Ode to sympathy for a very human Finance Minister

Press conference of Minister of Finance Vache Gabrielyan

Press conference of Minister of Finance Vache Gabrielyan © PanARMENIAN Photo / Tigran Mehrabyan


Vache Gabrielyan, Ph. D. in Public Comparative Public Administration and Armenia’s recently appointed Finance Minister, is undoubtedly one of the most educated people in government. But I wouldn’t write this post, if Armenia’s home-grown paparazzi Gagik Shamshian didn’t publish somewhat shocking photos of Gabrielyan in a number of reputable online publications today, including Hetq.am and Lragir.am.

Vache Gabrielyan, the 42-year-old father of two has dedicated his life to economics and public administration. His curriculum vitae tells the story of a talented, clever, hard working  man. It is talent and hard work that brought him to a ministerial service and I very much hope, those same qualities will take him higher.

One of Armenia’s most respected publications,Hetq.am, published photos of Vache Gabrielyan buying goods from his neighborhood’s food kiosk, giving me a thousand more reasons to respect this man. And I’ll tell you why.

  1. He’s a truly intelligent and humble man, a real family man, who does his house chores despite the high position he is holding.
  2. He’s one of those rare officials, who’s not sending his drivers and body guards to shop, but doing it himself.
  3. He’s actually getting down there with the people, without being isolated and ‘protected’ by all sorts of drivers, etc.
  4. He’s shopping in a shabby stall, not in a shiny supermarket.
  5. He’s not dressed in a fancy suit, but like a commoner. And its great!
  6. There really is nothing extraordinary about this, except that this type of things don’t happen in Armenia. Most ministers are too darn ‘important’ to do shopping or walk in public without a tie and a bodyguard. I sometimes feel some of them would simply choke if you took the tie off their neck.

There are also a number of ethical and journalistic dilemmas in all this.

  1. This series of photos is an intrusion into a private life.
  2. There is public value in sharing photos of such a singular and extraordinary example of a great modesty like this, so others would learn from him.
  3. Being an intelligent man he is, Vache Gabrielyan will surely understand, that these photos only speak on his favor. However, will his peers understand it? With their twisted values and in their corrupt minds, won’t the other ministers and even his very own deputy ministers look down at him? And in this sense, isn’t this publication of photos doing more harm than good?

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9 thoughts on “Ode to sympathy for a very human Finance Minister

  1. I don’t get it, is he trying to portray Vache as a peasant? Was gagiks motives of these photos used to show that a man that goes to stores with those clothes not worthy of being in the position he is? I don’t understand what the point of these pictures are.

    Since I don’t live in Yerevan, can someone explain why gagik would publish these photos? I don’t get….

  2. The most important statement in your text is about values. This is what should be changed and if some people on decision making level will be able to input into the all this twisted values renaissance our society will get the hope back. Not sure though…..

  3. Vache Gabrielyan is a very well educated Human Being, a great scientist, a genuine professor, a talented Armenian!!!!!!
    He is worth of national appreciation and pride!!!!!
    The Armenian nation has dreamed for centuries, since its existence, to have a minister like Vache Gabrielyan. All Armenians all over the world should applaud and support him and they do!!!!He is a unique intellectual.

    How could this CHEAP photographer try to take his picture in this context and try to manipulate it.

    Vache Gabrielyan very uniquely and humanly proved his greatness as a minister, as a great father, who buys fruits for his family.
    He is a Great Professional !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I wish we had many professionals like Vache Gabrielyan in our government.

  4. I think what the photographer did, has a two-folded purpose. First, to prove how stupid the new rules were, that are not followed by even officials themselves, and second, to show that officials CAN be and perhaps, SHOULD be like us, dress casual, do shopping at a first street vendor etc.
    Great Gagik, great Minister Vache Gabrielyan!!!

  5. wowowow, what a reaction….

    I do not know Vache Gabrielyan in person, and actually it does not even bother me if he is intellectual or not. I would love to see his deeds once today he holds a position of Finance Minister. Forget personalities, lets talk about society, media and state here.

    I do not understand the purpose of taking pictures of the Minister shopping, I mean, is it a crime?

    I am more than furious with hetq,am making it an extraordinary event. I am far from believing independent media exists in Armenia, but as Observer said, there are certain ethical and professional rules. Hetq,am becomes a yellow press.

    And yes, this guy is on the picture only because he has no bodyguard to take care of shopping or to protect him from Gagik Shamshyan, the photographer who would never dare to take pictures of famous MP oligarchs shopping in the best shops of Yerevan.

    Now, about abolishing street shopping boutiques.
    The idea is great, as my city streets will finally reborn. But, the way this idea is implemented is more than moronism. Instead of starting from A and then going to Z, my city’s mayor believes he can start with Z and quickly move to A.
    Honestly, I would love to know what he smokes.

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