Life without light and heat: eyewitnesses

Armenian women

Woozy from the cold people cut down trees on the streets and even in cemeteries

Every time I hear about the massive power outage, especially if it occurs in winter, you immediately think of those three or four winters, which had no light, heating, and almost without water.

And it was not in the wilderness and in the vast steppes, where are not known until the achievements of civilization XX century, and in the Armenian capital Yerevan, in the early 1990s.

"Is not in Yerevan was cold?" - Ask me when I start talking about it.

"At night in my bedroom froze water in a glass" - I replied. And it's true.

How we lived

The light they gave us a half to two hours a day. During those hours people began intensively to live: watch TV, cook meals, wash clothes, take a shower.

And if electricity is included at four o'clock in the morning, then in the apartment woke up everything to get done as much as possible until the moment when the back comes the now familiar dark.

Candles and kerosene lamps have become familiar household items. Televisions and refrigerators in many households become completely useless appliances. Gas stoves, in fact, too, because gas was not, as there was no hope that it will restore the supply in the near future.

Street Yerevan

In difficult years, even in summer the streets of Yerevan were few cars and public transport

Street lighting was not at all. In one winter with electricity was so bad that even disabled the phones, which, in general, consume very little electricity. Trams, of course, did not go. Buses do not go too, as there was no gasoline. Cars on the streets almost was not.

It is best lived for those whose homes were near the hospitals and bakeries: these lucky people born in the houses was the clock. We drove to his children that they had at least a couple hours in normal conditions.

To take a shower, it was necessary to heat a bucket of water, carry him into the bathroom and then wash with one hand, because in his other hand was a pitcher.

On a table at the Mayor stood sensor, showing the frequency with which electricity works in the network. Usual "normal" 50 Hertz were a dream. Norm was 47-48 Hz. But if the frequency falls below 45, then declared Abraham to rescue the network from complete collapse, started off district by district, until the frequency is raised to some more or less acceptable level.

Light was switched off everywhere, including in the Cabinet of Ministers. Hot water from the taps flowing, it seems, in a single building - the U.S. embassy. There have set generators, giving complete autonomy. Fuel for generators delivered from somewhere overseas.

How we survived

From the cold in our house, in the attic of frozen pipes. When a little warmer, it burst and flooded the staircase to the first floor.

Gangsters managed to resume the supply of gas and electricity from Azerbaijan to Armenia on those three days, which lasted for a funeral and wake. After the guests had left the mafia, the blockade was resumed, and the city fell dark again

Tom de Waal, a British analyst
from the book "Black Garden"

And the fourth was living a well-known musician, jazz pianist Levon Malkhasyan. And when the flood came, Loew rushed to rescue the most valuable - a grand piano. Fortunately, he has at this moment have been friends who have helped to dismantle a piano to pieces and drag it to the neighbors.

It looked like a scene from a surrealist film: the apartment was a real rain. Sometimes with the ceilings were falling plaster.

No less surreal look at those days and the streets of Yerevan, in which people were moving, dragging himself - who in the hands of those who sledging - the branches of trees. "Brigades" osatanevshih from the cold people cut trees on streets, parks and even cemeteries.

People flock of wild dogs bark at, look for food in yards and on the main streets of the city.

Apocalyptic picture of the broken in January 1993 when, in a Moscow prison kingpin killed Rafik Baghdasaryan nicknamed Its [or SFD]. His body was taken to Yerevan, where the funeral was attended by key representatives of the "brotherhood of thieves," including a charter flight from Baku.

"Gangsters succeeded in resuming the supply of gas and electricity from Azerbaijan to Armenia on those three days, which lasted for funerals and mourning - English analyst, writes Thomas de Waal in his book on the Karabakh conflict" Black Garden ". - After Mafia guests departed, the blockade was resumed, and the city once again fell darkness. "

The collapse of the Soviet Union, war, blockade ...

The reason that in Yerevan a few winters there was virtually no light, of course, was more serious than frostbite high-voltage lines.

Armenian soldiers

During the Karabakh conflict, Armenia found itself in a complete blockade

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Armenia had to be very difficult. The Republic is still reeling from the devastating earthquake of 1988. Fear of new earthquakes closed nuclear power station in the town of Metsamor, who supplied much of Armenia's electricity. And finally, there was a war with Azerbaijan over Karabakh.

In Soviet times, all the main routes connecting Armenia with the outside world, is held by Azerbaijan. Baku went through the train, which delivered fuel to Armenia, in the same way a gas pipeline, which went on Turkmen gas.

There were, of course, and the railway line, and a gas pipeline through Georgia, but their capacity was negligible. In addition, in Georgia, too, was uneasy: the first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was unable to take control of the whole territory of Soviet Georgia, and was deposed in a civil war. All this contributed to the supply through Georgia, oil and gas.

But when the Karabakh conflict has been to move beyond "sleeper of the conflict, Azerbaijan has blocked all roads leading to Armenia, announcing the blockade of the country from which to start a war.

Collapsed unified energy system of Transcaucasia. Life has become almost unbearable.

In winter 1994, I brought a child out of the dark and cold of Yerevan in Moscow. We flew in a crowded plane, in which people are not just sitting, but standing in the aisles as in a crowded tram.

On the road from Domodedovo my kids could not believe that the streets are so well lit at night. And I remembered how my daughter scoured the attic to get firewood for our small oven-stove, which I drowned in the kitchen.