Albert Agarunov was born into a Mountain Jewish family in Amirjan, near Baku, on 25 April 1969. After completing his basic education at Amirjan’s School No. 154, which has since been named after him, he qualified as a tractor driver at Vocational School. Albert was called up to the Soviet army in 1987 and served as a tank commander in Georgia’s Akhalkalaki District. After demobilisation, he returned to Baku and began working at the Surakhani machine-building plant.
Albert Agarunov volunteered for the front in 1992, when fighting intensified with Armenia over the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. He was appointed a tank commander in the Shusha section. Albert distinguished himself in fighting near Khankendi, Dashalti and Jamilli, destroying the aggressors’ heavy armour and personnel. He was killed on 9 May 1992 by a sniper’s bullet as he stood on the hatch of his tank, valiantly trying to repel the Armenian advance on Shusha.
Albert Agarunov was posthumously declared a National Hero of Azerbaijan by decree of the president on 7 June 1992.
Many speakers spoke highly of National Hero Albert Agarunov at the anniversary celebration. The head of the executive authorities of Surakhani District, Ilqar Abbasov, said that Albert was an example to every young Azerbaijani.
Milli Majlis Deputy Yevda Abramov said that national heroes should be remembered in schools, universities and public places.
Bayram Safarov, head of the executive authorities of Shusha District, said that Azerbaijan was unique in the attention it paid to ethnic minorities. We are proud of our heroes like Albert. Albert Agarunov showed heroism in the battle of Shusha. The future generation should follow his heroic example.
The head of the Mountain Jewish Religious Community, Milikh Yevdayev, spoke about tolerance in Azerbaijan. Other speakers included the commander of Sabail tank battalion, Haji Azizov, the deputy director of the archives at the Museum of Military History, Lala Huseynova, and the first deputy chairman of the Veterans' Council, Surkhay Taghizade. Albert Agarunov’s comrade in the tank battalion, Aghababa Qasimov, and other fellow soldiers gave personal accounts of Albert’s heroism. They said that his memory would live forever in their hearts.
Order of the Son of the Homeland
This year Albert Agarunov was granted another posthumous award, the Order of the Son of the Homeland, for his heroism in Shusha by decision of the Dada Gorgud National Foundation, the Azerbaijan Council of Elders, the Council of Veterans and the World Council of Azerbaijanis.
The award ceremony was held at the Mugham Centre in Baku on 8 May 2014, the 22nd anniversary of the occupation of Shusha. Eldar Ismayilov, president of the Dada Gorgud Fund, presented the order to the National Hero’s brother, Rantik Agarunov, who had made a special trip to Baku from Israel where he now lives with his family.