Martik Avetisyan from Togh: Azerbaijani Troops Killed Father of Three
Martik Avetisyan, 57, lived with his wife and three children in Togh, a village in Artsakh’s Hadrut region.
The family worked the land and raised cattle.
When Azerbaijan attacked Artsakh in September 2020, Mr. Avetisyan moved his wife and children to Stepanakert, the Artsakh capital. He returned to Togh and was killed by Azerbaijani troops on October 21.
Mr. Avetisyan, a Togh native, lived and worked in Russia for many years, but recently moved back to the village.
His wife, Evelina, told Hetq when Azerbaijani troops had advanced on Togh, the village mayor told them they had to leave. Mr. Avetisyan and his eldest son, 16-year-old Norayr, were in their garden, which is far from their house. Evelina told her husband about the need to leave Togh, but her husband didn’t want to.
"I went to my husband and said the Turks were coming, they had entered Hadrut. He was surprised, saying it was impossible. I said we should get our son back home, that we’d think of something later. I forcibly brought my husband and son home. We stayed for one day. My sister called and said the kids were in danger. She told me to persuade my husband to leave. My husband said the car had no gas. My sister called the village mayor. He said he’d provide the gas, just get your husband to get you and the children out,” Evelina tells Hetq.
Togh Mayor Vardan Grigoryan tells Hetq that the evacuation of women and children from the village began on September 28. By October 10, when Azerbaijani troops had occupied Hadrut, the district center, few Armenians were left in the village.
Grigoryan says he supplied gas to Mr. Avetisyan, who drove his wife and kids to Stepanakert on October 13. Mr. Avetisyan returned to Togh.
Evelina says that after arriving in Stepanakert, her husband contacted a friend who would later drive the family to the village of Kornidzor in Armenia’s Syunik Province.
She tried to convince her husband not to return to Togh. He wouldn’t listen to her pleadings.
“He said it was disgraceful that the Turks would enter the village, that he wouldn’t leave,” Mrs. Avetisyan recalls.
She last spoke to her husband on October 20. He asked how she and the children were, how they were coping. He said that Azerbaijani soldiers were on the outskirts of Togh, that the situation was dire.
Azerbaijani troops attacked Togh on October 21, capturing it later that day.
On December 19, a search team found his body in the yard outside the family house. He had been shot in the head. Mr. Avetisyan was buried in Yerevan a few days later.
Mrs. Avetisyan and her children, Norayr (18), Natasha (12) and Dima (9), have been living in a one-room apartment in Charentsavan, a small town in Armenia’s Kotayk, since September of 2021.
During the 2020 war, in addition to Martik Avetisyan, 83-year-old Radik Stepanyan was killed by Azerbaijani troops in Togh.
Sketch by Shushan Gevorgyan
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