Thirty-four-year-old Mekhak Arakelyan, who lives in Kurtan village of Lori Province and whom Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, during a meeting with villagers, scolded for being “a healthy man” and addressing him instead of working and building a house, actually has health problems that haven’t allowed him to work and earn a living for the past couple of years now.
“I am ill. I have back pain and bronchitis. I haven’t even served in the army since I wasn’t fit for military service. I also used to have a problem with my kidneys due to hard labor on fields. I have also worked as a remodeler in Russia. I have worked hard and purchased a cow to provide my children with milk. If I was healthy, I would go and work and build a home. I also wouldn’t like to address the Prime Minister and ask him for something, but I can’t even lift a bucket of water,” Mekhak told Armenian News-NEWS.am, adding that even though he needs treatment, he only uses tranquilizers due to financial difficulties.
Mekhak’s family has ten members who live in two small rooms in a dilapidated wagon. Due to the humidity, Mekhak’s and his brother’s four children, the eldest of which is 5 years old, have health problems, especially in the winter.
“There have been times when all three children have been at the hospital. We used to provide them with treatment at home, but that didn’t help. We owe the drug store in Kirovakan a lot of money,” Mekhak’s mother said and added that she and her husband had moved to Spitak many years ago, but had returned to Kutan after the earthquake in Spitak.
The Arakelyan family lives with the support provided by the family’s relatives, neighbors and the head of the local village, as well as with benefits and sometimes daily salaries. The family has addressed different authorities, including the Prime Minister with the request for help several times, but there hasn’t been any response. On March 7, knowing that the Prime Minister was going to visit his village, Mekhak decided to personally meet him. “I went to ask the Prime Minister to at least help me buy a two-bedroom house made from stone so that there wouldn’t be humidity and his children wouldn’t get sick. I was speechless after our conversation. When I didn’t speak, he went on to scold me and tell me that a healthy man like me shouldn’t come and ask the Prime Minister for help. After that meeting, a lot of people have written bad things about me on the Internet, but I don’t care,” he said.
On March 7, during a live broadcast, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan scolded Mekhak and urged him to work and build a home and not address the Prime Minister with such issues, adding that the government doesn’t have any obligations for people like him.