their share of responsibility, but its impact on different incidents is different. Every incident has its reasons, but it doesn't always have to do with the military service. In that sense it would be wrong to pin the blame only on commanders. All cases need to be thoroughly analyzed to find out the casual link.

Panorama.am: Reactions to the deaths in the army vary greatly, ranging from blaming the former authorities, referring to them as "killings of Armenians in Artsakh" to steps to avoid the military service. I am sure that the serious consequences of these are being realized.

Tigran Abrahamyan: I do not link the issues related to the increase of the army’s combat readiness to the political features of the former, current or future authorities.

Each of us is obliged to take responsibility for both the positive developments in the army and the negative phenomena.

Unfortunately, I often come across attempts of distinguishing between the Armenian and Artsakh people on social media, but considering myself a part of the Armed Forces, as an officer, I strongly believe that there are no such differences in the army, nor can they ever be. I myself was born in Yerevan and have been living and serving in Artsakh for more than five years. I would most certainly face such “pressures” if they existed.

We have a single homeland and no matter where we serve – in Tavush, Syunik or Artsakh – our servicemen are guided by the vital priorities of our common homeland.

Panorama.am: The increase in cases of suicides and suicide attempts in 2011, if I am not mistaken, triggered much debate on social media. Now many are raising the question about how the crisis was handled then?

Tigran Abrahamyan: We shall overcome this stage too. I strongly suggest this since I see the great work that is being done on the spot. Meanwhile, given today’s challenges, the armed forces need new reforms for the coming years that will boost the efficiency of our army and ensure regional security.

The most important thing is the proper diagnosis, on the basis of which a series of local or comprehensive measures are already being implemented.

Panorama.am: Do you think that the developments in the army are also influenced by the upcoming presidential elections in Artsakh and this "transitional" period?

In Armenia, for example, as the elections approached, some officials moved to an 'inactive' status to later take a neutral position in the new government.

Tigran Abrahamyan: No situation, be it political or not, can force an officer to inactivity or take him to so called "neutral" position.

The political, social, informational and cultural field is directly linked to the environment in the army, but the pending nature of those elections has little effect on the army’s command staff. The army, no matter who is in power, has the primary task of protecting our citizens and ensuring the security of Armenia and Artsakh. The authorities come and go, while the main task facing the army remains unchanged.

Source Panorama.am
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