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Armenian Governor Replaced By Son


Armenia - Sedrak Tevonian is appointed as governor of Ararat province during a government meeting in Yerevan, January 13, 2022.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has sacked an Armenian provincial governor and replaced him by his 31-year-old son.

Razmik Tevonian, a 60-year-old businessman, was relieved of his duties on Thursday just over a year after being appointed as governor of southern Ararat province. Armenian media outlets had for months speculated about his impending dismissal.

Pashinian gave no reason for the sacking announced during a cabinet meeting in Yerevan. Nor did he explain why he decided to name Tevonian’s son Sedrak as Ararat’s new governor.

Sedrak Tevonian insisted on Friday that the Armenian government is not unhappy with his father’s track record. He said the latter simply wanted to return to the private sector and again run a winery belonging to their family.

Tevonian Jr. also said that there is nothing wrong with replacing a senior official by their son.

“Of course it’s normal,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “I see no problem. This is what was decided and I’m ready to serve my country.”

Most people randomly interviewed in the streets of the provincial capital Artashat disagreed.

“It’s a hereditary transition,” said one woman. “Obviously, everybody is against that.”

“We are going backwards, not forward,” opined another local resident.

There were also those who had no problem with Pashinian’s choice of their new governor. “We live in the 21st century. Let’s be a bit progressive,” said one Artashat man.

Nina Karapetiants, a Yerevan-based civic activist, had a very different idea of progress. She said Pashinian made mockery of his stated commitment to democracy and good governance.

“This is characteristic of dictatorial regimes, primordial or feudal times,” Karapetian said of Sedrak Tevonian’s appointment. “This is not normal for the civilized world.”

Tevonian Jr. was until now a member of the Armenian parliament representing the ruling Civil Contract party. He is not known to have ever delivered a speech on the parliament floor.

The new governor claimed that he kept a very low profile in the National Assembly because he is a “man of action.” However, he was reluctant to talk about his first actions in the new capacity. He only admitted planning to hang a picture of Pashinian in his office.

Tevonian also joked that his 8-year-old son too could become Ararat’s governor “in 20 years from now.”

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