Svetlana Alvarova, a Russian, first visited the village of Tsar in Artsakh's Shahumyan region in 2010 with her husband, Armen Alvarov, who is half Armenian.
"Armen offered to move, and a year after our marriage, in May 2010, we came from Moscow to Artsakh, Tsar," Svetlana recalls.
They came and immediately decided to live in the highest settlement of Artsakh. They built the house with their own hands and means. Svetlana worked at a local school, teaching Russian and English. Armen worked in some institutions for some time, then they started keeping pets.
"In 2013-15, when Anna was already born, we lived in Russia, but we returned. Armen is a thinking and searching person, he offered to go to Russia, then decided that we should return. "We were fascinated by the 'infinite spaces and possibilities of the village,'" says Svetlana.
From October 2015 until the 2020 war, the family lived in Tsar. During that time their second daughter was born.
The economy was slowly expanding. They kept chickens, sheep, and goats. Living conditions were not easy, but today Svetlana remembers the beauty of Tsar's nature, her garden, the land she cultivated. “Now I sit and think about how my deer, strawberries and currants grow. The apricot tree was 50 cm, I measured it every day. "
She remembers September 27, 2020 in details. "I was milking a goat in the morning. A letter came to my phone, because it was in Armenian, I did not fully understand what it was, but I felt some anxiety. Then the neighbors came and said that a war had started. Armen was not particularly worried; he said that everything would be over in a few days, like in April 2016. "
Svetlana and her two young daughters stayed in Tsar for 2 days. During that time, there were no women or children left in the village.
“The tension was growing, the situation was uncertain. Armen sent us to Yerevan, he stayed in the village with about three dozen goats and sheep and other animals.” After staying in Yerevan for about ten days, Svetlana returned to Tsar with her children, being sure that everything would be over soon. However, with increasing tension, her husband sent her and the children to Yerevan again. During that time one of the acquaintances offered to live in Lermontovo village of Lori region. "This house was given to us on the condition that we stay here until May." Armen could not take all the animals back in those days, at the end of October we moved them to this village, because it was convenient to keep here. "
"I lost my home and high hopes. There is a feeling of freedom in Tsar, there is great hope for myself and the country. I lost that, yes, I can say that I lost part of my homeland. I love that land, my hands are hardened from working in that land, after all, my children were born there. Tsar was mine. I close my eyes and see the way to our house, the stream in front of our house. "I would love to go back," says Svetlana.
For now, the family has to leave Lermontovo's house. On the day of our visit, the father of the family, Armen Alvarov, was not at home. He had gone to Amasia to get acquainted with the living and working conditions offered to him there. Most likely, the family will move to live in the Amasia region.
Svetlana speaks about it with indifference. She does not feel at home in Lermontovo, nor does she feel about her future residence. She left the house she built with her own hands and hopes for the future in the highest village of Artsakh.