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Since March 16, 2009 – the scandalously famous mayor of Gyumri, Vardan Ghukasian – is officially an academician. Ghukasian, a semi-criminal authority who has been continuously reelected on the post of Gyumri mayor since 1999, more on the merit of vote-bribing and scaring people, than genuine popularity, was granted the title by members of Russian academy of science, along with representatives of the Armenian branch of International academy of Natural and Social Sciences.
The mayor is known for his violent behavior – anyone in the streets of Gyumri can cite numerous occasions when Vardan Ghukasian would start shooting in the air during a drunk party or assault people. The mayor also faced corruption charges in 2004 over distribution of state built apartments for families left in temporary shelters since the earthquake of 1988.
The Gyumri mayor was reportedly freed from compulsory military service because he possessed a ‘madman’s certificate’, stating he’s not fit for military service.
“The title is not only grated for achievements in science, but also for the activities benefiting the society. The work carried out by Vardan Ghukasian meets the requirement necessary to become an academician “, academician Yuri Gasparian said, while handing out the certificate to Gyumri mayor. “I congratulate Vardan Ghukasian and wish him to become a Doctor of Science in the near future”.
Admittedly, this is not that surprising in Armenia. Only day’s ago Armenian affiliate of a renowned pan-European non-governmental organization proclaimed Gagik Tsarukian, a controversial tycoon and politician, Armenia’s “best European of the year” for what it described as his promotion of European political culture in the country.