An award ceremony for the Tavush victorious battles’ heroes was held today at the Sardarapat Memorial, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
The event was attended by Artsakh Republic President Arayik Harutyunyan, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Speaker of the National Assembly Ararat Mirzoyan, Security Council members, members of government, statesmen, army generals, commissioned and non-commissioned officers, sergeants, soldiers.
Before handing the high state awards to the servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan delivered a speech, in which he stated:
“Honorable President of the Artsakh Republic,
Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia,
Dear Security Council members,
Dear Members of Government, statesmen,
Dear Generals, officers, non-commissioned officers, sergeants, soldiers:
We have rallied to mark today’s exceptional occasion at the Sardarapat Memorial, which is a symbol of our people’s glorious victory over the Ottoman army.
For the first time ever in the history of the Republic of Armenia, 55 Armenian servicemen were awarded the Second Degree Combat Cross Order, and 16 servicemen were awarded the First Degree Combat Cross Order. This fact is unique in that 24 of them are present here, and I will enjoy the honor of awarding the medals in person. The other servicemen decorated with high state awards are not present here for the following reason: They are on duty defending Armenia’s borders and security.
But the most important episode of today’s event is still to come. For the first time in the history of independent Armenia, a serviceman of the Armed Forces has been awarded the title of National Hero of Armenia during his lifetime.
Shortly after completing my remarks at this venue, which symbolizes our people’s victorious struggle, I will present Captain Ruben Sanamyan with the Order of Homeland certifying the title of National Hero. Tomorrow he will be back on duty in his military unit.
This is the highlight of today’s event. Most of the recipients of the First Degree Combat Cross Order were awarded posthumously in Armenia; all our national heroes were awarded posthumously, and this is the first time ever that a national hero, an army officer receives the high state award in person.
Today’s event comes to evidence that the noble cause initiated by our liberation war heroes – Monte Melkonyan, Tatul Krpeyan, Movses Gorgisyan, Jivan Abrahamyan, Yura Poghosyan, Vazgen Sargsyan – is still alive. It is not just history, but an uninterrupted process carried on by specific actors at a specific time and venue.
Today’s heroes are the embodiment of their predecessors’ physical presence in our lives, the reflection of our psychology and thinking, and we can confidently tell our children and the rising generation that they can come across with true heroes not only in books, but they can also meet them in real life. They are with us, in the same building, in the same city, in the same village; they face the same problems as anyone else does. They have been promoted to the title of national hero, which means that either we can do so, each of us can do that, and it is our duty to be heroes every day and anywhere through our daily work, behavior, in our way of thinking about the homeland and by acting for the sake of our homeland, because the example set by today’s awardees teaches us that heroism is no longer a superhuman effort, but daily work, daily life, daily responsibility.
Dear attendees, dear compatriots,
Today’s awardees were all active participants in the July victorious battles in Tavush: they personally contributed to the July victory. That local military standoff was of great psychological, political and geopolitical significance; it recorded the following important outcomes:
Outcome One – For many years in a row, Azerbaijan’s military-political leadership had been developing the thesis that Baku’s failure to start a war against Armenia and Artsakh was a huge concession not only to Artsakh and Armenia, but also to the international community. They thought that the Azerbaijani army had reached such a high level of combat readiness that it was capable of resolving the Karabakh issue within up to 24 hours.
On this basis, a public opinion was fostered and delivered that a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh issue was only possible on the basis of Armenia’s unilateral concessions. The victorious July battles shattered the bellicose rhetoric built up by the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan for almost 10 years. It proved that there is no military solution to the Karabakh issue, and that Azerbaijan should inevitably adhere to constructive approaches.
Outcome Two – For more than two years, in close touch with the international community and the leadership of Azerbaijan, as well as in its public statements, our government has emphasized that it is useless to talk to Armenia in the language of threats and coercion. We made it clear that we would not allow anyone to talk to us in such a tone, and anyone who might attempt to do so would regret it bitterly.
The victorious battles of July proved the credibility of our political statements, proved that our assessment of the military-political situation in the region and the balance of power was soberly calculated and accurate.
Outcome Three – Large-scale reforms have been taking place in the Armenian Army for two and a half years now. I mean not only the reforms that can be seen and discussed in public, but also the strategic and tactical reforms that are not put on record.
It is obvious and unequivocal that the reforms were viable as evidenced in the victorious battles of July. In fact, we proved that Armenia can achieve a military advantage through intellectual work, tactical and strategic innovations, without having to engage in an exhaustive arms race.
Many may not know the fact that an exceptional situation was recorded during the victorious battles in July, when we had no casualties in the frontier combat positions during the hostilities; we had only one lightly wounded serviceman, while the well-known Anvakh (Fearless) stronghold and the adjacent outposts were the target of heaviest shelling, mass attacks of well-trained special forces. This means that the Armenian army has reached unprecedented tactical efficiency, which comes to enhance our confidence that we have an efficient and intelligent army with a decisive influence in the region.
Outcome Four – We have long been talking about the development of the military-industrial complex in Armenia and we have proclaimed it a priority. The victorious battles of July demonstrated the efficiency of the Armenian military industry. They proved that we are well poised to position ourselves as a leading nation on the technological map of the world.
During the July battles, our Armed Forces hit high-tech weapons that had previously been considered invulnerable. This is a well-known fact, but few people may know that these weapons were damaged as a result of close synergy between Armenian-made weapons and weaponry upgraded and modernized in Armenia. Moreover, the ratio of weapons produced and modernized in Armenia is 70/30 in favor of those produced in Armenia.
Outcome Five – The victorious July battles demonstrated Armenia’s ability to meet its own security challenges on its own. In the meantime, some developments revealed the scope of threats affecting not only Armenia, but also the region and on the other hand, strengthened our confidence in our strategic allies and partners, which can further enhance Armenia’s ability to effectively play the role of a guarantor of peace and stability in the region, which was stated in my remarks delivered at the June 19 joint session of the Security Councils of Armenia and Artsakh in Yerevan.
Dear attendees, dear compatriots,
With the victorious battles of July, we ushered in a new historical stage, where Armenia’s military-political, regional weight and significance have increased along with the emerging regional challenges. The level of our responsibility has increased, too, and it calls for superhuman effort and dedication. But as I mentioned above, today’s ceremonious event comes to reaffirm the fact that the superhuman has for a while now become a daily routine for us, which is vividly evidenced by those high state awards we are presenting today. We are sure to be on the winning side!
Long live Freedom!
Long live the Republic of Armenia!
Long live the Republic of Artsakh!
Long live the Armenian Army!
Long live us, and our children, who live in a free, victorious and happy Armenia!
Through the mediation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and in accordance with presidential decrees, 16 Armenian servicemen who participated in the Tavush victorious battles were awarded the First Degree Combat Cross Order, 55 servicemen – the Second Degree Combat Cross Order. Through the Prime Minister’s mediation, Captain Ruben Sanamyan was awarded the title of National Hero, and the Order of the Homeland.
The awards were handed by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan: 25 servicemen, including Armenia’s National Hero Ruben Sanamyan, received the state awards personally from the Prime Minister. The awards and medals will be handed over to those servicemen that were unable to attend the ceremony as they were on military duty.