By Astghik Bedevian
About three dozen young men gathered near the Armenian Foreign Ministry building on Friday to denounce the recent killings of ethnic Armenians in Russia and call for Yerevan’s official response to what they believe to be crimes committed on ethnic grounds.
They said their previous protest actions near the Russian Embassy in Yerevan were followed by more murders of ethnic Armenians in Russia with clearly ethnic motives that they said had been covered up by Russian law officials as hooligan actions.
This time around the young activists addressed their appeal to Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian.
“The Year of Armenia in Russia is being accompanied with brutal murders of young Armenians,” a letter addressed to Oskanian reads. “We are full of grief and anger with the criminal inaction under the pretext of the so-called complementary policy.”
The letter was originally signed by nine activists. About 200 passers-by also joined in the demand by putting their signatures to the appeal.
One of the activists, Izabela Sarkisian, cited statistics according to which some 3,000 Armenians have been murdered in Russia in the past ten years. “All those murdered are qualified as hooliganism and not as murders on racist grounds. We call for Armenia’s clear stance on this matter,” she told RFE/RL. “We believe that under the constitution the Republic of Armenia has the obligation to take care of its every citizen and do everything for our compatriots to feel more secure in foreign countries.”
Head of the Ministry’s Russia Division Marina Balayan accepted the letter from the protestors and promised them to forward it to Minister Oskanian.