The mayor of a village near Yerevan affiliated with the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) was shot and killed by an unknown gunman on Tuesday.
Hrach Muradian, who has governed the village of Proshian since 2005, was found dead outside his office early in the morning. Muradian, 50, had a single gunshot wound to his head. Nobody was immediately arrested in connection with the shooting.
Dashnaktsutyun, which is one of Armenia’s main opposition parties, swiftly condemned the murder and linked it with Muradian’s work as Proshian mayor. It described him as an “exemplary leader” who was loved and respected by fellow villagers.
“That caused the overt discontent of some people,” read a statement issued by Dashnaktsutyun’s governing body in Armenia. “Throughout his tenure there were constant attempts to create tension around him. Numerous threats and intimidations ultimately led to this end.”
The statement did not specify the source of the alleged threats or give other details. It only demanded that law-enforcement authorities solve the crime “rapidly and fully.”
The Armenian police launched a criminal investigation immediately after the killing. No arrests were reported in the following hours.
“A criminal case has been opened and we have ordered a number of forensic tests to determine the causes of Muradian’s death and other important circumstances of the case,” Arsen Sargsian, a senior police official, told reporters in Proshian. He refused to speculate on possible causes of the crime.
Some Proshian residents interviewed by RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) insisted that Muradian, who is a decorated veteran of the 1991-1994 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, had no known enemies. “He was a great person. He had no enemies,” said one of them. “The people loved and respected him, and he did a good job,” said another local man.
Muradian’s deputy, Vova Sahakian, refused to answer questions when asked for comment.