Born to crawl cannot fly

1in.am continues to the disclosure of the main players of the slaughter of March 1 in the center of Yerevan. On January 28, we presented the former Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian, today´s turn is to the former Defense Minister Mikhail Harutyunyan. First, let’s start with Mikhail Harutyunyan´s biography: he was born in 1946, February 10, in Sagiyan village (Azerbaijan SSR), Shemakh region. He studied at the higher military command College, in 1963-1967, then in 1976 he graduated from the Frunze Military Academy, and in 1988, General Staff Military Academy of the USSR Armed Forces. In the USSR Armed Forces he occupied several positions, including the Head of Intelligence of the 7th Division, as well as several lecturer positions at the Department of Intelligence of the USSR Armed Forces General Staff Military Academy.

There are no former spies, or the real motives for coming to Armenia

It is known that as a result of the agreement reached between the presidents of Armenia and Russia, dozens of high officials having served in the USSR Armed Forces came to Armenia, among which was Colonel Mikhail Harutyunyan. But M. Harutyunyan, raised in an Azerbaijani environment, an Armenian military, whose ultimate goal was to climb the ladder and to take place in Moscow, presumably would not voluntarily give up the prospect of his further insured professional progress in Russian Armed Forces. The fact that he had, and still has strong support not only in Armenia, appeared during his service and the further progress.

In 1992-1994 M. Harutyunyan has occupied various positions in the system of RA Armed Forces. After S. Sargsyan had become Defense Minister, he was appointed First Deputy of Defense Minister, Chief of General Staff of RA Armed Forces.

Just like the “hero” of our previous series, Vardan Oskanian, Mikhail Harutyunyan was one of the reliable figures in the government of Robert Kocharyan after the 1999 coup. After October 27, 1999, Kocharyan’s number one problem was to reshuffle and to make new appointments in the Armed Forces for his “army team” formation: first, with no participation of Defense Minister, some of the soldiers received General titles, later, they were appointed to various positions in the Armed Forces. In 2000, some appointments for Defense Deputy Ministers were made, again without agreeing the issue with the Minister (Manvel Grigorian, Gagik Melkonyan, Yuri Khachaturov, Arthur Aghabekyan, Michael Grigorian). Then, in violation of the Constitution and bypassing the government, in 2000, May 2, Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutyunyan was fired, and on the same day Mikhail Harutyunyan, first deputy of Defense Minister, Chief of Staff of the RA Armed Forces incorporated the office, to temporarily fulfill the duties of Defense Minister. Later on, in 2000, Prime Minister Aram Zaven Sargsyan was replaced by Andranik Margaryan, who was appointed Prime Minister on May 12, 2000. The new government formed in May, 2000, appointed Serge Sargsyan Defense Minister, and as a result of this project Robert Kocharyan´s and Serge Sargsyan´s envisaged transformation of the Armed Forces took place: a “loyal”team was formed. Already in 2007 in S. Sargsyan´s government, M. Harutyunyan, having provided services to Robert Kocharyan and Serge Sargsyan, was assigned the post of RA Defense Minister, and Seyran Ohanyan became the Chief of General Staff of the RA Armed Forces.

The Lier

In 2008, the return of Armenia´s former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan to the policy woke great hope of the increasing public confidence to get rid of the regime in the upcoming presidential elections. The increasing public confidence for the first Armenia president, his increased rating in the pre-election period, as well as people´s will revealed by the votes, came to prove the failure of the government. And once again, the government faced the main issue, that is, to keep the regime at all costs.

“The army is not involved in politics and performs its tasks and assignments”, that is what Mikhail Harutyunyan, the Defense Minister, said on February 23, 2008, four days after the presidential elections, who visited Victory Park on Red Army day. That day he globally analized political processes: “the Army does not suport Levon Ter-Petrosyan”, he said, adding that the authors of such statements may express their personal desire. The news is false, and all the deputies are busy with their official duties. “I call on everybody to refrain form such provocative statements; the Army is not involved in politics and performs its tasks and asignments. We have the supreme commander-in-chief, defense minister, whose orders are all up for soldiers to Generals, to Deputy Ministers, so do not believe such statements, hich perhaps, are the desire of the opposition, which will not come true. Harutyunyan added that the authors of such statements must assume the responsibility before the law, no one has the right to ignore the Constitution and the Law of RA. “I appeal to everyone. Our army is strong, and it solves any problem, so let no one think, that the Army could be involved in any political issue”.

In the post-election process, February 23, 2008, turned out to be a really important date, that is, the destruction of Armenia´s future.The public was convinced that Mikhail Harutyunyan lied, stating that the Army was not involved in politics. In mid-December 2009, there came a sensational press publication, which showed how genuine the ex Defense Minister was.It referred to an urgent statement about Mikhail Harutyunyan´s Order N 0038, issued on February 23, 2008, and sent to various units of the Defense Ministry. It specifically says to implement Constitutional duties of the Armed Forces of the RA: “I hereby order:

1. The whole staff of the armed forces on February 23, from 18.00 is to stand to armed condition, until the receipt of the special order. At the central apparatus of the Ministry departments, set up groups of officers in individual departments, providing them with service weapon.

2. For the purpose of service administration of the Deputy Defense Minister, Lieutenant-General Yuri Khachaturov, create a garrison force, appointing:

– Major-General K. Kochunts, the military commissary of the Republic of Armenia, as First Deputy Head of the garrison headquarters.

– Deputy Head of the Armed Forces Deputy Chief of General Staff Major-General, A. Paytyan,

– Head of special assignments in the military intelligence chief, Colonel A. Karapetyan,

– Assistant head of special assignments in the Armed Forces General Staff, Deputy Chief to the service and the regime, Colonel H. Karapetyan,

– Deputy chief of staff to work in Garrison, Deputy Head of Department of Defense AHTA, Colonel S. Arushanyan,

– Deputy head of the garrison in the rear of the Armed Forces, Major-General T. Gasparyan,

– Deputy chief of armaments in the Department of Defense, Major General M. Chilingaryan,

– Assistant chief of the administrative staff of the Department of Defense, Head of Law Department, S. Setrakian,

– Head of Department of Communications and AKH, Head of Garrison Communications, Colonel G. Zakaryan,

– Chief of Garrison radiological, chemical and biological protection service, Head of Department of RA Armed Forces troops, Colonel S. Arzoumanian,

– Chief of Garrison Military Medical service, Head of Military Medical Department, Lieutenant Colonel A. Parsadanyan.

The head of the garrison of Yerevan will perform his duties at the building of the Armed Forces General Staff.

14. The command is to the Defense Minister, the Deputy Chiefs of General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Departments of the Defence Ministry and Armed Forces General Staff, Heads of separate departments, the military Commissar, the military commanders, the head of Military Institute after V. Sargsyan, the personnel. In other words, from the foregoing we can conclude that by the order of M. Harutynyan, the armed groups were intended for a military coup to carry out, moreover, it was thoroughly prepared, then executed on March 1. But note that the Constitution clearly stipulates in Article 8.2. “The armed forces of the Republic of Armenia ensure the security, the defense and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia and the inviolability of its borders. The armed forces maintain neutrality in political matters and are under civilian control.”

In accordance with the instructions, to ensure the fulfillment of the constitutional duties by the armed forces, the entire staff of the armed forces on 23 February at 18.00 went to martial law, officer groups in the individual sections of the central administration departments of the Defense Ministry were armed with service weapon. For the further activities of the Head of Yerevan garrison, Deputy Defense Minister, Lieutenant-General Yuri Khachaturov, the garrison Head Administration was created. The military komisare of the Republic of Armenia, deputy head of the Armed Forces General Staff, deputy head of the Armed Forces Intelligence Department, Deputy chief of personnel relations Department, Deputy Minister of Armed Forces Rear Department, Deputy chief of of the Defense Armaments Department, were appointed as deputies to Yuri Khachaturov. Assistants appointed to the head of the garrison troops were Armed Forces General Staff Deputy Head of Service of the regime, as well as the Head of the legal administrative staff of Department of Defense. Head of the garrison Staff of the Armed Forces Communications was appointed head of garrison Communications, and the Deputy Chief of the Defense Ministry’s military garrison was appointed medical service chief of the garrison. The workplace of Head of garrison of Yerevan city was appointed the Armed Forces General Staff School.

By the same order of the Department of Defense, the head of KSH and ZB had been assigned the following: According to military applications or indications of the Head of garrison, the (incoming) units shall be provided necessary material resources to guarantee normal living conditions.

The recipients of the order were Deputy Chiefs of Defense Minister and General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Minister, Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces, heads of separate departments, the military komisare of the RA, Army Corps, military commanders, as well as head of Military Institute after V. Sargsyan.
Later it became known that in 2008, February 23, Robert Kocharyan held a consultation meeting of heads of law enforcement agencies and the military command staff, that is, the result of the meeting was the release of the above mentioned N0038 Order.

Army involvement after the 2008 presidential elections

The role of the army in participating in postelection processes, before the president decree would procaim “state of emergency” on 01.03.2008, is presented by the Fact-Finding Group, in a reporte entitled “Army involvement and participation in post-election processes and March 1-2 events”, which was published in the press in May 2010. It provides detailed facts proving the involvement of the Army, as well as the consecutive constitutional violations for its realization.
Thus, Article 8.2 of the Constitution provides: “The armed forces provide the security, defense and territorial integrity, inviolability of its borders. Armed forces maintain neutrality in political matters and are under civilian control.” The 12 th and 13 paragraphs of the Article 55 of the Constitution, state: “In case of the armed attack, the declaration of war or an imminent danger, the President of the Republic is to declare martial law and a general or partial mobilization and the use of the armed forces.”

The content of the Article 8.2 of the Constitution states, that the armed forces are uniquely to ensure the safety, security and territorial integrity of the RA, the inviolability of its borders.
The paragraph 13 of the Article 55 of the RA Constitution defines clearly and exhaustively the cases, which authorize the president to take the decision of Armed Forces implementation, according to the Article 8.2 of the Constitution. They are:

a) an armed attack;

b) a case of immediate danger of an armed attack;

c) upon the declaration of war.

Clause 13 of the Article 55 of Constitution contemplates an additional mandatory condition to make a decision for for implementation of armed forces in all of the three cases, that is, the announcement of martial law. That is to say, even under three of the conditions listed above in the paragraph 55 of the Article 13 of Constitution, the President cannot decide an implementation of armed forces, unless the military situation.

Note also, that in the future, when the statement was published in a top-secret order 0038, in connection with its emergence in 2010 May 4, the former Chief of the Defence Ministry’s capital construction, Colonel Armen Sargsyan was sentenced to 2 years of prison, meanwhile the information head of the same department, Lyusya Ayvazyan, to1 year of prison, respectively.

Having analyzed the published order N 0038 and studied all the necessary points, Fact-finding group concluded:

(a). First, as it is known, on February 23 in the Republic of Armenia there was no armed attack carried out, nor there was any immediate threat of armed attack, moreover, no state of war was declared, there was no martial law declared in the country. So, the administration of the new military structure, or any movement of the command could not be justified by the formulation of “the assurance of constitutional duties of the RA armed forces”;

(b). Ministry of Defense´s order N 0038 is absolutely unconstitutional, illegal, by which the Defense Minister has reserved the right to form a new unit of military government, which involves Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces General Staff in almost all major departments and sections of the armed forces. It is no coincidence that the order is neither referred to the Constitution, nor the “defense” of any rule or provision of law;

That is to say, before the “Declaration of a state of emergency” on March 1st , 2008, the army was ready to engage in political events by the above-mentioned illegal and anti-constitutional decree of the Minister of Defense. The deployment of armed forces was produced to the capital of Armenia, as well as to many key areas and subdivisions outside the city or adjacent to settlements, the border units, separate divisions and groups, were formed and located in or near the capital (Charbakh central unit, the Armend Forces sports base, Balahovit unit, etc.).
By the way, let us mention that in response to numerous questions directed to the former Defense Minister by the fact-finding group, the latter denied the existence of the order N 0038 issued on February 23, 0038 of its and claimed that until the declaration of the state of emergency signed by the president, the armed forces did not take any action and did not have any role to play. To the question of A. Kocharyan, member of group, of “whether the use of Armed Forces in the inner life, powered by Constitution, is allowes or not” he answered, “Of course, it is”. And when countered that the clause 13 of the Article 55 of Constitution did not provide such a right, the latter justified, that the decree on state of emergency had been signed by the president, and that he was guided by the decree. It is thus obvious that the former Defense Minister superimposed the decrees of the President to the RA Constitution.
It is also worth mentioning that after the press statement publication of the above-mentioned decree of the Defense Ministry, the Ministry did not anyhow deny the existence of such an order, trying to justify it by the Armenian-Azerbaijani contact line tension. The legality of the order was also “confirmed” by Robert Kocharyan´s press secretary, Victor Soghomonyan: “The acts of the Defense Minister of Armenia should be view in the framework of security and territorial integrity,and should be considered in the context of real threats, which are present in 2008 January-February,the Azerbaijani armed forces contact line tensions and an agressive preformance in the internal political situation in Armenia, shows the readiness of Azerbaijan to find a military solution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”. From this kind of “confirmation-justification” made by the government, it can only be derived that they were guided by the following startling logic: in the condition of “the readiness of Azerbaijan to make use of the internal political situation”, they did not try to strengthen the country´s position, but brought the armed forces units, equipment and the temporary units formed special groups and divisions to the capital.

Fact-finding group found more evidences, particularly before the publication of the president´s unconstitutional decree on “state of emergency”, the army was already engaged in the political process.

(a). On March 1, at 16.09, military units and equipment are located in the Republic Square. The videotape and photograph identification on this fact is available;

(b). On March 1, at 16.11, the Army units, in the Defense Ministry uniforms, are located opposite the market located in Tigran Mets street. The videotape and photograph identification on this fact is available;

(c). On March 1, at 16.27, on Melik-Adamyan street, the Army is on alert, armed with guns. The head of the garrison, Lieutenant-General Yuri Khachaturov´s service car is also there. The videotape and photograph identification on this fact is available;

(d). On March 1, at 18.14, new subdivisions with military machines are broght to the Republic Square. The videotape and photograph identification on this fact is available.

The fact that the heavy equipped army is directly involved in 2008 post-election processes, is proved by the Fact-finding group videos, which fixed heavy military equipment entering the capital, again before the announcement of the state of emergency.

Fact-finding group was to reveal another remarkable fact: in order to conceal the Army involvement fact, the government proposed a hypothesis related to the operational head of the police forces Arthur Dastakov, according to which, on February 25 2008, Dastakov himself created a unit, on the following basis: “On February 22 our soldiers were constrained by the service, and we have to track the correct implementation of the duties”. In fact, it appears that Dastakov´s group as such did not exist in fact, this hypothesis was to conceal the presence of the armed forces in Melik Adamian Street on Saturday, March 1, at 15:00-17:00, which was proved by the fact-finding group´s undeniable video and photo materials.

The authorities’ “commitment” on March 1-2 to involve the army and to keep the regime at any price, was reflected in the Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Seyran Ohanian calls – a statement which was broadcasted on March 2, in special informative programs throughout the day. Ohanian first justified Robert Kocharyan´s declaration of “the state of emergency”, clearly warning all the citizens to refrain from any attempts of implementing any prohibited actions, defined by the state of emergency, which would immediately lead to a counteraction from the part of the Defense Ministry, with all the related consequeces, as well as to avoid gathering even in small groups, for even in case of the smallest suspicion the Armed Forces would be obliged to act, taking measures against the offenders in accordance with the constitution and the RA laws.

M. Harutyunyan’s wealth

From 1994, as the result of S. Sarkisyan-M.Harutyunyan tandem, the corruption in the Army began, particularly swept after the year 2000. The appointment of positions and the sponsorship entitlements were mostly a result of their activities and in many cases the impunity was even encouraged. Huge amounts of money to expend from the Army, not targeted funds, profits from the abuse, became common practice during their government. The positions occupied in the Army of Minister helped Harutyunyan and his family members to illegally convert money into real estate and many businesses. Thus, the Harutyunyan family is a shareholder in “Rome”, “Cactus” and “Central” restaurants, “Le Boheme” chain of cafes, clothing shop “Storm” in Mashtots Avenue, Austrian Airlines flights form Armenia, they also own apartments in the center of Yerevan and Moscow, as well as private houses in the districts of “Blur” and “Dzoraghbyur”.

P.S. So here is another type of an officer, worming, with no officer pride, maintaining at all costs the status achieved by crawling and creeping, whose “readiness”, “skills” and “abilities” were fully displayed during the March 1, 2008 crime. It was by the hand of M. Harutyunyan that Robert Kocharyan, inherently violating the Constitution and involving the army in the political processes, carried out a military coup, which resulted in the deaths of at least ten citizens of RA.

Emma Gabrielyan
“Zhamanak” Daily, 22.02.2011