‘‘Scandal dies sooner of itself, than we could kill it.”Benjamin Rush
Scandal after scandal, prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and his government lose public trust. When the leader that came to power with promises to not be like the previous authorities makes the same mistakes, the disappointment is real.
One of the recent incidents that caused major drama and gave Pashinyan’s followers yet another reason to start questioning their choice is a video published on multiple news channels on March 10, 2021.
The video shows a document relating to the criminal case of Ruben Hayrapetyan and his son Rafik Hayrapetyan heavily edited by user Anna Vardapetyan.
Anna Vardapetyan, appointed assistant to prime minister only recently, on March 2, is at the center of one of the biggest political scandals since the start of 2021.
Ruben Hayrapetyan’s lawyer Amram Makinyan has reported the case to the National Security Service of Armenia. The lawyer hopes that the NSS will investigate the case properly.
With so much responsibility, it is not surprising that parliament members are severely criticized when they fail.
The Backstory: What did happen?
Ruben Hayrapetyan, a former member of the parliament of Armenia and the former head of the Armenian Football Federation, is accused of arbitrariness and illegally depriving his employee of freedom. Hayrapetyan’s son, Rafik Hayrapetyan is charged with the same crime.
The criminal case against Ruben Hayrapetyan was opened in December 2019. The case accusing Hayrapetyan’s son was filed a few months later, in 2020.
The criminal prosecution of one of the wealthiest businessmen in Armenia that was closely linked to the country’s former authorities didn’t come as a surprise.
Nikol Pashinyan, coming to power through revolution, promised people ‘to establish justice’. Ruben Hayrapetyan, one of the most prominent representatives of the Armenian oligarchy became one of the prime minister’s ‘anti-corruption operation’ targets.
The case seemed to have never come to its logical ending. Moreover, it hadn’t been a topic of discussion until the scandal involving prime minister’s assistant Anna Vardapetyan. But there is an explanation for this too.
Pashinyan is trying to regain his popularity that has taken a hit after the 44-day war with Azerbaijan. As the post-war crisis deepens, the prime minister has gone back to his old tactics. The prime minister feeds the public with claims that the Armenian army lost as it was corrupted for 30 years and was never ready for a war with Azerbaijan and Turkey.
On the background of such claims, the scandalous video received a harsh public reaction and gave the opposition a topic of discussion
Anna Vardapetyan: Caught Up in a Scandal or Crime?
It is not merely a scandal Anna Vardapetyan is allegedly involved in. Interfering with a criminal case, directing the preliminary investigation, and editing a document she shouldn’t have had access to is certainly a crime. The video is a valid reason for the police and the National Security Service to start investigating the case of Vardapetyan’s alleged interference with Hayrapetyans’ case.
According to Ruben Hayrapetyan’s lawyer, the police should have seized Vardapetyan’s and investigator Ayvazyan’s computers. How Artur Ayvazyan and the prime minister’s assistant got in touch should also be investigated.
With a master’s degree in law and once a deputy minister of justice of RA, it seems like Anna Vardapetyan doesn’t care about the seriousness of a crime she is allegedly involved in. Additionally, being the ‘regulator’ of the current government’s repressions is not what any ambitious attorney is aiming for.
While it is not still officially confirmed whether the video is real or fake, it should be noted that the government hasn’t released a statement to clear the air.
Anna Vardapetyan doesn’t want to answer the questions of the media either fueling speculation. Pashinyan’s press secretary Mane Gevorgyan was the only government representative to address the scandal. Gevorgyan, however, only said that she will refrain from commenting on the video while the case is being investigated.