Senior Military Officials Fired Over Rise in Non-Combat Deaths

Generals Artur Baghdasaryan (eenter) and Aleksan Aleksanyan (second from right) at a meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan, February 17, 2020.
Generals Artur Baghdasaryan (eenter) and Aleksan Aleksanyan (second from right) at a meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan, February 17, 2020.

Generals Artur Baghdasaryan (eenter) and Aleksan Aleksanyan (second from right) at a meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan, February 17, 2020.

YEREVAN (—The chief of Armenia’s military police and another army general were dismissed on Wednesday following a spate of non-combat deaths of soldiers.

President Armen Sarkissian fired Major-General Artur Baghdasaryan and Major-General Aleksan Aleksanian in separate decrees requested by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Baghdasaryan has headed the military police since May 2017. He was promoted to the rank of army general as recently as on January 24.

For his part, Aleksanyan was the chief of an Armenian army department tasked with monitoring and maintaining military morale. He had been appointed to that post last November.

Pashinyan promised major “personnel-related decisions” after meeting with Armenia’s top military and law-enforcement officials on Monday to discuss recent weeks’ increase in the number of soldiers dying in non-combat circumstances.

The Armenian military has reported 13 such deaths since the beginning of this year. Eight of these soldiers have died in accidents and other circumstances not related to their military service.

The five other victims are believed to have committed suicide or been shot dead by other servicemen in separate incidents investigated by law-enforcement authorities. The shootings have caused outrage in Armenia and cast a renewed spotlight on the chronic problem of hazing and other abuses in the army ranks.

The chief of the army’s General Staff, Lieutenant-General Artak Davtyan, on Tuesday briefed lawmakers on ongoing efforts to root out the “criminal subculture” and strengthen discipline in the army ranks. Speaking after that meeting, he confirmed that “personnel changes” within the top army brass are imminent.

Davtyan also said that a number of other officers have already been demoted or discharged from the armed forces this month because of the non-combat fatalities. He expressed confidence that military investigators will identify those directly responsible for them.

Pashinyan stressed on Tuesday that the number of non-combat deaths among Armenian military personnel fell to a “historical low” last year. “Our objective is to maintain this dynamic,” he wrote on Facebook.


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  1. Raymond Sarkissian, Rockville, MD said:

    Even one noncombat death is one too many. Those Yavrigs don’t come easy and cheap. Our small nation can not afford loss of young life, just like that, in vein. The responsible criminals should be brought to justice immediately with a harsh sentence of the nation. to

  2. Proud to be American said:

    Firing top military and police officers, holding a referendum to get rid of seven judges of the Constitutional Court sounds ominous for democracy from the outside looking in.

    • Serop said:

      It may seem that way, but the fact is that those being fired are mostly remannants of the corrupt soviet era leaders, having been appointed by the corrupt past 3 PM’s of Armenia and all are or were mostly ” Clan” related with loyalty only to the corrupt oligarchs. Much like the so called General now in jail for stealing tons of food & supplies destined for the military, including modern ambulances all found in his various properties. These leeches must all go, including the Constitutional Court judges all appointed by the corrupt Satgissyan & his cronies, and these judges still only answer to their masters and must be replaced.

    • Edward Demiraiakian said:

      Actually, those firings were for a positive reason. Pres. Pashinian will not tolerate lack o discipline. Fights, suicide and murders are devastating to military morale. When a soldier has to worry about the enemy, and also about his comrades, his performance suffers.