Post-traumatic disorders in Karabakh conflict zone

Mamikon Babayan, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Post-traumatic disorders in Karabakh conflict zone

No war, no conflict ended without a trace. No matter how stable the human psyche is, people who have taken up weapons are worried about their future, their families. Moreover, it's not only people who are directly involved in hostilities that are more prone to stress, their families and relatives are also affected, since they are always worried about the fate of their loved ones. War traumatizes human psyche.

Unresolved consequences of war lead to risks of development of psychogenic, mental and somatic disorders. At first, person is able to ignore signs of mental disorders, since their brain simply blocks unwanted memories. But over time, in those cases when stress and pressure are becoming chronic, symptoms of these disorders actively begin to manifest. One of the most striking manifestations is aggressive rhetoric, the desire to resolve problems through brute force. Pressure and power becomes instruments in arguments or any other interactions with other people, and their used regardless of situation, hindering constructive dialogue.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a classic example when the post-war crisis and a series of escalations created a certain perception of reality in the mind of Armenian society, in particular the community living in the conflict zone. The feeling of worry is caused by constant presence of soldiers in the territory of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Constant anxiety gives rise to unmotivated vigilance. People are closely watching all events on the contact line, reacting to any violation of cease-fire regime. They are constantly on the alert, expecting danger from all sides.

Authorities of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic are actively using ideological barriers in oder to overcome stress. Every day population of this self-proclaimed republic is subjected to moral and psychological stress, informational and psychological influence. With the help of the media, they are being subjected to military propaganda, and diplomatic solution to the crisis is deliberately not discussed. Instead, there's this idea of “holy was”, and refusal to participate in the war is regarded as cowardice and betrayal of the people and the nation. Special attention is paid to maintaining image of the occupation regime. This work is supported by visits of foreign parliamentarians, such as recent visit to the region by members of the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD), including deputy of the German Bundestag Stephan Koiter, known for his sympathy to neo-fascist ideas.

This conflict left a mark on the psyche and life trajectories of Armenian people in the conflict zone, transforming and distorting old system of international relations. This is one of the most negative consequences of the Karabakh war, as a result of which conflict relations, unusual for Armenian and Azerbaijani communities, began to be perceived as a norm.

By linkaging tragic events of the Karabakh war period to politicized events in the history of Armenian nation - like events in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War - leads to spread of Turkophobian sentiments among Armenian public and youth. Calls for war, related to this, have become integral attributes of armed forces of Armenia, including formations in the occupied territories. Moreover, Turkophobia is not limited to Azerbaijan and Turkey. Diplomatic stance of Kazakhstan’s leader Nursultan Nazarbayev during escalation in April of 2016, as well as the state’s overall stance on Armenian aggression, prompts Armenian political establishment to distrust its partner in the CSTO, as well as spread this negative attitude in society.

Crisis militarizes the way of life of young people, forming radical sentiments in their way of thinking. In order to achieve this, information they receive is being simplified and systematized through categorization. Stereotypes are being formed based on provided information, and in the future young people will have perception of reality that corresponds to militaristic way of life.