YEREVAN (ARKA) — Col.-Gen. Gurgen Dalibaltayan, a prominent Armenian military leader who spearheaded the creation of the modern Armenian army, died Tuesday at age 89, the press service of the Armenian Defense Ministry announced on September 1.
Dalibaltayan was born in Samtske-Javakheti province of Georgia. After graduating secondary school in 1944 he spent three years at the Tbilisi School of Infantry. Dalibaltayan then joined the ranks of the Soviet Army and held various commanding positions.
He was the commander of the 242nd Infantry Division of the Siberian Military District from 1969 to 1975. Outside of the USSR, he was Deputy Chief of Staff from 1975 to 1980 for the Southern Group of Forces in Budapest. He also participated in higher academic courses for commanders at the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR in 1976 and 1978. Dalibaltayan held his final position starting in 1987 as Deputy Commander of the North Caucasus Military District for combat training in Rostov-on-Don. In 1991, he left the Soviet Armed Forces prior to the fall of the Soviet Union.
He came to Armenia after it gained independence in 1991 responding to the appeal of the new Armenian leadership for experienced military officers.
Dalibaltayan was appointed Chief of Staff of the Defense Committee of the Council of Ministers of Armenia in 1991. Within the same year, he had been promoted to Chief of the General Staff of the Armenia and also became the first Deputy Defense Minister of Armenia. Dalibaltayan was one of the leaders of the Armenian military during the Nagorno-Karabagh War. Following the war, he worked as advisor to the president of Armenia and the chief military inspector from 1993 to 2007.
He was awarded numerous Soviet, Armenian and Karabagh medals and orders. He was the honorary citizen of Yerevan. In 2001, a secondary school of the village Agana in Akhalkalaki region of Georgia was named after him.
“As an experienced serviceman he helped the newly formed armed forces’ younger officers with his advice and experience. He personally led the work on drafting plans for a number of combat operations,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.