Former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian denounced on Wednesday what he called a smear campaign waged against him and other leaders of a new opposition electoral alliance.
Ohanian said he is undaunted by media claims that he could be prosecuted on corruption charges.
“I am generally not concerned about anything because I believe that my service to my country and homeland was fair and that if there were any problems they would have emerged earlier,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
“I’m not afraid of any development and think that these are mere speculations,” he said. “The media field is now awash with various claims whose main target is me.”
Ohanian claimed that he is targeted because the opposition bloc headed by him and former Foreign Ministers Vartan Oskanian and Raffi Hovannisian is “the only force beyond the control” of the Armenian authorities.
Asked whether he thinks the authorities could launch criminal proceedings against him, the retired army general said: “It’s their problem, let them think.” He also made clear that he and his allies will not drop out of the unfolding parliamentary race.
Ohanian was sacked in October after more than eight years in office. Shortly afterwards he began criticizing the Armenian government and announced his intention to participate in the April 2 elections. His alliance with Oskanian and Hovannisian was formally established last week.
Meeting with the Armenian army’s top brass on Monday, President Serzh Sarkisian warned against “inter-party discussions” in the army ranks in the run-up to the elections. “Furthermore, I am warning all of you that such attempts would simply be punished,” he said.
Some observers have suggested that the warning was addressed to army officers sympathetic to Ohanian. The former minister would not say whether he agrees with this speculation. “You can ask Serzh Sarkisian,” he said.