The head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS), Artur Vanetsian, urged media on Thursday not to politicize the dismissal of his mother who has held a senior position in Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s office.
Margarit Azarian ran the office’s human resources division until being relieved of her duties on Tuesday.
Pashinian also sacked several other senior members of his staff. His press secretary, Vladimir Karapetian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the officials lost their jobs because of “inadequate execution of the prime minister’s orders.”
Vanetsian insisted, however, that Azarian, who also worked for Armenia’s former presidents, herself decided to resign. He cited an official statement posted on the prime minister’s website.
“But I don’t want to discuss that because the prime minister’s decisions must be executed, not discussed,” he told reporters.
“Please do not personalize this process,” Vanetsian went on. “My mother worked in the state system for a very long time, even when I was a schoolboy. My mother continued to work in the state system when I was appointed as director of the National Security Service.”
“So please do not link my and mother’s work with each other,” he said.
Vanetsian has been widely regarded as an influential member of Pashinian’s entourage since the latter was elected prime minister in May last year. He has been instrumental in high-profile corruption investigations launched by the NSS in recent months.