YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A ceremony of presentation of government awards of the Republic of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh Republic was held September 21 at the presidential palace in Yerevan.
On the occasion of the 8th anniversary of Karabakh’s independence–Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian issued a decree conferring the highest title–Hero of Artsakh–on Armenian President Robert Kocharian and awarding him the "Golden Eagle" Order for outstanding services in the national liberation struggle of the Karabakh people–Karabakh’s defense–establishment and strengthening of Karabakh statehood and restoration the Karabakh economy.
The Armenian president pointed out that the order is dear to him but preferred that it was given to his late brother.
The same order was awarded posthumously to Monte Melkonian for courage displayed in organizing the Karabakh’s defense.
The hero’s widow–Seda Melkonian–received the award.
According to his decrees–President Kocharian decorated a number of servicemen–cultural workers–educational professionals–scientists and public health workers with orders and medals of the Republic of Armenia.
According to the decrees–12 individuals were decorated with the "Battle Cross" Order Second Class–including First Deputy Minister of Defense–Chief of the General Staff–Armenian Air Force–Lieutenant-General Mikael Haroutiunian.
Eighty-six people were decorated with the Medal for Courage. 36 soldiers and volunteers were decorated with the Medal for Services in Battle.
The "Battle Cross" Order Second Class was awarded posthumously to four persons–the Medal for Courage to 31 persons–the Medal for Services in Battle to five individuals.
Among those decorated with the "Movses Khorenatsi" Medal are Art Director of the Armenian Drama in Tbilisi Armen Bayandurian–the actress at the Stepanakert Drama Zhanna Galstian–actress at the State Theater of Musical Comedy–Svetlana Grigorian–actor at the National Drama–Shahum Ghazarian–Director of the National Center of Aesthetics Henrik Igitian–Art Director of the "Shirak" dance group Aghasi Shaboyan–President of the Armenian Chess Federation Vanik Zakarian–the goalkeeper of the Armenian national football team–Roman Berezovsky–and musical artist Levon Malkhassian.
Nine individuals were decorated with the "Ananiya Shirakatsi" Medal. Among them are Director of the Institute of Microbiology–Armenian National Academy of Sciences–Academician Evrik Afrikian–Rector of Yerevan State Engineering University–Academician Yuri Sargssian. Head of the Legal Advice Service–Government Staff–Manuk Topuzian and Professor of Yerevan State Medical University Kim Shoukurian were decorated with the "Mkhitar Gosh" Medal.
Congratulating the award-getters–Kocharian pointed out the independent statehood as the most outstanding achievement in the 20th century.
Unlike the beginning of the century–which was tragic and fatal to the Armenian people–its end is hope-inspiring–the president said.
The Armenian people have gone through war–blockade–energy crisis–and many losses–but it has overcome in the past and will continue to overcome all the difficulties in the future.
"All sections of the population have taken part in this struggle," said Kocharian. "Independence is a sweet word–and the price of independence is high as well," he added.
In his turn–Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian pointed out that "we won this war because we were together. We must forget the notions ‘an Armenian from the Diaspora,’ ‘an Armenian from Armenia’–’an Armenian from Artsakh’. We are one people–we have always been together–and we are invincible as long as we are united."