The Museum of Missing Freedom-Fighters, Stepanakert

The Museum of Missing Freedom-Fighters, Stepanakert

The 1991-1994 Artsakh Liberation War was for the Armenians of Artsakh not a remote event happening somewhere on the edges of a vast country and watched on TV. All of the country was at war, constantly being bombed, air raided and directly attacked, at times occupied and later liberated. It meant every family had at least one person at war, often, more than one. It unfortunately also meant many families have a member that has not returned. While thousands of them were killed in the First Karabakh War and are mourned by their families, seven hundred and thirty people are still missing. Of these, two hundred and thirty-nine are Freedom-Fighters. The families of the missing persons have not lost hope. The Government and NGOs are doing their best to find out the fate of the missing persons. 

The Union of Relatives of Missing Servicemen of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was established in Stepanakert to find out information on both missing servicemen and civilians. It founded a museum, which is not only a place to raise public awareness: they do everyday work, keep and update files for each of the over seven hundred missing persons. As the Museum of Fallen Freedom-Fighters is headed by the Mother of a killed Freedom-Fighter, this one is headed by Vera Grigoryan, Mother of missing Spartak Grigoryan.

Sadly, the number of missing people has gone up after the 44-day war in 2020 and the Museum staff work tirelessly to find out information about the new missing persons. 

This museum is about unending efforts to find at least some information about the missing civilians and servicemen.

The photographs of the missing persons are arranged in the silhouette of a pregnant woman holding the hand of her other child, above left and in the shape of woman praying in a kneeled position for the return of the beloved one, above right.
Hope is the key word on the walls of this museum and hope can take many forms. It has been also sculptured into the white statue of Hope on the left. 
The personal effects of a missing person.