picture of the stolen statue. (provided by
Nor Nork Communal Department.)
The rush for valuable metals continues in Armenia
with new acts of vandalism.
On September 29 a statue measuring approximately
2.5 by 2 meters was stolen from a busy part of
Yerevan's Nor Nork district. The statue, based
on themes from Charent's poem "Demented Crowds"
and sculpted in 1967 by the notable sculptor Sergey
Baghdasaryan, is made of duralumin and this fragile
work of art has probably been dismembered already.
Now where the statue once stood, bits of iron
molded into the statue's skeleton stand a little
above the pavement, growing black as a protrusive
symbol of the loss of society's moral and aesthetic
Sergey Baghdasaryan is an Armenian sculptor whose
numerous works decorate different cities of the
republic. His "We and our Mountains"
sculpture has become today a symbol and emblem
was a statue: the traces of vandalism.
The stolen statue weighed 500 kilograms and was
taken from a place where kiosks function day and
night. It means it was stolen in full view of
people and nobody said anything.
Since 2000, the District Communal Departments
bear responsibility for the protection and cleaning
"For taking away a statue like that they
are for sure using a hoisting crane. Of course
there were people who saw everything, but there
are no witnesses. Those who stole the statue are
vandals and bastards, but the indifference of
society is the most terrible thing," says
Vardan Aghabekyan, head of the Nor Nork Communal
Officials are also indifferent. Asked what steps
he was taking to protect other statues from a
similar fate, Aghabekyan replied briefly: "No
steps. We are not going to carry out any programs
and place guards next to monuments."
His office only learned about the theft from
police, who themselves were informed by a friend
of Sergey Baghdasaryan's son Ashot. Police filed
a case, however, no witnesses wished to give testimony.
David's "patience cup" is already
Sculptor Levon Tokmajyan's statue of Tigran the
Great is placed not far from the stolen molded
statue. Workers of "Shinarar-94" company
are building stairs leading to the statue's pedestal.
It became clear that they also noticed that the
statue had disappeared.
Works supervisor Sargis Vardanyan stated that
on Saturday, September 27, he had been working
till 7pm and the statue was still in its place.
When they returned on Monday morning it had gone.
"We asked everyone what had happened, but
nobody talked to us. One of them shrugged his
shoulders and said that's not a problem if we
lost a statue, we will swallow it," says
Metal thieves began their 'careers' with metal
grave fences and hatch covers and have already
progressed to statues. The strangest thing is
that neither departments nor officials take up
the problem or establish controls over the reception
points for scrap metals.
Ayvazovsky": four months without brush.
The police consider that the thieves, ignorant
perhaps of its estimated value of 500,000 drams
(about $870), stole the statue not for placing
in some collector's yard but simply for the scrap
value of the metal.
Others have nibbled at different works without
punishment. A cup of patience from the statue
of Sasuntsi David sculpted by Kochar has been
stolen twice. Water flowed from a cup molded from
copper under the hoof of the folk hero's horse
and into a pool. That cup symbolized the overflowing
patience of the people, but this important symbolic
message has been missing from the statue for three
years and only rusty rain water fills the pool.
Head of Communal Department of Erebuni Community
Makar Sarukhanyan assures that thieves haven't
been found. He says: "Not only the people's
cup of patience but also the cup of workers of
the District Head Office has already been filled
up and they are not going to spend money any more
to replace the cup."
A statue of David the Invincible shared the same
fate, since it is legless today. The statue of
Hovhannes Ayvazovsky was deprived of his dear
brush four months ago. Statues of both famous
and ordinary people are vandalized. Legs are missing
from "Woman" and "Curly Haired
Boy" statues in Circle Park, and from "Sako
of Lori", another work by Sergey Baghdasaryan
in the Ajapniak community.
of Lori" is suffering the loss of the
The sculptor's son says that they have found
the stolen leg but have not been able to repair
the statue for already a year.
"Almost every day I call to Ajapniak Community
Head Office. I offered to find a sculptor myself
with my own money and the only thing they have
to do is to officially permit the reconstruction
work. But they are too busy to think about the
statue," says Ashot Baghdasaryan.
The 80th anniversary of Sergey Baghdasaryan's
birth was celebrated a few weeks ago. In honor
of the jubilee a memorial plate was placed on
the wall of the building where the sculptor lived
alongside a small bronze bust. The son says he
is afraid that everyday passing by the bust he
will one day find that his father's last memory
has been stolen.
Editor's note: after taking pictures of vandalized
statues and monuments the camera of ArmeniaNow
staff photographer Arthur Torosyan was stolen.
Robbers stole it from the photoreporter's car
right in front of our nose. Ironically, the camera
that documented the bitter facts of our reality
became the victim of it itself. And there's very
little hope that police can find it, since the
robbers hadn't left a single trace.