Seyran Ohanyan's statements indicate absolute irresponsibility and impunity
When senior officials of the Defense Ministry – the Deputy Defense Minister, the head of the department for logistical support Alik Mirzabekyan, the head of the intelligence department of the Armenian Armed Forces' General Staff, Major-General Arshak Karapetyan, and the head of the signal corps Major General Komitas Muradyan were dismissed from their posts, the public expected that they would be brought to justice. After these dismissals, people also hoped that the April hostilities had sobered the leadership of the country, that there would be other dismissals, at least of those officials who, while in power, acquired property worth millions of dollars, when the army, as it turned out during the last war, is in need of many things. In fact, the authorities did not come to their senses. On the contrary – the Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan tried to sober the public: according to information that appeared in the media, during a closed discussion in the National Assembly, answering a question about the property of officers, generals and the minister himself, he stated that the rumors regarding him are complete disinformation, and as for the generals, they did not acquire this property at the expense of the army or the state budget, they have established their businesses over the years, he claimed.
"Seyran Ohanyan lies when he states that the private property of high-ranking officers bears no relation to the defense budget. Money doesn't fall from the sky. There is no need to put yourself in an awkward situation in order to cover corruption," the head of the Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Civil Assembly, Artur Sakunts, noted in an interview to the "Aravot" newspaper. Such confidence, according to Sakunts, indicates that there will be no criminal cases or investigations: "It is sad to hear such words from the Defense Minister, he knows perfectly what human losses have the troops have suffered because of unpunished corruption crimes. The Minister perhaps does not consider the promotion of bad officers in the ranks and the fact that they create and develop their own businesses through abuse of office to be corruption. He forgets that there are many criminal cases concerning financial (salaries, allowances, procurement) and material (fuel, equipment, ammunition) misappropriations, and the fact that only direct executors were found guilty, not high-ranking officers, who gave such orders.
In an interview to us, a member of the "Heritage" party, Anahit Bakhshyan, expressed the opinion that not only dismissed senior officials, but also many others responsible for weapons and the rear have acquired property at the expense of the army: "Seyran Ohanyan says that they have their own businesses, but these businesses were created at the expense of the army. They abused all the power that they had – a dugout collapsed, two soldiers died, could they build it better? How can you know this painful truth and say that the generals havn't acquired their property at the expense of the army? Personally, I viewed Seyran Ohanyan as a military man, disciplined, but he lost my respect after I saw what our army needs – the entire nation wants to make sure that soldiers are not soaking in the rain, that they have normal footwear, night vision devices. Seyran Ohanyan is responsible for all of that."
The Defense Minister also stated that dismissed officials will not be brought to justice, because their activities were not criminal acts: "The fact that no criminal cases were initiated indicates that all of them are parts of the same chain, and a criminal case can reveal a lot. Although, who will reveal it, Serzh Sargsyan? He appoints all of them, so he is responsible, and for the dugout, too," Bakhshyan notes. She reminded about the statement made by the Armenian President in the Public Council: "I'm not a weak-willed person", "We can't throw the country into 1937." "Yesterday, the President wanted to assure that we have everything, that we only need unity. I was surprised that by that, the President meant the need to go to the people with calls for unity. Come to the people, Mr. President, see what they will say! We know what we have – authority which is cut off from the people. They know nothing about what people think. As long as the words of Serzh Sargsyan do not coincide with his actions, as long as Seyran Ohanyan and the General Staff with the government are cut off from the people, it generates hatred, it will bring nothing good, our state will suffer. We do not trust these authorities, and we do not know what will happen tomorrow."
Artur Sakunts, speaking about the statements of Seyran Ohanyan, noted that such assessments indicate absolute irresponsibility and impunity. According to Sakunts, the only strange and obvious fact is that even in the context of a four-day war, this irresponsibility and impunity revealed all the cynicism, which is unacceptable for many: They apply their materialistic philosophy to the citizens of the state, illegally taken by them. Such statements make it clear to the public that these authorities are not ready for hardships or significant investments to withstand external challenges and lay all the responsibility on the shoulders of citizens, brought to poverty by them. This attitude indicates that the government headed by Serzh Sargsyan has not come to its senses and will not. For these authorities, human deprivation, casualties and death don't cost a penny – both during war and during peaceful times."