“Don’t hesitate in the hour of trial, call Vladimir, he will help you.
So said about the legendary commander of the first Artsakh war, the hero of Artsakh Vladimir Balayan, Leonid Azgaldyan.
Vladimir Balayan was born on February 14, 1958 in Mokhratagh village of Martakert district of Artsakh in the family of intellectuals.
He served in the Soviet army, studied at the Agricultural College in Stepanakert, worked as a printer and agronomist,
At the beginning of the Artsakh movement, he was in the Martakert forestry, took part in peaceful demonstrations, but soon realized that the problem would not be resolved peacefully.
Meanwhile, the excited society couldn’t imagine that legitimate demand of freedom and independence, self-determination would have such tragic course, especially that the collection of signatures in favor of Artsakh self-determination was freely organized in the working places, which was unheard of in the conditions of strict party control at that time.
So, something was solved somewhere, and it seemed that the desired victory was near. It was enough that the protesters were chanting more – “Miasum”, “Artsakh”, which was spread all around, it sounded more persuasive, forest of fists was seen from far away…
No, the logical, legitimate, human thing did not happen… This has been experienced for centuries…A Turk is the same as a Turk, communist or religious…
Vladimir Balayan was one of the first who began to assemble a volunteer partisan detachment. in the beginning it was 6-7 people, including brothers Arthur and Robert.
Established a military training base in the woods, it was necessary to arm and get weapons, there was no money or time. prepare immediately…
Vladimir sold his car, the money received to buy weapons, also began to build weapons, of which we know the cannon created by Vladimir, but it was not enough to prepare the soldiers.
“We do not need forced martyrs,” said the commander, trusting in the self-awareness, literacy, faith, the will of the volunteers …
Discipline and daily consistent training was a priority. smoking and drinking alcohol were eliminated.
Martial arts were also practiced, emphasizing the moral character of the soldier, no weapons were allowed to be used on the unarmed,
mockery and disrespectful treatment of a prisoner, anyone who did not follow the prescribed order was immediately removed from the squad.
It was tantamount to dishonor , being an associate of Vladimir Balayan was not only an honor, it was an occasion of examination, a meaningless number-jarring circumstance…
In winter 1991, Balayan met with Leonid Azgaldyan in Shaumyan, the struggle became united. The “liberation army” created by them had no analogues, both in terms of discipline, and in terms of combat efficiency and literacy.
Not once was an inexperienced soldier involved in combat, even at the most critical moment. a soldier was obliged to go to commanders’ school, to take part in training. even during the breaks in the fierce fighting, rest was excluded, the calculation was not for death, but for the fight, victory, and life,
The Liberation Army suffered only four casualties during the struggle.
The 5th and 6th victims were commanders Balayan and Azgaldyan, who were always in the foreground, protecting and liberating numerous settlements, believing that the line would reach Western Armenia…
A warm, friendly atmosphere reigned, and a strict discipline was observed.
The soldiers were strictly forbidden to use both alcohol and tobacco.
The soldiers were proficient in oriental martial arts and constantly hardened their bodies.
Even after heavy fighting and during combat, soldiers did not stop training.
However, the most important and remarkable was the absolute trust of the two commanders, faith and love.
Many were surprised by Vladimir’s principled nature.
When the enemy approached Martakert, his wife, anxiously crying, asked Vladimir to withdraw his family from the village.
But Vladimir was adamant.
“If I take my family out… They will say that the commander is running away.
Vladimir leaves his family in the village until the last day.
The liberation army celebrated brilliant victories.
For two years he takes part in the fighting, liberated 24 villages, defending an entire district and giving only 4 deaths.
Vladimir Balayan took part in combat operations in Martakert, Shahumyan, Askeran, Hadrut and Lachin regions.
Vladimir Balayan died on June 8, 1992, in trenches of Chaylu village, two weeks later Leonid Azgaldyan died.
Vladimir’s case is continued today by his son Alexei Balayan, who is a volunteer in the “Vladimir Balayan” volunteer group.
Journalist-analyst for Western Armenia tv Ashkhen Virabyan