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Story of Grisha


A group of ‘Turks’ raided my village in Nagorno-Karabakh and killed six residents. [Armenians use "Turks" as a slur for Azerbaijanis, but in this war, Azerbaijan was getting heavy backing from Turkey, so it's not clear exactly to whom he was referring.] My daughter came to pick me up immediately, wrote out some phone numbers of family members for me and put me in a minibus to Yerevan (capital of Armenia) which was about six hours away.

I arrived at a refugee reception centre and have been with my compatriots ever since. We were among the tens of thousands of Armenians who fled Karabakh since the Azerbaijani offensive started in late September. A lot of people in this centre are elderly, like me and a lot are children. One girl was in a wheelchair. One 9-year-old boy depicted his house with a tree in front that had been destroyed by an incoming shell.

I am concerned about how I am going to collect my monthly pension now that I am no longer in Karabakh. It’s difficult.

Covid-19 is a problem in Karabakh so lots of new arrivals at this refugee centre have to get their temperature checked and given a face mask if they don’t have one. A lot of these people have spent days or weeks in crowded underground bomb shelters in Karabakh before fleeing to safety in Armenia. It is pretty much impossible to socially distance yourself when you’re a refugee.

Story of Grisha
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