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Former Security Chief Gets New Post


Armenia - Argishti Kyaramian, the newly appointed head of Armenia's Investigative Committee, July 12, 2021.

A 30-year-old official who was sacked as head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) during last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh was named on Monday to run another law-enforcement agency.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian announced Argishti Kyaramian’s appointment to the top position in the Investigative Committee during a cabinet meeting in Yerevan. Pashinian praised the track record of the committee’s previous head, Hayk Grigorian, but did not give a clear reason for the decision to replace him.

Kyaramian took up his fifth senior state post during Pashinian’s rule. He worked in the Office of the Prosecutor General and the State Revenue Committee before becoming the acting head of an anti-corruption government body in 2019.

In June 2020, Pashinian appointed Kyaramian as director of the NSS despite the fact that he had never worked in Armenia’s most powerful security service. He was fired four months later, less than two weeks after the outbreak of the war with Azerbaijan. No official reason was given for his sacking.

Pashinian solidified Kyaramian’s reputation as one of his trusted lieutenants when he appointed the latter as deputy chief of the Investigative Committee last December.

Opposition figures and other critics of the government claim that Kyaramian’s main mission over the past year has been to oversee politically charged criminal investigations.

Nina Karapetiants, a civil rights activist, complained that ever since coming to power in 2018 Pashinian has rarely explained frequent personnel changes made by him.

“How can they give this job to someone who was sacked as NSS director during the war without an explanation?” she asked. “Is this latest appointment a reward or punishment? Is Mr. Kyaramian irreplaceable or what? The public deserves to know who was fired for what.”

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