Police Chief Resigns; Appointed Pashinyan’s Top Adviser

Valery Osipyan (left) who was fired from his post on Oct. 8, with Prime Minister Nikpl  Pashinyan
Armenia's Police Chief Valery Osipyan (left) who resigned his post on Sept. 18, with Prime Minister Nikpl  Pashinyan

Armenia’s Police Chief Valery Osipyan (left) who resigned his post on Sept. 18, with Prime Minister Nikpl Pashinyan

Armenia’s Police Chief Valery Osipyan resigned on Wednesday, saying in a statement that he would elaborate on the reasons for his resignation at a later date. After confirming his dismissal, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that Osipyan was appointed as his chief adviser, without elaborating on the responsibilities entailed in that position.

Per Armenia’s law, President Armen Sarkissian signed a decree relieving Osipyan of his duties.

“I will speak about the reasons of my departure in the future,” said Osipyan in a statement shortly after he was relieved of his duties.

“During my entire life I have served the state and the people, law and justice, having an officer I have been exclusively guided by honor and dignity. I will continue serving my people with the same standards of principle and morality,” said Osipyan in his statement.

“Today, I would like to thank the Armenian people for appreciating the police officer’s job and for valuing the implemented changes and reforms. Thank you to the entire police force – from private to general – thank you to the national guard, thank you to the public council under the police chief, the news media – for standing by our side at difficult and critical times,” added Osipyan.

Osipyan was appointed Armenia’s Chief of Police in May, 2018 after the new government took over. He served as the deputy chief of Yerevan’s police during the previous administration and became the face of law enforcement beginning with the Electric Yerevan protests on 2015, where thousands took to the streets to protest electricity rate hikes. Police violently clashed with protesters at the time, unleashing water hoses to disperse protesters.

A year later, Osipyan would be entangled in the saga of Sasna Dzrer—Defenders of Sassoun—the group that seized a police barrack and for two weeks held several people hostage, among them Osipyan.

During the 2018 popular movement, Osipyan, in his role as Yerevan Police Chief, was careful to minimize violent clashes with protesters and after Pashinyan took office was appointed to the post he left on Wednesday.

Media speculation about Osipyan’s resignation began on Tuesday, a day after Armenia’s National Security chief Artur Vanetsyan left his post, saying in a statement that his resignation should serve as a warning about an implied disarray within the government.

There has been speculation that Pashinyan’s instruction last week to the police to remove protesters blocking the road to the controversial Amulsar mine might have prompted Osipyan’s resignation.

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