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Armenians unleash war against the oligarchs

05.07.2012  |  14:45

Armenians unleash war against the oligarchs. 27578.jpeg

Protests in the Armenian society, caused by the death of a military doctor Vahe Avetyan after brutal beating in the restaurant "Arnskar" (the owner - an oligarch, the head of the Armenian Football Federation Ruben Hayrapetyan), tend to escalation. The heat did not sleep even after Hayrapetyan renounced his deputy mandate.


The day before yesterday, Ruben Hayrapetyan met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, after which he announced resignation from his position. In a statement Hayrapetyan says that he feels a moral responsibility for the tragic incident in a restaurant owned by his family, and that now he must renounce parliamentary mandate. This Hayrapetyan's decision triggered a new wave of public debate, but this time about why this act was not preceded by a political assessment of the situation by the authorities.

The decision of the FFA president on refusal of parliamentary powers almost immediately after his meeting with the president suggests that in Armenia there are serious problems in the mechanisms of political decision-making. This thesis was pedaled by the protesters gathered in front of parliament the next day, whose number, however, did not exceed 200 people. Participants of the rally, dedicated to the Avetyan's death, also made a statement demanding to remove Hayrapetyan from office of the head of the Football Federation of Armenia and to involve him in a criminal case, instituted earlier, as a suspect.

"We do not exclude that at the time of the incident Ruben Hayrapetyan was in the restaurant, and the guards staged a brutal beating of the military doctor under his direct order. After all, his personal bodyguard participated in the beating", said in a statement of civic activists, which was read in front of Parliament where the head of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy was speaking at that moment. According to participants of the protest action, which, they argue, should grow into an "anti-oligarch" movement, Ruben Hayrapetyan must bear criminally responsible because he has created "the atmosphere of lynch law" around himself and his bodyguards.

Hayrapetyan's resignation is the result of a strong public pressure, but we also can see a PR stunt by the power in order to slow down the degree of tension in the society, expert of Armenian Center for National and Strategic Studies Edgar Vardanyan said in an interview with the GTimes correspondent. "It's just a PR stunt, but I cannot see a complete PR campaign. It is unclear what will be the second step of the authorities", he said, adding that the society would calm down if all the perpetrators of crimes suffer proper punishment. In his view, now it's necessary to do everything to ensure the validity of the investigation on Avetyan's case, so that society has no doubt.

"Hayrapetyan's resignation is more like politics, and the decision is coming from the thieves' world. His resignation was to be a consequence of the political assessment by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, not closed conversation with the president", actor and director Arthur Manukyan, involved in the action, told GTimes. In his view, even the very form of the resignation suggests that the ruling elite of Armenia lives "by the concept of thieves" until now. "Therefore, our struggle must be directed also against this system", he stressed.

Collisions around Ruben Hayrapetyan, as well as the very incident in the Armenian community, emerge fairly quickly, in different planes and directions. Currently on the site a collection of the signatures on the occasion of Hayrapetyan's resignation as the head of the FFA started. The parliamentary faction of the opposition forces "Heritage", the Armenian National Congress, "Dashnaktsutiun" and "Prosperous Armenia" have addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly asking to organize an extraordinary meeting, involving representatives of investigating authorities engaged in Avetyan's case to provide details of the case to the parliamentarians.

In a conversation with GTimes leader of the Standing Committee of Parliament on State and Legal Affairs of the RPA faction Mr. Davit Harutyunyan stressed that the decision to resign was Hayrapetyan's political move, which comes out of his moral responsibility. "This is a new phenomenon in Armenian politics that forms the tradition of political responsibility", he said, adding that the discussion of this issue in Parliament would be useful if it is done for generating realistic proposals to eliminate such tragedies in the future. "However, the parliament should not become a platform for political manipulation on the subject", the politician warned.

In conclusion, he stressed that the authorities were struggling to eradicate the causes which engender tragic incidents in the society. "In spite of struggle, the incident has shown that the taken measures had not worked in full, and this is our fault too", Harutyunyan concluded.

Arshaluys Mgdesyan

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