Pashinyan Fires Top Military, Security Officials

Onik Gasparyan, the new Armed Forces Chief of Staff (left). Argishti Kyaramyan the newly-appointed Director of National Security Service (top right) and Armenia’s new police chief Vahe Ghazaryan
Onik Gasparyan, the new Armed Forces Chief of Staff (left). Argishti Kyaramyan the newly-appointed Director of National Security Service (top right) and Armenia’s new police chief Vahe Ghazaryan

Onik Gasparyan, the new Armed Forces Chief of Staff (left). Argishti Kyaramyan the newly-appointed Director of National Security Service (top right) and Armenia’s new police chief Vahe Ghazaryan

YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)–Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sacked on Monday Armenia’s top army general and the heads of the police and National Security Service (NSS) amid a deepening coronavirus crisis in the country.

Pashinyan gave no reasons for the unexpected shakeup announced on his Facebook page. He only thanked Lieutenant-General Artak Davtyan and national police chief Arman Sargsyan and NSS Director Eduard Martirosyan for their work.

Pashinyan indicated later in the day that they were dismissed because of breaching or failing to enforce the coronavirus-related state of emergency in Armenia.

Sargsyan and Martirosyan were named to run two law-enforcement bodies on a permanent basis less than three months ago. They had served as acting heads of the police and the NSS respectively since September.

Pashinyan said that Sargsyan will be replaced by another police colonel, Vahe Ghazarian, while Martirosian’s replacement is his recently appointed deputy, Argishti Kyaramyan.

The 29-year-old Kyaramyan headed an anti-corruption government body until last month. Unlike his predecessor, he has never worked in Armenia’s most powerful security service before. Kyaramyan is widely seen as a political appointee.

The new chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff is Lieutenant-General Onik Gasparyan. He has served as Davtyan’s first deputy until now.

Pashinyan commented on the sackings when he chaired in the evening a meeting of senior government officials dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. Sargsyan and Martirosyan were also present at the meeting.
“It’s high-ranking state officials that must first and foremost demonstrate with their actions the importance of following anti-epidemic rules,” said Pashinyan. “Unfortunately, we see cases where that does not happen.”

At an ensuing news briefing, Pashinyan effectively confirmed that Davtyan was fired because of hosting on Sunday his son’s wedding party despite the state of emergency. He also seemed to fault the police and NSS chiefs for not preventing the wedding.

“In crisis situations things get to a point where discipline, order and precise and unconditional execution of actions stemming from the country leader’s statements take precedence over all other issues,” he said in that context.

According to “Hraparak” daily, the wedding was attended by about 100 guests in possible violation of social distancing rules set by the government.

A government task force enforcing the state of emergency pledged in the morning to look into the wedding’s legality and, if necessary, hold the general’s family accountable.

“Everyone is equal before the law, and if I committed any violation I will certainly bear responsibility for that,” Davtyan said in a statement issued shortly before his sacking. “Of course, I believe that there was no violation but let relevant bodies determine that.”

Davtian was appointed as army chief of staff shortly after the 2018 “Velvet Revolution” that brought Pashinyan to power.

The sackings come as a growing number of opposition figures accuse Pashinyan of mishandling the coronavirus crisis and demand his resignation. The premier’s political allies dismiss such calls.

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6 Comments

  1. Ari said:

    Thank you Mr. Prime Minister for holding the heads of the governmental agencies and military accountable. Keep up the great job and God bless you.

  2. Dr.Hermon Mihranian said:

    My God !!! Is this all what Pashinyan can do to promot life style in Armenia ?
    Sacking people to strengthen his power is what he does.

    • Barséghian Ardachèce said:

      The Armenians with its diaspora rightly protested nepotism, the corruption of the authorities in the order organized in the form of a government where the mafia, outlawed, bathed like fish in the water. Today the TASK IMMENSE is to restore order in governance, however exemplary by displaying, ENFIN, that everyone is equal before the law, let alone the representatives of the authority who must imperatively set an example at the risk of punishment. Until now what was required of the people was authorized for these frameworks of the state by the law of judicial immunity, or arrogant executives who exibed their power and their finance stemming from corruption in front of exasperated citizens. So, what do you want? You have to know. Unbiased state management with the law at the heart of governance. Stop los or Paris and elsewhere to give lessons to promote order, it is enough to gargle your smugness. Come to the country, we’ll see you at work produced. In this type of behavior how the STATES, EU … Enough of your advice, recommendations … absolute nonsense, to be correct,

  3. D2 said:

    DR. MIHRANIAN, WHAT DO EXPEC FROM THE MAN IN THESE TRYING CONDITIONS???
    I KNOW NONE OF US DON’T THINK MUCH OF WHAT THE MAN IS TRYING TO DO WAS THERE A SINGLE PERSON WHO WAS GAME ENOUGH TO UTTER A WORD WHAT HAPPENED TOTHE GUY,WHERE ARE THEY???

    IN THE LAST 30 YEARS WHAT DID THE REST DO CAST YOUR MEMORY BACK???

    ONE GUY HAD THE GUTS TO SAY PREVET ROB, (he was drunk) WHERE IS HE???

    YES, I ALSO WANTED THE CIRCLE TO BE SMALLER AND PAY ATTENTION TO SHIRINYAN, PAPIAN, VARDANYAN, KARMALIAN AND LIKES OF THEM.

    THE PRIME MINISTER HAS TO MOVE NOW FOR TOMORROW IS TOO LATE.

  4. joe said:

    Not quite sure where this is all leading. However the facts are that COVID epidemic seems to be out of control in Armenia, with infection and death rates climbing, furthering the need to shut society down. Both are not good scenarios. As for ridding these people, we all know the past was riddled with corruption, misrule and indifference, mostly for self enrichment, at the detriment of Armenia itself.. So change is a good thing.

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