Two weeks after being sacked by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, the mother of the influential head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) was appointed on Monday as an assistant to President Armen Sarkissian.
The woman, Margarit Azarian, ran the human resources division in the prime minister’s office until being relieved of her duties on April 2. 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.”
NSS Director Artur Vanetsian insisted on April 4, however, that his mother, who also worked for Armenia’s former presidents, herself decided to resign. He urged media not to politicize the issue.
An executive order signed by Sarkissian and posted on the presidential website did not give details of Azarian’s new job responsibilities. Unlike his predecessors, the current head of state has largely ceremonial powers.
Vanetsian, 38, is widely regarded as an influential member of Pashinian’s entourage. The latter appointed him as NSS director the day after being elected prime minister in May last year. The powerful security service has since launched high-profile corruption investigations into some former senior government officials as well as their relatives and cronies.
Later in 2018 Vanetsian also became the chairman of the Football Federation of Armenia.