Slain Family’s Relatives Back Calls for Handover of Suspect

A scene from the funeral service of six members of the Avetisyan family. Jan. 15, 2015. (Photo: Photolur)

GYUMRI, Armenia—Relatives of a family slaughtered for still unclear reasons by a Russian soldier in Gyumri declared that they had no part in Thursday’s protests, which began hours after the funeral of Seryozha Avetisyan, his wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and 2-year-old granddaughter. They at the same time backed the protesters’ calls for the indicted Russian soldier, Valery Permyakov, to be prosecuted by Armenia, RFE/RL’s Armenian service ( reported.

Speaking at a Gyumri cemetery on behalf of the relatives, one of Avetisyan’s cousins, Samvel Hovannisian, said: “We are only demanding justice. We demand that that person be strictly punished in accordance with the laws of our country. We want to know the reasons for that tragedy which is being mourned not only by us but also the entire nation.”

“We also don’t want [such a crime] to be repeated against any other family,” Hovannisian told journalists. “God willing, it will be the first and last crime of its kind.”

The Armenian law-enforcement authorities have so far been reluctant to seek custody of Permyakov, who is being kept at the Russian base. Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian has only promised, under pressure from the Gyumri protesters, to ask his Russian counterpart to ensure that the case is transferred to Armenian jurisdiction.

Armenia’s Investigative Committee confirmed that its officers questioned the suspect and carried out other “judicial actions” at the Russian installation on Thursday. But a spokeswoman for the law-enforcement agency, Sona Truzian, declined to clarify whether it has formally charged or issued arrest warrants for him.

A Russian military court located in Yerevan detained Permyakov in pre-trial custody on Wednesday. A statement posted on its website said a Russian “investigative body” has leveled accusations of multiple murder and desertion against the 18-year-old.

The statement came as a further indication that the Russian military wants the serviceman to be tried by its tribunal. Many in Gyumri fear that this would facilitate a cover-up of the crime. They say the case should be heard by an Armenian court.

Some lawyers in Yerevan believe that an ongoing criminal investigation launched by the Armenian law-enforcement authorities will be meaningless as long as Permyakov remains in Russian custody. One of them, Lusine Sahakian, described the separate Russian and Armenian inquiries as “legal nonsense.”

Meanwhile, Armenian police continued to guard Russia’s military and diplomatic facilities in Gyumri on Friday one day after clashing with local residents protesting against the deadly shooting spree and demanding that Permyakov be handed over to Armenian authorities.

With no fresh demonstrations held in Armenia’s second largest city, tensions there seemed to have eased for now. Still, police presence on the streets remained stronger than usual. Local security forces were beefed up by riot police units dispatched from Yerevan.

In particular, police cars and officers were deployed near the Russian army base, a residential complex housing its officers and their families as well as Russia’s consulate-general in Gyumri.

A street section adjacent to the consulate was the scene of pitched battles fought late on Thursday by riot police and hundreds of angry protesters demanding that the Russian soldier be handed over to Armenian law-enforcement authorities.

According to health authorities in Gyumri, 18 police officers and 10 civilians were hospitalized during and after the violence. The vast majority of them were discharged from a local hospital by Friday afternoon. One policeman was transported to Yerevan for further medical treatment.

The police detained 21 protesters, virtually all of them young men, on the spot. They all were set free the following morning. The police gave no indications that they will press criminal charges against any of them.

Wounded Infant Undergoes Successful Surgery
A six-month-old member of the Avetisyan family, who survived the attack despite receiving multiple stab wounds, underwent successful brain surgery on Friday in a Yerevan hospital, the Armenian Health Ministry reported.

The infant, named after his grandfather Seryozha, has been in critical condition and is being treated at the hospital’s intensive care unit. Permyakov stabbed the baby multiple times in the chest, medical examiners said. The infant survived with wounds for several hours, suffering heavy blood loss, before he was found.

The head of Gyumri’s Australian Hospital, Ashot Kurghinian, described the infant’s survival as “a miracle.”

Before beginning surgery, doctors planned the operation in an extended meeting where Health Minister Armen Muradian and foreign specialists invited to Yerevan were present.

The operation was also discussed by phone with specialists from clinics in the US, Germany, Russia, and Israel.

Professor William Khachatourian, head of the Polenov Children’s Clinic for Brain Surgery Institute in Saint Petersburg, conducted the surgery along with specialists from Armenia.


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  1. Areg said:

    Follow the trails closely and you will find out that this Genocidal Turkey was behind these criminal act and this time using a Russian man.

    Armenians know very well who these barbarian Turks are. The Russians, Americans and the rest of the world knows this as well.

    The recent killings in France was also the work of Genocidal Turkey and everyone knows this as well.

    Who is supporting Turkey behind the curtain and wishes to destabilize the world? We all know that these bastard Turks have Turkish genes which thrives in killing, murdering, raping, stealing, committing Genocides and sucking human blood.

    Shame on those ill fated bastards who capitalize on these Turkish traits to distablize our world and the security of our world in order of their world domination.

  2. Norserunt said:

    This was a horrible crime. The criminal must be punished severely in Armenia or even in Russia. I am for the protesters but as soon as pro-western instigators amongst them began turning this tragedy into an anti-Russian affair I withdrew my support to the protests. We must not politicize this tragedy. Russia’s 102nd military base is why Turks have stayed on their side of the border. By covering Armenia’s western frontier against Turks the 102nd base has allowed Armenia to concentrate its limited resources against Azerbaijan. At the end of the day: No Russia in Armenia, means no Armenian in the South Caucasus.

  3. Janapar said:

    How long has it been and this guy is still not even in Armenian custody?!
    Does anyone need a clearer example of this sad, sycophantic, yes-man gov’t.

    • hye said:

      Dear Janapar, there is no more country Armenia, it is Russian state called Armenia

      • Janapar said:

        Agree completely and I also think that Pan-Turkic fear is being artificially manipulated by Putin. Yes AZ is an obvious enemy but what does Turkey gain by wiping out Armenia? A huge new poor chunk of land to extend their already poor east. Turkic brothers all shaking hands from Van to Tuva. Give me a break.
        The only way to lessen Russian influence is to invite the west in. A western island of Armenia and Georgia amongst the Muslim and Russian enemy would be ideal for the west but obviously very, very difficult. It would need the support of the govt and that is not going to happen with this bunch.

  4. Vahagn said:

    We have to admit the following sad reality:
    1. Russians betray Armenians many times and tuned Armenia’s territory into a petty change when trading with Turkey.
    2. I witnessed myself when after 1988 quake Russian military did not help to rescue a 2 year old child and watched them laughing at the dead bodies.
    3. During many years after soviet collapsed, Russians killed more than 3000 Armenians on their soil.
    4. Ordinary Russian people hate Armenians and call them “khachiks” which are due to be eliminated.
    5. Russian government initiated the Karabach conflict and now is keeping it hot by arming two sides.
    6. Russia has very close relationship with turkey – it’s strategic ally and is not going to fight to protect Armenians.
    7. Armenian government has illicit, criminal relationship with Russian corrupted officials and it already betrayed Armenia by selling the country to Russians.
    8. Preoccupied with the animosity against Turks, Armenians turn blind eyes to the second genocide which is happening today and once again this is linked with the very wrong sexual orientation of Armenians.

    • Hratch said:

      Although it might be too late to say, but let God protect Armenia from all Russophiles both foreign and domestic !

  5. Areg said:

    The enemy is the Genocidal Turkey which manipulates the Americans and Russians. And these idiot superpowers know very well who these bastard Turks are. Armenians need to deal with Turkey and we will and we are.

  6. Sarkis said:

    It looks like it is too soon to come to any conclusion. Humans are capable of committing horrible crimes and soldiers of all nations have committed crimes before. It could be the work of a sick man, could be a premeditated crime or may be more than one person were involved.

    May be a joined Armenian-Russian investigation and a joined tribunal will satisfy all parties involved.

    I hope that one day Armenia will be able to protect it’s own borders and we will not be needing a foreign protection on our land . Until then we have no other choice but to work in this direction.

    Let us all give our respect , no matter the investigation results, for the honor of our latest victims in Giumri who were destined to join the million and a half of Armenians sacrificed during the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

  7. Harutik said:

    Politicizing this horrible tragedy is not in Armenia’s interests. Russians are also shocked at what has taken place. We are not helping the situation by burning Russian flags and demanding that the 102n base gets shut down. What happened was a blow to Russian-Armenian alliance.

    Russia’s 102nd base is arguably the most important military factor in Armenia. The base acts as a tripwire against an invasion from Turkey. By securing Armenia’s western borders, the base also allows the Armenian military to concentrate its limited resources against a more manageable enemy, Azerbaijan. I would go as far as saying Armenia exists today because of the 102nd base.

    With that said, however, whoever or whatever was behind this horrible atrocity in Gyumri scored a major success against the 102nd base. This was a major success as far as damaging Russian-Armenian relations for many-many years to come. This was a major win for those who have been seeking to undermine Russian-Armenian relations and drive a wedge between Moscow and Yerevan.

    We all know that generally speaking Armenians are overly emotional, politically illiterate and very family oriented. You want to seriously piss-off an Armenian and make him do irrational, self-destructive acts, mess with his family. You want to see an Armenian go insane and turn his environment upside-down, mess with his family. Whoever or whatever was behind this massacre knew our people’s weaknesses well. The assault was thus directed against the Armenian family.

    Now, all of Washington’s shameless lemmings in Armenia will be enthusiastically exploiting this horrible tragedy toward self-serving political ends. Now, Turks and Azeris will be impatiently watching from the sidelines to see how self-destructive Armenians will get. Once more, I blame the Sargsyan’s “complimentary politics” for the volatility in Armenia because it has allowed Armenia to become saturated by Western-led mercenaries during the past twenty years. Consequently, predictably and alarmingly, we are now seeing a growing trend of Russophobia amongst the new generation of Armenians.

    If Russophobia goes mainstream within Armenian society, Armenia’s very existence will be at risk. And every single one of the anti-Russian protesters we have been seeing recently would be the first to flee to Russia as soon as the first Turkish army division crossed the Arax River…

  8. Nelly said:

    I am not Russian. So I’m not defending them. But I was born and raised in Russia. I witresses my fellow students from university (none if them were armenians) who went there in 1988 voluntary and help to save people and recover bodies. They were 18-25 years old boys that went voluntary. I witnessed them to come back with grey hair and PTSD. None of our fellow armenian or Caucasian students went.
    If you are talking about 3000 armenians killed on Russian territory. Who are those? Did you count russuins that were killed by armenians in their own home Russia?
    Don’t say that all Russians hate armenians. This is not true. Just like in every race and nationality there are good and bad people. So don’t answer for everyone.

    • Norserunt said:


      Armenians and Russians are historic allies and nothing will change that not even a tragedy like this. So please disregard the comments by Russophobes here, they are mostly American trouble makers.

  9. zarkim said:

    Mr Putin has promised full employment for Russians even if they have mental problems.
    Russians should keep their mentally unstable citizens in their own country.

    What is this sick person (Valery Permyakov) doing in Armenia?

    Mr Putin must punish Valery Permyakov SEVERELY and COMPENSATE (100 Millions $..) Armenia (and the effected family) for all costs and future rehabilitation for the pain and sufferings.

    This sick soldier should be QUESTIONED by Armenians to prepare a comprehensive report about the incident and find out how many people were involved?
    Who encouraged (Accompanied) this sick dog? Who else WAS INVOLVED? What took place?
    These questions MUST BE ANSWERED.

    Armenia should make sure that there are NO MORE SICK RUSSIANS IN ARMENIA.