Dashnaktsutyun Urges Sargsyan To Oversee Investigation Of High-Profi


ANALYSIS | 30.10.13 | 10:49


ArmeniaNow reporter

Against the background of speculations about the “weakened” opposition
stance of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, Dashnaktsutyun),
the traditional party on Tuesday staged a protest march towards
the Presidential Palace in Yerevan demanding that President Serzh
Sargsyan oversee the investigation of the high-profile murder of a
Dashnak member.

Hrach Muradyan, mayor of Proshyan, a large rural community just outside
Yerevan, was killed on April 2. Resident of the same village Arayik
Petrosyan was arrested as a suspect. He was charged with murder
and illegal carrying of weapons. Petrosyan did not confess to the
crime and denies the charges. The family and relatives of Muradyan
believe that those who ordered what they consider to be a political
assassination have not been revealed.

Dashnaktsutyun, too, considers Muradyan’s killing to be politically
motivated. In a letter addressed to President Sargsyan members of the
social movement “Hrach Muradyan – Demand For Justice” remind that in
2010 the Dashnaktsutyun-affiliated village mayor survived a murder
attempt, and two years later he was attacked by hooligans. Neither
crime was solved, which led to the murder of the village mayor,
they emphasized.

“After the murder, during the 2013 village mayor elections,
certain circles of the authorities demonstrated excessive activity:
army, administrative and financial leverages were used, and a
cause-and-effect link was established between the elimination of
Dashnak village mayor Hrach Muradyan and coming to power of some
people. There is an opinion that today the same forces impede the
disclosure of the case. Respected Mr. President, we demand that you
take the case under your personal control to ensure a complete and
thorough investigation,” the letter reads.

A member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia won the early
mayoral election in Proshyan in July, but the letter does not directly
name him. No specific names were given during the march either. The
demand was mainly for justice through the disclosure of the crime.

Dashnaktsutyun, which left the governing coalition in 2009 over its
differences with coalition partners regarding the Armenian-Turkish
rapprochement process, has been criticized in the recent period over
a perceived move closer to the government as one of the senior members
of the party has accepted the offer of an ambassadorial position.

Although ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovhannisyan told media that he
had agreed to become an ambassador “for the sake of the Republic of
Armenia” and that “cooperating does not mean becoming the same”, his
decision triggered speculation that the party is starting a “velvet”
return to the ruling coalition. Interestingly, during the protests
against the Turkish-Armenian protocols Dashnaktsutyun demanded the
resignation of Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, and now one of
the most influential members of the party has agreed to take a post
where Nalbandian will be his immediate supervisor.

In recent years the Dashnaktsutyun party has appeared from opposition
positions, and in 2011 it even proposed a vote of no confidence in
the Government. Dashnaktsutyun lawmakers have been critical of the
government’s handling of the economy, and after the latest elections
the party called into question their legitimacy. But in the most recent
period it has become noticeable that Dashnaktsutyun has moderated its
rhetoric in the National Assembly, moreover, it effectively called
acceptable the decision by the president that Armenia should join
the Russia-led Customs Union.

Although Dashnaktsutyun members continue to say that they have no
plans to return to the ruling coalition, the latest steps provide a
solid foundation for many observers to assume the opposite.


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