The only chair in the one room home of Ararat Kirakosyan in the Lori village of Akori is a wheelchair that the Artskah War vet uses.
Mr. Kirakosyan fought in the war from the early days until the ceasefire. He was ultimately wounded in the right leg and it was finally amputated in April 2014.
He still hasn’t received a military pension and the family, the father and four kids, gets by on 45,000 AMD per month (US$94).
The room is cluttered with four old metal beds, a table, and a wood stove.
After returning home from the war, Mr. Kirakosyan married and had four children. He worked the land to make a living.
“I had a patch of land that I cultivated, along with a cow, a horse and a few sheep. It’s all gone now. I had to sell it off to pay off debts. I recently purchased four sheep. The kids look after them,” Mr. Kirakosyan told me.
Ararat was the youngest member, at 22, in the first volunteer unit formed in Akori in late 1988.
“I fought in the battle for Shahoumyan, for the villages of Bouzloukh and Ghazanch, and at Martakert. I also participated in the defense of the Noyemberyan village of Voskepar,” he says.
Mr. Kirakosyan was wounded on June 13, 1992 during the fierce battles ranging near the Shahoumyan village of Bouzloukh.
“Before being wounded, Ararat destroyed an enemy BMP-2 tank. Another tank tried to outflank us and fire from below. He went down in an attempt to hit the tank. Ararat was wounded in the wrist and the blood flowing from his artery wouldn’t stop. I pulled him from the line of fire,” recounts fellow war vet Rafik Ghazinyan.
Ararat and several other wounded soldiers were then transferred to the Shahoumyan hospital.
“There were a few fragment wounds to his right leg. He was wounded elsewhere as well. Ararat was airlifted by helicopter to Yerevan,” Ghazinyan continues.
“Ararat Kirakosyan is a courageous man. He actively participated in the “Yeghnik” partisan unit that fought in Artsakh,” says war buddy Daniel Grigoryan.
Ghazinyan, Grigoryan, and another war buddy, Hrachya Voskanyan, have been trying to resolve the military pension problem faced by Kirakosyan who, for evident reasons, cannot pursue the matter himself. They’ve been at it for the past nine months with no result.It appears that some relevant documents are missing.
Surprisingly, Kirakosyan was awarded the Artsakh Medal of Bravery in 2008. The disabled war vet also was issued a permit by Armenia’s Ministry of Defense to avail himself of all the privileges granted to those who participated in the war.
“The amputation of Ararat Kirakosyan’s leg was a consequence of the war. For two years, he was receiving treatment on a walk-in and in-patient basis,” says Dr. Aghounik Hakobyan, a general practitioner who heads the Akori health clinic.