The interview took place in November 2018.
Meet Sajenkova Margarita. She comes from Russia and she was born in 1940, in Ozyory, Russia. She had a difficult childhood; she grew up almost without her father. She was nearly a year old when her father joined the war. Her father returned home only in 1949 after being demobilized as he continued to serve in the Soviet Army after the Great Patriotic War. She was already a schoolchild. She was good at school and dreamt of becoming a doctor. In 1957 she left for Moscow to enter the medical institute but she failed. She decided to stay a couple of days in Moscow. One day when she was seeing her friend off, she met a young Armenian man who changed her life completely. Her family was living in poverty like many others. They had three more children to take care of, so they did not stop their daughter from marriage. So, Margarita got married to this Armenian in 1958 and moved to Kochoghot village in Martakert region of Artsakh. Life was difficult in the village and she was alone and suffered a lot. She wanted to go back to Russia but her husband convinced her to stay with him and in 1962 they moved to Stepanakert. Margarita has always been a hard-working person. She started working in Stepanakert Electrical-technical factory and her husband was working in construction. Life was getting back on the rails, her husband got a two-room flat and then their eldest son was born. They seemed to be happy.
In 1988 Artsakh War started. A Russian woman could not bear the tough conditions and listen to the devastating bombing of planes and artillery and started convincing her husband to move to Russia to save their family and children. Her husband was too much dedicated to his motherland and refused to leave Artsakh which brought to their divorce. Her elder son got married at that time and turned away from his mother who had left for Russia. He has never had any connection with his mother. He married a girl against Margarita’s will and lives in Stepanakert.
Margarita had two children, her youngest son was Matvey. She adored him. Matvey served in the army and applied for further education in a military college. He studied in Russia for five years and travelled back to Artsakh to serve in the army. Margarita enjoyed those years a lot. She was next to her beloved son and they spent all the free time and holidays together. Matvey loved his mother a lot and he was the meaning of her life. Margarita did everything she could to keep her son in Russia. She addressed the Ministry of Defense of Russia but they could not do anything as his trip was sealed by a mutual agreement between the two countries. It is very heartbreaking to see how she takes out the letter from the old envelope with an RF seal with her trembling hands.
Matvey returned to Artsakh after graduation and continued his service in the sappers unit. He died in 1999 saving his friend’s life. Margarita came back to Artsakh, homeless and full of sorrow but at least close to her son’s tomb. Her friend in Artsakh helped her a lot. Sometime later, she got an apartment from the military commissariat where she has been living all this time.
Sometimes she goes back to the past and analyzes her life: the day she met her husband at Moscow station, the young brown-haired Armenian who turned her life upside down. She is unable to say whether she would change anything if she was given a second chance. ‘Oh, I was so young and he was so handsome and I was too much in love’, she whispers through tears.
Margarita does not complain of her life. Her pension is not enough but she saves a lot, she satisfies herself with little. She bought a rose for her birthday on October 14 and told us it was on behalf of Motvey who used to give her flowers on her birthday.
Margarita joined Hanganak in 2005. She is grateful to the organization as it is her only support. Hanganak saves her life with the medical assistance and heating compensation. She does not remember when she last went to the hospital. She turns to her nurse Elza when she needs medical support. Elza delivers her medicine, monthly provisions. She often goes to Hanganak and considers the NGO her lost family.