1 Apr 2020
Conflicts and Militarization of Education: Totalitarian Institutions in Secondary Schools and in the System of Extracurricular Education in Armenia (Part 2)
*This article is the second part of the co-authored piece Conflicts and militarization of education: Totalitarian institutions in secondary schools and in the system of extracurricular education in Azerbaijan and Armenia, Ukraine, and Russia by Sevil Huseynova, Jafar Akhundov, Eviya Hovhannisyan, Ksenia Babich, Katya Myachina.
The influence of the army has been increasing rapidly in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia, and Ukraine. A wide variety of youth associations related to this total institution, militaristic volunteer organizations, and groups of nationalists that propagate far-right ideals become more and more vocal (Goffman 1961, 1–124). Militaristic institutes, discourses, practices, and rituals gain momentum and become increasingly more visible in the public spaces. One of the reasons behind these developments are the armed conflicts lingering for years and decades.
In all the studied countries, despite some differences, the army is built around mandatory conscription. Thus, a significant part of youth, especially men, find themselves within the authority of this total institution “where a large number of like-situated individuals, cut-off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, together lead an enclosed, formally administrated round of life” (Goffman 1961, XIII). However, for many years now militarization of the society is not limited to mandatory army service.
The institutes of secondary education that are under near complete control of the political regimes in the four countries of focus are an ideal channel for dissemination of militaristic practices, military-patriotic discourses, and rituals. As rightfully noted by Seth Kershner and Scott Harding in reference to the United States, “schools are a primary site for socialization into societies that support war” (Kershner and Harding 2019, 191).
All the societies examined in this review have gone through the process of similar “socialization,” although to a varying degree and at different times. Despite some differences, there are many similar trends and strategies of the militarization of the societies in these countries. The strengthening of the army or the increase in military budget is justified by the necessity for defending the homeland. The instigation of the conflict, and the inability to prevent it or reach a resolution, are always blamed on external forces with no introspection. Each political regime insists on own rightness and attempts to divert criticism by labeling it as “antipatriotic.”
The conflicts that persist as a result of this militarization and militarypatriotic propaganda lead to the death of the own citizens of the states: both as military personnel and civilians. Even in the case of conflicts that are considered “frozen” for a long time (for example the NagornoKarabakh conflict), the constant causalities along the line of contact have become the expected norm. The killed citizens then become a “resource” that fires up the revanchist and patriotic sentiment and supports further militarist rhetoric and mobilization.
Secondary schools are the most important institutions of primary socialization for all future citizens of a given country. In a conflict context, these schools are turning into institutions that produce militarist and revanchist-minded patriots, future soldiers, and officers who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the theoretical future of their state. Military education, a legacy of the Soviet Union, is a standalone subject that has been reintroduced to secondary schools in one form or another. In each of the four studied countries, new strategies for educating “future patriots” from children and teenagers are being developed and put into practice.
Secondary education, which is one of the most important periods of primary socialization of an individual, once militarized can deprive societies of the chance for successful peaceful transformation of conflicts. This review of the situation in the four post-Soviet countries will not only draw readers’ attention to the obvious general trends around this issue but will also enable them to see the specifics of the process of militarization of societies in each country.
The ‘Nation-Army’ ideology in the Armenian educational system
The April escalation and militaristic tendencies in the state ideology
The escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April 2016 created quite a frenzy in Armenian society. On the day that the military clashes started, a drive for relief supplies (food items, clothing, personal hygiene items) was organized across the country. These efforts were also accompanied by fundraising campaigns for the residents of the border villages and families of the servicemen. There was also the unofficial full mobilization of men.
Even though full-scale military activities lasted for only a few days, their consequences had a long-term impact on society. The period that immediately followed the April escalation can be described by the increased popularity of military discourse and rituals in the state educational institutions and programs. This trend became an integral part of a wider militarization of commemoration practices and the public discourse.
The Armenian Ministry of Defense became the main curator of increased militarization across all spheres and institutions. It was this state institution that introduced the topic of military heroism and the concept of “Nation-Army” into the public discourse. These ideological novelties were accompanied by a large-scale commemoration of soldiers killed during the military action and the erection of monuments and memorial plaques in different regions of Armenia.
On October 26, 2016, Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan introduced the “Nation-Army” concept, thus establishing a foundation for a number of advocacy clauses. He set an ultimatum and stated that the public had no right to oppose this concept and was obliged to accept it “today and with a new vision” (Ministry of Defense of Armenia 2016). As a result of this concept, over the past three years, in the early days of April, various formal and informal events were held in Armenia, designed not only to commemorate the victims of the April 2016 escalation but also to convey the concept of “Nation-Army” to the larger public. Within the framework of this process, various symbolic reconstructions of the memory landscape took place. For example, one of the central streets of the Mush district in Gyumri was renamed Seven Heroes Street in the honor of seven servicemen killed during the April escalation (Arevshatyan 2016).
The concept gained further popularity in the mass media—television, print, and digital media—as well as through educational programs. In the December issue of the military journal of the Ministry of Defense, The Armenian Army, the study “Strategic guidelines for the development of the ‘nation-army’ system: From the Armenian militia to the national-democratic defense of the Republic of Armenia” was published. This work was presented as the narrative foundation for further development of the concept. However, since 2016 up until now, the concept has not been fully developed, although separate legislative acts have already been formulated within its framework.
The policy of military-patriotic education in Armenia
Undoubtedly, this new concept has affected the militarization of secondary school education. On April 20, 2017, during the “Nation-Army 2017” conference, the Minister of Education and Science of Armenia Levon Mkrtchyan stated that the “primary goal of the education system in Armenia is to ensure the continuity of the Armenian nation.” He also underlined the necessity of patriotic and military education implemented through the education system. In addition, the minister noted that the registration of hundreds of volunteers from different universities to be sent to the frontline during the “April war” points to the success of the educational system. As the minister was thanking the Ministry of Defense for the cooperation he stated: “We have to be able to make the NationArmy ideology accessible to every family. This is the main mission of the education system: we have to get to a point where at each school there are dozens of kids who dream of becoming military officers.”
The cooperation that the education minister spoke about got a new impetus with the launch of the “Nation-Army” concept. The representatives of the Defense Ministry and military officials visited educational institutions across the country and introduced high school and college students to the programs “This is me” and “The Honor is mine,” specifically developed for propagating military education (Levon Mkrtchyan 2017).
The Ministry of Education developed a wide range of initiatives aimed at deepening the ties between the army and the education system. Back in February 2017, the press secretary of the Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan stated that the “Nation-Army ” concept was “work that will be done in close cooperation between schools and universities.” He also added that “first and foremost the concept concerns the educational system since education is a strategic component of management” (Ararat TV 2017).
In March 2018, the Minister of Defense Vigen Sargsyan announced the creation of a new working group in cooperation with the Ministry of Education to study the quality of teaching of the subject “Beginner Military Education” (BME). Since the subject was only taught once a week, the ministry planned to establish an additional program of summer camps that would serve as an introductory course before conscription to mandatory military service (Vrtanesyan 2018). The military games “Koryun” (in Armenian, Lion Cub) and “Combat Training Club” at Yerevan State University were held to promote the same idea, but at the high school and higher educational institution levels. According to the results of the monitoring conducted by the “Association of Informed Citizens” NGO, the number of militaristic events at education institutions has increased since the development of the “Nation-Army” concept (Union of Informed Citizens 2018). These events, developed within the “Nation-Army” ideology, gradually created strong links between the educational institution, children, parents, and army. One such example was the event that took place at one of the elementary schools in the Armavir region on December 19, 2016. The theme of the event was: “I’ll give my life for my motherland, I’ll give my love to mothers.” It was dedicated to the military personnel killed during the April escalation (Armenian Educational Portal 2016). The event began with the performance of the national anthem and a moment of silence in memory of the victims.
The title and the ritualism of such events completely reflect the content of the “Nation-Army” concept. In this particular case, the title included the main value triggers that are aimed at increasing patriotic feelings should a new war break out: motherland, mother, and sacrifice. Mother is not only a soldier’s parent but also an obvious image identified with the motherland.
‘Nation-Army’ at preschool institutions
“I will give my life for my homeland I will give my soul to God, and I’ll keep the honor to myself”
Even though Armenian preschool institutions were not touched by the systematic propaganda of “Nation-Army” ideology, during the three years after the April escalation various militaristically inspired events were organized with the participation of preschool children. During the April escalation in some kindergartens (as well as secondary schools) food and relief supply drives for military personnel were organized. Children were also included in these processes and were tasked to write “support letters” to the soldiers.
On January 28, 2017 and 2018, festivities and theatrical performances dedicated to the Armenian Army day were organized in some kindergartens. During these events, preschool children were dressed in military uniforms, marched on the stage, and sang military songs. According to the principal of one of the preschools in Yerevan’s Shengavit district: “Our kindergarten puts the main emphasis on military-patriotic education. To have a decent generation we need to instill patriotism from a young age.” Kindergarten staffs often organize field trips to military units and military education institutions, as well as to schools where there are specialized classrooms named after the heroes of the Karabakh war. Kindergarten children also participate in events organized by military recruitment services. In particular, this touches the solemn ritual of seeing off the new draftees to the army, during which conscripts take an oath to become worthy soldiers of the Armenian army. 
‘Nation-Army’ in secondary school
A similar situation was also observed at general education institutions in the country where systematic propaganda of “Nation-Army” was carried out. Interviews and analysis of newspaper articles and publications on the pages of schools in social media outlets show that in 2017 and 2018, many different events within the framework of military-patriotic education were organized across the country. These events were not only systematic in nature but also played roles of advocacy (demo lessons, discussions, presentation of programs) and cultural-propaganda (field trips to military institutions, military-themed school events). Shooting ranges were opened at some schools with the support of the Ministry of Defense (Hay Zinvor 2017).
The advocacy (information-propaganda) aspect introduced high school students to programs of the Ministry of Defense titled “This is me,” “The Honor is Mine,” and “The Role and Impact of the Army, the Concept of Nation-Army.” The officers of the juvenile department of the Armenian police also participated in these events with lectures on the topic “Army, Soldier, Motherland” (Union of Informed Citizens 2018). Events and lessons titled “Student, Police Officer, Soldier Devoted to the Motherland” were held in schools throughout Armenia—in the cities of Yerevan, Goris, Kapan, Abovyan, and the villages of Alvank, Gandzak, Tairov, and others. According to Zara Vardanyan, the senior inspector of the juvenile department of Kapan, “The army is considered a central part in the civic education of minors” (Vardanyan 2017).
During the military games conducted in 2016-2018, essay competitions and art exhibitions on military topics were organized at secondary schools across the country. These included the “Haykyan,” military games, the “Koryun” and “Armenian soldier” military-patriotic games, and the national essay competition titled “I am addressing my soldier” (Aravot 2017). “Improving the effectiveness of military-patriotic education and the teaching of the subject ‘Beginner Military Education’ among high school students” was stated as the main goal of the “Koryun” military-patriotic games (Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia 2017).
During the past three years, classrooms named after killed soldiers were opened in different schools across the country. In addition, new posters were installed in schools where, along with the heroes of the Karabakh war of the 1990s, the images of soldiers killed during April escalation were featured.
In addition to the events held in the context of the obsessive propaganda by the ministries of defense and education, some schools came up with their own initiatives, organizing various kinds of charity events for military personnel. For example, the students of one of the schools in Yerevan had a field trip to a military unit where they learned about the daily life of the soldiers, ate in the dining hall of the military unit, performed poems, songs, and dances for the soldiers, and gave letters, souvenirs, and sweets to the servicemen. 
‘Nation-Army’ in higher education institutions
After the April escalation, the influence of the Ministry of Defense over the education institutions visibly increased. This pattern is hardly surprising given that the propaganda of the “nation-army” concept was also targeting the higher education institutions. The conventional format of cooperation between “universities and the army” included various conferences, visits to military units, meetings with military personnel, and training programs in military psychology.
By 2014-2015, military education clubs were operating in different universities. The mission of these clubs was to increase the “quality” of military-patriotic education for the students. For example, the “Nzhdeh” military-patriotic club was established at the Armenian State Economic University in 2014 (Armenian State University of Economics 2014). The club was named after Garegin Nzhdeh, the hero of the Armenian national-liberation movement of early 20th century. In April 2018, the members of the club organized a commemorative event in the park named after the Armenian hero Tatul Krpeyan in honor of the soldiers killed during the April escalation. The Minister of Defense made a speech at the event, stating that: “Young people present here today are not grieving on the tombs of their fallen friends. They came here as the soldiers of the Nation-Army to show their confidence and readiness to fight for our values. This is the biggest lesson of the April war” (Panorama.am 2018). A similar club called the Levon Azgaldyan Club of military training exists at Yerevan State University. The club is named after a Karabakh war hero. Gevorg Manukyan, a veteran of the April war and the recipient of the Order of the Combat Cross of Second Degree, became the club’s chairman in 2017 (Yerevan State University 2017).
Under the “Nation-Army” concept, a new law on cancelation of deferral of mandatory conscription for university students was adopted. The new law provided for compulsory military service for all categories of students (Golos Armenii 2017).
In parallel with the new law, the Ministry of Defense presented two formats of military service for public discussion: “The Honor is Mine” and “This Is Me.” According to the first program, students who sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense have to attend classes each Saturday at Vazgen Sargsyan Military University from the second through fourth years of study. After completion of the program, they will be awarded the rank of lieutenant and commence military service as conscripts. The duration of the service is three years. After completion of their service the young men will get financial assistance to continue their studies at the Master’s level. During their military service, they will be paid a monthly salary of 260,000 dram (about 540 USD).
The second format of the military service is for those young men who want to serve on the front line. The duration of the service is also three years. However, during their service soldiers can spend seven months outside the military unit. Starting from the sixth month of service, the soldier should follow a specific system: one week off the military base, two weeks of preparation for duty service, and two weeks on the front line. After the completion of military service, discharged soldiers are given financial assistance of 5 million dram (about 10,400 USD) which they can spend on one of the three targeted programs: affordable housing, mini-farm, and reimbursement of education expenses (Novoye Vremya 2017). It is important to note that the cancelation of the deferral of military service sparked the establishment of an activist group called “For the Development of Science,” which later became the “Restart of Yerevan State University” group and had a significant impact on the success of the “Velvet Revolution.”
‘Nation-Army’ and specialized military education
The propaganda campaign of the “Nation-Army” concept in general education and higher education institutions was centralized in nature and was imposed from the top; however, it often got support and positive feedback from the bottom as well. The “Nation-Army” ideology was introduced at all levels of the educational system.
The expansion of specialized military education in the country requires separate attention. In 2017, a military college named after Monte Melkonyan, a freedom fighter who posthumously was awarded the rank of “National Hero of Armenia,” opened in Dilijan. Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan spoke at the opening ceremony, stating: “Armenia is one of the countries with the highest number of military personnel in the world. Every 40th citizen of the country is a soldier. This is what the NationArmy concept is about. Almost every Armenian family has a soldier; that’s why special attention should be paid to military education— military colleges and universities” (Ministry of Defense of Armenia 2017). Various programs aimed at supporting the “developmental quality” of army officers have been planned and implemented. For example, in cooperation with the Dilijan Center of Creative Technologies, or “TUMO” (in Armenian, a shortened form of the last name of Armenian writer Hovhannes Tumanyan), the “TUMO-army” project was officially launched. More than 200 Monte Melkonyan college students participated in this project.
The ‘nation-army’ concept in post-revolution Armenia
Initially, it seemed that the overwhelming “Nation-Army” militaristic discourse would yield its positions after the Velvet Revolution and with the resignation of the old military elite. The biography of Armenia’s new leader, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, unlike all his predecessors, is not directly connected to the Karabakh conflict. Nevertheless, after the revolution, there are no visible and profound changes in the policy of militarization of the system and educational institutions. On the contrary, Pashinyan is presenting his family as a prime example of the powerful connection between family and army in a country that is facing a semi-war situation. Anna Hakobyan, the prime minister’s spouse, is a frequent guest at different commemorative events dedicated to civil and military personnel killed during the April escalation. For example, on August 12, 2019, she attended the opening ceremony of the monument in Metsamor dedicated to Sasha Galstyan, the “hero of the April war” (The Armenian Times 2019).
At the same time, there were attempts to reframe the concept. For example, on May 22, 2019, during a conference at the National Academy of Sciences dedicated to the anniversary of the “Velvet Revolution,” a suggestion was made to reframe the “Nation-Army” concept as a “nation-economy-security” concept (Infocom 2019). Minister of Defense David Tonoyan in one interview stated that previous programs developed within the “Nation-Army” concept will carry on with some changes (Safe Soldiers for a Safe Armenia 2019).
Nevertheless, despite the revolution and some attempts to reframe the concept, little has changed in the field of militaristic propaganda in Armenia’s educational institutions. Militaristic discourse and rituals occupy much wider positions in modern Armenia. Even banners dedicated to the 28th anniversary of independence of the republic (September 21) are saturated with militaristic themes. The new Armenian government does not make significant efforts to abandon the militaristic discourse, which even now is a convenient resource for maintaining power in a situation of civil unrest. It is easiest to manipulate the people by threatening them with an external enemy and instability in Nagorno-Karabakh.
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Aravot Newspaper. 2017. “«Դիմում Եմ Իմ Զինվորին» Շարադրության Մրցույթի Արդյունքները. Հաղթեց 13-Ամյա Ռեգինա Մարգարյանը [13 Year of Regina Margaryan Became the Winner of the Essay Competition ‘I Am Addressing My Soldier.’],” 2017. https://www.aravot.am/2017/02/26/859579/.
Arevshatyan, Nune. 2016. “Գյումրին Կունենա Ապրիլյան Պատերազմի Իր 7 Հերոսների Անունով Փողոց [In Gyumri a Street Will Be Named after 7 Heroes of the April War].” Aravot Newspaper, June 16, 2016. https://www.aravot.am/2016/06/16/704686/.
Armenian Educational Portal. 2016. “Ապրիլյան Քառօրյա Պատերազմի Հերոսներին Նվիրված Միջոցառում [Event Dedicated to the Heroes of the April Four-Day War].” Ministry of Education and Science of RA, 2016. https://www.armedu.am/index.php/am/news/view/532.
Armenian State University of Economics. 2014. “Вопросы военнопатриотического воспитания в центре внимания клуба «Нжде» [Issues of military-patriotic education are the main focus of Nzhdeh Club].” 2014. https://asue.am/ru/news/news-1745.
Ashughyan Karine. 2018. “Մանվել՝ որդի սեկտորի եւ էֆենդիի, կամ արդյոք այս ավարի մեջ գտնվե՞լ է հոկտեմբերի 27-ի տեսաժապավեն [Manvel: Son of the sector and effendi, or was a videotape of the events of October 27 found in these trophies?], Hraparak.am https://hraparak.am/post/5b2932df9c92d8623b4389f4?posts/5b293 2df9c92d8623b4389f4/մանվել-որդի-սեկտորի-և-էֆենդիի.
Golos Armenii. 2017. “Серж Саргсян: Отсрочка Не Отменена, Изменен Тип Отсрочки [Serzh Sargsyan: Deferral Is Not Canceled; the Type of Deferral Is Changed],” December 15, 2017. https://golosarmenii.am/article/61312/serzh-sargsyan-otsrochkane-otmenena—izmenen-tip-otsrochki.
Hay Zinvor. 2017. “Ինձ Փնտրեք Ներկաների Մեջ… [Look for Me among Those Who Are Alive…].” Armenian Soldier: Тhe Publication of the Ministry of Defense of RA (blog). 2017. http://www.hayzinvor.am/51650.html.
Infocom. 2019. “«Ազգ-Բանակ» Հայեցակարգը Վերափոխել «ԱզգՏնտեսություն-Անվտանգություն» Հայեցակարգի. Գիտնականների Առաջարկները Կառավարությանը [Transforming the Nation Army Concept into the Nation-Economy-Security Concept: A Proposal from Scientists to the Government],” May 22, 2019. https://infocom.am/?p=5268&l=am.
Levon Mkrtchyan. 2017. Մեր երկիրը չունի թիկունք և սահման, առաջին կամ հետին գիծ [ Our country has neither a home front nor a font line – Levon Mkrtchyan, Official webpage of the Ministry of Education of Armenia] Ministry of Education of the Republic of Armenia. http://edu.am/index.php/am/news/view/6568.
Ministry of Defense of Armenia. 2016. “ՀՀ պաշտպանության նախարար Վիգեն Սարգսյանի ելույթը պաշտպանության նախարարին կից կոլեգիայի նիստի ընթացքում [Speech by the Minister of Defense of Armenia Vigen Sargsyan at the meeting of the Board],” October 29, 2016. http://www.mil.am/hy/news/4466.
Ministry of Defense of Armenia. ———. 2017. “Nation-Army: A Model for Development of Collective Potential,” September 19, 2017. http://www.mil.am/en/news/4953.
Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia. 2017. “Կարգ Հայաստանի Հանրապետության Հանրակրթական Ծրագրեր Իրականացնող Ուսումնական Հաստատությունների Միջեվ ‘Կորյուն’ Ռազմամարզական Խաղերի Կազմակերպման Եվ Անցկացման [Regulation on the Organization and Conduct of Military Sports Games ‘Koryun’ in General Educational Institutions of Armenia].” Order N1155-A / 2 of the Minister of Education of the Republic of Armenia.
Novoye Vremya. 2017. “Министерство обороны представляет новые форматы военной службы ‘Честь имею’ и ‘Это я’ [The Ministry of Defense is presenting new formats of military service ‘The Honor is Mine’ and ‘This is me.’],” April 22, 2017. http://nv.am/ministerstvo-oborony-predstavlyaet-novyeformaty-voennoj-sluzhby-chest-imeyu-i-eto-ya/.
Panorama.am. 2018. “Ապրիլյան Պատերազմի Հերոսների Հիշատակի Մոմավառություն է Իրականացվել [Candlelight Vigil in Memory of the Heroes of the April War],” April 4, 2018. https://www.panorama.am/am/news/2018/04/02/մոմավառությու ն-հերոս/1927775.
Safe Soldiers for a Safe Armenia. 2019. “ՀՀ Պաշտպանության Նախարարի Տեսլականը՝ Մարդու Իրավունքների Եւ Ժողովրդավարության Տեսանկյունից [Vision of the RA Minister of Defense in Terms of Human Rights and Democracy],” June 30, 2019. https://safesoldiers.am/5355.html.
The Armenian Times. 2019. “Մեծամորում բացվել է ապրիլյան քառօրյա պատերազմի հերոս Սաշա Գալստյանի հիշատակին նվիրված հուշարձանը [A monument dedicated to the hero of four-day war Sasha Galstyan was opened in Metsamor],” August 12, 2019. http://armtimes.com/hy/article/167379.
Union of Informed Citizens. 2018. “The Propaganda of the ‘Nation-Army’ Ideology in the RA Education System.” https://uic.am/wpcontent/uploads/2018/05/Nation-Army-Educationsystem_eng.pdf.
Vardanyan, Zhanna. 2017. “Աշակերտ, Ոստիկան, Զինվոր՝ Հայրենիքի Նվիրյալ [Student, Police Officer, Soldier Devoted to the Motherland].” Armenian Educational Portal – Ministry of Education and Science of RA, 2017. https://www.armedu.am/index.php/am/news/view/1436.
Vrtanesyan, Karen. 2018. “Ուր են ուղղվել ՊՆ գնումներից խնայած գումարները. Վիգեն Սարգսյանի բացառիկ հարցազրույցը Ռազմինֆոյին [Where did the money saved by the Ministry of Defense go? Vigen Sargsyan’s exclusive interview with Razminfo].” Razminfo (blog). 2018. http://razm.info/123112.
Yerevan State University. 2017. “Новый Руководитель Клуба Боевой Подготовки ЕГУ [New Chairman of YSU Club of Military Education],” November 23, 2017. http://www.ysu.am/main/ru/Military-Readiness-Club-newchairman.
 Different parties to the conflict carry a different level of responsibility for conflict escalation. For example, even with all its complexities the conflict in Eastern Ukraine never would take such a large-scale and bloody turn without Russia’s direct military intervention there.
 Including related extracurricular education organizations and practices (summer camps and others).
 Armenia and Azerbaijan reintroduced the subject many years ago. In Ukraine, the subject “Protection of Fatherland” was introduced at the high school level during the presidency of Petro Poroshenko. In Russia, while there is no mandatory subject present called military education, the network of “cadet classes” becomes increasingly popular (see below).
 More details about these programs will be discussed later in the article.
 The inscription on the wall of the Republic of Armenia Police Academy.
 Later, after the “Velvet Revolution,” some of the collected items were discovered in the house of one of the veterans of the Karabakh war, Manvel Grigoryan. During a search of his house, boxes with supplies, including unopened letters from children intended for military units on the line of contact were found (Ashughyan 2018).
 Interview with the principal of Yerevan kindergarten No. 127, 59 years old. September 11, 2019.
 Interview with the math teacher of Yerevan school 198, 63 years old. September 9, 2019.
 In particular he points out the example of his son who is currently on military service in Nagorno-Karabakh.
***The featured photo is taken by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash.