Testimonies from Artsakh

Demonstrations for their rights.Photo credit: Liana Margaryan

Hello everyone!

My name is Karen, I’m a paediatric surgeon and part-time director of a children’s hospital. As you know, since 12/12/2022, Azerbaijan has illegally blocked the only road linking Artsakh to Armenia – the road of life!

As with everyone else in our small but proud country, this has created a host of problems for our hospital too; little Artsakhians have been deprived of the opportunity to receive proper treatment. Due to the lack of medicines and medical supplies, all scheduled procedures were cancelled, including daily blood tests and operations. All available medicines were directed towards the treatment of children with acute conditions.

There were major problems with the nutrition of the sick children, there was a catastrophic lack of fruit and vegetables, the children were not getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals and this is still going on today because although a small number of these food products are available, the children cannot feed themselves fully.

Due to damage to the power lines, power cuts began in the republic, in addition to the cut in natural gas, which led to difficulties in heating the wards and operating theatres. As far as possible, sick children were grouped together in a single room in order to keep warm and save on heating.

Children with chronic illnesses, who were periodically sent to specialist clinics in Yerevan, were deprived of this opportunity. Here’s an example: surgery on a child with a hand deformity has already been postponed 4 times for one simple reason – the road is closed!

I could go on and on… The sick children who have been transferred to Yerevan hospitals with the help of the Red Cross cannot return home to their brothers and sisters, their fathers, their grandparents… the children are taking their first steps without their parents! It’s so sad!

But despite everything that’s happening, the Armenians of Artsakh will continue to fight for their country! After all, sooner or later, the world will open its eyes and see what’s happening to us!

Karen Melkumyan, resident of Artsakh, doctor, husband who has not seen his wife for nearly 6 months, because of the closed road of life!



My name is Marie, I’m a schoolgirl and I’m 11 years old.

At first, the word “blockade” was just something that adults and our parents said. Then, when the quantity of foodstuffs on the shelves of grocery shops started to decrease, when we had access to electricity at set times, when we started going to school with breaks, I understood what the word meant.

For me, it was astonishing how people could be forbidden to leave their country and move around freely, how people could be deprived of heating in the middle of winter, of electricity and of food. I don’t understand how one human being can act like that towards another.

At first, the blockade seemed like a fun game where friends and I would try to find grocery shops that would sell our favourite crisps and sweets, but now I’m worried that I’ll never be able to see my loved ones, that I won’t be able to fulfil my dream of travelling to other countries and that I’ll be cut off from the outside world. It’s horrible, especially when you can see all that via the Internet but you’re deprived of the possibility of being there and fulfilling your dreams.

Marie, 11 years old.

Stepanakert, capital of Artsakh, plunged into darkness by power cuts

Today, in the civilised world, Artsakh is struggling with the lack of gas, electricity and the simple products we all need. Ever since Azerbaijan closed the only road linking Artsakh to Armenia and the rest of the world, it has caused a number of difficulties that have deprived us of basic things and products.

I’m a mother, my baby is 1 year old and from the moment he was born he too has been struggling with all this. To find simple vegetables and fruit for our babies, we have to queue for hours. To get around the city itself, we have to walk because of the lack of gas and oil. Many people and children who need to see a doctor face great difficulties, especially those who live in villages. The situation is getting more serious by the day. I haven’t been able to find any nappies for my child for 3 days now. It’s terrible. All the pharmacies and markets are empty. There are even problems with the medicines.

Our pupils are also deprived of an education. During the winter, school classes were stopped. Our children certainly have the right to a better childhood.

The students of Artsakh State University who live in the villages are also facing many difficulties due to the lack of transport. The psychological state of our children is obviously critical. Dear readers, you may be a mother, a father, a student or a teacher. Imagine that you can’t even find what you need for your child – no food, no hygiene products, no medicine – what would you do then?

But if you have everything you need, enjoy your life, because maybe one day you too could suddenly lose not only the usual things you need for life, but also your security.

Resident and mother of Stepanakaert.

A mother in Artsakh searches for medicines in an empty pharmacy for her sick child.@Haiastan

Hello sleeping world,

My name is Arminé Badalian and I teach French in Stepanakert.

I’ve been under blockade for more than 5 months now and I’d like to tell you how I’m surviving in Artsakh along with 120,000 other inhabitants of Artsakh. First of all, all our rights are violated. As human beings, we are deprived of everything: we cannot feed ourselves fully, because there are no necessary products in the shops.

I’m the mother of two children and this is very important to me. There were times when there was nothing in the shops and I couldn’t explain to my children why I couldn’t buy their favourite products or fruit and vegetables.

We don’t have any gas and the electricity is cut off every day for 3 hours. It is also said that soon the electricity resources will also be exhausted and we will have no electricity at all.

During the winter, all the educational institutions were closed because it was so cold. I think that our children also have the right to live in their homeland under peaceful skies and to learn, because this is the 21st century.

We can’t go to Armenia because the road to life is still closed.

I haven’t been able to visit my parents for over five months now because they live in Armenia. My daughter has sight problems but I can’t take her to the doctor in Yerevan because the road is closed. It’s very sad that people can’t travel to their own historic homeland.

World, don’t be indifferent! Because of your indifference, in 1915 over a million Armenians were subjected to genocide by Turkey and expelled from their historic homeland. As the master of my country, I want to live in my free and independent homeland!

Arminé Badalian

Stepanakert, march 2023 Credit : Liana Margaryan


My name is Svetlana Harutyunyan. I have been working as a rheumatologist at the Artsakh Republican Medical Centre for about 7 months.

On 12 December, I was due to travel to Yerevan to attend a regular professional conference. However, we were called and told that the Azerbaijanis had blocked the road.

And so the nightmare began…

Day after day, the situation became more complicated. It was difficult to obtain medicines, baby food, food and personal items. Transporting seriously ill patients to Yerevan became impossible. It became impossible to import specific chemotherapy and rheumatology drugs into Artsakh.


ccording to my observations, almost all illnesses have started to worsen. The problems multiplied; in the cold winter conditions, the Azerbaijanis once again cut off the gas and electricity supply. There was no heating for patients at the hospital. Planned operations and instrumental laboratory tests for patients were not carried out, as all resources were directed towards urgent cases and those not to be postponed.

All these stress factors contributed to the exacerbation of almost all rheumatological diseases.

Working in extreme conditions, when you are a doctor and have no medical arsenal or healthy diet to treat illness, you can only hope that the life of an Armenian living in Artsakh is no less important than that of a man living in the ‘civilised’ world.

Living and eating on ration coupons is our reality, a reality we are trying to overcome, in the hope that one day we will wake up in a free and independent Artsakh, where we will never be subjected to Azerbaijani aggression just because we are Armenian Christians…

Svetlana Harutyunyan

Demonstrations against the blockade of the road linking Artsakh to Armenia. Photo credit : Liana Margaryan

Hello dear reader,

Artsakh has been cut off from the outside world for the past 5 months. As a result of Azerbaijan’s Armenophobic policy, the 120,000 inhabitants of Artsakh have been deprived of their rights and opportunities to feed themselves fully, move around freely and use medical facilities. Schools and kindergartens have had to close for months because of the gas and electricity cuts. Armenians in Artsakh face daily household problems. The Azeri armed forces fire almost daily at peaceful citizens working in their gardens and fields, creating an atmosphere of instability and fear. Armenians suffered physical and moral persecution, tortured in their own homeland before the eyes of an indifferent and immobile world.

The “compassion” of the superpowers and friendly countries is limited to appeals. The Artsakhiote resists thanks to his God-given stubbornness, he does not despair, he is certain that historical justice will win out in the end.

Nanar Simonian

Artsakhiotes unfurling an Armenian flag in the streets of the Republic.Credit : Liana Margaryan

Hello, my name is Amalia and I’m a teacher.

In the 21st century, when we at least have the right to free movement, we’ve been deprived of it for 5 months already, and that’s for 120,000 inhabitants of Artsakh. All this gives rise to mixed feelings. At first you get depressed, sad, sometimes stressed out, but then you come to your senses and carry on living, working and moving forward. In fact, it’s all very hard, the psychological pressure is very great, so we have to be strong and try to get through it with our heads held high. Of course, the enemy would like to see us in despair, and that’s what he’s aiming for, but we’re on our home ground; although our hopes are running out like the Sarsangue reservoir, we’re as strong as the statue of Tatig and Papig.

We have to overcome the household problems that are always there, but uncertainty is something else altogether; it’s a very heavy feeling.

For how long? How long will these difficulties last, and what will be the outcome? All these feelings become even more intense, especially when you’re a teacher in daily contact with schoolchildren.

Sometimes they look to me for answers about what’s going to happen, but I don’t have them!

Unfortunately, no one has the answers. So what can you do? I’ve chosen to live and work. With the other teachers, we organise different activities to get them out of the difficult psychological situation. These are usually games, songs and national dances. Thanks to these activities, we manage to get away from the daily grind for a few hours and then try to live like most people.

As the Artsakhiotes say, you resist, but if you don’t do it for your country, then why do it at all?

When I encourage the schoolchildren, I’m encouraged myself, so I look ahead and think about what’s going to happen.

You try to live by making yourself live!



My name is Nariné,

I live in my homeland, in Artsakh, I am Artsakhian. I am different from all the young people of my age in the world in that I have already had time to feel the horror and pain of war and loss, to look straight into the eyes of mothers who have lost sons, to see the suffering of my compatriots who have lost their birthplaces. It is, of course, an honour to be in Artsakh, but to live in Artsakh is heroism; yes, it is heroism, isn’t it heroism to live in these conditions when we’ve been under blockade for 158 days now and we don’t have the right to travel freely because of the road closure. We have no support because of the blockade, the grocery shops are empty, there is a shortage of foodstuffs, no fruit, no vegetables, no medicines, there may even be no electricity at all.

Today, we, the 120,000 Artsakhiotes, are faced with this equally serious problem: “Will we have electricity tomorrow?”, “Will we have access to the communication link to be able to contact someone?”.

In fact, a short distance from my home, I can see the Azeri position set up and we often hear the mugham at night, we hear shots in the air or towards our positions in order to scare us and we really do have it against our will. I’m not even talking about the gas cut-off; we haven’t had access to it for over 3 months now.

I’m a student and I live in Martouni, and it’s very difficult to get to the University in Stepanakert because, because of the lack of gas, very few cars or buses work, and every time I do, it’s a huge problem. On the other hand, we must not weaken, we must fight for the right to our lives, for our homeland, for the young people who did not live so that we could live ourselves, for the young people who offered us a life at the price of their blood and who refused their lives, their dreams and their objectives for us.


More than 50 km2 of Armenian territory (Artsakh and Armenia) have passed under Azeri control to the general indifference. 5 Armenian villages now totally isolated from the rest of the country.Crédit photo : Liana Margaryan

I’m a 15-year-old girl.

The blockade started on 12 December. At first it was very hard for me because everyone was in a panic and every time I heard something different my fear grew even more. Today, I’ve overcome that fear because our parents do everything they can to make sure we don’t feel the full burden and difficulty of the blockade. Their stories of overcoming the suffering and the dark, cold years of the first war encourage us and inspire us with the strength to resist and not despair.

But despite this, today I’m afraid of genocide because we also have victims; there’s a pain that I suffer from.

Young girl from Stepanakert.


My name is Haykuhi Aghabekyan and I come from Artsakh.

I was born and grew up here and I have 2 children aged 3 and 2. With my husband, my children and my mother-in-law, we lived a normal life in the capital of Stepanakert before Azerbaijan closed the only road linking Artsakh to Armenia.

Dear readers,

Let me start by saying that our attachment to Artsakh is very great, it is our native land, for which we have sacrificed thousands of victims, it is our native corner of this planet, where we want to live and create, we really don’t want much. There are only 120,000 of us, we lost around 70% of our territory in the last Artsakh war, but we live here in full hope, regardless of the fact that the enemy is watching us from our Shushi and perhaps even laughing at us. But as they say, he who laughs last, laughs hardest, so it’s not the end yet….

The regular violation of the ceasefire regime by the enemy, the closure of the only route to the outside world, the extreme lack of food and medicine and the non-standard supplies are keeping people in an atmosphere of fear. I don’t know how I’m supposed to leave with my 2 children and stay in the basement in case of a war!

My only hope is that God can save our Artsakh so that we can continue to live here under peaceful skies. We’ve heard a lot of speeches condemning Azerbaijan, but if they haven’t had any results yet, they’re just words, nothing more!

n the 21st century, when people raise animal rights, when these people are concerned about ecology, when an entire nation with centuries of history has been under siege for more than 5 months and is on the brink of genocide, who needs your speeches? People live here as if in cages, aren’t we as important as animals or nature?

We, the people of Artsakh, are calling on the international community to sober up. We have the same rights as Europeans who live in a dwarf country or in France, Germany and elsewhere.

I hope that by God’s will everything will be settled and that we will live in our homeland, that I will once again put flowers on my father’s grave, which is in our village occupied by the enemy. We have dreams, we live today in Artsakh, surrounded on 4 sides by the enemy, but we were there, we are there and we will always be there, I’m sure of it!

Haykuhi Aghabekyan