Armenian paper mulls reasons for security chief’s resignation

Armenian paper mulls reasons for security chief’s resignation

Aykakan Zhamanak, Yerevan
10 Nov 04

Karlos Petrosyan is unlikely to have resigned voluntarily as head of
the Armenian National Security Service, according to an article in
opposition newspaper Aykakan Zhamanak. An MP told the paper that
Petrosyan had left his post because President Robert Kocharyan
wanted to redistribute spheres of economic influence amongst the
“oligarchs”. Moreover, Petrosyan is a supporter of parliament chairman
Artur Bagdasaryan, whose pro-French tendency has recently been losing
out to American ideology, opposition MP Mayak Ovanesyan said. The
following is the text of Naira Zograbyan’s report in Armenian newspaper
Aykakan Zhamanak on 10 November headlined “Mystical resignation. The
resignation of the head of the National Security Service remains
a mystery”:

Over the last few days the resignation of the head of the
National Security Service, Karlos Petrosyan, has caused the most
scandal. Certainly it would be frivolous to think that Karlos
Petrosyan himself wrote his retirement application, which is the
official version. Especially since we were talking to him on 27
October and he did not intend to leave his post.

For several days now political circles have been talking about the
reasons for the resignation. The first of the reasons put forward are
numerous stories connected with Karlos Petrosyan’s son. According to
some sources, Robert Kocharyan could not forgive an event that took
place about two years ago, when Petrosyan’s son in a jeep crossed
the cortege that was accompanying Kocharyan. According to the same
source, this story was added to the story of a stolen jeep, driven
by Petrosyan’s son. By the way, they say that this car was put on
international police lists. But these stories ended and if Kocharyan
had decided to retire Karlos Petrosyan because of his son’s impudent
behaviour, he would have done it earlier.

By the way, yesterday [9 November] during a talk with an official the
latter said that recently a group of public and political functionaries
gathered in a private house not far from Yerevan to discuss settling
today’s crisis in Armenia by means of pan-national mutiny. Karlos
Petrosyan knew of this meeting but did not tell Robert Kocharyan
about it.

Anyway, National Assembly Deputy Mayak Ovanesyan said that he is aware
of the only real reason for Karlos Petrosyan’s resignation. “Nobody
takes into account a very important condition: on the post-Soviet
territory Karlos Petrosyan became the only head of security who is a
big oligarch as well and provided protection for the oligarchs and
deputies who deal in wheat and other imports of goods of strategic
significance. Nothing unusual has taken place: simply a redistribution
of spheres of economic influence has occurred. Kocharyan has adopted
a decision to take the economic spheres belonging to Karlos Petrosyan
and redistribute them among other clans. One must not search for other
reasons for his resignation. And very soon you will see that in future
the means of Karlos Petrosyan’s economic group will be redistributed
among other economic circles. Petrosyan’s clan will start retreating
and this will be a forced retreat,” Mayak Ovanesyan is sure.

But why was, let us say, [Defence Minister] Serzh Sarkisyan’s economic
clan better than Karlos Petrosyan’s? And why has Kocharyan decided
to redistribute Petrosyan’s economic spheres just today? Mayak
Ovanesyan has an answer to this question too: “The point is that
Karlos Petrosyan was openly supporting Artur Bagdasaryan [chairman
of the National Assembly]. That is, he was simply giving direction
to the political processes, and if his political role as head of
the National Security Service grew day by day, it could break the
whole political field. Because in countries like Armenia it is one
thing when the defence minister deals in policy and quite another
thing when the national security head is simply giving direction to
political processes. Moreover, one should also take an external world
factor into account. It is known that the Law-Governed Country Party
[Orinats Yerkir] is regarded as a pro-French force, but recently
in our region the question was put in another way: will a general
Western ideology win or specifically an American ideology about which
President Bush has spoken many times? It is evident that recently
American ideology was more influential in our region. For this
reason it is natural that France should decrease its appetite in our
region, and the resignation of Karlos Petrosyan, who is a political
‘protector’ of the French protege, the Law-Governed Country Party,
should be seen in the context of the decrease in France’s appetite,”
Mayak Ovanesyan is sure.

Of course, it would be correct to have just Karlos Petrosyan’s comment
on the numerous reasons for his sudden resignation, but he is refusing
to answer any questions. When talking with us before his resignation,
Karlos Petrosyan said that if somebody can prove that he owns cafes,
territories and other property or sponsors something, he is ready to
go to any notary’s office and give all this to that person as a gift.