Former President Robert Kocharian has reportedly met with Russia’s President-elect Vladimir Putin in Moscow amid continuing media speculation about his possible return to active politics.
Kocharian’s spokesman, Victor Soghomonian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Monday that “yet another meeting” between the two men took place on March 15. Soghomonian could not specify issues discussed by them or give other details.
Putin’s press office did not confirm or refute the information when contacted by RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Kocharian is known to periodically travel to Moscow in his capacity as a member of the board of directors of the Moscow-based group AFK Sistema that owns Russia’s and Armenia’s largest mobile phone operators. He joined the board as an “independent director” in June 2009, more than a year after completing his second five-year term in office.
The 57-year-old ex-president signaled his desire to return to the political arena last year amid media claims that he is increasingly at odds with his successor and longtime political ally, Serzh Sarkisian. Some commentators in Yerevan have speculated that Kocharian might seek Russian support for his comeback.
Putin served as Russian president in 2000-2008 during Kocharian’s rule in Armenia. The two leaders met regularly during that time.