The scent of war that hangs over Yerevan, in a city that seems to go about its ordinary business, is omnipresent. On the one hand, the appearance is certainly nonchalance: the Armenian capital displays neither a military presence nor a spectacular patriotic rally. But on the other hand, the war is there, exacerbated every minute, in political speeches, in the media. And above all it is nestled, behind the elegant smiles, in the uneasiness perceptible in the eyes and the murmurs of the young girls of Yerevan: such fiancé or such brother will he return alive from the front, such other will receive- he the fateful phone call sending him to Nagorno-Karabakh?
Many were also watching, Friday, October 9, the news from Moscow. The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers were invited by the Russian authorities to talks that resulted, late at night, while Yerevan slept, in a ceasefire agreement to take effect, according to the chief of Russian diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov, Saturday at noon. “Regardless of the details of the deal, we’re just waiting for some good news, whispered Anouch. Living in peace, that’s all … “
The conflict that has engulfed Nagorno-Karabakh and spread beyond the enclave’s borders since September 27 has been going on for thirty years. In other words, for many of the young people we met in Yerevan, it is a war of old people, a conflict from the past. Its resurgences, since the initial ceasefire of 1994, are however so present in the minds, and the fear of Azerbaijan and its Turkish ally so strong, that each one has the impression of living in the face of an existential conflict. for Armenia.
In Yerevan, everything is done to remind anyone who cares about it that war is here. A giant screen has been installed at Place de la République and broadcasts images of combat and warlike speeches to walkers all day long.
Thirteen days of clashes
In the friendly rue Sarian, where the young people sit down at the In Vino bar or the Tapastan café, the headquarters of the Amur Tikunkh association (literally “Strong back” and whose name could be translated as “Strong Support” », To those fighting at the front). Residents come to donate, hundreds of packages are made.
Physicist Stepan Avagyan, surrounded by a swarm of students, collects food, clothing and all kinds of things both for the soldiers engaged on the front lines and for the families who have fled to Yerevan to flee the fighting. With his companions, he also initiated a rally that took place at Place de la Liberté in tribute to the “Hero” dead in thirteen days of clashes. “This is spontaneous patriotism”, he smiles. Vans go back and forth with Stepanakert, the “capital” of the separatist territory, bombarded daily by Azerbaijani forces.
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