Marine Martirosyan

Disabled Artsakh War Vet Dismissed After 17 Years on the Job

Artsakh War vet Sedrak (Seto) Hovsepyan wracks his brain trying to understand why the Nor Nork Tax Inspectorate has fired him after 17 years of service.

He’s been unemployed for the past six months, despite numerous promises by government officials to get him a civil service posting somewhere. 

Hovsepyan says he was a diligent worker and that someone in the tax department was out to get him and his job.

In 1990, he volunteered and was given the job of tank gunner. That’s what he had done while serving in the Soviet Army.

He was wounded in the head on June 13,1992, and spent the next year being treated in Yerevan. After five operations to his head, his left foot and hand remain paralyzed.

A wounded Sedrak Hovsepyan (June 13,1992)

“It was the last day of Shahumyan,” says Seto, referring to an area in northern Karabakh that fell to Azerbaijani forces.

Why was he fired?

Last year, employees at the tax inspectorate received a bulletin from the State Revenue Committee(SRC), which oversees the inspectorate, stating that some were to be transferred to another unit and the rest dismissed.

Hovsepyan says that he never expected to be laid-off, but confesses that he felt some subtle antagonism directed his way.

After being fired, Hovsepyan wrote to the Yerkrapah Union of War Vets for assistance. The Union, in turn, wrote to the SRC. Hovsepyan says that two days later he was called to a meeting with the department head Rafik Mashadyan.

“We talked. Mashadyan told me to be patient and that he’d find me a spot somewhere. He called me to the office again, in August, and told me that a new division was opening in the ministry and that they needed five people. He told me to go see the division head,” says Hovsepyan, adding that Mashadyan was later transferred to another department and, thus, his hopes of getting rehired were dashed.

Hovsepyan continued to receive promises of getting a new job, but they never panned out.

Frustrated, his wartime buddies petitioned SRC President Vardan Harutyunyan. Soon afterwards, according to Hovsepyan, he was summoned to the office of Garnik Movsisyan, Director of the Yerevan Gas Department.

Hovsepyan getting congratulated for his good work record at the SRC

Movsisyan offered him a job that required him to go out in the field and talk to customers about their utility service. Hovsepyan told Movsisyan that he wasn’t physically able to do that type of work and that he needed an office job.

Hovsepyan says that Movsisyan told him he’d get in touch with Harutyunyan within the next day or two and that the matter would be resolved.

“I think that someone in the tax department disparaged me, saying I had too many unexcused absences. Every month I receive three days of physical rehabilitation. Management knows this. Somebody’s out to get me and my job. That person wrote up a bad performance report for me. But the top people have confirmed that I’m a good worker,” says Hovsepyan.

In the meantime, Hovsepyan has three children, aged between 7 and 12, at home to take care of.

The war vet doesn’t know where to turn next. He even questions whether going public with his plight was the right thing to do.