Posted on June. 7. 2024

Open letter of democratic forces of Republic of Armenia and Diaspora on Dictators threatening democracy in Armenia 

US Embassy to Armenia expresses its condolences to Armenia and Armenian people in connection with disaster 


Armenia’s ruling Civil Contract party on Thursday distanced itself from one of its influential parliamentarians who voiced apparent death threats against opposition figures and other individuals trying to topple Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. 

The wealthy lawmaker, Khachatur Sukiasian, said on Wednesday that they risk losing their freedom, assets and even lives. He lambasted not only oppositionists but also “many other Armenian citizens” who he claimed “serve other states.” 

“Mr. Sukiasian’s position expressed in an oral speech does not reflect the position of Civil Contract and its parliamentary group,” said the group’s secretary, Artur Hovannisian. 

Hovannisian, who himself threatened last year to “cut the tongues and ears” of the Armenian government’s detractors, insisted that the party led by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian is “guided exclusively in a democratic way.” 

The main opposition Hayastan bloc was unconvinced by these assurances. The bloc’s parliamentary leader, Seyran Ohanian, indicated that it will likely lodge a formal complaint with law-enforcement authorities. He said Sukiasian’s remarks “contained elements” corresponding to some articles of the Armenian Criminal Code. 

“I assume that Khachatur Sukiasian spoke on behalf of the authorities,” said Hayk Mamijanian, who leads the parliamentary group of another opposition bloc, Pativ Unem. “If not, they will act through oligarchic gangs and the like. No problem, we are not afraid of anything.” 

Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that it has not launched a formal inquiry into Sukiasian’s threats. Law-enforcement authorities have been quick to prosecute some critics of Pashinian for spreading “hate speech.” 

Sukiasian’s threats came as an opposition-backed movement led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian of the Armenian Apostolic Church geared up for renewed antigovernment demonstrations in Yerevan. Galstanian demanded that prosecutors investigate not only the threats but also Sukiasian’s claims that Pashinian’s foes work for foreign intelligence services. 

Sukiasian, 62, has held parliament seats under the current and former governments. Since Pashinian came to power in 2018, the tycoon and his extended family have significantly expanded their business interests not least because of lucrative government contracts controversially won by their firms.

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