(News.am)- Well-known geologist and philanthropist Grigor Gabrielyants, Director of the Museums of the City of Shushi SNCO Lusine Gasparyan and the Ministry of Culture of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) are actively negotiating with the Russian side to save the museum samples that are still preserved in the city of Shushi transferred to the enemy and remove them from the city. This is what Lusine Gasparyan told Armenian News-NEWS.am and voiced hope that it will be possible to at least save pieces of the tremendous cultural heritage of Shushi through the mediation of the Russian side.
Before the war that broke out in September 2020, there were 4 state and 2 private museums operating in Shushi, which is considered the center for culture in Artsakh. Unfortunately, during the war, only the samples of a private rug museum were removed from the city, and the samples of 3 of the 4 museums operating as part of the SNCO were moved to a bomb shelter.
“I was in Shushi in early November, and moved to Yerevan on November 5. During that period, it didn’t cross anyone’s mind that the city could be transferred to the enemy and it would be necessary to remove the collections kept in the bomb shelter. We moved all the samples to the bomb shelter amid shooting, and if we had known that the city might be transferred to the enemy, we would have moved the collections to Stepanakert,” Gasparyan said stressed that the authorities of Artsakh and Armenia hadn’t informed her and the others about the intention to hand the city, and until November 9, the Ministry of Defense insisted that Shushi was under Armenians’ control.
There are 197 monuments representing the history and culture of Shushi, nearly 800 paintings, graphic works and sculptures of the Museum of Fine Arts and over 700 samples of the Geology Museum of Shushi that are currently under the control of the enemy.
“Today the Azerbaijani side doesn’t even want to hear about the return of collections remaining in Shushi, but these collections are the cultural heritage of us Armenians and need to be returned to us. Knowing the enemy, we don’t have good expectations from the negotiations, but we have to do everything we can to save whatever there is,” Gabrielyants said. Gasparyan added that she is regularly following the scenes published in Azerbaijani sources showing that the museum wasn’t destroyed during shelling. According to her, this shows that the samples moved to the bomb shelter couldn’t have been damaged before November 9, and if the Azerbaijani side refuses to return the samples or declares that they haven’t been preserved, the only thing left to do is to conclude that we are dealing with another war crime.