Top Armenian General Fired
YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—One of Armenia’s most influential army generals was sacked on Tuesday after being publicly rebuked by Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan.
President Serzh Sarkisian relieved Lieutenant-General Haykaz Baghmanyan of his duties as deputy chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff just hours after the extraordinary criticism.
Speaking to reporters, Sargsian said Baghmanyan has asked to be discharged from the military “at my urging.” He accused the latter of failure to comply with unspecified “working agreements” which is “incompatible with further joint service.” The minister did not elaborate.
Baghmanyan has held the position since 2009. The former Soviet army officer had previously commanded two of Armenia’s army corps.
Baghmanyan has long been under media spotlight because of his reported business interests and lavish lifestyle that raised questions about his integrity. He has also been occasionally dogged by controversy.
Last year, for example, an entrepreneur from the eastern Armenian town of Martuni alleged that Baghmanyan has gained ownership of one of his businesses by fraudulent means. The general denied the allegation. The business in question, a liquefied gas station, is now run by his 28-year-old son.