Who Could Be Next? A List of Potential Victims

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The February 9 assassination of Major-General Artsrun Markarian–Deputy Minister of the Interior & National Security and Internal Forces Commander–offers another occasion to look back at the incidents that occurred last year and haven’t been officially resolved to date.

The attempted murder of Artsrun Margarian on January 21–1998 was preceded by several other incidents:

On January 18–1998–on the Armavir-Yerevan highway–unknown persons fired at the car of General Romik Ghazarian–chief of presidential body-guard. The bullets riddled the vehicle–but Ghazarian was not wounded. In an Noyan Tapan interview–Ghazarian explained that he luckily survived the incident because the car was traveling at high speeds. Later–experts established that the car was not in motion when the shots came. However–by the time the investigation was over–Ghazarian had been able to leave the country. According to reports–he remains in Moscow.

On January 19–the car of Avan community leader Rouben Hayrapetian (nicknamed German Rubo) came under fire. According to information obtained on Tuesday Rouben Hayrapetian is now on leave in the United States and will be back in ten days.

In January 1998–there were circulating rumors that there had been an attempt on the life of Vahram Khorkhoruni–who at that time headed the military police–but those rumors were later denied. Since then–Khorkhoruni believed that his life was in danger. A year later–on December 10–1998–Deputy Defense Minister Vahram Khorkhoruni was assassinated at the entrance of his own house.

On January 23–1998–speaking at a press conference–Defense Minister Vazgen Sargssian stated that several other people had been warned of the plotted attempts on their lives as well. Among them he named the former interior minister–member of Parliament Andranik Kocharian.

On January 24–1998–Andranik Kocharian confirmed that he had been given a warning–but declined to elaborate. The Aravot daily reported in Tuesday’s issue that after the assassination of Khorkhoruni in December 1998–Andranik Kocharian said that "Khorkhoruni would not have been assassinated had the attempt on the life of Arstrun Margarian been uncovered."

Thus–a year ago–the lives of the indicated five persons were in danger. Two of them are dead now–another two are outside the country: one is in Russian–the other is in the United States. Yet–one question has yet to be answered: Are the lives of Romik Ghazarian and Rouben Hayrapetian still in danger? Considering the fact that the assassinations and attempts have not yet been disclosed and assuming that it is a chain of planned assassinations (which may include the assassination of Prosecutor General Henrik Khachatrian in August 1998 as well)–the question being asked by some Armenian politicians and members of Parliament–who’s next?–may sound quite natural.

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