Murder In Gyumri Aggravated Tension

MURDER IN GYUMRI AGGRAVATED TENSION

WPS Agency, Russia
January 20, 2015 Tuesday

BYLINE: Alexei Gorbachev
Source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, No 8, January 20, 2015, p. 3

RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES SHOULD HAVE RESPONED AT ONCE TO STREET PROTESTS
IN ARMENIA; Expert: Russia is too arrogant when it talks to its
foreign allies.

Russian Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin went to
Armenia to investigate the murder of an Armenian family in Gyumri by
Russian soldier Valery Permyakov. Presidents Vladimir Putin and Serj
Sargsjan had discussed the tragedy and its effect on the relations
between the two countries over the phone.

The murder in Gyumri was committed on January 12. Following that,
Permyakov tried to escape into Turkey. He was caught at the border
and returned to the Russian military base. He is to be tried as a
deserter, a nuance that enables Russia to deny Armenia its requests
that Permyakov be given over to the Armenian court. When the news that
Permyakov was returned to the Russian base became public knowledge,
mass street protests began in Gyumri and Yerevan.

Putin phoned his Armenian counterpart Sargsjan with condolences. The
president assured his colleague that the investigation would be swift
and thorough and that the guilty would be prosecuted. Putin also said
that Russian doctors were ready to try and save the only survivor
Serj Avetisjan, barely six month old. (Serj died yesterday despite
their efforts.)

The Russian Defense Ministry dispatched its own delegation to
Armenia.. to apologize for the crime in person and assist with the
investigation.

The Gyumri murder sparked mass protests in Armenia. The police
dispersed them with unusual brutality… enabling local experts to
comment that the authorities of Armenia were tied to the Kremlin’s
chariot. Sources claim that protests took place even in Gyumri itself,
always a fairly pro-Russian town.

Armenian human rights activists maintain that a good deal of crimes
in Gyumri were committed by the personnel of the Russian military base.

“That’s because the Armenian authorities do not control the base. The
impression is that its personnel are a law onto themselves. We know
for a fact that armed Russian servicemen participated in operational
investigative activities in Gyumri. How come armed personnel of a
foreign military base on the territory of Armenia function beyond
their own compound?” human rights activist Arthur Sakunts said.

Experts point out that Russia’s allies cannot help being wary. “It
all is a corollary of Russia’s foreign policy and manners,” said
Konstantin Kalachev of the Political Expert Group. “It is not
just absorption of the Crimea I’m talking about. Russia is all too
frequently arrogant when talking to its allies. It neglects to consider
their interests. Russia’s allies cannot help being offended.

Nobody wants to be back in the USSR anymore. It is equality and mutual
respect that everyone aspires to.”

In a word, Russia responded to the tragedy only when its echo affected
the pro-Russian regime in Yerevan.

Kalachev said, “Official Moscow should have expressed condolences right
away… By and large, the Kremlin is overly focused on propagandistic
aspect of establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union… and not on
economic expediency.”

[Translated from Russian]

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