Morning of light. Just sun. It was shining bright in the mountains of Artsakh. We have come to admire the magic of our majestic nature with our interviewee. Albert Andryan, permanent representative of Artsakh in Russia, is our guest today. Although it would be more truthful if I said we were his guests as Andryan – a connoisseur of Artsakh mountains – himself chose the place of our meeting. The atmosphere was unique, therefore the talk too should be about the beautiful and the pure.
- – When we asked you for an interview you offered to do it in such a place and at such a time that… I have to confess we have never had such an experience. Thank you for the chance to contemplate this magic. But may I ask you why you chose this format?
A.A. – My son had a book in childhood. We still have it at home. It is his favourite book and I used to read it to him 5-10 times a day. It’s a children’s book called “A Little Locomotive from Romashkovo”. The book starts with the words “All locomotives are locomotives. But this one is from Romashkovo”. It was always late. It was late because it always got out of its way just look at a beautiful flower in the field, to look at the dawn, at sunrise and sunset. Everyone complained but it always said, “You can reach your destination later, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. But if you don’t see the sunrise or how the flower is born you may fail to understand life and lose its sense.” That’s why I thought I would rather do it in nature especially that this beautiful view is difficult to catch as not everyone comes to this very place. That’s why I decided I would give an interview here. It will be quite different here – other effect, other emotions.
- – And one wants to philosophize here.
A.M. – Perhaps.
- – Everybody likes the nature of Karabakh. Where do you think the charm of it is?
A.A. – Its charm is in its beauty, its integrity. In its being unspoiled. Not being damaged by urbanization. It’s not spoiled. Not even by tourists. And people who come here see this pristine nature. You have absolutely different feelings here. It’s tranquil here. And the understanding of the world is completely different here. Pure tranquility. I don’t know. I always feel good here. I am in my element. I feel very comfortable here.
- – Can it be because you live far from all this?
A.M. – I wouldn’t say I am that far. I’ve been engaged in tourism since childhood, since I was at the 5th grade at school. Everything started then and I still try to spend my free time here.
- – By the way, where does your passion for it come from?
A.A. – I was still at school. I had good teachers who instilled love for nature and travelling in me and lots of children of my age. This is how it started. I have been doing it for more than 40 years now.
- – Let us talk about the camp that was held here. Are you satisfied with the work done?
A.A. – You are never satisfied with the work done a 100% because after it’s finished you understand you could have done things differently and better. But it is what it is. And it wasn’t bad.
- – Yes, we all saw that.
A.A. – It went well enough. I think we managed to do 80% of what we intended to. More than 200 people had rest in the camp. Children above 12 – there were 80 children in each shift. And 20 adults… Look, this why I called you here…
- – Oh yes… the sun rises…
A.M.- Look, it’s the dawn of a new day.
- – Just beautiful.
A.A. – If we were in an office we wouldn’t see a thing like this. And if we hadn’t seen the sunrise right here nothing would have made sense. This is what we talked about. Look how lovely!
The merry light of fair life and the morning dew. The talk goes on in this marvelous place. As Sevak would say “The nature rises from its knees”.
A.A. – During the camp I came here for 5 times just to see the sunrise. Our routes were lying through these mountains, this plateau.
- – Here you see quite clearly what we fought for. Among all the other things.
A.A. – Perhaps so…This beauty is worth fighting for.
- – What do you think or feel when you hear words on giving back territories and things like that? I am not asking the diplomat in you now.
A.A. – Well, first of all I have never spoken on such topics.
- – I know, that’s why I am asking you now.
A.A. – It was never about surrendering territories. I generally try not to touch upon this subject. What does surrender territories mean? This is our territory. We shed blood for it. It is established by the Constitution. The rest is merely either speculation or people want to express themselves in any way, speak on silly things.
- – Not only people but also countries…
A.A. – I don’t know. As for me I am not a campaigner of such talks.
- – Let us move to…
A.A. – It’s cold! Can I put this on?
- – Sure. It’s cold enough, yes.
A.A. – Now, look at that!
- – Yes… It’s lovely.
A.A. – We must regularly look that way.
- – That’s what I am doing, right.
A.A. – I have already seen it that’s why I am sitting here.
- – Come and sit here then..
A.A. – No, it’s OK.
- – You are actively developing sports tourism in Karabakh. What is the necessity of it, if we can say so?
A.A. – First it’s the training of the spirit. One thing is to be at home in “greenhouse” conditions, sleep on a soft bed, eat well and so on. Another thing is when you bring some extreme into your life. You have to sleep in a tent, cook for yourself. It is always interesting.
And the sun rises with the greatness of a high priest spreading light and hope around and warming the talk.
A.A. – I am a sociable person. Being alone is not my thing but from time to time, in places like this I just tune out and reflect on my own thoughts. I love it when I can show others what I like.
- – You do it really well.
A.A. – I always travel with someone just to show him. I have travelled a lot in Karabakh and have seen a number of interesting things. A lot of beautiful places.
- – Which place do you like more?
A.A. – I like this district – Patara river gorge and Qolatak gorge to my right. Very beautiful places. Very beautiful gorges. There is a great number of historical monuments, churches, khachkars, fortresses. The nature is different here. It’s pristine. You can just look around and… The layers… Their colour changes from dark green to light green, yellow, blue, brown. Very lovely.
- – Well, it’s not only you… Why do you think man is drawn to nature?
A.A. – Because he came from nature. The fact that we walk on two feet, talk or create something doesn’t mean we live in a separate world. We live in nature. We must remember it and live in harmony with nature because if you don’t treat nature as your habitat catastrophes are likely to happen.
- – They do happen…
A.A. – They do probably because people have done too much harm to nature.
- – Humanity’s consumer attitude is what scientists are worried about. In our case there seems to be no alarm yet but do you feel we will have to deal with it soon?
A.A. – Fortunately everything is still preserved here. One of our goals is to instill love for nature, caring attitude to it so our generations can use the benefits of our nature and our country as long as possible.
- – You have a good sense of humour. Does it help you circumlocutionize in life?
A.A. – I can hardly imagine a normal human being without a sense of humour. It helps me live easily. If you take to heart all the negativity you meet you won’t be able to live even the half of our life. But if you take it all in good fun… Humour helps live easily.
- – Humour is said to combine optimism and sorrow.
A.A. – I don’t know. Baron Munchausen is one of my favourite characters. It is my favourite film. I almost know it by heart.
- – Well, I see now…
A.A. – I like his character…
- – Smile, gentlemen..?
A.A. – Yes. Wonderful words, aren’t they? Smile, gentlemen .. A serious face is not yet an indication of intellect. All the stupid things in the world are done with exactly that expression, so…
The dawn goes on with its purple horn
And out of its narrow holes
Comes out the Fair Sun.
And sounds the melody – both simple and hard –
That sounded during the birth of Gods.
Joyous, joyous light.
A.A. – Look, the sun had risen while we were talking and we witnessed the birth of a new day. This is kind of a maternity hospital.
- – Is there a superstition to make a wish or…?
A.A. – I don’t know. A wish? Perhaps. I still remember how we used to greet the dawn at school and make a wish.. Perhaps I was doing it too.
- – Well, why not do it now? Let’s make a wish. What is your dream?
A.A. – My dream is to have time to do everything I want. I want the camp to be held without me. It’s hard to imagine but I think in about 2 years it won’t need me that much. The tourism training I had… I wish tourism were as widespread and advanced in Artsakh as it used to be.
- – And finally, we know you have a good taste in music. What would you prefer to hear right now?
A.A. – Thanks for appreciating my musical taste. Actually, music plays a huge role in my life. I have a big collection. I like all kinds of music.. good music. I am glad my children appreciate music too.. in the way I wish they did. That’s a good question. What music would I turn on now? I have driven to this place twice this month and the radio was playing UMA2URMAN’s “To say goodbye”. It would sound very nice. It would suit. Would be in harmony with the moment.
- – We are going to find it…
- – Thank you for this opportunity.
A.A. – Thank you. Thanks for accepting this crazy idea – get up at 4am and come here. But I think it is worth it. Not our talk but this sunrise. We could have done this interview in the city and missed this view. We would have missed a lot.
- – I fully agree.
A.A. – It would have been hard to understand what I wanted to say at the office. Here it’s quaite a different thing.
A.A. – When the sun is rising this mountain turns pink.
- – No way!
A.A. – It has risen now, so it’s not the same. We should build heating system in this tree. … I said it, at 4am.. Well, understand, it’s not interesting if you get everything easily. You have to suffer to understand the beauty.
- – Agree.
A.A. – I have always said that. We used to walk all the way to Gandzasar when there weren’t roads yet. When I walked to Gandzasar my feelings were completely different. Now I drive there and I am like… No emotions. You must pave your road to realize what you do.
- – Yes, I agree.
A.A. – Here is Kachaghakaberd. For example, they say “You climb it with your head down, you reach the top and what? What’s the pleasure in it?” When you are tired but you are on top and you look around and you say, “I am the king of the world”.
- – Right.
A.A. – All the rest is nonsense.
Initiated by Albert Andryan
Interviewer – Mery Davtyan