Official Yerevan on Wednesday criticized Poland’s ambassador to Armenia for claiming that last week’s shooting attack on an opposition presidential candidate reflected an “atmosphere of impunity” in the country.
In an interview with the “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily, the diplomat, Zdzislaw Raczynski, also said that the apparent attempt on Paruyr Hayrikian’s life is casting a shadow on the upcoming presidential election.
“Although such things can happen in any country they were possible here because the atmosphere of impunity has not been eliminated in Armenia,” he said.
In that context, Raczynski recalled the 2008 deadly post-election violence in Yerevan, saying that “nobody was held accountable” for it. “The atmosphere of impunity might have made someone think that they can shoot [Hayrikian,]” he said.
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian described the remarks as diplomatically “not correct.” “The ambassador of any country must know relevant diplomatic rules,” he said during the Armenian government’s question-and-answer session in parliament.
In separate written comments, one of Nalbandian’s deputies, Shavarsh Kocharian, accused Raczynski of overstepping “the bounds of diplomatic ethics.”
The criticism came less than two weeks after a controversy caused by another senior European diplomat in Yerevan, British Ambassador Katherine Leach. Writing on her blog, Leach raised questions about the freedom and fairness of the February 18 presidential election. She seemed to echo some of the opposition concerns regarding the election conduct.
Nalbandian called Leach’s remarks “not correct,” while Education Minister Armen Ashotian, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, said they “cause bewilderment.”
The European Union gave a largely positive assessment of the Armenian government’s handling of parliamentary elections held in May last year. Senior EU officials have said they expect the Armenian presidential ballot to be even more democratic.