Kocharian and Aliyev are Singing the Same Tune
BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
Politics, indeed, make strange bedfellows.
Revelations that surfaced from a leaked recording of a phone conversation between the heads of Armenia’s National Security Service and the Special Investigative Service and the subsequent angry reaction from Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have not only created a stir in Armenia, but also have brought two one-time foes onto the same page.
According to the leaked conversation, the NSS head Artur Vanetsyan and SIS chief Sasun Khachatryan were discussing the case surrounding the charges brought against former president Robert Kocharian, former deputy defense minister Yuri Khachaturov and former defense minister Mikael Harutyunyan.
When the recording was leaked on social media on Tuesday, Pashinyan immediately reacted by calling the act treason and ordered an investigation into the wiretapping incident. Later in the day, during a city council campaign rally, an angry Pashinyan called for the arrest and trial of all former leaders and oligarchs who, as he claimed, plundered the country’s wealth but also allegedly ordered the army to shoot at protesters during the March 1, 2008 post-election standoff when eight civilians and two police officers were killed.
The assessment of Tuesday’s events is what has brought Kocharian and his long-time nemesis Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to sing the same tune: Both have dubbed Pashinyan a dictator.
In an interview with Yerevan Today on Wednesday, Kocharian, who is on a media spree to tell “his side of the story,” took a jab at Pashinyan.
“The most surprising thing for me was Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that he is responsible for all politically sensitive arrests. He made that statement at a rally. We are a member of the Council of Europe. This cannot but have consequences for the Republic of Armenia. This is a statement that even dictators do not do so straightforwardly. Now I should congratulate the people of Armenia that we’ve got a new dictator. Was this the goal of the revolution?”
On the same day, while meeting with Secretary General of the OSCE Thomas Greminger, complained that Pashinyan was derailing the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks by making “contradictory statements.”
Aliyev also urged the OSCE not to turn a blind eye to massive violations of human rights in Armenia on the pretext of democracy, the Armenian prime minister’s instructions on the arrest of his political opponents, and the emergence of a new dictatorship in Armenia.
That’s rich coming from a leader who is known worldwide as one of the worst dictators of the 21st century, who jails, tortures and arrests those who dare to disagree with him. Just ask the Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin of what he went through in a Baku prison, where he was housed for visiting Artsakh and before Aliyev “granted him a pardon.”
It is equally surprising for Kocharian to use the same terminology given his record during his tenure as president, when opposition leaders were arrested, journalists were beaten and naysayers were just simply killed (the case of Poghos Poghosyan comes to mind. He was beaten to death by Kocharian’s bodyguards in a bathroom in Yerevan’s popular Paplavok for simply saying hello to the then president. A “perpetrator” served two years in prison).
So, as Kocharian continues his public relations blitz in Armenia by pouring money he claims he does not have, he should choose his words more carefully so he does not join the league of the likes of Aliyev, who is the epitome of dictatorship.
Strange bedfellows indeed.
Link: Kocharian and Aliyev are Singing the Same Tune