The author of this well-known song is our famous compatriot, Stas Namin, a key figure in Russian culture since 1970s, singer, composer, producer, artist, photographer, film and theatre director and producer, one of the founders of Russian rock music and leader of The Flowers rock-band. He initiated the first music festivals in Russia and was a pioneer in the country’s show business arena. He founded the first concert agency, design and record studios. He is also the founder of the first unofficial symphonic orchestra and director of the first musicals in Russia. His titles are many and the area of activity vast. They must be having the genes of his renowned ancestors.
Stas Namin’s father is Lieutenant General Alexey Mikoyan, Honoured Military Pilot of the USSR. His mother, Nami Mikoyan, is a musicologist, while his grandfather – Anastas Mikoyan, was a renowned Soviet statesman and the brother of Artem Mikoyan, designer of the famous MiG military aircraft.
– Karabakh is the Homeland of my grandfather, his great-grandfather. The Mikoyan family has its roots in Karabakh. Our ancestor, Miko was born here and later moved to Sanahin. So, we come from Karabakh and have always dreamed of coming here. But me and Artem, this is our first visit to Armenia. We are travelling now and we’ve been in the south, we saw Mesrop Mashtots’ grave, we’ve been to Sanahin, Alaverdi, everywhere. We saw the amazing churches. We are also shooting a film. “Our first trip to Armenia”. This is how it will be called. It’s a shot film but it’s kind of the first part. Artem studies in New York. Let him speak about it.
- Where does he study?
- At New York University, department of cinema studies. It’s very beautiful here. Everything inspires to create. Now I see why some people want to write poems, some wish to paint. In our case, we want to shoot a film. At this point of time it’s our choice. So, yes, it’s very impressive.
- Our closest paternal relative is Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan, and from mother’s side it’s Grigory Arutyunov. Arutyunyan, the man who built Yerevan city center, the square, the observatory and so on.
Today his activities are mainly related to his own hobbies. The goal of his journey is self-discovery. Because of the overwhelming emotions our talk wasn’t long.
- I don’t think our initiative is musical. It’s more social because I want to draw people’s attention, people from Armenia, Russia and other countries, to Karabakh as this is a wonderful country with millenium-old history. And now that this Armenian land was liberated from invaders, I think we can call them so. It was indeed defence. If we compare it to Israeli-Palestianian conflict, we see the difference – Israel attacked and liberated its land, thus forming the country. Here we have a different situation. Armenians lived here since time immemorial. When massacres started, they defended themselves and liberated Armenian lands. Therefore we think the war was absolutely fair and we won it. We were vey happy about that……. We were watching a film, a documentary when…
- This is a very emotional moment indeed… We watched a documentary about the military acts. Everything people had to endure.. Giving birth in bomb shelters, not seeing sunlight for a long time.. They struggled, they fought.. those were brutal times and will surely stay in the history.
The emotions are easy to comprehend. We should probably thank Ruben Vardanyan, our compatiot, for opening the doors of Armenia for Stas Namin and gave us the opportunity to newly discover the person we could only see on the screen.
It is a sacred duty for every visitor to Artsakh to be in Gandzasar and in the village of Vank. Stas Namin was no exception. He was famous benefactor Levon Hayrapetyan’s guest and took part in the inauguration of “Fish cafe”. On the following day accompanied by the benefactor he visited the cathedral. Taking the opportunity we asked Levon Hayrapetyan for an interview in order to confirm the circulating rumours about him leaving all his apartments abroad and settling down in his native Vank. Is that true?
- Yes, it’s because I am almost 65 and there is still a lot left for us to do for the Motherland. And I thought it would be more effective if I stayed here. Things will speed up, I’ll create jobs for people and help them.
- You were doing all this even before making the decision. How did the it come?
- . when you come once a month or once in two months the effect is somewhat late. You come and go. But when you are staying here you can do a bigger amount of work. I have closed down my business and have officially retired. I have 17 Russian papers with me. They don’t give profit but they are an important instrument. Internet contains anti-Armenian propaganda but Russian papers don’t because we try to write only the truth. Our neigbours only tell lies. But individuals can’t close the Internet. Nothing keeps me there any more, neither business nor Russia, France or America. I’ll close down everything and move here.
- You feel better here, don’t you?
- Yes, I feel better because I was born here. The land must be drawing me. I also want to serve an example for many Armenians: don’t leave, come back. You have no other Motherland.
- You said you had a lot of plans. Can you speak about these projects?
- Karabakh doesn’t have oil or gas. We must create a paradise for tourists. The important thing is that Diasporan Armenians spend their holidays and money here. It’s important for the development of our country. To achieve it we should create favourable conditions, make big investments, build hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions. It’s strange that Armenians spend their holidays in Georgia and spend their money there because there are no conditions in Armenia and as far as I know the prices are high. You must invest big sums but they must promote the country’s growth. This is my main goal. A tourist paradise instead of oil and gas.
The man who has done everything to turn his native village into a tourist paradise is not satisfied yet. There are about 5 new projects to be implemented in the nearest future and they are certainly discussed with Artsakh Republic president Bako Sahakyan. Going from the idea to its implementation takes little time. Thanks to it Vank is one if the biggest building sites today. Every year the village, leader in the sphere of tourism, offers something new. Hotels of different categories, restaurants, other necessary infrastructure. A real oasis to rest from the city’s hectic life. Unprecedented complexes are built through his investments. The abundance of projects prompts that in 4 years a military college after Suvorov and Madatov, a multifunctional complex with 229 apartments, another hotel and a hippodrome will function in Vank. The seemingly unreal time allocated for constructon inspires hope for one reason – it’s a well-known fact that Levon Hayrapetyan built a modern school in just 8 months. Availing ourselves of the exclusive opportunity to interview him, we asked what he thought about the neighbours’ hysteric reactions when a foreigner visits Artsakh, especially if he is a famous personality.
- My own reaction is positive. The more hysteric Azerbaijan gets, the better for us. They are simply showing their stupidity. Do you remember their reaction when Al Bano came here? Protests all over the Internet, notes addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy. I was very happy because we had reached our goal. Caballe is not the last. Nor is Stas Namin. Others will come. We have created a state. It’s not important of it’s recognized or not. If during the war people fought for their existence, now they must foght for living happily. It is important that my coming be contagious. Armenians should come, help as much as they can and pay their genetic tax.
- Yes, it’s your formula.
To the best of his abilities he contributes to this important cause. We simply have to say “Thank you” to him and pray for his health.