Recently president of Russia Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with the former president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan during which he warmly congratulated Kocharyan on latter’s birthday.
The RF President’s phone call coincided with several other events worth paying attention.
First of all, Russian agency Sputnik published an extensive interview with Robert Kocharyan during that same period. In this interview, the second president again announced his return to politics, as well as his participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections, mentioning that he is going to become “the center of the opposition pole”.
In this context, the format of Putin’s congratulation is important to be noted: it was not a private, friendly goodwill, but a formal phone call. By the way, last time Putin congratulated Kocharyan 11 years ago, in 2007.
Currently, when Kocharyan is charged with committing a grave crime that is overthrowing the constitutional order, this way Moscow not only shows its disagreement with the newly elected government, but also in some way puts pressure on an independent judicial system.
The statement of the RF Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made on July 31, 2018 is also worth to be mentioned. The latter expressed his dissatisfaction with the charges against Yuri Khachaturov, underlining that the announcements of the Armenian authorities that no political persecutions would be pursued against the previous authorities in fact contradict with their actions. By the way, official Yerevan responded to Lavrov through the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of Armenia.
Moreover, on Kocharyan’s birthday information was reported related to the former Defense Minister Michael Harutyunyan. It was revealed that the Russian law-enforcement officers rejected the request sent by the Armenian law-enforcement agencies regarding Harutyunyan’s extradition. Harutyunyan’s Russian citizenship since 2002 was brought up as an argument.
Thus, Harutyunyan, being a citizen of another country, held the positions of the Chief of the General Staff of the Republic of Armenia and then that of the Defense Minister. This is a violation of the Constitution and the Legislation of Armenia. Furthermore, after a while the Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia announced that no extradition request was sent to the Russian side.
This way Moscow in fact provides public support to Kocharyan both in the forthcoming case examined by the RA Court of Cassation and the extraordinary parliamentary elections in spring.