Soldiers of Armenia’s Armed Forces, who bravely defended the homeland last month, were honored during an awards ceremony on Friday at the Sardarabad monument, where Captain Ruben Sanamayan was named National Hero of Armenia and was awarded the “Order of the Homeland” medal—the country’s highest honor.
The event was attended by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan, along with Armenia’s military brass and His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians and became a fitting homage to the combat victories by Armenia’s Armed Force who repelled Azerbaijan’s brazen attacks on civilian and military targets in Armenia’s Tavush Province that began on July 12.
“For the first time in the history of independent Armenia, a National Hero will receive the high state award in person,” said Pashinyan referring to Sanamyan and adding all other “Order of the Homeland” medals were awarded posthumously.
“For the first time ever in the history of the Republic of Armenia, 55 Armenian servicemen are being awarded the Second Degree Combat Cross Order, and 16 servicemen are being awarded the First Degree Combat Cross Order. This fact is unique in that 24 of them are in attendance, and I will enjoy the honor of presenting the awards in person,” said Pashinyan. “The other awardees are not present here because they are on duty defending Armenia’s borders and security.”
“Today’s heroes are the embodiment of their predecessors’ physical presence in our lives, the reflection of our mindset and thinking, and we can confidently tell our children and the rising generation that they can see true heroes not only in books, but they can also meet with them in person,” said Pashinyan. “They live next door in the same building, in our cities and villages; they face the same problems as anyone else does.”
Pashinyan said that each Armenian has a duty to be a hero in every-day life, “in our way 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 an extraordinary effort, but it is part of our daily life and daily responsibility.”
The prime minister went on to list five outcomes from “victorious battles of Tavush,” explaining that in the first instance Azerbaijan’s leadership had been advancing the theory that by not using military force it was making a concession not only to Artsakh and Armenia, but also the international community.
“They believed 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,” said Pashinyan who explained that Baku’s posturing gave way to public opinion in Azerbaijan that the Karabakh conflict could only be settled through unilateral concessions by Armenia.
“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,” said Pashinyan.
The prime minister, in outlining the other four points, reiterated the government’s continued insistence that it was useless for Azerbaijan to talk to Armenia through threats or coercion, saying that “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.”
He said that a major part of the success of the July operation was due to the reforms enacted in the Armed Forces for the past two and a half years, allowing Armenia to “achieve a military advantage through intelligence, as well as tactical and strategic innovations, without having to engage in an exhaustive arms race.”
“The Armenian army has reached an unprecedented high level of tactical efficiency, which in turn strengthens our belief in that we have an efficient and intelligent army with a decisive influence in the region,” said Pashinyan.
The prime minister also touted advancements in the development of Armenia’s military-industrial complex.
“During the July battles, our Armed Forces struck down high-tech weapons that had previously been considered invincible. 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 to 30 in favor of those produced in Armenia,” announced Pashinyan.
“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 entire region, and on the other hand, strengthened our confidence in our strategic allies and partners, which in turn can further enhance Armenia’s ability to effectively play the role of a guarantor of peace and stability in the region,” explained Pashinyan.