The photos of soldiers missing in action and fallen soldiers are displayed on a large poster on Renaissance Square, Stepanakert.
There are almost always people gathered around the poster. Some simply are looking at the photos, others are putting up their relatives’ photos, and others are simply making sure that the photos don’t get damaged due to the weather.
One of the posters has “Russia, help us bring our compatriots home” written on it in Russian.
Loreta Bakhshyan was putting up her relatives’ photos: her son’s and her two brothers’. “I am Aram Mkrtchyan’s mother, the sister of special forces officer Kamo Bakhshyan, and the sister of Murad Bakhshyan, who volunteered to fight in the April War and this war. Kamo Bakhchyan fought against the enemy in Mataghis on all fronts where he was heavily wounded. He died there. Murad died on January 12th from a mine explosion. My Aram was killed on September 27th. He was one of the first soldiers who fell. Of the 30 people in his battalion, only one is still alive.”
Loreta heard about the initiative, and she wished for her brothers’ and son’s photos to also be displayed on the poster. “Our children were innocent victims. I can only say one thing: our soldiers, our children won. We didn’t lose, our government did. Our children never lost. They served our Artsakh to the enemy on a platter. Now, no matter which ministry’s door you knock on, no matter what problem you need help with, they close all the doors. They close their hearts. They don’t help with anything. I’m not asking them to give me food. I just ask them for help with documentation issues. They need to help people. We didn’t have any more children.”
She believes that the photos of fallen soldiers and those missing in action displayed in the center of Stepanakert help their relatives to seek comfort. “Those who are grieving, the mothers who lost their sons, the women who became widows remember. Their pain is ours. No one can understand what kind of pain that is. I can’t explain that pain to anyone. No one from our current authorities can explain that. We seek comfort through these photos.”