my name is Alla Mkhitaryan. I am looking for my
brother Vladimir born in 1959. Vladimir was married
and had a daughter. In 1993 he left home and never
This is a true story of true persons, like other
stories told on camera each Friday at Charles
Aznavour Square in Yerevan.
They tell stories in hope that after their appeal
is broadcast on television people they are looking
for will eventually show up.
Mkhitaryan's family has almost lost hope of finding
her brother after 10 years of trying all means
to find him.
several months ago they learned of people in Armenia
who probably could help them.
"Once I've heard by TV that people who are
looking for someone gather at Charles Aznavour
Square," Alla (pictured below right) says.
She went there and met Vilen Paturyan, a man
preparing an unprecedented show in Armenia about
people who have disappeared, and those who want
to find them.
Each Friday at 2 p.m. Paturyan's crew come to
the square, near Moscow Cinema and film people's
stories. Paturyan (pictured below, right) shoots
the "video letters" in which people
introduce themselves, then say who they are looking
for and show their photo.
Then Paturyan starts searching. He contacts ministries,
NGOs, Embassies, and at least 10 archive departments
"In some cases it took two months to find
out if a disappeared man left Armenia or not,"
far around 1,500 have applied to Paturyan. At
present he is looking for some 400 people.
"When people apply first of all I keep in
touch with the Ministry of Interior to see if
the man has a criminal file," Paturyan says.
"If he does I stop searching. Because he
can spend all his life hiding to avoid justice.
"In other cases the information is not enough
to start searching. Sometimes people mention only
the name of the person they are looking for. But
the information they give should be as detailed
Paturyan says that searches are diverse: some
look for distant relatives, others for relatives
who disappeared during 1937 repression, others
for army acquaintances.
There are many women who are searching for their
husbands who left for Russia to earn money. Also
there are many cases when orphans look for their
Paturyan recalls the case of a 22-year old man
who, upon the death of his "mother",
found his birth certificate and learned he'd been
was shocked to know that he is not even Armenian
but was brought to Armenia from a Baltic country.
Now he says he wants to "know who am I. Who
were my parents and why did they give me to my
Later this month Paturyan's talk show "Destinies"
will appear on Armenian channel "Prometheus".
People who are looking for someone will come to
tell stories. Then the "video letters"
will be shown.
The 40-minute program will appear twice a month,
but Paturyan hopes it will become weekly.
"Everything depends if our program will
find sponsors or not," he says.
Paturyan together with Vardan Petrosyan (pictured
with Paturyan), producer and director of the show,
do the searching themselves, paying for international
calls, transport, etc.
Petrosyan, a popular producer of several commercial
shows says: "Paturyan asked me if I wanted
to be a producer of the show. I agreed, because
for me as director this show will be something
new. Besides the idea itself is very interesting"
present at least five people have been found thanks
to their joint efforts. Paturyan says their names
will be known during the first show.
Meanwhile around 30 "video letters"
- for people supposedly in Russia -- were sent
to "Wait for Me", a similar program
of Moscow's ORT channels. ORT's program was launched
some five years ago. Now it is one of Russia's
top rated shows.
"There are about 250,000 people that are
in line to appear on 'Wait for me'. The staff
of the program is around 600 people," Parturyan
says. "Here the work is only Vardan and me."
Paturyan believes that "Destinies"
will be as popular as the Russian program. The
creator of the program says that he has cherished
the idea of the program since after the earthquake
In 1988 the cameraman and journalist Paturyan
was shown on a television program for leading
a volunteer group that found 400 children and
returned them to their families.
He says he wants to continue his work and to
help people, knowing that in Armenia destiny parts
many people from each other.