Saturday, 22 September

General Baghmanyan Runs Over the Village of Vahan

General Haykaz Baghmanyan has been involved in a series of scandals throughout the years. Numerous stories have been published in the newspapers, but to no avail; the general’s affairs only improved, his business flourished. His military commander’s jeep can be seen almost every day parked near different cafes and restaurants in Yerevan, or near the petrol station he owns.

He also finds enough time to lead a corps of the Armenian Army. The following is a section of a letter sent to Hetq by 275 residents of the village of Vahan in the Gegharkunik Province. 

“During the military conflict of 1992 to 1994, the people of Vahan, ignoring dangers and suffering, courageously defended the borders of our homeland. During these hard times, no one from Vahan left the village and the school never suspended classes. The enemy did not advance a single step towards Vahan. All of the people of Vahan participated in the defense of the homeland. Seventeen were killed, and several dozen were wounded, some of whom are permanently disabled.

“There are currently two army bases located in the former Krasnoselsk region. On his visits to the base, General Baghmanyan is always accompanied by an entourage of several jeeps and a dozen bodyguards, spreading terror amongst the local population. His entourage frequently clash with the local people, disregarding, humiliating, and violating people’s dignity and self-respect. August 30 is a day of mourning for the people of Vahan. This year as every year,  the villagers commemorated the death of four young men who died on August 30, 1992. At about 20:30 that day  General Baghmanyan’s entourage was returning from the army base, and halfway along the four-kilometer Vahan-Jambarak road, intentionally shone the headlights of their powereful car in an attempt to blind the  driver of the oncoming VAZ 2106, who stopped his car in order not to plunge into the gorge.  At that point, one of the jeeps hit the car with its rear end, in order to knock it into the canyon. The Vahan boys got out of the car and asked the bodyguards why they had stopped the car. The bodyguards started to swear using vulgar, street expressions and beat the boys. During that time another car containing Vahan villagers approached the scene of the incident. They tried to ask why the bodyguards were beating the boys. In reply, the bodyguards started shooting at the boys using different types of guns. Fortunately, the boys escaped, aided by darkness. Alarmed by the gunfire, the nearby residents panicked.

The enraged bodyguards started to smash the cars of the Vahan residents. It was only a matter of chance that no one was killed in the fire from their assault rifles. One of the injured young men was the son of Grigor Chagharyan,  the first person from our region to die in the war. Grigor was killed on October 18, 1990 by the bullet of a Turk; his son could have been killed by the bullet of a General in the Armenian Army.

At Baghmanyan’s order two young men  were taken to the nearby army base, where they were cruelly beaten in the commander’s office. As a result of the incident,  three people from Vahan were taken to the Chambarak Hospital with various injuries.“

This letter has been delivered to Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan, in the hope that he will “appropriately assess the incident and that the guilty will receive proportionate punishment, so that in the future such incidents won’t happen again. Our plea is from all residents of Vahan.” This letter from Vahan is with the government, and General Haykaz Baghmanyan is now in Yerevan. After reading the letter the prime minister might call him. But will that accomplish anything? Rest assured that it won’t. For the sake of the general, the entire village of 275 people could be deported. What is their value to this country? That village with all its assets put together isn’t worth one of the general’s jeeps.  So, people of Vahan, take back your letter, before General Baghmanyan brings more trouble to your village.

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