Artak Nazaryan: Not the latest casualty in the Armenian army

Artak Nazaryan: Not the latest casualty in the Armenian army

Artak NazaryanAzad-Hye Special

After filing the below report news emerged about the killing of six Armenian soldiers in a case most probably related again to power abuse and corruption.

A young lieutenant in the Armenian Army, Artak Nazaryan has been identified as the latest casualty in the Armenian army.

According to the official version Nazaryan, 32, committed suicide while serving in a border unit in Tavush Province on 27 July 2010, but friends and relatives confirm that there has been sings of torture and beatings on his body.

The death of Nazaryan reveals the increasing rate of torture in Armenian army units by senior officers. 

Nazaryan?s sister Tsovinar Nazaryan is a journalist doing her MA in Communication in Howard University in Washington DC. She has volunteered with Policy Forum Armenia in organizing Diaspora Forum earlier this year.

Blogger Hrand Abrahamyan says: ?In Armenia, there are at least two state structures, the Defence Ministry and the Police, Armenian citizens joining their ranks occasionally commit suicide?.  

?Whoever humiliates, beats, robes and kills Armenian soldiers should not enjoy a comfortable life in this country?, he warns.

A Facebook group fighting against torture in army ranks was formed and acquired hundreds of members in a matter of days. ?We present our condolences to Nazaryan?s family in these difficult moments and express our readiness to follow this case to reach to the whole truth behind the incident?, said the administrator of the group. 

Service for the rest of Nazaryan?s soul was performed on 29 July 2010.

Another blogger, Artmika, says: ?It was shocking… not because it was the first such incident? not only because he was a brother of journalist, friend of many Facebook users ? it was shocking… because IT IS SHOCKING. Any single suicide case in the army is shocking?.

Artmika wonders: ?How long this culture of abuse and ill-treatment will continue in the Armenian army??

Janna Alexanian of described the detailed related to the incident.

According to her, signs of torture and abuse on Artak's body have occurred 6 hours before his death. This was demonstrated by examination performed on the body in the presence of family members.

Ministry of Defence's department of public communication did not wait for the examination results and announced that lieutenant Nazaryan has taken his own life.

Family members reject this and refer to the troubled last days of Nazaryan's life. 

“Mother, I would like to be a different commander. Another type of officers are functioning here. I do not like to resemble them. I want to develop patriotic motivations in my soldiers”, he was quoted saying to his mother 10 days before his alleged suicide.

Artak Nazaryan has completed Orientalism (specialized in Persian Studies) and served as translator in the Armenian Embassy in Tehran. He has joined the army after he could not find permanent work in his specialization. 

Azad-Hye expresses its condolences to the family of the young officer and calls for reforms in the Armenian army. Covering the inhumanities inside the army will eventually weaken it and endanger the future of the country.

Photo: Artak Nazaryian (by

  1. Policy Forum Armenia released the following statement on 3 August 2010:

    Mismanagement and corruption that have taken roots in the Armenian army in recent years have claimed yet another life. Lieutenant Artak Nazaryan, commander of a riffle platoon based in the Tavush region on the border with Azerbaijan, was found dead on July 27, 2010, with a bullet shot through his mouth.

    Although the medical examiner found indications of life-threatening injuries inflicted on Lt. Nazaryan?s body hours prior to his death, the official verdict is suicide.

    Policy Forum Armenia mourns the loss of Lt. Nazaryan?s life and places the responsibility for this unnecessary tragedy on Armenia?s Ministry of Defense for allowing an atmosphere in the army units which has been conducive to this and other suspicious deaths.

    Unless this behavior is stamped out in clear and certain terms, and the rule of law and disciplinary measures reinstated to prevent such losses, these episodes will continue to shake the already dented reputation of Armenia?s army within Armenian society.

    Army is the ultimate protector of country?s security. Those concerned about Armenia?s ability to defend itself against external threats (in a state where demographic trends and corruption are already making it very difficult) must condemn what took place in Tavush and demand a proper investigation of Lt. Nazaryan?s death as well as all similar incidents in recent years.

    We urge the Ministry of Defense to carry out a credible investigation into these attacks on the life and dignity of the Armenian soldier.

    NOTE: As this statement was being prepared, news arrived of another incident, which claimed the lives of six servicemen in an army unit located in Artsakh. Time to unite against the sources of such occurrences is now. Given the threats of war looming over the country, there may not be another chance.

    09 September 2010

    The square in front of Armenia's Government Building was again full of people this morning that had come with the hope to get answers to their appeals.

    “It is the commander of the battalion who killed my son for $100 USD.

    This state does not want to accept that soldiers are being killed in the army for not taking money [to their commander]. My son took a leave and came home and returned without money, and here is the result,” Anahit Mkrtchyan, the mother of Araik Avetisyan, who was killed in the army, told

    Anahit Mkrtchyan requires that the person who killed her son to be held responsible.

    Gohar Sargsyan, another mother of a soldier (Tigran Ohanjanyan) killed in the army in 2007, said that there would not be fresh killings in the army today, should the person killing her son had been held accountable.

    “Why are they defending the assassins, what is the reason? Today genocide is being perpetrated in the army. [The Defense] minister is said to have a good personality, but why doesn't he control the situation in the army as a minister?” said he.

    Most of those parents losing sons in the army are in the opinion that it is due to the atmosphere of impunity that such incidents occur in the army.

    Earlier on Wednesday another incident was reported this time in the military unit in Vaiq where Arthur Hakobyan, a contract junior sergeant allegedly committed suicide.

    Two other similar incidents in the previous months this summer left at least 7 dead.

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