Armenian Interior Troops Commander Sacked

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian continued to reshuffle the higher echelon of Armenia’s security apparatus on Wednesday when he dismissed the commander of national interior troops that played a major role in the suppression of post-election opposition protests in Yerevan.

Sources told RFE/RL that Sarkisian will also appoint one of his assistants, Gevorg Mherian, as deputy chief of the Armenian police. The information was not immediately confirmed by the presidential administration, though.

Announcing the personnel change, Sarkisian’s office gave no reason for the sacking of Grigor Grigorian, the hitherto chief of the security force officially called Police Troops. Grigorian’s replacement, Garegin Gabrielian, is a senior army officer who headed Armenia’s main military academy until now.

The presidential decree came roughly one month after the sacking of Hayk Harutiunian, chief of the national Police Service, and his first deputy, Ararat Mahtesian. Harutiunian was replaced by Alik Sargsian, a former police officer who previously served as governor of the southern Ararat region.

Harutiunian was subsequently appointed as head of another security agency which is in charge of protecting the president of the republic and other high-ranking state officials. The State Protection Service was previously run by Grigori Sarkisian (no relation to Serzh), one of the country’s most powerful men very close to former President Robert Kocharian.

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