Armenian Army Is 15

Alisa Gevorgyan

09.01.2007 16:12

After the 1988 events in Sumgayit it was quite clear that reliance
on Soviet Armed Forces was simply naïve. Once again experiencing
the cruelty of genocide, the Armenian nation understood that if it
does not defend itself, it cannot rely on anyone else. It was then
when the first divisions were formed.

Certainly, then it was not army, it was the start of something very

"In 1990, when I was Prime Minister, we still comprised part of the
Soviet Union and we could not declare we are creating an independent
Armenian army, therefore we took this cunning step: there were armed
divisions within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. We recruited
employees of the structure who had gained skill during military
actions. In fact, within the official structure of the Interior
Ministry we started laying the first seeds of our army," remembers
Vazgen Manukyan, former Defense Minister.

This can be considered the start of the Armenian army. In 1991 the
first Defense Committee was created. Vhan Shirkhanyan was appointed
Chairman of the Committee.

Parallel to political transformations, step by step the Armenian army
was being shaped. Vazgen Manukyan says that from the very beginning
they had the view of our today’s army.

Divisions created by volunteers having military experience were
participating in military actions and struggling against the enemy at
the front, while on the rear the new army was being formed. "We were
trying not to involve these 18-year-old guys in military actions for
our army to have the opportunity to proceed and develop. Actually,
we had two armies, one of which was fighting, while the other one
was at the stage of formation," says Vazgen Manukyan.

"Willed with love for army and with future anticipations many gave
their strength and even life. Many became more familiar than they
deserved. Some remained in the shadow. What we have today is the army
created by all of us, it was not created by one particular person,"
Vazgen Manukyan said and added, "We have a rather experienced
structure, but I hope that we’ll never have the necessity to test
its strength in military actions.