Society 15:04 28/09/2022 Armenia

Erablur.am: Virtual museum of Yerablur heroic chronicles

Two years after the war waged by Azerbaijan against the Artsakh Republic no official information about the dead, wounded or missing Armenian soldiers is still available. The Armenian Defense Ministry has not yet released the names of fallen soldiers despite public demand.

Just a few days ago, political analyst Armen Minasyan revealed that he and his friends worked hard over the past one and a half years to prepare a complete list of heroes who sacrificed their lives for the homeland in the past 34 years, to systematically provide the public with data with a user-friendly interface. The data is provided on the Erablur.am website, which is still in development.

Panorama.am talked to Armen Minasyan about the ongoing work, difficulties and possible dates for the completion of the project.

Panorama.am: Mr. Minasyan, you have come up with a new initiative, launching a virtual museum of the Yerablur heroic chronicles. The name itself is highly symbolic given the difficult times we are living through. Can you tell us about this initiative?

Armen Minasyan: It’s true, the initiative is to some extent conditioned by the reality we are facing today. Officially, the Erablur.am website or the virtual museum of the Yerablur heroic annals is an initiative of the Armenian Historical and Geographic Union NGO. It’s a kind of unique tribute to all those who gave their lives in defense of the homeland.

Simply put, this is an initiative where my colleagues and I plan to collect, edit and present to the public comprehensive data about those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the homeland.

Naturally, I know that today various information about our heroes is distributed online, on various social media platforms, which is widely accessible. But our research has shown that this information is, first of all, very sketchy, mostly related to the period after 2016. In addition, much of it needs to be corrected and verified. Most importantly, even if there are some information platforms, they are either not complete, or no longer provide updates.

Taking into account all these factors, we are trying to create a single platform providing complete data. Thus, the virtual museum of the Yerablur heroic chronicles will provide users with access to complete information about all Armenian heroes who fell in the first Artsakh war, after the ceasefire of 1994, during the April 2016 war and the 44-day war in 2020, as well as all those who died in the recent fighting.

On the platform you can search for a person by his name or surname, as well as use other identification tools, and based on the data you enter, the platform will show the personal page of a fallen hero – a profile, where you can find all kinds of text and multimedia information about him.

Therefore, I can state that this is the first platform of the kind, and I hope that we will see it through to the end.

Panorama.am: I see that you are dealing with voluminous data. How is the data collection process taking place?

Armen Minasyan: Absolutely. But before answering your question, I must emphasize that I personally consider the collection and processing of such data extremely important for both the near and distant future.

As far as data collection is concerned, I should note that we are facing serious problems here. We collect data from various sources, including official ones, as well as from numerous books and archival materials published over 30 years. We also use media reports, which are mostly featured on the site.

But experience shows that the only reliable source of comprehensive information is the families of fallen heroes. Only they can provide credible information about the spelling of the heroes' names, as well as high-quality photos and video footage. Finally, the relatives know best of all what kind of feats were performed by their loved ones. Moreover, you won't find any information about the overwhelming majority of our compatriots except for the lists made public by the component authorities, whether it's news of a soldier's death or his posthumous award. And these lists contain no information other than the soldiers’ first and last names and birthdays.

That's the reason we've almost finished processing the data that could be found in open sources, and now we're trying to collect more information through visits to the families of deceased servicemen. The problem is making personal visits to gather the complete information we need.

Thus, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the families and friends of fallen heroes to search for their heroes at Erablur.am, review the data and, if there is a desire to add some information, they can contact us on Facebook, Instagram and Telegram and we will organize the whole process.

Panorama.am: Can you tell us how many people’s data have you managed to collect so far?

Armen Minasyan: We have a lot of information at hand. It has partially been processed and published on the site, while another significant part of it is being processed at the moment. I can provide the data available on the website. At this point, more than 7,000 names, as well as biographical data on 5,500 of them can be found on the website. In addition, about 1,500 videos and over 300 media reports are featured.

Panorama.am: As a journalist, I have a good guess about what information I can find on the website within my professional interests.

Armen Minasyan: Indeed. Apart from preserving the memory of our heroes, this platform also seeks to raise awareness about their deeds for the future generations.

The website allows you to easily find all those heroes who were born on a given date. You can compile lists as you see fit: by their birthday, birth year, place of military service, profession, birthplace and even educational institution. Our task is not only to provide statistics about this or that person, but also such tools through which those interested can easily find their fellow villager or classmate, peer or namesake. In addition, you can see where, when, and in what format there is a mention of this person. In fact, the site is quite diverse, but at the same time user-friendly.

Panorama.am: When do you plan to complete this work? In other words, when will the site be fully ready?

Armen Minasyan: I do not have an answer to this question at the moment. In fact, the work is quite extensive. We have started visits to all villages, settlements in Armenia and Artsakh to collect first-hand information. Given that there are more than 1,000 settlements in Armenia and Artsakh, try to figure out for yourself how long this process will take.

Undoubtedly, my colleagues and I are striving to complete the process as soon as possible, but, unfortunately, our resources are strictly limited. It is technically possible to speed up the process, but it will require the involvement of a large number of employees and volunteers. For now, we have to limit ourselves to the help of our families, friends, and interested parties.

If we manage to find other sources of material, financial and technical assistance in the near future, I hope we will be able to step up the process and to finalize the site by January 28 or May 9, 2023.

Panorama.am: Has anyone provided financial assistance to date? Do you have any expectations?

Armen Minasyan: We have received a small financial assistance from the Luys Foundation and we are absolutely grateful to its management. This is the only support we have received so far. But I have held meetings with Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan, Sasun Mikayelyan, the leader of Yerkrapah Volunteer Union, Samvel Karapetyan, Chairman of the Union of Freedom Fighters, as well as a number of businessmen and politicians, who all promised to provide financial aid. In addition, we have launched the website and placed tools on the site which allows our compatriots and not only to make small donations to support the cause.



Source Panorama.am
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