Military Industry And Its Staff

Manvel Sargsyan
10:12:32 – 11/08/2009

Will anything change in Armenia?

When the Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov arrived in Baku,
he was reported to discuss military-technical cooperation between
Russia and Azerbaijan. This occurred against the backdrop of statements
by the Defense Minister of Azerbaijan Safar Abiev that in the case
of ineffective negotiations with Armenia, Azerbaijan will resort to
the force settlement of the conflict. As it seems this attitude of
Azerbaijanis did not cause any special straining within the Russian
side, although it regards its traditional ally – Armenia.

Azerbaijan has long planned to build its own military industry. In
recent times, reports that the country has seriously started to
become one of the producers of various weapons are increasing. Even
a Ministry of Military Industry has been created. It is supposed
that easy military equipment, helicopters and even warships will be
produced. The goal is not only to supply its own army, but also to
sell weapons to other countries. The fact that the machinery has
grown by more than 50%, indirectly indicates some achievements in
the military sphere. In other words, the country is dreaming about
military power. And what may be better than military-technical
cooperation with Russia in this case.

What will happen in Azerbaijan remains to be seen. Increased interest
is another question: what people think about all this in Armenia? It
is known that there are no analogue plans in Armenia. Here, they are
used to buy weapons to "through good connections from their elder
brother". The psychology of "military dependency" took root here. No
one thinks that once the time will come when the fraternity will
stop existing, or the elder brother will become friends with someone
else. Hope, perhaps, that there will be another patron, not wanting
weapons for Armenia.

The opinion what the role of the army in public life is has long
divided in Armenia. Some were initially supporters of a bloated
military, fed up of military support from Russia. Others deny the
need for a large army. This controversy continues up to this day. But
as it turned out, nobody thought much about whether Armenia is to
become one of those states, which can itself arm its army – large or
small. More precisely, there were those to whom it occurred. Merely,
life did not go into the right direction.

Recently, I accidentally met with one of my old friends, Avik
Ohanyan, who was known as an active supporter of the establishment
of Armenia’s military-industrial complex. This person has made an
invaluable contribution to the establishment in Armenia the first
serious military enterprise – production line of ammunition for
small arms. It seemed as if I was given a good chance to satisfy my
curiosity about the state of the military industry in Armenia. But a
person embodying the state of the industry was standing before me. He
simply was homeless, abandoned by all, like many of his colleagues,
dreaming of an independent Armenia with military power.

It was hard to believe that a person who held a high-ranking office in
the military industry and laid the foundations of that industry should
pay for it by his personal destiny. Similarly, it is hard to believe
that all the energy of the first military industry has been spread
with such disdain. But the story of one man makes us to believe it.

Transported in 1992 in Armenia for only one hundred and ten
thousand, and sold a few years ago by the state to private hands
for twenty million dollars a munitions factory (thank God – is
well functioning) cost Avik his modest personal wealth. In total,
some sixty thousand dollars, needed to transport the equipment
from Central Asia to Armenia, became an "unsolvable task" for the
Armenian officers. Everyone demanded documents on the costs: the
safe and integral plant said nothing. All this was little, Avik was
also arrested for somebody else’s sins (for the case of Dashnaks in
the Nineties).

The result is simple: unpaid debts of the officials made Avik lose
his last thing – his apartment. The court decided to take from this
man his flat, because the debt was paid through the acquisition of
new debts. Man has lost the opportunity to live with his family,
and in general, he has to live where he can. There is no work,
and no opportunity to find an apartment. But even this fact does not
affect any careless official: they demand for grounds up to date. Yes,
they even began to express doubts about Avik’s honesty. Questions on
the documentary evidence how could a plant worth several millions of
dollars be brought into the country for only a hundred, no one asks.

One thing is clear: the problem is not in documents but people’s
relations. Consumer attitudes willing to sacrifice everything for
the sake of people very quickly took root in Armenia. And when it
comes to governmental programs, moreover, in the field of strategic
industries it is difficult to assess the situation as normal. No
one gets surprised about the reason why the military-industrial
complex of the country is in such unattractive conditions. Simply,
no one needs it. Naturally, no one needs enthusiasts of military
industries either. Avik Ohanyan, is not an unique example. Armenian
arms developers also have to look for work of a watchman, etc. –
would not they leave for Azerbaijan or Israel?

Do we have time to wonder that the strategic partner of Armenia
discusses issues of military-technical cooperation with a country that
has a governmental program to establish a military-industrial complex,
which connects it with the future war with the same Armenia?

And in Armenia we only have to "wave fists" during often military
parades and be proud of the army and its military personnel. What
is actually happening with this staff and the army itself only few
people care about.