- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
Special Edition
May 14, 2004

ArmeniaNow Special Edition: Images of war and a decade of memories

The month of May saw significant moments in developments in the Karabakh War when, from 1991-94, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought over the tiny enclave predominantly populated by Armenians but belonging (since Soviet times) to Azerbaijan.

On May 9, 1992, Shushi, a city of strategic significance overlooking Karabakh’s capital, Stepanakert, was “liberated” by Armenian forces.

And on May 17, 1994, a ceasefire agreement was signed in Moscow.

To mark the 10 th anniversary of that ceasefire, ArmeniaNow looks back at the war through the lenses and recollections of four veteran photographers who covered the fighting.

This week, we remember the way things were. Next week, in another Special Edition of 10 stories and 40 photographs, we will report on contemporary Karabakh; its achievements, its challenges to be recognized as an independent republic, and its legacy of living with war . . .


Ruben Mangasaryan remembers victory.
And boxes . . .

My father spent six years of his life in wars from Soviet-Finnish War to the end of World War II. Four of those years he spent in fascist concentration camps. When I was a child I often used to ask my father to tell me about the war. But he refused to tell me.

I was shooting the Karabakh War from start to finish. From 1989 to 1994 I was regularly visiting Karabakh. I was both in the rear and at the fire fronts, I was shooting both military operations and everyday life. I saw the war and only then I understood my father. It is very hard to recollect the war or rather it is not possible to forget it. It's not possible to forget the victory and losses, friends who died, bravery and patriotism.

Full story

From Max Sivaslian's Karabakh diary . . .

I returned to meet with Armenians; this time, it seemed, they were more quiet. A girl who was taken prisoner by Azeris a few days ago (Turks were bragging about it by radio) was found in one of the captured sentry posts with her head and breasts cut off. Hatred was so great that Azeris began mutilating dead bodies. According to them, Armenians were also cutting off heads of deceased Azeris. I was angry with such treatment but the boys explained to me: “We learnt it from Turks. It’s very good as thanks to that they are afraid of us.”

During the day Armenian artillery weapons were very quickly placed next to Drmbon headquarters very close to lake. In the evening at 18:00 o’clock shells were taken out of the weapons.

Full story

Mkhitar Khachatryan remembers the first days . . .

Over many years of covering big events such as earthquake and the Karabakh Movement demonstrations, when I became aware that conflict had started on the Armenian-Azeri border, my first response was “It has to be covered”.

It was my great interest towards these events and probably the professional responsibility that led me in such a way to my first war. There was no fear.

However strange it may be, on that cold February day greatly excited I reached Ararat regional center from where first by car and then most of the road on foot I finally got to the conflict border.

Full story

Hakob Berberyan found a circle of suffering . . .

It was an early February morning in 1994. Fizuli region. Front line positions of our troops were stretching in the form of an arc near Abdurakhmanli village. It had been snowing during the night and tops of the hills surrounding the entrenchments were covered with a thin white shawl. The bright blue sky was contrasted with white clouds.

Tired of being awake all night we were asleep tossing in a tent which was set up in a hurry. Suddenly there was a long and loud burst of fire.

Full story

Outside Eye: A non-Armenian's view of life in his adopted home

The road from Stepanakert passes the nothingness that is post-war Aghdam, through miles of vineyards no longer tenable because they hold landmines. Finally, it reaches Martuni.

Hero Monte Melkonian became a martyr here, remembered in stone in Martuni’s square.

Others are remembered but unknown outside the families made smaller by their deaths. In this last settlement before Azerbaijan’s border, a hillside cemetery is Martuni’s history book . . .

Full story

Missing in Action: Alive or dead?

By Karine Ohanian in Stepanakert and Zarema Velikhanova in Baku

On December 9, 1994, a meeting took place on the Karabakh ceasefire line and an unusual transaction was made.

Two young captive soldiers - Azerbaijani Rauf Budagov and Karabakh Armenian Levon Babayan, both aged 23 - were exchanged for one another and allowed to go home.

The two men shook hands, each finding the other's - like his own - chafed rough by the cold and coated in dirt. Both trembled with emotion.

Full story


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War no More

Veterans of war gathered May 9, Victory Day. The WWII day is also the day Armenians celebrate the "liberation" of Shushi, in Karabakh.


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