Who killed Artur Mkrtchyan?

Who killed Artur Mkrtchyan?

At the end of the last month, the Special Investigative Service of Armenia accused former President Robert Kocharian of overthrowing the constitutional order within the criminal case related to a crackdown on antigovernment protesters on March 1, 2008. While he was placed into custody, observers recall what Kocharyan had done or could have done while he was president of Armenia and the self-proclaimed NKR. One of these dark, steeped in secrecy stories is the murder of the Chairman of the Supreme Council Artur Mkrtchyan.

Expert at the Civilitas Foundation Tatul Hakobyan recalls in his book 'The Karabakh Diary: Green and Black', published in 2008, that on December 28, 1991, the Dashnaktsutiun party won the parliamentary election in the unrecognized 'NKR', with which the Pan-Armenian National Movement, which was the ruling party in Armenia back then, and the first president of Armenia Levan Ter-Petrosyan had serious disagreements. Prior to August 1992, a de facto dual authority existed in the unrecognized 'NKR' - the Presidium of the Supreme Council was predominantly composed of Dashnaks, and executive power was exercised by those who collaborated with Yerevan, according to Ter-Petrosyan - "the local network of the Pan-Armenian National Movement" (Robert Kocharyan, Serge Sargsyan).

Early in January 1992, at the sitting of the "NKR parliament" the 32-year-old candidate of historical sciences Artur Mkrtchyan, who finished his graduate studies in the Moscow Institute of Local History and Ethnography, was elected chairman of the Supreme Council. It came as a surprise to many. But Mkrtchyan served in this office for only 97 days - a bullet in his temple put an end to his political career and his whole life. According to the official version, Mkrtchyan was killed by his wife out of jealousy.

In Yerevan, Mkrtchyan's death was regarded as a "murderous murder", "the aim of which is to weaken the people who embarked on the path of the national liberation struggle." And soon the experts started talking about the fact that individual acts of terrorism became a method to deal with problems both in the 'NKR' and in Armenia. The murder of Arthur Mkrtchyan was never solved.

They said that Robert Kocharyan could be responsible for the massacre, who soon assumed the position as head of the State Defense Committee of the NKR, and then the president. Critics of this point of view argue that in the 1990s  real power in the 'NKR' lied in the hands of the commander of the Defense Army Samvel Babayan, while Kocharian's presidency was only a political sign of the dictatorship. The leading role of the army in the unrecognized 'NKR' contributed to the rise of the general, and soon Babayan started to play an increasing role in the political life of both 'NKR' and Armenia.

In any case, according to observers, Kocharyan was never held in great affection in Karabakh, and even if he was not Babayan's puppet, he owed his posts in the occupied territories thanks to Mkrtchyan's killing.