On April 2 Armenia's President Robert Kocharian signed a decree on relieving General Manvel Grigorian of the post of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia.
The President's Press Office reports no more details.
Reminder: Levon Ter-Petrossian announced that Manvel Grigorian seconded the popular movement.
GENERAL MANVEL GRIGORYAN DISMISSED
Posted 02 April 2008 - 10:47 AM
Posted 02 April 2008 - 11:42 AM
By his order signed April 2, President Robert Kocharyan relieved Lieutenant-General Manvel Grigoryan of his position of Deputy Minister of Defense, the presidential press service reported without elaborating.
During one of the post-election meetings of the opposition, defeated presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosyan announced that Manvel Grigoryan, also leader of a union embracing combatants and Artsax war veterans, had broke ranks to join his "popular movement".
Ter-Petrosyan's statement was then denied by the Ministry of Defense. However, answering questions from the public later, Prime Minister and President-elect Serzh Sargsyan expressed regret that the general "for some reasons decided to get involved in politics and disobey the Commander-in-Chief".
Formally, until April 1, Lieutenant-General Manvel Grigoryan was on vacation.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:44 AM
By Emil Danielyan
President Robert Kocharian dismissed on Wednesday a prominent army general and deputy defense minister who is thought to have tacitly supported opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian in Armenia’s troubled presidential election.
A short statement by Kocharian’s office did not say why Lieutenant-General Manvel Grigorian was relieved of his duties. Victor Soghomonian, the presidential press secretary, told RFE/RL that the reason for the move is “obvious” but declined to elaborate.
The sacking has been widely anticipated since Prime Minister and President-elect Serzh Sarkisian publicly accused Grigorian on March 14 of refusing to comply with Kocharian’s orders. “I very much regret that for some unknown reason, Manvel Grigorian tried to get into politics and tried to disobey the commander-in-chief,” Sarkisian said in televised remarks. “I think all circumstances must be clarified and the matter must find a solution.”
Grigorian, who was reportedly forced to take a leave of absence in the wake of the February 19 election, could not be reached for comment.
The mustachioed general is also the chairman of the Yerkrapah Union uniting thousands of Armenian veterans of the war in Nagorno-Artsax. Most members of the once powerful group, including its deputy chairman Miasnik Malkhasian, backed Ter-Petrosian’s presidential bid and actively participated in post-election demonstrations organized by the former Armenian president. Grigorian is believed to have approved of their stance, even though he has never publicly commented on the presidential race.
Ter-Petrosian claimed to have secured the backing of Grigorian and another deputy defense minister, Gagik Melkonian, as he began on February 21 a campaign of non-stop rallies against the official results of the election. “Manvel Grigorian and Gagik Melkonian are saying that they will not allow the army to meddle in politics and be used against their people,” Ter-Petrosian told tens of thousands of supporters in Yerevan. “Manvel Grigorian and Gagik Melkonian consider themselves the guarantors of the security of the Armenian people.”
Both generals were conspicuously absent from Kocharian’s and Sarkisian’s meeting two days later with the top brass of Armenia’s Armed Forces. Kocharian told the army command that he “will not allow anyone to play a shadowy role” in the post-election developments in Armenia. “No structure can place itself beyond law and engage in illegal activities,” he said in an apparent reference to Yerkrapah.
Just hours after that meeting, six army generals and eight colonels loyal to Kocharian and Sarkisian announced that they are ending their membership in Yerkrapah in protest against Grigorian’s failure to stop his organization being “used for dishonest political purposes.” They subsequently helped Kocharian quell the post-election protests by sending troops to Yerevan and enforcing a 20-day state of emergency declared by the outgoing president.
Grigorian rose to prominence during the 1992-1994 war when he organized and commanded Armenian volunteer units that successfully fought Azerbaijani forces in Artsax. His status of a war hero and close ties with Vazgen Sarkisian (no relation to Serzh), the late founder of the Armenian army widely revered by the veterans, enabled the former truck driver to build a substantial political and economic clout in the following years. He has since held sway in the southern town of Echmiadzin and nearby villages.
Grigorian was also a key member of a powerful government faction that nearly unseated Kocharian in the wake of the October 1999 armed attack on Armenia’s parliament that left its speaker Karen Demirchian, then Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and six other officials dead. The faction members suspected Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian of masterminding the killings.
Grigorian was promoted by and pledged allegiance to Kocharian in early 2000, effectively predetermining the embattled president’s eventual victory in the bitter power struggle.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:57 AM
Posted 03 April 2008 - 02:06 AM
du yerevi te ches hishi - qani tary e USA es aprum ??
Posted 03 April 2008 - 02:11 AM
du yerevi te ches hishi - qani tary e USA es aprum ??
Posted 03 April 2008 - 02:12 AM
Posted 03 April 2008 - 02:14 AM
Edited by elle, 03 April 2008 - 02:15 AM.
Posted 03 April 2008 - 02:17 AM
iy tes amen inch haskanum e s bayst te ches haskamum mi nurb ban - vor mer general@ ir kyanqov yev arroghjutyamb e v@jarel Artsaxi Azatagrman hamar
vor yerb menq estegh USA nintendo eyinq xaghum es mard@ k@riv er talis
vor menq nstsats ESL 101 eyinq sovorum - es mard@ mahvan v@kayakan er storagrum yev amen ir zinvori het mahanum
es mard@ arajinnerits er ov karq yev kanon m@tsrets Haykakan banakum
vor es mard@ tapt@puk chi, vor es mard@ Artsaxi Joghovrdi hamar surbi n@man mi marda
iy yete pativ unenas mi or Artsax gnas - xosir hartsra - mardiq ir anunov en yerdvum
hameniyn deps kareli e harganqov xosel ir maisni - yete voch kareli e ban chasel @endhanrapes
Posted 07 April 2008 - 04:31 PM
A top army general fired last week for tacitly supporting the Armenian opposition faced the possibility of criminal prosecution on Monday after being accused of issuing death threats to a former close associate. According to the Office of the Prosecutor-General, the Armenian police are investigating the allegation made by Ara Marukian, a resident of the southern town of Echmiadzin. A spokeswoman for the office, Sona Truzian, said Marukian told the local police that Deputy Defense Minister Manvel Grigorian threatened to kill him and his family members in a phone conversation on Sunday “An investigation is underway and circumstances are being clarified,” Truzian told RFE/RL. “Nobody has been charged. The police are only looking into the claims made in [Marukian’s] report.” “I can’t give any details at this point,” she said. Marukian is a high-ranking employee of the Armavia national airline and, according to law-enforcement sources, had close ties with Grigorian, also a resident of Echmiadzin, until recently. The Armtoday.info news service reported that he claimed to have infuriated the influential general with his active involvement in Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s presidential election campaign. Grigorian is thought to have supported Sarkisian’s main challenger, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, in the February 19 election. That was the apparent reason why outgoing President Robert Kocharian dismissed him as deputy defense minister on April 2. Ter-Petrosian claimed to have secured the backing of Grigorian and another deputy defense minister, Gagik Melkonian, as he began on February 21 a campaign of non-stop rallies against the official results of what he considers a rigged election. The Armenian authorities used force to stop the protests on March 1, accusing the opposition leader of attempting to stage a coup d’etat and arresting more than a hundred of his loyalists. Among them are several senior members of the Yerkrapah Union, an influential organization that unites thousands of Armenian veterans of the war in Nagorno-Artsax and is headed by Grigorian. More than 200 female supporters of Ter-Petrosian gathered on Monday outside the Office of the Prosecutor-General to demand the release of the oppositionists. The protest was timed to coincide with Armenia’s Day of Maternity and Beauty, a public holiday. The protesters, among them relatives of the detainees, chanted “Freedom!” and “Levon!” under the watchful eyes of police officers. They did not try to disperse the crowd. “We are devoting our holiday to our husbands and brothers who are prosecuted for political reasons,” said Knarik Banuchian. Her husband Arshak is the deputy director of the Matenadaran, Yerevan’s famous institute of ancient manuscripts. He was arrested late last month on a string of charges stemming from his active participation in the Ter-Petrosian-led movement. “I’m sure they will release the detainees and apologize to them. They can’t carry on like this,” said Melissa Brown, the wife of Aleksandr Arzumanian, a former foreign minister and Ter-Petrosian’s election campaign manager. Protests also continued in the Vanatur suburb of Hrazdan, the hometown of another arrested opposition figure, parliament deputy Sasun Mikaelian. Dozens of local residents have rallied there on a virtually daily basis in recent weeks to demand Mikaelian’s release. One of them, Arshavir Bozinian, has been on hunger strike for the past 14 days. He was joined in his metal shack on Monday by nine other members of a Mikaelian-led volunteer unit that fought Azerbaijani forces in Artsax during the early 1990s. “We are doing this for our commander and other [jailed] freedom fighters,” one of the veterans, Gegham Abrahamian, told RFE/RL. “We have no other means of struggle,” said another hunger striker, David Matevosian. Larisa Alaverdian, a parliament deputy from the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, was also in Vanatur, urging Bozinian to end the hunger strike. But the veteran said he will stop refusing food only if the Hrazdan police stop detaining and harassing participants of the daily protests. “Or else, I will continue this protest until the last beat of my heart,” he told RFE/RL. (Photolur photo)
* By Ruzanna Stepanian and Anna Saghabalian
Posted 07 April 2008 - 04:46 PM
Manvel new very well the risks he was taking when he aligned himself with LTP. And armenia needs generals loyal to the president not opposition leaders, regardless of how much they like the opposition leader.
Facts, LTP wasnt even a part of the government when Manvel went against the presidental demand. If it is revealed tomm that LTP has been conspiring with Azeri's to overthrow the Armenian government, Manvel will be in a heap of trouble.
Posted 07 April 2008 - 04:49 PM
True^, the main difference here is that, the conflicting views were over policy and information provided by the CIA which is a part of the government.
LTP is not even a part of the government, hes an outsider, a has been. We dont even know where he has been for the past 10 years, or who he has been with.
Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:06 PM
Levon Hayrapetyan April 21, 2008
On April 2nd President Robert Kocharyan signed a decree dismissing General Manvel Grigoryan from the post of Deputy Defense Minister. General Manvel Grigoryan, President of the Yerkrapah” (Volunteer Defenders of the Fatherland) organization, had expressed support for the candidacy of Levon Ter-Petrosyan.
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This was the prime reason for his dismissal. President Serzh Sargsyan, during a March 13th Internet interview, stated that, “I very much regret and am truly sorry that he, for some inexplicable reason, attempted to enter the political fray and not subject himself to the directives of the Commander-in-Chief”.
The General’s fate, one might say, was predetermined. For years on end the media was full of stories regarding the illegal activities of General Manvel but the authorities failed to take any action in response. Immediately after the “downfall” of the General people from his own circle came forth ready to take action against him. One of the General’s closest confidantes, Ara Marukyan, who for many years used the General’s name in Etchmiadzin to do as he pleased, testified to the police on April 6th that General Grigoryan and his assistant, Zohrab Galstyan, had threatened to kill him. Based on this testimony criminal charges were brought against the General. In the past, the police had always cordoned off the house of Ara Manukyan while Manvel Grigoryan essentially ran the town of Etchmiadzin. The General had to sign off on any nomination of local officials. He and his family (his wife Nazik Amiryan also participated in the Artsax War) built a large business empire in Etchmiadzin and in the Armavir Marz. Who will replace Manvel Grigoryan? Today, this is a question that seems to perplex not only the residents of Etchmiadzin.
From April 7 - 10, Artur Asatryan, nicknamed Pepo, originally from Etchmiadzin, was back in Armenia. Now residing in Italy, he returned in his own private jet and with a large group of bodyguards. He also attended Serzh Sargsyan's inaugural ceremonies.
In 1998, when General Manvel was busy solidifying his position in Etchmiadzin, Pepo left the town and Armenia. In Etchmiadzin they relate that the General did everything he could to push Pepo out of the picture because the General couldn't abide the presence of a second strongman on his turf. Using al the levers at his disposal, the General finally got the police to act on his behalf. According to our sources the police dredged up a past incident as an excuse to go after Asatryan. This incident involved the settling of a score between two rival factions, replete with daily gunfire, that resulted in the shooting death of an innocent passerby.
Local residents, when speaking about Artur Asatryan's days in Etchmiadzin, state that he was a daring young man who had his wits about him. This bravado was the result of his physical training he had as a former boxer. Indeed, at the age of 14 Asatryan was honored with the title of 'master sportsman'.
Seeking to avoid further potential clashes with General Grigoryan, Asatryan relocated to Moscow in 1998 and quickly became a successful businessman. Striking up a friendship with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, Asatryan was able to expand into the cafe and restaurant business. Asatryan owns the cafes and bistros in all Moscow's airports.
As a result of his intimate links to Mayor Luzhkov, Asatryan recently acquired a large chunk of prime downtown Moscow real estate on which to build a trade and commerce center. After living in Moscow for a few years, Asatryan relocated to Italy, where he now resides.
According to another source of ours, the scope and type of Artur Asatryan's business empire isn't limited to Russia or the food and service industry. He is said to have various business concerns in Italy, France, Austria and Spain as well.
Pepo is also said to have strong ties to top political and business officials in a number of countries. He even has sympathetic deputies inside the Italian Parliament. It was with their assistance that he was able to get permission to erect a memorial wall depicting the era of Tigran the Great in the heart of Rome. The wall's official opening was broadcast in Armenia in a special «Haylur» report over Armenian Public TV.
Among the international election monitors that traveled to Armenia on February 19th were several close acquaintances of Pepo's as well. These individuals were officially greeted at Zvartnots Airport and whisked away to the Marriott Hotel, according to arrangements made by Pepo.
Residents have conflicting opinions regarding their former townsperson. Some say Asatryan is a serious and sincere guy who has learnt the lessons of his youthful mistakes and has developed into a mature individual. Others say he grew up connected to the criminal underworld and that he plays with dirty money.
Our source neither denied nor confirmed rumors that the Italian mafia has honored the 37 year-old Armenian with the title of 'Don’ and distributed a DVD about the fact. «I wouldn't rule the possibility out because the man's definitely playing at the high stakes level.»
It's also not beyond the realm of possibility that Pepo will have his favored candidate running in the upcoming mayoral elections in Etchmiadzin. The statement circulating in his circle of supporters that the first case of really free and fair elections will take place in Etchmiadzin, and that Pepo himself will guarantee such a result, also isn't accidental.
The most curious aspect of Pepo's make-up is his religious devotion. He attends church every day. When he came to the town of Etchmiadzin he headed straight to the Holy Cathedral and entered the doors on his knees. Witnesses claim that other bystanders and faithful were removed from the entrance so as not to witness the scene. After his reception with the Vehapar, doves were released into the skies above. Catholicos Garegin II has granted Pepo the permission to erect a chapel next to the private house he is building in Etchmiadzin.
We should note that the house, whose domes resemble that of a church, is in the final stages of construction. Armenian and Italian master craftsmen are doing all exterior and interior work on the house.
Posted 16 May 2008 - 02:35 PM
By Gayane Mkrtchyan
Published: 16 May, 2008
Chairman of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers (YUV), former Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Manvel Grigoryan stated in his message addressed on Yerkrapah (“Freedom Fighte”) Day last week that Yerkrapah, an organization embracing freedom-fighters, has never been engaged in politics and that no one has the right to exploit the union’s name.
The reality, however, contradicts the general’s statement. Twenty of more than eight dozen detainees considering themselves to be political prisoners (28 of 86 have been released but investigations into their cases continue) are Yerkrapah members.
This statement by the general also contradicts earlier comments made by President Serzh Sargsyan on Public Television in which he said that he never tried to draw Manvel Grigoryan into politics.
“I very much regret and feel pain that he, for unclear reasons, tried to enter politics and made an attempt to disobey the supreme commander-in-chief. I think that details should be established and a solution should be found,” Sargsyan said.
General Manvel says Yerkrapah has never been a political structure
Nevertheless, considering Manvel Grigoryan’s behavior unclear, chairwoman of the Social-Democratic Hunchak Party Lyudmila Sargsyan says that many of Yerkrapah members are more independent now than their chairman.
“Glory and honor to those Yerkrapah members who understood that first of all they are citizens of Armenia and only then Yerkrapah members. And weak authorities can never have a strong person beside them. Yerkrapah members are strong integral individuals concerned with the country and are capable of showing heroism,” says Lyudmila Sargsyan.
Former comrades-in-arms and families of detainees now in custody for their suspected roles in the March 1 melee began hunger strikes in different areas of the republic in support of whom they consider to be political prisoners. This week, Artsax war veterans in the Shirak province spread a statement wherein they said that the heroes of the Artsax liberation struggle are being punished today on fabricated charges, for their political views.
The Council of Field Commanders also issued a statement saying that in a situation like this the country cannot develop in a normal course, furthermore, they could lose what they had gained at the cost of heavy losses.
“Zovuni” detachment commander and Yerkrapah member Khachik Simonyan spent 50 days in the basement jail of the National Security Service. During the presidential election he was head of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s campaign office in the Nairi region. He was released from custody on a written agreement not to leave the republic while an investigation of his case was in progress.
“The guys who carried the brunt of war on their shoulders are locked in jails today. I can’t find words to describe the steps the authorities are taking,” Simonyan said. “After all, Yerkrapah’s duty is not only on the battleground, Yerkrapah members are also concerned with the country’s future.”
Tigran Mets detachment commander Vladimir Arakelyan was detained in connection with the March 1 events, but was released after spending 46 days in custody.
“Is it how they thank us for sacrificing our lives in defending this homeland?” Arakelyan says.
In political analyst Aghasi Yenokyan’s opinion, the authorities are conducting a policy that has no prospect.
“Imprisoning and keeping as hostages the guys who once waged heroic battles in Artsax, they break the whole ideological backbone of the Artsax liberation struggle,” Yenokyan says.
This week, members of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament Vardan Khachatryan and Zaruhi Postanjyan visited the Vardashen penitentiary where they met 17 detainees.
According to Khachatryan, the detainees were in combat spirits. They said they were ready to spend as much time in jail as was necessary.
“I am very concerned over the fact that Yerkrapah members are behind bars. These are people who sacrificed their health, the welfare of themselves and their families on the alter of statehood and the nation. They, in fact, stood at the sources of our third republic’s statehood,” says Khachatryan. “I urge our authorities to change the measures of restriction applied or declare amnesty. Many of them are the only breadwinners in their families. Have they thought how their families live today?”
Following the recent trials held within the framework of the [March 1-related] criminal case being investigated by the special investigation service and having attended several of them, Helsinki Association Chairman, human rights activist Mikael Danielyan says that the authorities delay the process in order to have time to ease tensions in the country and have a clean image before Europe.
“The Armenian authorities will release those detained before and after the March 1 events – will declare something like amnesty, will release detainees. I think that it should take place before June for the simple reason that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe mentioned that term in its resolution concerning Armenia, however all that will be of a formal nature and the terror and tyranny in Armenia will continue,” he says.
President Serzh Sargsyan on March 19 stated in parliament that he would agree to declaring amnesty only after careful consideration.
“Amnesty will not be a purely political step made to earn a mark from the public. All my steps will be aimed at the country’s development,” the president said.
Postanjyan explains that amnesty may also concern people who do not plead guilty even if verdicts are absent.
“If an act of amnesty is declared and the accused protests his innocence the body in charge of the proceedings would feel constrained to keep him in prison and would have to change the restrictive measure,” says Postanjyan. “That is, they would be released. Later, if the court establishes their guilt and renders a guilty verdict, they will still be released from responsibility under the amnesty act.”
Postanjyan thinks that amnesty is a good idea, it will be in some way a convenient tool in the hands of “hostage” judges to change measures of restriction.
“Otherwise, the measures of restriction applied against detainees should be changed, criminal prosecutions should be stopped, there are even people on whom acquittal verdicts should be passed and these people should be provided with compensation for damages they incurred. These will be the best steps that will meet the criteria of a democratic country,” Postanjyan says.
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