In mid-summer, Mrs. Anna Hakobyan, the wife of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, stated that she had started a campaign for peace and for the peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict. The initiative was called ‘Women for Peace’.
About two months after this statement, on October 7, well-known Russian women working in the public-political, literature, culture, and media spheres arrived in Artsakh. They arrived at the invitation of the RA Prime Minister’s wife Mrs. Anna Hakobyan. In Artsakh, the first lady of the Republic, Anahit Sahakyan, joined the group.
The delegation visited the frontline. Azerbaijan tried to create obstacles for the visit of the Russian citizens, but failed. Those who joined the call of the RA Prime Minister’s wife did not just stay in Stepanakert, but went to the frontline, to trenches. Anna Hakobyan expressed her gratitude, first of all, to the women who joined the initiative. The initiative aims at establishing peace. Just from the trenches, Anna Hakobyan appealed to Azerbaijani mothers to join the peace campaign. “We urge the parties, involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the mediating countries to save the lives of the 18-20-year-old Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers on both sides of the border, to stop endangering their parents and children and playing with the fate of hundreds of families, to refuse of the military settlement of the conflict and to search the solution of the issue exclusively through negotiations. We urge Azerbaijani women and mothers to join this campaign and to send the same message to political decision makers", reads, in particular, the message, which Anna Hakobyan presented to the group members.
From the opposite side of the border, representative of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Leyla Abdullayeva responded to the Russian women's visit to Artsakh by giving political assessments to the purely humanitarian initiative. The Russian guests are surprised. “If you do not try to help, you become just an observer, and we don’t want to be in the status of an observer, therefore we are here today. We want to speak to the other side too, and we don’t want to be blocked only because we are here within the framework of the peace campaign", said Member of the Russian State Duma Svetlana Jurova.
Some of the women have never been to Artsakh. Some participated in the elections in Artsakh within observation missions. Leader of the ‘Women's Dialogue’ Russian political party Yelena Semerikova visited Artsakh in the early 1990's. “I'm very excited. And the closer we were to the trenches, the more my anxiety was. In the 1990s, when I and my baby survived death, I promised that I would do everything to prevent war on this land. That's why I am here", Yelena Semerikova said.
Those, who join the campaign, will get jewelry made of melted bullets, stated Anna Hakobyan who reached the frontline with such jewelry. These jewelry will become a symbol for the ‘Women for Peace’ campaign. “I would like us to have jewelry made even of submachine guns and tanks. They would be very large and huge. But, the most important is that they will never fire. So, I really like these jewelry and thank you for the great idea", said Russian public figure Anna Federmeyser who was also enthusiastic about the new idea.
President Bako Sahakyan also received the guests. He welcomed the initiative, noting that this is a good platform for deepening and expanding friendly relations. The head of state expressed hope that the initiative would be continued.
Those in Baku follow carefully the initiative and react to this from time to time. While on the eve of the visit more threats sounded towards the participants of the initiative, then after the visit to Artsakh the threats became more material. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry will include some Russian citizens visiting Artsakh in their ‘black list’. As the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan reports, the MFA is studying the information about the visit of the Russian citizens to Artsakh. After confirming the necessary data, a decision will be made to include their names in the ‘blacklist’. This is the ‘participation’ of the Azerbaijani side in the peace campaign.