Mired in Controversy, Yerevan Mayor Resigns Over Assault Allegations

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Yerevan’s controversial Mayor Gagik Beglarian was forced to step down on Wednesday after reportedly beating up a member of President Serzh Sarkisian’s staff.

The resignation was announced by the Mayor’s Office just hours after Sarkisian effectively confirmed and condemned through a spokesman Beglarian’s involvement in the assault on Aram Kandayan, an official at the presidential administration’s protocol unit.

According to media reports, Kandayan incurred the ire of Beglarian after asking the latter’s wife not to sit next to Sarkisian during the November 3 concert in Yerevan of Placido Domingo, the world-famous Spanish tenor. Such seats have traditionally been reserved for Armenia’s prime minister, parliament speaker and the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Beglarian, who did not attend the concert, allegedly drove Kandayan to one of his properties in Yerevan and beat up the young official there the next day. Reports claimed that Sarkisian was infuriated by the incident and demanded an official apology from the mayor.

“Unfortunately, an incident did take place,” the presidential press secretary, Armen Arzumanian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “But the media have exaggerated it. In particular, there was no kidnapping or brutal beating.”

“The president has repeatedly made clear his position on such deeds,” said Arzumanian. “Namely, such a conduct is unacceptable and intolerable. The more so in the case of a state official.”

Neither Beglarian, nor his alleged victim could be reached for comment throughout the day. The press office of the Yerevan municipality also did not respond to phone calls.

It was not immediately clear who will perform the mayor’s duties until the election of Beglarian’s successor by the city’s Council of Elders. Most of the council seats are controlled by President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia.

Beglarian became Yerevan’s first elected mayor in more than a decade after leading the Republican Party to a landslide victory in disputed municipal elections held in May 2009. The 46-year-old businessman, who is also known to many Armenians as “Black Gago,” had previously governed the Armenian capital’s central administrative district.

Beglarian has long held sway in a largely blue-collar section of the district notorious for election-related violence against opposition activists. Armenian opposition groups have for years accused him of heading a local clan that rigs elections and bullies the government’s political opponents. In particular, they implicated him in a December 2009 assault on more than a dozen young activists of the opposition Armenian National Congress.

Both Beglarian and the Republican Party have denied these allegations. The ruling party highlighted the mayor’s status as a key presidential ally when it elected him to its decision-making Executive Body late last year.

Authors

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

7 Comments

  1. facts said:

    Resign???

    This is a novelty!

    The ugly behaviour of this man and his resignation may bring some positive changes for the normal citizens… for the first time a high ranking official being forced to resign because of his ugly behaviour. This is sad that the judicial system is almost non exultancies the country to punish such officials and there wrongdoings…

    The fight was not about how to repair the gaps in the streets of Yerevan or how to reduce hundreds of traffic accidence in Yerevan about all it Bagramian Ave ,but the fight was about who should seat in the first row in a CULTURE EVENT!

    Maybe the ruling party should send Mr Beglaria and his beater them as a “bubbly” Ambassador of RoA to NATO or OSCE to challenge our enemies ….

  2. anna said:

    Krikor, you are right. Resignation means nothing without punishment. People are sitting in the jails for nothing and, this criminals have high position in this regime. This irony is unbearable for our people in Armenia. This injustice is one of the reason that people are leaving the country. This criminals must go at all.

  3. Christo said:

    He should be man handled in one of our state prisons in the states. After all who the hell is his wife that she should be sitting next to the president of RoA.

  4. Pingback: Controversial Armenian Mayor Punches Presidential Aide | Armenian Sources Genocide History Poetry Food Music

  5. Jay said:

    President demanded an apology? How LAME. Had this incident taken place here in the U.S..This uncivilized person would have been thrown in the slammer for thirty years- on kidnapping and assault charges.

*

Top