By Rashid Shirinov
Tens of thousands of people leave Armenia every year, and a significant part of them, young men, do so mainly because of a specific reason – they are trying to avoid military service in the Armenian army.
This is reasonable since the situation in the country’s armed forces leaves much to be desired. Although the country gained its independence more than a quarter century ago, the Armenian government has yet been unable to create normal conditions for the military service of Armenian men.
Soldiers of some military units do not receive even the minimum of the necessary ration. Servicemen are fed with poor-quality food, while unsanitary conditions prevail in military units; contagious diseases, especially the infectious ones are wide-spread there.
In addition to these terrible conditions, the Armenian army officers often abuse their soldiers, as well as steal and sell their clothes and food. There are also many death cases when Armenian soldiers die in ‘mysterious’ circumstances.
While Armenian soldiers do their military service in unbearable conditions in the military units of their motherland, those of Armenian soldiers who are sent to serve in the Armenia-occupied Azerbaijani lands suffer even more. In this regard, it is no wonder that 9 out of 11 deaths registered in the Armenian armed forces in the first quarter of 2018 occurred in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
The data was provided in the recent report of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor office. Only three incidents occurred as a result of ceasefire violation – the rest were non-combat casualties. These include four deaths because of accidents, two because of health problems, as well as a murder and a suicide.
It is worth noting that at the beginning of the year, the Dialogue for Peace organization prepared a report on the deaths in the Armenian army in 2010-2017. It revealed that while 235 Armenian servicemen died as a result of violations of the ceasefire, the death of 296 servicemen was mainly due to internal factors. They included the climate of impunity in military units, murders and suicides as a result of arbitrariness, as well as accidents and recruitment of men having health problems.
The deplorable state of the Armenian army, frequent death cases, violence, brutality, and non-obedience reigning there are the real-life nightmare of Armenian soldiers and their parents. Presently, there is a clear growing trend of the number of losses in non-combat conditions in the Armenian army. Therefore, parents do not want their sons to serve in the army, and try to find any opportunity to keep them far from that horror.