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GRIGORI GABRIELYANC

They say, “You are 80 years old”. Nonsense! I am not 80. I have counted recently and I am 2760 days and something. Because time is not measured by years, days or decades. Some people measure it by hours, others – by days. I count my days. Perhaps one day I’ll start counting the hours. Who knows?

Years worth millennia

“Don’t forget, my boy, we are Kharabakhtsi”.

One walks his predestined path either loyal to his calling or oblivious of his mission. Like in fairy tales, there is always an alternative – go right and you’ll meet the good, go left – the evil. One is always given the opportunity to choose. The grandfather’s command did not leave an alternative for the grandchild.

“I love my grandfather more than anyone else in the world. He was an extraordinary person. He lived 108 years. He was my mentor and my nanny. I am happy to have grown up with him as my guardian because he was a very interesting person, a legendary man. He seemed to be a great man because he knew all the fairy-tales. Later I understood what folklore was. Since early childhood I knew all the Armenian fairytales. He used to tell me legends. During the Genocide he was in prison. He was imprisoned a lot of times. That’s why he knew Russian perfectly well, he was always exiled to Siberia. When  my father was born they asked, “When was Nikolai’s son born?” He was born 9 months after the amnesty. All his children were born after the amnesty. He was put in prison because his land bordered on Azeri’s land and they were constantly in war. He was always the winner in physical acts but legally he always lost. According to the literary sources I have studied my kin dates back to the 17th century. My ancestors come from Karabakh. They immigrated to Shamakhi khanate when the khan issued a 10-point decree according to which 10 Muslims would be killed if there was an Armenian victim. Most probably they moved and engaged themselves in winemaking under the aegis of the decree. Everyone made wine in our village. My grandfather had the best vineyards. He told me how to grow grapes, how to make wine. The villagers called us “Kyapunts” or “Poghosiq”. I remember when I went there every summer people would ask,“ Whose is he?” and the answer was “He is a Poghosiq guy”. I remember this. Or they said, “He’s a Kyapunts guy”. I tried to trace my ancestry through these roots. Now I am studying the oldest cemeteries. I find names similar to our, collect data and I hope sooner or later I’ll find them as I study the oldest cemeteries.

Grigory Gabrielyants was born on 1 March 1934 in Baku. His father – Arkadi Gabrielyants was very loyal to communism ideology. Thanks to remaining true to the principles of Communist party all his life his career started as a worker and ended as a director of a factory. His mother – Maria Gabrielyants had miraculously escaped from the Genocide in 1915. She moved to Tiflis from Van where she met Arkadi Gabrielyants. They got married and settled down in Baku.

  • My mother who I adore and worship was an orphan from Van. She was an incredibly talented person even though she hadn’t been to school at all. She was really talented… When I was studying German and my sister – French and we were reciting poems in these languages she could tell them by heart after listening to them 2 or 3 times. She knew them by heart and checked us. She could easily speak several languages – Georgian, Armenian and of course knew the Azerbaijani language though she never spoke it. She answered in that language whenever she had to but never chose to speak it herself. She was extremely religious. My father was a stern Bolshevik. He didn’t go to school either but lived up to be a head of an enterprise. We all lived in one room – grandfather, father, my elder sister, younger brother and me. The room was only 12 meters and the entrance was from the street. There was neither toilet, nor water, electricity or gas. But he was a director. Mother always said we needed an apartment because boys and girls weren’t comfortable in the same room. He used to say, “I will not have an apartment until my last worker is given one”. This was his principle.
  • – Communist principles..
  • He had his requirements for life. Though he was a factory director he volunteered to the war on the very first day. He left as a soldier and returned a battalion commander with 3 Orders of the Red Star. It’s a very high decoration. He surely had other orders and medals but I was fascinated by these ones. They were the most important ones for me.

The difficult childhood years left deep marks on Grigory Gabrielyants’ inner world and formulated a value system he has defended his whole life.

  • The 3 dominant values for me are Motherland, family and geology. I am content when these 3 components are all present in my life. On the long path of my life there have been times when they were present together or separately. When the three exist at the same time, everything becomes perfect for me.

Grigory Gabrielyants’ 8 decades long life and activities are characterized by ultimate dedication to this trinity. Quality education at school (he went to Baku school No. 160 which was considered the best), good upbringing and genetic potential led him through the wide and narrow roads of life. His childhood memories are not obscured by the lack of toys. The Armenian quarter of Baku was quite extraordinary.

  • I never had toys, not a single one. When I buy toys for my grandchildren I try to remember mines. I know for sure that I never had one. My younger brother had a toy – a gymnast spinning around the bar- and whenever he went to bed I played with it. It’s not because… Well, because war was there. Even before the war there wasn’t enough money to buy food. The time I spent in the village and at school is what stayed in my memory. I remember our village because I liked to spend the summer there. And not only summer. It was so lovely there. And I remember the school because of the hungry years…I was 6. Children went to school from the age of 8 and our neighbour, a teacher, took me with her so that I didn’t wander in the streets. I liked school because they gave us doughnuts at every shift. I went all the 3 shifts and got 3 doughnuts with jam that they dipped in oil. It was the biggest joy. Eventually I turned out to know the lessons the best of all as I took them 3 times. During my first year we were living in a street that connected 2 markets – Green Market and The Budakovsky. No one needed education. Who wanted to learn? They all knew how to count and that was enough. When I finished the 4th form I remember this sentence very well: “Araqelants boy is an academician, with high education”. Finishing 4 classes in that street meant being an academician. Very typical of a small Armenian street with its characteristic features and requirements for life.

 

The birthplace known for oil industry seemed to shape the preference among professions. Although his mother wanted him to be a doctor. Grigory Gabrielyants was even about to enter a medical university but the meeting with his future wife, Irina, changed everything. Together they applied for Baku Industrial Institute.

  • Everything smelt oil there. Since childhood whenever I saw oilmen returning to the creek from the sea I honestly wanted to be like them. They seemed to me strong and interesting. They smelt oil. They were coming back from the mines. Their boats were splashed with oil. I wanted to be like them. Then everything became very romantic.

Qualities of a good leader that were strikingly present from the early age haven’t gone anywhere. After graduating from the Institute with honours he addresses all the well-known oil industries of the country: “I am a graduate with advanced knowledge. I cannot do anything now but I am eager to be a good geologist”. There came only one answer – from Turkmenistan. It said, “If you want to work, come”. He didn’t linger. 2 days later he was already in Ashgabat. The boundless Karakum desert was there for him to discover. The young geologist’s success wasn’t late. The first oil well spouted in 1967. It brought the young geologist his first and highly regarded title in the sphere– Discoverer of the deposit. At the age of 25 Gabrielyants already headed a petroleum exploration expedition. It was the beginning of a career rise.

“I don’t know whether it’s good or bad. For me it’s good, for others, perhaps, not because leadership contains force. Nobody wants to give in. Leadership means battle, power. It means the necessity of suppressing people’s personalities. Why do I say it is bad? Sometimes when I look back I ask myself if it was necessary to do all that. But my mother’s words were the best. When I was already a director in Moscow I went home. Everyone said, “Look, it’s Gabrielyants. Gabrielyants came.” Friends, colleagues, all gathered and we went somewhere. On that day I returned home at 1 am. My mother was sitting in the street and waiting for me. At seeing me she said, “What a happy woman my neighbour is!” And she gave her name, I don’t remember it now. “Her son is a taxist. He works six hours a day and then goes home. She gives him his supper, then he rests. Then he sleeps after a long day. She sits beside him admiring her son.” Just think. It’s the same life. For 12-14 hours a day I manage people, give orders, punish some ….

  1. – At 25 you were already principal geologist! It’s..

– It’s a nightmare. But it’s not the most terrible thing. My children always laugh at me. One of my sons has my old photos from Baku. A photo of a pioneer squad and I am marching with a flag. He said, “You are the smallest!”. Or our volleyball team. Everyone is stout, I am standing at the front, I am the captain. They are like, “Why are you always the first?”. On all photos. Or, say, we are marching with drums and I am again the first. But it was not easy. You had to fight for it, win the right to be the first. It must be innate, in the genes. Because you can’t fight for it if you are not suited, it’s hard. It’s the hardest way you can choose.

Authorities recognized his ultimate dedication to work and innate leader qualities. Gabrielyants was appointed scientific director at All-Union Research Institute of Natural Gas. He also taught at Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas. Shortly after he was appointed director of All-Union Research Institute of Geophysical Prospecting Methods. In 1989 Grigory Gabrielyants took the office of USSR Minister of Geology. Still, it was not the tempting position to dream about. In obscure Perestroyka years he worked in the last government of the Soviet Union for 2.5 years. His short tenure was characterized by peculiar style of governing.

– At all committee sessions they torture you, ask questions, try to find slurs on your reputation. And they succeed, they find something that does not suit the position and so on.  Nevertheless, you fight, you prove your point, resist their violence. You win…

  1. –You were the only non-Slavonic minister. It was twice as hard for you, wasn’t it?

– Yes, I faced that…

  1. – I’ve read your statement that today you think you shouldn’t have gone there. Do you regret it or have I not understood correctly?

– Yes and no. From the point of view of personality formation I couldn’t have had a more… In my opinion everyone is endowed with huge potential since his birth. 90% cannot reach it because of the absence of appropriate environment. There should be adequate environment. For example, during the war in Artsakh a lot of heroes who had been ordinary people were discovered. You need maximum emotional, mental tension. The minister’s post mobilized all my strengths – physical, mental, intellectual, in some cases diplomatic, psychological. You had to possess all these features not to be just an appointed minister, an artificial one. Because you can just give someone an office and leave him alone. Let him just sit there. But if you are stronger, if people obey you because you deserve it and not because you have the position.. To deserve you have to grow all the time and be in control of everything. From this side I am glad to have gone through such a hard school. Because being a minister is not the highest thing. I always say that a minister has minimum freedom. Those having lower positions have this amplitude of actions. And the one here has this maximum. This is only one side. I have certain regrets as I didn’t have time, you go home at about 11pm, you are totally wrought-up, you are wild. It’s the tension you feel when being, for example at Politburo, or Government session or somewhere else. Or just because there were 682 000 people working in the Ministry. You are responsible when, say, a helicopter crashes somewhere behind Arctic Circle and 20 people die. Or when rebels in Mozambique or Djibouti capture your expedition. It makes impoosible for you to be equal with your friends or family. You are so agitated, so tense, so abnormal that you no longer can change. And the worst is that there was an aura of inaccessibility around a minister. If someone did something wrong, they used to say, “Why, are you a minister?” There was such a saying. As if a minister were allowed to do everything he wished. I actually felt like I was a kind of an idol at work. People who I had worked with for a long time started to feel nervous in front of me, their voices began to tremble. Even if they knew me very well. But when they were entering my 25-meter office full of malachite, marble, with giant armchairs their minds started to wander. This was why I began to think it hadn’t been the best time and the best position.

  1. – But still, did you feel proud of being a member of such a big country’s elite?

– First I didn’t realize it. More, I simplified all relations. Say, I was a minister and I was alone in that hierarchy. There were 11 deputy ministers. Eleven. Besides, there were 20-30 headquarters. It’s like a henhouse with stairs. At the bottom you had geologists, the staff and all the others. You start working indirectly. When you say I felt this hierarchical position, I on the contrary tried to remove these barriers. How did I do it? The minister had a separate entrance. 800 members of the staff entered through one door, one person had his own. I had my own entrance. 800 people had 2 elevators, I had a separate one just for me. The funny thing was that it lifted me to the second floor where my office was. It worked only between the first and second floors. It meant greatness. No one could enter this elevator. The others could wait, stand in queues. And to be closer to people, not become epiphany. I closed the elevator, the separate entrance, began to walk with all. Then I realized it hadn’t been the best thing to do because all this eventually resulted in people’s not feeling responsible. They thought, “He’s like us”. One should be able to understand power. One should realize that being together in one elevator doesn’t mean you can neglect his orders. I had to take steps that weren’t perhaps too just but they were necessary. These are the negative things you have to go through. But on the other hand it’s a wonderful training. First, it’s a very good bureaucratic Soviet training. Second, it’s a life training.

Grigory Gabrielyants has uncountable awards, titles and medals. Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, academician of Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, member and honorary doctor of National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. He was awarded Medal of Honor for the Discovery of  New Deposits and USSR State Prize for discovering two new mines. He also received his second Discoverer of Deposit award. G. Gabrielyants was awarded Anania Shirakatsi Medal, Jubilee Medal “300 Years of the Russian Navy”, Veteran of Labour Medal. He is a USSR State Prize laureate. He has recently been awarded State Prize of the Russian Federation.

-What do they mean? Different things. Mostly, they are the evaluation of your activities, the perception of their usefulness. I would say it’s very sad when they are not appreciated, not even by a kind word. A Thank you is an award too. I love people who can say Thank you. Why am I saying all this? Because the worst thing is when you do something which, you think is very important and necessary but others do not think it to be so. I’ll put it like this – an award is a motivation to go on. It doesn’t mean you have reached the highest point, you did something good and were awarded. When someone says “Thank you” to me it means I have done right and will continue doing so. I’ll do more than I already have. But if I am not, I am not going to do anything for you. All the same, you don’t understand it. If they thanked me, then they needed me. I am not talking about anything higher. Of all my awards I like 2 the best – the first is the most important for any geologist – Discoverer of deposit. If you were the first to discover a certain mine and you have that medal on your chest, you receive publicity. When all geologists get together, they point to you and say you are the one who deserves it most. It’s certainly the best. Though I have USSR  state awards and prizes, that one is the most important.

  1. – You were the last USSR minister of geology. Did you suffer from the decay of the Soviet Union?

– I received the news with joy. Not because the Soviet Union collapsed. I was very sorry about it and did everything to prevent it. For me personally it was liberation. During the last year I knew for sure it was going to happen. All those stressful sessions, the panic in Politburo, Gorbachev who took a new decision each day, the cancellation of our projects, absence of funding, famine in the country, confusion in party life could already be seen. We could see that the governance was lost. There is a rule – if you want to ruin a country, ruin its government. Don’t make war, the country will collapse itself.

  1. – Yes, it’s a well-known method…

– Yes. That’s why it was all clear and we wanted to see the outcome. We wanted to free ourselves. And when .. I was on holiday during the coup d’etat. There was a large bar at our resort. All the ministers were there. We generally used to live separately. So I said I was paying for the party. When they asked me why, I said I had been fired that day and I was glad about that. It was a joke but there was truth in it.

His term at the office was definitely too short to carry out large-scale projects. However, it is known that during his tenure oil deposits increased by 1 billion tons, gas deposits – by 1 trillion tons.  History will analize the course of the events but the training he had gave valuable lessons.

  • A person in power must also have conscience.
  1. – This is your quote, right..

–  A man without conscience is a terrible thing. But if there is conscience, even force becomes necessary, not artificial. For the good.

Life made him remember grandfather’s commands again, words accompanied by Artsakh preaches.

Liberated from all chains, the ex-minister, who had the best job, using his knowledge and experience founded The Internatinal Scientific and Technical Advisory Company – Geoservice. Besides Russia the company carried out scientific and advisory activities in about 50 countries.

  • Look how beautiful.. I always enjoy touching it as the colour reminds of deserts, sizzling hot. It’s Natasha Dobrynina. I remember .. It was published in 1963, it’s an old book. Look, the pages are yellow. This book… this one was presented for state prize in Russia. “Theoretical basis of..” This one is written wholly by me. This is all about my work and methods. Another beautiful book. “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic..” It’s very interesting because it’s the first book dedicated to Nagorno-Karabakh. I read everything. I am omnivorous. I can read many books at a time. It doesn’t matter which book it is. I can read from the start, from the middle, from the end.

Gabrielyants’ thirst for knowledge was insatiable. He is author to 153 scientific articles, 7 monographs, 2 textbooks and 16 discoveries. He also sponsors “Aragast” illustrated literary, artistic and public magazine.

  • The world must be studied, not just remembered. I can’t stand rules. I am against any rule. I think everything must discovered from within. If I understand how the world is, how it’s made, what a man is, what’s his place in the world… It’s my science. Yes, I believe. I believe in the unknown. For me God is not a known fact. It’s undiscovered today. It would be ridiculous to believe that lightning occurred when Neptune was riding his carriage in the sky and collided… Or Jupiter got angry, hit his stick and the Earth opened up. Or Jesus walks on water. There exist rules of gravitation. No one can ever abolish them. Why can’t others walk on water too? I can do it. I demonstrated it a few times. I walked on water. I can do it. After I studied cosmic pictures, sand bar zones that are situated 2 cm away water surface. And I walked freely on them. So if I explained well, I state that God exists because there is still the unknown. We don’t know how Earth was formed. We don’t know how a man was created. For instance, I have been studying geology for more than 50 years but I still don’t know where oil came from. Though I have written lots of books in my life, 7 textbooks, in all of them I write nonsense I myself don’t believe in. Because nobody knows it. This is only my version but it’s not necessarily the true one. Because others may have more convincing theories. As long as we don’t know everything God will exist. God who created everything including our spirit, judgment, our genetic substance. But who is he? He is not an old man sitting behind the clouds and looking at us, is he? Let anyone tell me he knows who he is.

Gabrielyants’ theory of world vision is extremely sincere. Even the great academician’s profound knowledge of theology and his own profession do not  give exhaustive answers.

  1. – What do you like most in a person?

– In a person?  I like him the most. A man should always remain human. There must be minimum from an animal in a man. Minimum wilderness. He should be just how humans should be. Sensible, clever, kind, strong.

  1. – What is it that you don’t like?

–           Lies. He who lies is a terrible creature. Animals don’t lie.

  1. – For you simple human joy is… ?

–           Joy? It’s when I did good.

  1. – By the way, you were and are now engaged in charity. Is doing good also a necessity for a human?

–           A man can’t exist in the world he lives in. He can’t see others suffer and be indifferent if he is able to help them. I think one ought to do for people the things he is good at. Or something the others can’t do. Thus he is giving them a part of his soul. One doesn’t get poorer by giving. On the contrary, he becomes richer, stronger and maybe more useful. And then, as I said the word “useful”, I want to mention the feeling of being useful, the feeling of being needed. You can live in your shell, you can.. you can be a free bird but be in a golden cage. So what? You are in a golden cage, aren’t you? But if you are free, living among people and you’re not shy of them, you know that you do something not to gain their.. I don’t want anything from them. Nor from anyone else because if it’s gaining power, then I already had it. Earn something? Again I was in power and I earned too much. I understood that money wasn’t a goal. It’s the most important thing I have realized. Why do I do charity? Because I understood that money is a means of reaching your goals. Not a goal. If you earn money for money itself, then it’s the silliest life. You can’t live a sillier life if your aim is to become a billionaire or multi-billionaire or something like that. Can there be anything less interesting? But if, having a billion, you have an opportunity to do people good it’s a completely different thing. You achieve your goal. One cannot live without a goal. This is another credo. As soon as you lose your goal, you are dead. You don’t die physically, you die when you have run out of ideas, when you have no goals.

Years ago with this very approach he returned to Motherland. Leaving behind all benefits of well-being he came to Karabakh. Perhaps it couldn’t have been otherwise as grandfather’s words echoed in every decision. “Don’t forget, my boy, we are Kharabakhtsi”.

“I suggest we all take part in a very pleasant ceremony. Today, at this solemn moment, I want to grant Grigory Arkadievich NKR citizenship.”

  • I want to say that I have always been kharabakhtsi. Now I have a passport.

The famous academician brought new horizons to the country. Developments in the sphere were evident. Gradually his brave and charismatic  personality drew his compatriots. He shaped a peculiar environment. Shortly, Grigory Gabrielyants founded Artsakh Geological Service. Thanks to his high reputation and extensive personal, scientific and practical ties it was possible to create the permanent geological expedition of Artsakh equipped with the latest high quality analytical appliances. The expedition realizes wide-scale geological research projects aimed at discovering new metal and nonmetal mines in Artsakh.

  • My return was well-thought out and voluntary. I was once offered an apartment but I rejected it. I refused the salary. I was offered a lot of things. I only accepted a wonderful workplace were it’s comfortable for me to work. It’s very important. I have great warm relations with the authorities which is very important. Very important. There is a nice environment where I can realize all my ideas. It wouldn’t be quite honest to say I did this or that. I could have done nothing, nothing if there wasn’t decent environment and patronage.

Grigory Gabrielyants is advisor to Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan.  Favourable atmosphere and the abundance of personal ideas worked in harmony and served as basis for interesting projects the significance of which cannot be overestimated. His projects of strategic importance are foretelling for the economy, be it mining, tourism or culture.

  • Minerals – gold, copper, zinc, lead are not invented by geologists. They are created by God and hidden deep enough in the bowels of the earth. Thus, a geologist’s main objective is to find their place, estimate its industrial value, the effectiveness of its usage. It’s an urgent matter for Karabakh especially since there must be a dominating branch in every economy. What can be dominating from the point of view of industry? Take Drmbon, a rather small deposit. It made 80% of GDP. If this small deposit gave 80% of GDP, what will be when we discover bigger deposits? We have all preconditions for it. Copper makes the biggest part of our resources. I believe copper resources will soon reach 1 million tons. And copper costs 7000 dollars. So, the bowels that we are going to discover cost about 7 billion dollars. Then, there are expenses on exploitation, roads, electricity, plants and so on but you see that enough money will be left. It’s only about copper. Besides, we have gold. Now a lot of work is being done on gold in different parts of Karabakh. We also have mercury, we are working on it. Of ore minerals we have chromium, arsenic, zinc, lead. Enough for such a small country.

Inspired by Motherland’s peaceful sky the great patriot authored two extremely beautiful projects for the soul. While it’s difficult to differentiate them in terms of aesthetic significance, they can be easily united from the point of view of application. In fortress town Shoushi in an incredibly short period of time the great esthete founded 2 museums – The Museum of Visual Arts and The Geological Museum. And it is with so much awe that he speaks about them!

  • First of all I would like to draw your attention to this very interesting chart. This is the geological time. We must understand that geological time differs from ours. It is the calculation of Earth’s time. See, it’s 4 billion years old. The oldest species in Karabakh are 200 million years old. I want to show you a unique sample of an about 150 million year-old tetan. If you look at this artefact… pay attention to this.. We discovered this in Sznek. This is an ordinary shell where an oyster used to live. It lived peacefully for 150 million years. Today it’s in the museum and look how marvellously it has preserved. This is a unique artefact for our museum. It has a diameter of about 52 cm. There are few museums in the world that can possess such a unique artefact.

It will not be enough to say “Thank you” for having such an exclusive artefact. But we should be grateful to our compatriot for everything he does. He donated his rich collection of minerals to the museum. A truly invaluable collection.

-The president who patronizes our work brought me here and I immediately chose this place even though it’s small. It can’t house the full collection. I generally think such big collections shouldn’t belong to one person. It’s a shame. But I collected them all my life. Every time I looked for the best, the most interesting species. There are more than 300 artefacts here from 47 countries of the world. The majority of them are very rare minerals. Here is the map of the minerals of Karabakh on which you can find the places where there are signs of minerals. The places where we hope to discover something. Red marks are ore minerals, blue marks are non-metallic minerals. Here the samples shown on the map are exhibited. Here are different tyopes of ore –zinc, lead, quartz goldmine, copper from Kashen… These ones are from Drmbon. Here are new artefacts of construction materials. I think we can have our own construction industry. We will not have to import any building blocks. We have everything – from fine tufa to this blacк peridotite. We have beautiful serpentinites. Here is green conglomerate, an interesting rock. This is a new type of gabbro from Kolatak. And we have lots of other things. Here is a very interesting mineral that I like very much. It is called Armenian stone though it has never been there. This is azurite. Look at its colour – its lilac-blue. It’s a very good dye which is used for the most expensive fabrics. It gives them natural colouring. Topaz… This is amethyst of different colours… Look at this amethyst..

  1. – It looks like a Christmas tree.

– An extremely beautiful Christmas tree. Here we have paleontological tailings. These are shells.. Here are very old trilobites. They are about 1 billion years old. They are the animals that lived on Earth. And this… look at this fish.. this is a trace of fish that lived 100 million years ago. It’s unique because the trace can be seen from sides. It means first there was one trace and then, several million years later, another one appeared on the other side of same stone. This makes the uniqueness of this artefact. .. This has no price. You can’t have a second collection of this kind. That’s why I don’t think I can define it in any way. It’s a huge collection. It cannot be sold. Look at this… It’s pure metal. How did metal appear inside stratum? Natural metal. It is just amazing. This.. When falling, a meteorite burns and a new mineral comes out. It’s called kukersite.

  1. – Grigory Arkadievich, you are author to 16 discoveries, aren’t you?

– Yes..

  1. – Tell about them, please.

– My most important discovery is the principle of uniformity. You may think, “Can there be anything easier than uniformity?” Everything in nature in uniform. Like, you are standing in front of me, you have a symmetrical face – the eyes, nose, ears and the rest. If we had to study you, we would have to find the points to receive information about your appearance in order to restore it. My principle is based on the uniformity of seeking signs. If I have to study only the eyes, I don’t need to study the whole face. So I make a nonuniform network that studies the eyes uniformally.

  1. – Yes, I see…

– It’s called uniformity as it studies only the seeking sign, the dominant feature. It’s unique because it is lateral thinking. It may seem easy, however I brought it forth, that’s why it’s considered a discovery. It’s very important in  geology. We waste a lot of money on spaces. But if the take the object itself and study it uniformally, we save money. This method made me a laureate of USSR State Prize which is a very prestigious title. It was due to this discovery.

  1. – The genius is in the simplicity.

– This is oil. See how it can be. There can be light crude oil, heavy crude oil. I want people to know what oil is.

  1. – Yes… a close-up of oil.

-They have never seen oil. Light crude oil and heavy crude oil.

– I want you to pay attention to this artefact. Absolutely unique.. from Brazil. This is the internal structure of the ammonite you saw at the entrance. If you saw it you can find it in these sections.  On this wall you can find agates. Look at this wonderful… We deliberately made these caves.. Just like natural caves..

  1. – Very nice..

– It’s a miracle. It’s a druze of rock crystal. A very valuable artefact. I have never seen such crystal.

  1. – Where is it from?

– It is from Chile…Marvellous crystal…transparent. All these… I call it aquarium. They are from glass. Like aquariums. They are transparent and everyone can see them. The museum’s main objective is not only to draw tourists. There is going to be a school here. We have bought around 50 DVDs – BBC, Natural Geographic and so on. There is floor heating here, children will come from school, they’ll be sitting on mats. We have 2 teachers – one is PhD, the other is a wonderful geologist, an engineer. They are going to give lectures to the children on the origin of the Earth, on minerals, nature. Our children should know everything related to Nature Study.

Grigory Gabrielyants lives creating beauty around him. The Museum of Visual Arts is also a manifestation of his initiatives. The parallels he draws between the two are so subtle that one can’t help admiring.

– These museums are both gifts to the people of Artsakh. This is their biggest common feature. The difference lies in the fact that in this one we have creations of people while creations of nature can be found in the other. Both are beautiful but in their own way. This is the human vision, the way people see the world and its beauty. The other museum is God’s vision of the Earth he created for people. Both are beautiful but their beauty is of different origin. Their advantage is the fact of being dedicated to enlightenment, education, culture and the peaceful spirit of our nation. When our neighbours are sabre-rattling, showing the world their arms, their rockets, we say that if you want to repeat what you have once felt and understood we are ready. Meanwhile, we’ll be investing in our youth so that they are educated, refined. Not fascists. We’ll be doing good.

It is universally known that love is the beginning of everything. This museum both by its aim and the prehistory of the founder’s interest in painting   is no exception.

– The girl I fell in love with was the daughter of Academician Gorchakov, the granddaughter of Count Gerchakov. Her father was USSR People’s Artist. He was a famous graphic artist. Naturally, we had a different understanding of painting. So I decided I had to know as much as she did and even more. This is how interest in painting was born. You see? Everything is connected with love.

– What is there interesting in this museum? There are around 500 paintings here and they are all donations. This is what I especially appreciate. There are unique works of art here. In this small hall you can see this magnificent  Jansem. Look at this.. they are masterpieces. This is Martiros Saryan. Carzou on this wall. It’s a miracle. You can’t find such amazing works of Carzou in that many museums in the world. Here is Lavinsky, an exceptional artist, one of the best in the world. Here is a work by academician Zhilinsky, the first vice-president of USSR and Russia Academy of Painting. He donated 3 works. Here is a painting by a wonderful folk artist, Count Muntyan. Look, what a magnificent work. Its name is “The old woman’s portrait”. The author is Albert Chobanyan. He is a Western artist. The painting was donated by Artsakh president Bako Sahakyan. Here are 2 great works next to it – Gorchakov’s “Sails” and Matveev, one of the greatest artists “A street in Vienna”.

  1. – Who is your favourite artist?

– It must be Monet. Though there are many. I like Van Gogh, I simply adore him. I revere his works. It’s difficult to say. It depends on my mood, on the era. Each era has its.. There are so many interesting artists. And of course Leonardo Da Vinci . He is generally my idol.

  1. – You prefer colour rather than the theme. Is that so?

– Yes, definitely. In my opinion colour is the most important thing in painting. I like such works. This is interesting too. It was donated by Ara Abramyan, the president of the Union of Armenians in Russia. We have lots of fascinating works here… let’s go ahead. The crucial thing was to collect the paintings. We had to go to hundreds of houses. I can’t ask. I have never asked anything from anyone. I only asked when I had to persuade them to donate a painting to our museum. And I have to say many of them donated their works out of love and respect for Karabakh, not me.

-In this part we have great painting by world artists. I thought it would be nice to have Indonesian, Mongolian artists in our museum.. Latvian.. Here is an interesting work…look at the inscriptions.. This is Ethiopia. Here is another wonderful piece…

  1. – I like it too..

– Absolutely incredible.. This is Dubrovin. His works are exhibited in 26 museums. A very famous artist. We have a good piece of his… here is Haiti..Mexico… Uzbekistan.. Turkmenistan… Well, and Moscow..

Is it possible to reveal such a great personality in one meeting? We didn’t even try to. We simply availed ourselves of his jubilee to gift us a spiritual feast for every opportunity to communicate with him is indeed a feast.

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