A U.S.-educated senior aide to President Serzh Sarkisian was formally appointed as the new chief of his staff on Monday.
Vigen Sarkisian, 36, took over the presidential administration more than one month after the resignation of his predecessor Karen Karapetian.
Sarkisian’s office said on September 9 that Karapetian was relieved of his duties “at his own request.” The reason for that move remains unknown.
Karapetian, whose brother Samvel is one of Russia’s wealthiest Armenians, was the parliamentary leader of Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) before being appointed as chief of the staff in September 2008. Analysts believe that he was never as influential as his deputy Mikael Minasian, Sarkisian’s son-in-law and reputedly closest confidante.
In a statement, the presidential press service said Vigen Sargsian was introduced to the staff by the president immediately after his appointment. The latter was cited as expressing confidence that he will do his new job “with success.”
Sargsian, who already served as acting chief of the staff before the appointment, was a foreign policy adviser to former parliament speaker Babken Ararktsian before studying at and graduating from the U.S. Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 2000.
From 2000-2003 he worked as an assistant to then Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian. He then worked for President Robert Kocharian in the same capacity and stayed on in the presidential administration after the latter handed over power to Sarkisian in April 2008. Foreign policy and national security has since been Vigen Sargsian’s key area of responsibility.
Sargsian has also taught international relations and public administration at the American University of Armenia since 2001.