By Emil Danielyan
President Robert Kocharian on Friday officially appointed Lieutenant-General Seyran Ohanian, commander of Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian army, as the new chief of staff of Armenia’s Armed Forces.
The top military position has been vacant since its previous longtime holder, Colonel-General Mikael Harutiunian, was named defense minister by Kocharian on April 24. Harutiunian in turn replaced Serzh Sarkisian, Armenia’s recently appointed prime minister.
Ohanian’s appointment became a forgone conclusion on May 12 when the 44-year-old general confirmed reports that he has been offered to take over the Armenian army’s General Staff and has accepted the promotion.
Ohanian, who also automatically became Armenia’s first deputy defense minister, is a career officer who served in the Soviet military before joining Karabakh’s newly formed army and playing a major role in its successful 1991-1994 war against Azerbaijan. He was seriously wounded in action in 1992 and had one of his legs amputated as a result.
Also on Friday, Ohanian was formally replaced as Karabakh army commander by one of his deputies and another prominent war veteran, Major-General Movses Hakobian. A relevant decree was signed by Arkady Ghukasian, president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.