President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday appointed Armen Gevorgian, a former top aide to his predecessor Robert Kocharian, as secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council.
The appointment was announced less than two years after Gevorgian resigned as Armenia’s deputy prime minister and minister for local government, positions which he had held since 2008.
Gevorgian, 42, first joined the government in 1997 as an assistant to then Prime Minister Kocharian. He became Kocharian’s reputedly most trusted confidante in the following years. Gevorgian served as chief of the presidential staff from 2006-2008 and was promoted to the post of deputy prime minister after Kocharian handed over power to Sarkisian.
The vice-premier’s resignation in October 2014 was linked by some commentators to Kocharian’s deepening rift with Sarkisian.
The ex-president increasingly criticized his successor’s track record, fueling suggestions that he might return to active politics through the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) of Gagik Tsarukian, a wealthy businessman close to him. The BHK stopped challenging the government after Tsarukian retired from politics under strong government pressure in March 2015.
Introducing Gevorgian to the National Security Council staff, Sarkisian said that he is experienced enough to be able to coordinate the work of the presidential body comprising Armenia’s top defense and law-enforcement officials. “I have known him for almost 20 years and … I don’t remember a single case where he had trouble performing his duties,” the president said.
The post of National Security Council secretary had been vacant since the resignation of its previous holder, Artur Baghdasarian, two years ago. Baghdasarian stepped down after his Orinats Yerkir party decided to withdraw from Sarkisian’s coalition government.