By Ruzanna Stepanian
The leader of a small pro-establishment party, which used to be sponsored by Ara Abrahamian but is now at loggerheads with him, claimed on Friday that the influential Russian-Armenian tycoon may have been behind his alleged beating.
Harutiun Arakelian of the Ramkavar Azatakan Party of Armenia (HRAK) said he was ambushed and beaten up by two unknown men outside his office in central Yerevan on Thursday. The attackers fled the scene after prompting an outcry from passers-by, according to him.
Police said they are investigating the allegations and could open a criminal case.
The reported incident followed a bitter war of words between the HRAK and Abrahamian, an Armenian-born Russian businessman who sponsored the party’s unsuccessful participation in the last parliamentary election. The row was in turn sparked by the HRAK’s decision last month to pull out of Abrahamian’s Moscow-based World Congress of Armenians. The Kremlin-connected tycoon publicly shrugged off the move, claiming that he does not know who leads the party loyal to President Robert Kocharian.
Asked by RFE/RL whether he believes Abrahamian ordered the alleged assault, Arakelian said, “I don’t want to rule out anything. But I don’t want to accuse anyone either.” He argued that he lacks evidence to directly implicate anyone.
(Photolur photo: Ara Abrahamian.)