Grigor Shamvelyan: “It is the duty of the soul of all Armenians to help the soldiers having defended and defending Artsakh’s borders and their families”

 Diaspora Armenians and Armenian communities continue to provide assistance to Artsakh, wounded soldiers and the families of deceased soldiers, the needy residents and schools of Artsakh’s villages through the “What are YOU doing for Artsakh?” pan-Armenian movement launched by the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia last year. The members of the Armenian community of Novomikhailovka in the Tuapse District of Krasnodar territory of the Russian Federation also make their notable contribution to this pro-national act. I sat down for an interview with the community’s leader Grigor Shagmelyan, active member Artur Harutyunyan and freedom fighter during the first Artsakh war, founding commander of the “Tigran Mets” regiment and now director of the Tigran Mets Armenian Special Military and Sport School of Armavir Koryun Ghumashyan, who collaborates with Shagmelyan and Harutyunyan. Hayern Aysor presents the interview to its readers.

Karine Avagyan: Dear compatriot, please, tell us how your community has helped and contributed to the “What are YOU doing for Artsakh?” pan-Armenian movement?

Grigor Shagmelyan: It is hard for me to talk about that and I even feel ashamed because I think it is the duty of the soul of each and every Armenian to help the families of the deceased and wounded soldiers who have defended and are still defending the borders of Artsakh and our country in general, as well as the disabled soldiers and servicemen. We do our best to help our army and stand by its side. Defending the country is our common task. We started carrying out our task during the years of the first Nagorno-Karabakh war.

Karine Avagyan: Mr. Shagmelyan, how do you send the financial assistance?

Grigor Shagmelyan: Our community has a council that discusses all the issues and makes decisions. I must say that all of the members are glad to make their contributions. We have sent an ambulance truck, medical accessories, an X-ray cabinet and a device for dialysis to our soldiers defending the borders of Artsakh…All of the communities of our region raised funds and transferred them to the leaders of the Armenian community of Krasnodar, and we received the rest of the information from them. We know that the necessary medical accessories and technologies were mounted in cars in Yerevan and sent to Artsakh.

Karine Avagyan: Have you ever been to Artsakh?

Grigor Shagmelyan: Unfortunately, I haven’t been there, but I feel great pity. I think I will visit soon. Although I haven’t been to Artsakh, I must say that we have sent the young people of our community to Artsakh where they have visited military units and interacted with Armenian soldiers.

Karine Avagyan: On what occasion are you visiting Armenia?

Grigor Shagmelyan: I am visiting Armenia on a great occasion. I have brought my grandson from Tuapse to be baptized at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. We will enjoy the autumn in Armenia and participate in the festive events dedicated to the anniversary of Yerevan. We have also met with your good friend, Koryun Ghumashyan who, as you already know, participated in the first Artsakh war during which he created and led a remarkable and heroic regiment. He is still fighting, even in the seemingly peaceful times. Ghumashyan works closely with us and does his best to help us. We have direct ties with the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia. It would be better to have Koryun Ghumashyan present our activities.

Karine Avagyan: Well, Mr. Ghumashyan, please, tell us about everything that Mr. Shagmelyan kept silent about.

Koryun Ghumashyan: Yes, he actually organizes the activities wonderfully and is ashamed of talking about it. I found out that he had come to Yerevan to baptize his grandson. I met Shagmelyan and escorted him to the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. He had never been to the Ministry since he also hadn’t been in Armenia for a long time. The relevant department of the Ministry referred us to the editorial office of Hayern Aysor online newspaper. The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia knows Shagmelyan very well since the activities of the community led by Shagmelyan are directly linked to the deceased and wounded soldiers and their families. The community had sent a Niva car to the “Aramazd” detachment of “Tigran Mets” regiment, and the car was parked at the positions. I must say that that car helped save human lives. When the soldiers were coming down from the military positions to see the car parked at a distance of 60 meters, the military position was bombarded…Later, that car was exchanged for a bigger car that helps transport the parents of the boys of Armavir serving in Artsakh to the military units to see their sons and return to their homes. Last year, in the wake of the Four-Day Artsakh War in April, our compatriots came and visited the home of hero Armen Hovhannisyan. They were introduced to the hero’s mother and relatives, and on that same day, they decided to organize the summer vacation of the mothers of our heroes in a coastal city. They quickly carried out this project, and 13 mothers spent their vacation at the coast of the Black Sea. This year, 15 disabled servicemen veterans of the Four-Day Artsakh War spent their two-week vacation near the sea in Novomikhailovka. Through the efforts of Grigor Shagmelyan’s community, the servicemen stayed in a seaside hotel, and all the expenses were covered by our compatriots. There are other plans for the future. In fact, the young person joining us, Artur Harutyunyan, who is one of the members of the Armenian community of Mikhailova, is actively involved in this effort. People with the same mindset gathered and continued the task that had already been launched. These people had been carrying out this pro-national act for the past three years. I joined them and came up with new ideas. The collaboration was wonderful. Our compatriots were awarded with medals and certificates of appreciation for their efforts, even though they work and do good deeds without any expectations. We have decided to create bridges of cooperation with various Armenian communities of the Diaspora in order to make sure every community ensures the best vacation for the boys and servicemen who fought and were wounded during the Four-Day Artsakh War. Why should the sons of oligarchs be the only ones to spend their vacation in the world’s best resorts and those servicemen never receive those benefits? I think this program will definitely bcome popular.

Karine Avagyan: Mr. Ghumashyan, you presented the activities of the Armenian community of Novomikhailova and its leader in so much detail that it seems as though there are no further questions and that the only thing left for me to do is to express my gratitude to you all, particularly Mr. Shagmelyan, the Armenian community of Novomikhailova and wish that you live in peace, that the final and just solution to the Artsakh issue is given through peaceful negotiations, that you never hear about an Armenian soldier dying or being wounded and that the Armenia-Diaspora-Artsakh triumvirate becomes one of the superpowers of the world.

Karine Avagyan


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