Through the eyes of an eyewitness

Yura Petrosyan (Lenoush by passport), born in the village of Khndzristan, Artsakh, in 1937

I was born in the village of Khndzristan. I got married in Baku, all my four children were born and raised there. We lived in a four-bedroom cozy apartment that we renovated ourselves. In 1988, I was working in a seaside area, 4 km away from Sumgait. We had workers from Sumgait, one of them being from our village. They didn’t come to work for days, and one day they came to get fired. They said to us: “They kill us, they kill us!”

When that happened, we got fired as well. I still remember how the head of our enterprise regretted that Armenians would not work with him anymore.

There were Russian armored vehicles placed in front of our yard in order to protect the Armenians. I hurried to hire a car to take my children out. I lived on the ninth floor and asked my friend, named Iktibar, for help. Early in the morning he came for help with his brothers and parents, we loaded the car and came to Stepanakert. I gave my flat in Baku in exchange with a house in Stepanakert. Our yard in Stepanakert is on the outskirts of the city, at the end of which a forest begins. At that period there were still Turkish men in Stepanakert. They were hiding in that very forest. We, the Armenian men, were optionally keeping sentry in the yard. We had an agreement – in case of noticing something, we should hit the iron pipe.

At night of September 17, 1989, I went out to take over, when suddenly they fired a double-barreled gun at me. I barely could hit the pipe with a spade twice and flaked out. I learnt about what happened further from others. Everybody was out in the yard crying: they thought I was dead. A Russian family lived in our neighborhood. The wife, Larisa, worked as a nurse in a military unit. She came at once, asked for a spoon, held my tongue and took me to hospital with her husband, Sasha, by their car. I was operated on, my stomach, my chest, and my head were injured. I had been in a reanimation box for 11 days. I was hearing the talks, but couldn’t utter a sound myself. Those days a doctor came from Armenia, I don’t remember his name. He was shot and had a backpack on his back. He took 1.5 liters of blood from my body. He said. "Brother, are you okay?" I said, “I am okay."

If he had been a little late, I definitely wouldn’t have survived.

31 years have passed, but I continue to live (overall 59 years of marriage) with my wife, Greta, in solidarity and in good health.

In this war, when taking Shoushi in 1992, my eldest son, Vladimir, died a hero’s death, whereas my younger son, Valery, joined the war when he was only 15.

We gained a victory, because we know how to fight…we were bravely moving forward…