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Hovannisian Heads To Moscow


Armenia -- Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian (C) and his supporters march to a memorial using an avenue where the presidential palace is also located, Yerevan, 09Apr2013

Armenia -- Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian (C) and his supporters march to a memorial using an avenue where the presidential palace is also located, Yerevan, 09Apr2013

Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian flew to Moscow on Thursday on what a spokesman for his Zharangutyun (Heritage) party called a “private visit” that might involve meetings with Russian officials.

“He left on a one-day private visit,” Hovsep Khurshudian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I will refrain from giving other details for now.”

Khurshudian did not rule out the possibility of Hovannisian’s meetings with Russian officials. Asked whether the trip is related to the post-election developments in Armenia, he said, “No comment.”

Tevan Poghosian, a parliament deputy representing Zharangutyun, suggested that the trip was agreed with the Russian side beforehand. “Naturally there were tentative discussions or agreements,” Poghosian said, expressing hope that Hovannisian will reach “agreements favorable to Armenia” in Moscow. He did not elaborate.

Hovannisian, who was the main opposition candidate in the February 18 presidential election, announced his intention to travel to the Russian capital at his most recent rally held in Yerevan on Tuesday. He said he plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and “take the victory of the Armenian people to the Kremlin.”

During his post-election rallies the U.S.-born Zharangutyun leader repeatedly condemned Putin as well as U.S. President Barack Obama and European leaders for recognizing the legitimacy of President Serzh Sarkisian’s reelection. He claims that he was the real winner of the election.

Hovannisian met with Russia’s outgoing ambassador to Armenia, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, in Yerevan one week after the ballot.
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