By Hovannes Shoghikian
Police in Yerevan pledged on Thursday to launch an investigation into the dissemination of leaflets accusing concrete professors and lecturers of state-run universities of corruption.
Walls and bus stop stands in several locations in the city center were plastered with photographs and names of more than a dozen allegedly corrupt academics on Wednesday morning. The leaflets were reportedly posted by activists of the pro-government youth organization Miasin (Together).
The police, which react harshly to similar actions by opposition groups, have not questioned any of those activists so far. This fact prompted speculation that they were instructed not to stop the leaflet distribution.
But Major-General Nerses Nazarian, chief of the Yerevan police, brushed aside such suggestions. “We can not support or participate in such actions,” he said. “We certainly do not agree with that view. If people have any evidence [of corruption] they can apply to the police.”
Nazarian argued that the police can not investigate the legality of the Miasin action without receiving a written complaint from individuals or organizations targeted by the youth group supporting President Serzh Sarkisian. “I am told that Yerevan State University is preparing to lodge a formal complaint,” he told a news conference. “The police will certainly deal with that fact.”
In a related development, the Armenian Foreign Ministry condemned Miasin for putting one of its employees, Hrachya Poladian, on the black list of academics who allegedly accept kickbacks from students. A ministry statement said Poladian currently works at the Armenian embassy in Egypt and has never taught at Yerevan State Unviersity despite Miasin’s claims to the contrary. It demanded that the organization publicly apologize for “slandering” the diplomat.