Education Minister Vahram Dumanian was also relieved of his duties on December 12. Media reports suggested that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian thus punished Dumanian and Matevosian for their failure to install a different rector of Brusov State University (BSU) loyal to the government.
Hundreds of BSU students staged a series of demonstrations in Yerevan this fall against government plans to merge BSU with two other state-run universities. The BSU rector, Karine Harutiunian, backed the protests.
Dumanian was replaced by one of his deputies, Zhanna Andreasian, last week.
Pashinian announced his choice of the new deputy prime minister during a session of Armenia’s Security Council. He also said that one of Khachatrian’s deputies, Vahe Hovannisian, will replace him as finance minister.
A 52-year-old technocrat, Khachatrian has held government positions since 1995. He served as deputy minister of finance and economy under former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian.
Speaking in the parliament on December 7, Khachatrian said Pashinian’s government has to “deepen ongoing reforms and overcome considerable difficulties” if it is to maintain robust economic growth in 2023.
The Armenian economy is on course to grow by at least 11 percent this year on the back of soaring trade with and remittances from Russia.