YEREVAN—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation said Wednesday that the shooting death of one its members and the mayor of the village of Proshian Hratch Mouradian was politically motivated, citing years of harassment.
Mouradian, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and an Artsakh War hero was reportedly gunned down as he was headed to his office Tuesday and suffered injuries to his right temple.
Mouradian had an exemplary career from the onset of the Karabakh liberation movement until its end. He was awarded the Military Cross and several medals for his service to his country and heroism on the battlefield in Artsakh.
“There was definitely a political subtext,” ARF Supreme Council of Armenia representative Armen Rustamian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “The authorities are doing everything to hide that subtext.”
“We have long brought to the authorities’ attention the fact that there is constant tension around Hratch for a very simple reason: some people were not interested in the popularity enjoyed by Hratch. The existence of a mayor not belonging to their party and running a large community so close to Yerevan kept many people restless,” said Rustamian.
Rustamian said that Mouradian was at odds with local activists of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia and other government loyalists throughout his eight-year tenure. He said the Proshian mayor received threats from unknown individuals and faced frequent financial audits by other higher-level authorities.
“They realized that they can’t do that through elections and switched to the well-known methods,” claimed the head of Dashnaktsutyun’s governing body in Armenia.
The Armenian police say they have questioned Proshian residents in connection with the killing. But no suspects have been arrested or identified yet.
Rustamian sounded pessimistic about chances of the investigators identifying the masterminds and perpetrators of the crime. He said that many political killings committed in Armenia in the past remain unsolved.
On Tuesday, police reported that shrapnel from a bullet was recovered from the 50-year-old village leader during preliminary forensic investigation by the medical examiner. To identify the make and caliber of the weapon used to shoot Mouradian an investigative task force has been assigned by the prosecutor’s office.
The ARF Supreme Council of Armenia issued an announcement, in which it called the killing a “pre-meditated and planned killing.”
“Regardless of who the culprits are, it is evident that the crime occurred in an atmosphere of impunity and lawlessness,” said the Supreme Council announcement.
Mouradian served as the head of the village since 2005 and enjoyed the support and popularity of his villagers, which, according to the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia, had made certain circles unhappy.
The announcement stated that during his tenure, efforts were always made to destabilize his administration of the village.
“In condemning this crime, the ARF demands the quick and complete revelation of the crime and due punishment for those responsible,” said the announcement.