By Emil Danielyan
Russian military prosecutors have opened criminal proceedings against the former commander of Russia’s border troops stationed in Armenia on suspicion of embezzlement of state funds.
Itar-Tass news agency quoted Chief Military Prosecutor Aleksandr Savenkov as saying in Moscow on Wednesday that Lieutenant-General Vyacheslav Aboimov has been charged with “illegally transferring” more than 3 million Russian rubles ($100,000) to the bank account of an unnamed private firm. He would not say whether that firm is based in Armenia or Russia. Other details of the case were also not reported.
Russia’s Federal Security Service, the former KGB which controls the border guards, cited no motives when it announced Aboimov’s replacement by Major-General Sergei Bondarev in July.
Incidentally, the move was followed by the sacking of Major-General Levon Stepanian, the commander of Armenian border troops that guard Armenia’s frontier with Iran and Turkey jointly with the Russians. Stepanian was fired on July 29, just days after the arrest of his deputy, Colonel Vahan Mkhitarian, on charges of “large-scale bribery.” Mkhitarian was subsequently released from detention pending the investigation conducted by Armenian law-enforcement authorities.
A scandal also broke out at the Russian army base in Armenia. Its commander, Major-General Aleksandr Titov, was dismissed on August 2 by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov for neglect which led to theft of military property. The sacking was reportedly connected to the shooting of two Armenians that tried to enter the base’s headquarters in Gyumri.