The Son of the General/Parliamentary Deputy Cannot be Punished

After being beaten and horribly tortured in Etchmiadzin on March 13th, 23 year-old Sepuh Karapetyan died. His only ‘crime’ was that he dared to defend one of the neighborhood girls from the person who had been bullying her around. That person was Zarzand Saroyan, the son of Seyran Saroyan who is an Army General and a member of the National Assembly.
There are two big criminals in Ejmiadzin, and everybody knows them by name: Manvel Grigoryan and Seyran Saroyan. The extract above is from this Hetq article. At the moment there is lots of speculation about punishment for Manvel Grigoryan, for supporting Levon Ter-Petrossian. This will definately be a politically motivated development, however, I can’t say I’m sorry for having one criminal less among senior positions in the Armenian military. Questions remain however, why is it, that only Levon Ter-Petrossian supporters are being punished (criminal or not), while many other criminals are enjoying their freedom and terrorising fellow Armenians. Another great example is the son of Gyumri mayor, who took part in the famous drive-by shootout in Gyumri last Spring, was put in jail, but was promptly released after the Presidential elections, apparently due to the great “services” of the mayor to the Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan during the elections.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Seyran Saroyan and his clan were also one of those that reportedly decided to back Ter-Petrossian. No doubt the former president will still maintain that they were heroes and great men for the nation.

    2008-02-22 17:49:00 Seven deputies of Armenian parliament went over to Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s side
    ArmInfo. The owner of “Vedi-Alco” company, deputy of the National Assembly Manvel Kazaryan made a speech at the lasting many thousand strong rally at Liberty Square. As ArmInfo correspondent reports from the square, Kazaryan said that six deputies of Armenian parliament: Seyran Saroyan, Hrant Grigoryan, Tigran Stepanyan, Armen Mkhitaryan and Rostom Gasparyan went over to Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s side.

    For those of us who despair about the situation in the country, whether with Ter-Petrossian or Kocharian and Serge Sargsyan, they are still the same. It’s also why we neither support Serge or Ter-Petrossian.
    However, I notice that before the parliamentary election, Impeachment (effectively the preparatory bloc for Levon’s return) attacked Seyran Saroyan constantly. Afterwards I hear none of it although I am glad Hetq put aside its sympathies to cover the story.
    But I get your point. If these guys — Grigorian and Saroyian — hasn’t have sided with Levon, they’d continue in their terrorization of Etchmiadzin unchecked. On the other hand, they served the present authorities loyally until now so they won’t be charged with anything.
    They’ll probably merely resign and carry on until the new powers in town or someone affected by their reign catches up with them. I suppose that’s something Ter-Petrossian did give us. Had they not sided with him.

  2. Yesterday it turned out that 7 war participants MPs had joined Ter-Petrosyan’s movement was well (RPA faction member Manvel Ghazaryan (the chairman of Vedi Alco), Hrant Grigoryan (general Manvel Grigoryan’s cousin), Seyran Saroyan, Armen Mkhitaryan, members of PA faction Karo Karapetyan, Tigran Stepanyan and independent deputy Rustam Gasparyan). Manvel Ghazaryan announced this information in the square and read the statement signed by those MPs.

  3. […] The Armenian Observer comments on speculation about the future of deputy defense minister Manvel Grigorian and asks if punishment is handed out only to those former officials who backed the former president, Levon Ter-Petrossian. Although former General and MP Seyran Saroyan is given as an example of the authorities acting with impunity even though he actually backed Ter-Petrossian as well, the question of the selective enforcement of law remains as true as it ever did under the former, present and next president. […]

  4. Actually, if they in fact did go to LTP’s side they in fact will be heralded as heroes; if they did not, then LTP will call them traitors to the nation, mongol-tatars, etc.
    Typical, hypocritical, divisive, and vapid: LTP in 2008.

  5. AH – I’m not concerned about what LTP calls them – in fact I don’t care. LTP is not police or prosecutor and it is not his job to catch criminals. It is instead the task of the the authorities to make sure, that criminals are placed where they belong – in jail. However, just because they serve the authorities by forging elections, intimidating voters, etc. these people remain in power and their crimes and the crimes of their clans remain unpunished.

  6. I agree, Observer. Your point is the core issue.
    However, I want to point out that mistakes or crimes by the authorities should not be carte blanche for anti-Armenian state hystericals to rationalize their disobedience, nor whip up more hatred, nor glorify thugs who simply change colors in the power struggle.

  7. Right, and they remain in power by switching sides. This therefore DOES make Levon partly responsible because this is part of the system that he created.
    Agreed, the police must not differentiate, but even so, I hope they go after Saroyan regardless of the fact that it will be because he wasn’t loyal to Serge during the presidential election.
    Incidentally, the same logic relates to civil society and the media. Usually the opposition media and anti-corruption organizations only target or speak out about their political opponents in government. Not a whisper was said about the illegalities and corruption among their own.
    Basically, the rule of law must function and show no preferences, but in reality both civil society and the government selectively exploit it for their own political agendas. Anyway, yes, Saroyan and Grigorian should have been prosecuted before switching sides (and probably they committed crimes and got away with it under Levon too).
    Now I’d like to see that happen, and yes, including for the Gyumri mayor. Two out of three isn’t bad if it happens, but it needs to apply to all, agreed.

  8. Good thing often happen for the wrong reasons in life. Hopefully the above will be one (three).

  9. “Good things”, I meant.

  10. Incidentally, I would have hoped that an opposition movement — if it truly believed in democracy and the rule of law — to have stated something like, “Manvel, Saroyan and Jahingirian want to join us, but we say no. They are corrupt, have trampled on human rights and committed countless crimes. These are the people we are fighting against and we can never deal with them except in a court of law.”
    Trouble was, we got entirely the opposite.

  11. What’s telling is that regular people don’t have any faith in law enforcement authorities. In cases like this, the general consensus is: “We should just lay low, and wait until those thugs and criminals kill each other.” Vanadzor is a good example of it.

  12. Nanul, well, I don’t agree with that although this seems to be the prevailing attitude among the population. Besides, it is especially wrong as often innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire.
    Like Observer, I believe we need a rule of law state which does not selectively apply the law. However, whether under Kocharian, Serge, or Levon, I have seen no sign of anyone being interested in addressing this issue.
    Yet, sort out administration of the rule of law and the judicial system and a lot more things will fall into place. How is another matter.

  13. That is, quite possibly, the ugliest man I’ve ever seen.

  14. He’s the Yosemite Sam of Armenia.

  15. Katy,
    I agree. He is the Tasmanian Devil of Armenia. Him and “General” Manvel should be punished. And very soon. Serge can set an example here. And show that he is really committed to applying the rule of law on everyone.

  16. Hayrenaser,
    what would you do if Serge just forget about this case and move on like he did in many similar cases so far?

  17. Serge can set an example here. And show that he is really committed to applying the rule of law on everyone.

    Yeah, it would be great. Let me suggest one of the names that should be top of his list — Hovik Abrahamian.
    Oh, I won’t be holding my breath in anticipation.

  18. what would you do if Serge just forget about this case and move on like he did in many similar cases so far?

    Unfortunately, I suspect that neither Manvel or Saroyan will be touched. More likely that they will be forced to cede their positions, that’s all. One source says that Grigorian will simply resign citing ill-health.

  19. I could bet a 1000 bucks that nothing will happen to him
    After March 1 people like Seyran Ohanyan – the military command who stayed
    loyal to SS and RK are the only basis of the power. Touching them would be suicidal
    for SS.
    The only case in which something might happen to him is that if it appears that Seyran Ohanyan, like Manvel, was actually planning to support Levon, then he might be punished, but I haven’t heard about any such contacts.
    This is why the whole talk about reforms that the coalition is planning to do, it’s BS.
    Even if they sincerely want change something (which I doubt – do you imagine Dodi Gago and MUK pushing for reforms?), to limit the power of oligarchs and people like Seyran, they don’t have the resoucres .
    Levon, though a very contraversial person (though by no means an agent of Judeo-Masonikc forces, this is simple brainwashing) and the person who created this system, is the only hope for real change, unfortunately as it is.

  20. Levon, though a very contraversial person (though by no means an agent of Judeo-Masonikc forces, this is simple brainwashing) and the person who created this system, is the only hope for real change, unfortunately as it is.

    Sorry, I disagree. Anyone who comes to power through the support of the oligarchs and other corrupt officials is in their debt and will not touch them. That is ultimately what Ter-Petrossian tried to do even going as far as to assure them they would be safe under him but risked losing their fortunes under Serge. Go figure.

  21. BTW: Interesting situation at my local store. The owner says that he has not supply of Marlborough and other Philip Morris cigarettes, the import of which was one of the area of the economy that Khachatur Sukiasian (Grzo) controlled. Will be interesting to see if the situation is the same in other stories and this account of why the cigarette racks in the shop are virtually empty now.
    What the lord giveths, the lord taketh away, I suppose.

  22. Vart – Putting Levon and hope in the same sentence is funny. To be honest, if 1 year ago, you asked me if Levon may be hope for change in Armenia, I would have just laughed. Then after all that transpired, I realize that a small minority of youth actually do not know/remember/realize that Levon is not only the architect of this system that they are (supposedly) against, but the epitome of cynicism in this society.
    One could argue that Levon was great (that is a theoretically arguable position, but one I for one would vehemently disagree with), but to view him as hope for change is simply ludicrous.
    Thankfully, his true colors have been revealed for all who were wondering/ignorant/hopeful etc. I think it is sad that it took all that it took for the grand majority to realize this.
    Real change will come with real leaders who are devoted to real causes. Not just losers of a king-of-the-hill game who are bitter about the loss.

  23. Vart,
    Get your names straight first please.
    Seyran Ohanian is from Karabagh.
    The half-ape we are talking about here is Seyran Saroyan, who alongside Manvel had tendencies to support kor Levon.

  24. Onnik, re the cigarettes: one of my friends told me the same. He has had problems finding his brand recently and when he asked, shopowners told him it’s one of “Grzo’s brands” and they don’t get new supplies of those.

  25. Yeah, the same from other shops today (and it wasn’t an April Fool). Philip Morris cigarettes running out. One kiosk was down to its last two packs of Marlborough Lights 2 hours ago with no new deliveries expected, they said. They’re probably sold out now.
    Kind of weird given the tolerance for smoking in Armenia, but less cigarettes in Armenia? Now, they run out of vodka as well, and there will be trouble.

  26. Akh, Onnik,
    If I am criminal, and I support you, does that make you a criminal? Does that make you responsible for my criminality?
    Get off this idiot line of argument already.

  27. Depends. In the case of Grzo, yes, LTP is responsible. He created the oligarch system with Grzo as his chief economic henchman, ushering in monopolistic, tax-free businessmen, a modus operandi sadly continued today in Armenia. Talk about undermining his own disingenuous call for an end to a kleptocracy. LTP = Discredited. As they say, consider the source.

  28. Armen Filadelfiatsi, you are being an apologist for Ter-Petrossian because you are partisan. Had Saroyan or Grigorian not supported Ter-Petrossian you would be slamming them, holding them up as examples of the criminal regime. If they switch sides, you remain silent even if they continue in their activities. This is the issue and you know it.
    The same is true for Lady Hakob, Dodi Gago etc. One day they were labeled as thugs, mafia, enemies of the country by Ter-Petrossian’s people. The next day, Ter-Petrossian called them moral men and effectively claimed they were innocent. This is hypocrisy and you know it. Hell, we all know it. It’s basically, if they’re on one side, the other side considers them criminal, that’s all.
    In reality, both sides are the same, and both sides need the very same people the population suffers from in order to come to power. As a result, they become in their debt and nothing changes. As for your analogy, if you are a criminal and support me that is one thing.
    However, if I KNOW you are a criminal and are guilty of countless crimes including the oppression and victimization of a local population then I sure as hell will not welcome your support or allow you to share the same stage with me. Besides, Ter-Petrossian also approached them and on many times said that the oligarchs and thugs were not to blame for anything.
    That is what Ter-Petrossian did and if we consider one of the roots of the problem in Armenia is the oligarchal system, how can actually courting them (which he did) be any different from what’s in place now.
    And btw: by all means argue your case, but stop using words like “idiot.” Argue your case if you can, but stop using words like that which are not helpful to any meaningful discussion — if you truly want one, that is.

  29. You’ve got the whole thing ass-backwards, Onnik-jan.
    When you’re a politician you have to make compromises. What determines a good politician from a bad one in a state like Armenia is what their words and attitudes say about their vision for country.
    Kocharian’s words, attitudes, and behavior all say that he is taking the country in the exact same direction that Bruce Tasker says he is taking it in: The empty apartments today will be filled by Artsakh refugees tomorrow.
    Is that any way to run a country? How can you possibly accept that, Onnik-jan? Is that what we want for Armenia?

  30. Okay, well, let me say this then. I personally do not expect anything other than prosecuting and stripping individuals such as Grigorian, Saroyan, Abrahamian and any other oligarch or official of their assets. Like I said, I believe that if you rely on the support of oligarchs and criminals to come to power then you are indebted to them. This applies to both opposition and government. At the very most in way of seeking to deal I’d favor an approach such as that in Georgia following the Rose Revolution. That is, pay back the money you stole or face imprisonment.

  31. Some new info on this case from Hetq:
    Looks they are using an old and enough effective system of using an innocent or one less important somebody instead of a real criminal.

    A1 Plus, 02 April, 2008
    On April 2 Armenia’s President Robert Kocharian signed a decree on relieving General Manvel Grigorian of the post of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia.
    The President’s Press Office reports no more details.
    Reminder: Levon Ter-Petrossian announced that Manvel Grigorian seconded the popular movement.

  33. For those looking for positive outcomes from the events of the last few months, here is one we can all embrace.

  34. There’s some interesting new developments:

    A Relative of Seyran Saroyan Is Arrested
    [March 31, 2008]
    In its previous issue, « Hetq » had published an article about a murder that took place in the town of Etchmiadzin. On March 13th, 23 year-old Sepuh Karapetyan was killed. According to our sources, Zarzand Saroyan, the son of National Assembly Deputy General Seyran Saroyan, committed the crime.
    There were nine people on the scene when the murder took place including Firdus Saroyan, the father of General Saroyan. The Public Relations Division of the Police today reported that it had arrested Arayik Saroyan and had charged him with violating Article 104 (premeditated murder) of the ROA Criminal Code.
    We have yet failed to verify whether Arayik Saroyan, the grandchild of Firdus Saroyan’s uncle, was present at the scene of the crime.
    E. B.

  35. the soviet union created the oligarch system; nay, human nature created it. get over it. the people have no one but crooks to get behind, give them a break. how can you live and breath amoungst these people that were in the square (most who have just as much of nothing as yourself) and now lump them in with a few dozen national players? this serj vs ltp, opposition vs. incumbent line is redundant. a straw man. a delight for all the oligarchs and politicians – let the slaves argue over nothing as we slip away. there are two groups only: national politicians (ltp, serj, oligarchs) and everyone else (including all on this message board). 99% of those dead and in prison are part of the later. maybe naive, maybe mislead, whatever; they are in the same group. focus.

  36. “Aravot” writes that Gyumri mayor Vartan Ghukasian’s not attending the inauguration of President-elect Serzh Sarkisian has become “the talk of the city” giving rise to speculations as to why he was absent from the event.
    “News was even spread that the mayor had not been invited at all,” the daily writes. It adds citing its well-informed sources at [Gyumri’s] municipality that only one invitation card had been sent for the whole municipality: “According to Gyumri’s officials, it diplomatically means: ‘We invite you, but your presence is not that pleasant.’ That is, with this gesture, the new president, Serzh Sarkisian, made it clear to Vartan Ghukasian that he stands no chance of being reelected as mayor in the future elections.”

Comments are closed.