On January 10, 2020, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan posted a Facebook post announcing that a historic decline in casualties was registered in the Armenian Army.
The Prime Minister emphasized that it concerns the cases of soldiers killed for all kinds of reasons. “The life of every citizen of Armenia is precious, and the loss is irreparable. But as every death in the army causes double pain and sadness for all of us, I consider it worth sharing some news with you. In 2019, the Armenian Army registered (for all kinds of reasons of death) a historic minimum number of casualties. In other words, there have never been fewer casualties in our army than in 2019,” Pashinyan wrote.
The Fact Investigation Platform decided to check whether Nikol Pashinyan’s statement was true.
It should be noted that Gor Abrahamyan, an adviser to the Prosecutor General, later posted on Facebook and reported that in 2019 the number of deaths of servicemen in the Armed Forces of Armenia and Artsakh decreased by 22%.
“There were 49 deaths recorded in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia and the Defense Army of the Republic of Artsakh in 2019: 14 temporary soldiers, 22 contract soldiers, 5 subalterns and 8 officers, ”Abrahamyan wrote.
In 2018 the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor (HCA) Office published a large-scale statement on the casualties in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia and the Defense Army of the Republic of Artsakh since 1994, based on information received from official sources, the mass media and in some cases also from relatives of deceased servicemen.
Studying the data on combat and non-combat casualties in the Armed Forces of Armenia and Artsakh over the past decade, it becomes clear that there have been years when the number of casualties in the army has been below 49. Thus, there were 31 deaths in 2013 and 45 in 2014.
Moreover, according to the report, statistics from the early 2000s show that there was an unprecedented low number of victims in the period from 2003 to 2007 too.
The data was collected by Civilitas Foundation analyst Tatul Hakobyan based on the data provided by the Ministries of Defense of Armenia and Artsakh and other state structures, as well as from Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor office, Peace Dialogue NGO, Razminfo news site and others.
According to the study, 40 soldiers were killed in 2003, 38 in 2004, 47 in 2005, 33 in 2006 (36 according to the Military Prosecutor’s office), and 31 in 2007 (50 according to the Military Prosecutor’s office).
Thus, based on the data provided by the Prosecutor General’s Advisor Gor Abrahamyan, there were 49 casualties in the army in 2019. Comparing that number with the number of casualties recorded in previous years, it becomes clear that Nikol Pashinyan’s claim, that a historic minimum number of casualties was recorded in 2019, is false.