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Armine Hovhannisyan

Artsakh Family Turns to Music as Respite from Azerbaijani Blockade

Victoria Petrosyan is one of the 120,000 residents of Artsakh who have been under siege since December 12, 2022.

 The mother of three can’t even remember which day of the siege it is. This is the second most difficult and uncertain phase of the family, after the 44-day war.

Petrosyan, who attended vocal classes before marrying Armen, says the family has turned to music to get them through the hard times.

“Our musical gathering is in the evening, after dinner, when we are all at home,” she says.

Armen plays guitar and four-year old Arpi strums along on a miniature guitar. Arthur, almost six, oversees the percussion instruments. Seven-month-old Astghik, has assumed the honorary role of a permanent audience and critic. She smiles, and moves her legs and arms to the music, evidently satisfied with what she hears. Victoria is the singer of the family’s musical group.

Victoria avoids my questions about the lack of food for her kids, saying domestic problems are the least of her concerns.

 “Honestly, I hardly get upset about the lack of food. I just pray there will be no victims at the border. We will endure the rest. Of course, it's hard with three kids,” she says, noting the ongoing power outages and empty store shelves.

“Our family is lucky that both my husband and I are resilient. We’re ready to face the worst and stand to the end, and our children are not whiners,” she says.

Victoria realizes that Baku, with a combination of hard and soft methods, is pursuing a policy to depopulate Artsakh of its Armenian citizens.

“With each passing day I recognize that it is necessary to constantly fight for Artsakh so that it is not taken away from us,” she says, adding that thinking about what the future holds sometimes drives her crazy.

“However, there is a force that has never left me. That is the power of love. It seems that I am saying abstract things. But the love for what is yours forces you not to give up, because I know that by giving up, you are deprived."

Artsakh native Victoria understands that many in the country have given up due to the growing pressures of the blockade, adding that she tries to help them as much as possible.

 "I will do the impossible to achieve all our goals in Artsakh, because Artsakh is us, and I say this without an ounce of pathos. Artsakh is really us.”

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