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Anya Sarkisova

Former Artsakh Residents Protest in Yerevan: Demand Pension Payments

Displaced Artsakh residents who received pensions in the now dissolved republic today gathered near the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Yerevan to demand that the Armenian government pay their pensions and state aid allowances.

Susanna Ohanyan served as a contract soldier in the Artsakh Defense Army for sixteen years, was a contract soldier. She retired in 2020, lived in Stepanakert, and received a monthly 23,000-dram pension from the government. She was also getting a 55,000-dram military pension.   

Ohanyan has not received a pension for past two months. Her adult children are not working. The family pays 300,000 drams monthly for a rented house. They cover their expenses with the 50,000 drams they received from the state, and they paid the apartment rent and deposit with a one-time grant of 100,000 drams. Susanna does not know how the family will cover future expenses.

"They tell me that I should change my passport, but why should I change, so that we will be deprived of everything, and then we will not be able to prove that we were displaced from Artsakh? I served in the Defense Army. I received a pension from Armenia, because I was registered in the reserve forces of the defense ministry. Why aren’t they giving me my pension. If the Defense Army does not exist, has been dissolved, how will I live until I reach retirement age. They don't even give me a job. What will the old people have to live on if they don't even get a pension?" asks Ohanyan.

Susanna Hovhannisyan also lived in Stepanakert. The pension of 63-year-old Susanna and her husband totaled 150,000 AMD per month. That amount was enough to cover the couple’s expenses.

Hovhannisyan now lives with her family of eight in Yerevan in a 550,000 dram monthly rented apartment. They paid the apartment rent from the one-time aid money. They don’t know what they’ll do once the money runs out.

The ministry invited five of the protesters to discuss the matter.

UpdateFollowing the meeting, Deputy Labor and Social Affairs Minister Armen Petrosyan announced that former Artsakh residents will receive their pension regardless of whether they file for Armenian citizenship or refugee status.

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