Putin wishes friend, ex-president of Armenia Kocharyan happy birthday
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated ex-President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan on his birthday. Neither of them hide the fact that they are quite friendly with each other. Armenian media sources reported that Putin even asked the new Armenian authorities to release Kocharyan while he was still under arrest.
He was arrested on July 28, 2018. The former president of Armenia is accused of overthrowing the constitutional order. The case concerns the events of 2008, when military weapons were used to disperse a protest against the results of the presidential elections.
The Armenian government, which came into power after the Velvet Revolution in 2018, is paying his case special attention.
Kocharyan’s lawyers repeatedly demanded a change in his pretrial detention measure, and they managed to get their client released from arrest three times. He was last released on June 19, 2020 by a court of appeal ruling on a bail of 2,000,000,000 drams [about $4,000,000]. This is an unprecedentedly high bail for Armenia. The Prosecutor General’s Office filed a writ of appeal against the decision to release him, but it has not yet been considered.
The “March 1” case trial, in which the former Armenian president is being accused, continues to be considered.
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Assessment of Kocharyan’s merits
The Kremlin’s website reported that this year, the Russian president not only “warmly congratulated the former President of the Republic of Armenia Robert Kocharian” by telephone, but also sent an official telegram. In particular, it says:
“In Russia you are known as a prominent statesman who has done a lot for the development of modern Armenia. We highly appreciate your personal contribution to strengthening the friendly bonds and allyship between our two countries”.
Political observer Naira Airumyan commented in conversation with JAMnews about what exactly these annual birthday greetings from Putin mean:
“Congratulations are a kind of political support. Yesterday, for example, Ramzan Kadyrov congratulated Alexander Lukashenko on his birthday, and this is also a sign of political support.
In the case of Robert Kocharyan, this is how Vladimir Putin expresses his political position. And not only to Kocharyan, but, for example, to Serzh Sargsyan and Levon Ter-Petrosyan [both are former presidents of Armenia – JAMnews], whom he, it seems, does not congratulate on their birthdays.
Such a reverent attitude towards Robert Kocharyan is no accident. This is how he is woven into the image of the main champion of Russia’s interests in Armenia. And this is the main factor that the Russian government tries to influence”.