Getting Away with Murder: Syunik Governor Re-Appointed

President Serzh Sarkisian with the Syunik governor Suren Khachatryan


Armenia Takes One Step Forward and Two Steps Back
YEREVAN—The former governor of the Syunik Province, Suren Khachatryan, who resigned last year for his alleged involvement in a murder, was reappointed to the post again, garnering the well-wishes and congratulations of Armenia’s self-proclaimed reformist prime minister, Hovik Abrahamian.

The incident that forced Khachatryan, who is known as “Liska,”—his nom d’oligarchie– to resign in June 2013 was the murder of Goris mayoral candidate Avetik Budaghyan, which took place near Khachatryan’s sprawling mansion in the region. During the shooting incident, Budaghyan’s brother, Artak, a colonel in the Armenian Army and another man, Nikolay Abrahamyan were wounded.

The governor’s close proximity to the incident, for which he was under investigation briefly, forced his resignation. Subsequently, his son, Tigran Khachatryan and his bodyguard, Zarzand Nikoghosyan, were arrested and charged with murder and possession of illegal weapons.

As is the case with most criminal proceedings in Armenia that involve oligarchs, the investigation was suspended that the two were set free and cleared of all charges. Law enforcement claimed that the suspects were acting in “self-defense” saying that Budaghyan was allegedly attacking the Khachatryan residence.

However, the Budaghyan family disputes the account, saying that before the shootout, the senior Khachatryan attacked Budaghyan in his car, over business dealings.

News of Khachatryan’s reappointment came one day after President Serzh Sarkisian, who approves and sanctions gubernatorial appointments, gave a positive speech at the United Nations General Assembly, calling out Turkey and Azerbaijan for their disruptive policies in the region and hinted at the possibility recalling the dangerous Turkey-Armenia Protocols.

However, the country’s president must not deal with domestic woes differently than its foreign ones. The outcry following the murder In June 2013, and subsequent dismissal of the case, should have sent a clear signal that Khachatryan has no business in government, much less governing the region that borders the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan.

If Sarkisian is using the international arena to call for justice in the region, he should exercise the same notion when reappointing his corrupt friends who have been implicated in a murder to such an important position.

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  1. ed said:

    Job rotation and and re-appointment is a way for the oligarchy system to keeps the power!

    People like him are engage in plundering of state budget and resource. What should or could do they else? Such people and there relative/clans are able to survive only if they get a top government job! That is way we see NO progress in Armenia when its comes to rule of law and a system of check and balance! ed

    • GeorgeMardig said:

      Job rotation and and re-appointment is a way for the oligarchy system to keeps the power!…. IT IS WORLD WIDE and Armenia is not exeption

  2. Armenian said:

    Nice, so a self-serving criminal, who, most likely could care less about the country and its future, is getting re-appointed to one of the most important regions in Armenia; a region that is absolutely critical to Armenia’s statehood. How is this any different from the Safarov case? Both men murdered an innocent Armenian and both of them were able to escape justice and were publicly rewarded. Now do you see why Aliyev all but endorsed Serjik and the Republican Party of Armenia? They’re virtually on the same thing, and both of their objectives are the total alienation of Armenian people from their homeland.

    It goes to show you that Armenia is not a country for the people, but run for and by a very particular group of insiders who are totally above the law and can literally get away with murder, or in this case, can be rewarded for it.

    This isn’t the first time this is happening, either, and I’m sure it wont be the last. Where is the public outrage? It seems these disgusting oligarchs will never leave unless people storm into his office and literally push him out. With criminals and oligarchs like these, Armenia’s future is incredibly grim. In most normal countries, people like this would be put in jail; however, given that Armenia’s domestic and foreign politics revolves around the preservation of the oligarchy, it doesn’t seem likely to happen.

  3. Ani said:

    His place is in a jail, not in this position. His is a criminal with very bad reputation. It is unbelievable that he is free and getting a job like this. Very disappointing!

  4. vartan said:

    another shamful act by Armenian govrenment. this hateful person shoots at people. acts like brain dead dumb uneducated oligarkhs. willing to rent Armenians land to neihgboring azeri turks., and still electing for governor, shame on hovik abrahamiyanovich and other sellout in govrenment, some times we wonder why progrss is so slow in Armenia , with this kind of people how can a country becomes a civilized or lawabiding place

  5. Yurik said:

    If I were Suren, I would put away my political job, because this will cause his, and his families members end in this world soon or late. He is doing the same job as Aliev is doing. They will not survive.
    As Iranian poet, Ferdovsi says “If you have done something bad, you will not be protected from disease, because in Nature is made so that what you do, will come back to you.”

  6. Ani said:

    Where are our political parties? Where are the opposition leaders? Where are the activist and patriots? Are we all sleeping and there is no one awake in this nation? Please wake up and get rid of these jerks!

  7. Matthew said:

    The reason that he is reappointed is because he is holing Mr. Sarkissyan hostage. If Sarkissyan won’t appoint him to his previous position he is going to let the world know about Sarkissyan. They are all together in this. Armenians should stay and fight these undesirable tugs, but what is that they do they give up and leave the country. Sarkissyan and his tugs have houses and mansions in Europe and Untied States. If country hopefully overturn, they will leave and settle in Europe and U.S. That is a good thing at least we will get ride of these tugs.

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