Parliament Strips Vartan Oskanian of Immunity

Armenia -- Former Foreign Minister of Armenia and founder of the Civilitas Foundation Vartan Oskanian walks down the stair of Parliament, Yerevan, 03Oct2012
Armenia — Former Foreign Minister of Armenia and founder of the Civilitas Foundation Vartan Oskanian walks down the stairs of Parliament, Yerevan, 02Oct2012 | Photo via

The Armenian Parliament stripped MP Vartan Oskanian of his parliamentary immunity clearing way for the investigators to move forward with a probe into money-laundering allegations, RFE/RL reports.
All opposition parties boycotted the vote in parliament. Still, parliament majority – ruling Republican and Rule of Law (Orinats Yerkir) parties voted 64 to 6 to throw Oskanian at the mercy of Armenia’s ‘justice’ and ‘law enforcement’ bodies.
Oskanian has denied any wrongdoing, saying the case was politically motivated to target his Prosperous Armenia party.
This is where it becomes interesting and I’m going to start speculating. Don’t believe a word I say after this, but consider it…
I have a strange feeling, that either the head of Armenia’s Chess Federation (and also the country’s president) Serzh Sargsyan is playing a ‘check’ against Prosperous Armenia party leader Gagik Tsarukian, or even is going as far as getting a clear ‘mate’ by turning Oskanian into a suffering ┬áhero. Because, while Oskanian is only the second most important political figure in the Prosperous Armenia party after Tsarukian, he has never excluded the possibility of running for the top job. Now, if he’s the suffering hero, he would become the natural choice for the presidential candidate from his party. However, I have the impression, that Sargsyan thinks (not without reason) Tsarukian a bigger threat to his second term…
What do you think?

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. It definitely makes sense… Prosperous Armenia is run by mafia figures with a different agenda. I was thinking perhaps there is a threat to expose other money laundering schemes that comes into play here as well. I’m curious as to why it’s Oskanian and not Tsarukyan that’s so heavily attacked though… more the last little bit, this case had nearly been forgotten until now… It’s definitely a political chess move, in my opinion. We may condemn our politicians, most especially our president, but that doesn’t make him any less clever. From the first moment I’ve believed he plays a game of chess where his moves are believed to be driven by naivitee, where in reality it’s motivated by an understanding of politics that transcends deeper than imagined. I may be giving the man too much credit here, but I believed the whole protocol business to be another huge move, perceived by the outsider is stupidity, though I have a feeling there’s a connection to Azerbaijan’s latest threats and the sniper deaths on the border. The Safarov case caused quite an uproar within the diaspora, the Syrian case has the diaspora on its toes and precarious situation in the Caucasus has many holding their breaths. This case will escalate, I presume, to the point of another echo of disapproval and anger from the diaspora. I feel like Armenia is the peacock’s body and the diaspora its tail. There’s a reason our unification is being encouraged and broadcasted loudly. We simply don’t know what the outcome of this particular move is…

  2. From my earlier blog post… The mirage is that the pendulum swings and some people get squished under it. While Oskanian acted in bad faith in 2008, as far as karma goes, his is not the dirtiest of the current politicians. There are others, especially his boss, who are responsible for the spilled blood of our compatriots on the streets of Yerevan. I remain cynical of the whole “thaw in the Armenian political scene” propaganda line. Nothing has changed and I think this is an attempt by the regime to rehabilitate Oskanian and build a martyr out of him. He would then look like a legitimate opposition candidate for presidency while being an empty suit that loses to Serj.

  3. I would not say Oskanyan is the second important person in Prosperous Armenia. Although he was the second in the list, he can not be considered the second important figure. Prosperous Armenia does not have second important person, and never had. Prosperous Armenia is like Thailand. Thailand does not have queen, it has king’s wife.
    I don’t think Oskanyan has authority within his party or authority in the country to run for president. I can not think of one reason to give my vote to Mr. Oskanyan. Can you?

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