Bugging’ Scandal Said to Cause Karabakh Firings

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–A bugging device was found in the office of Nagorno-Karabakh President Arkady Ghoukassian before he fired the republic’s government–reliable sources in Stepanakert said over the weekend.

A high-ranking official in the Ghoukassian’s administration told RFE/RL that the Karabakh leader made the revelation to cabinet members last Thursday before signing a decree about their resignation.

The dismissal of Prime Minister Jirayr Poghosian and his cabinet was officially attributed to their failure to improve the economic situation in Karabakh since taking office one year ago.

It was still unclear whether the scandal which many link to Poghosian was the main reason for Ghoukassian’s unexpected move. Poghosian refused to comment on the allegations .

Some political commentators suggested earlier that the powerful commander of the Karabakh army–General Samvel Babayan –may have initiated the sacking to become prime minister.

According to rumors spreading in Stepanakert–Ghoukassian’s room was bugged by certain Vahram Tamrazian–a local electronics specialist. Tamrazian was rumored to be held in custody in Yerevan but officials in the Armenian ministry of national security denied any involvement in the scandal.

The RFE/RL correspondent from Stepanakert reported that in the aftermath of the unexpected change in government–President Ghoukassian was continuing his search for a new prime minister.

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