Our applicant Armen Zargaryan died on November 22. He was a refugee from Baku and lived in Russia since 1990 but did not manage to obtain Russian citizenship. At first, he and his mother lived at Vostok hotel where Azerbaijani refugees were accommodated. In 2000, the refugees were evicted from the hotel and Armen started to rent housing. He was an experienced car mechanic and always had money. Then his mother died. It was getting increasingly difficult to work with a Soviet passport. He applied to police and to Federal Migration Service to change the passport but it was no use. In recent years, Armen could no longer rent the apartment and lived in a garage where his old car was placed.
He came to us in May last year for the first time when a desk officer of the Main Directorate for Migration Affairs where Armen applied told him: “Get out of here, go to Armenia or I’ll break your nose.”
Armen was a “sad Armenian” type of person. He was kind, sad and delicate. He was deprived of vitality, energy, and insistence, typical to many of his compatriots. He gave up easily; if he was told to leave, he left. When we started to help him with documents we often had to encourage him, to push him.
It took more than six months to receive answers to our requests. We had to write to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Armenia several times to get a certificate confirming that Armen was not a citizen of Armenia. Then for more than half a year, he went to the Migration center in Sakharovo to submit documents for citizenship. This August after several letters to the Ministry of Internal Affairs from our side they finally accepted his documents. And when he came to our office we could hardly recognize him; he could barely move, holding on to the wall.
In October, one of his friends told us that Armen had incurable cancer and due to the lack of passport and medical certificate he could barely get him to a hospital. Shortly before his death, Armen was nevertheless given a temporary identity card and medical certificate and due to this fact, he spent his last days at St. Alexis Hospital.
If Armen could get the documents earlier his illness could have been detected at an earlier stage. And then who knows, maybe he could have been saved. He was only 50, he could live long.
Armen’s friends said that he had a dog named July. When Armen fell ill the dog was left without care. A woman found her on the street and took her to a vet clinic. It turned out that the dog, like its owner, had incurable cancer. She had been euthanized.
Armen with his dog
By Elena Burtina, Stateless Persons Programme Coordinator
Translated by Sofia Ismailova