Russian spies sought in Armenia after Dossier Center investigation claims Kremlin spy network working in country
The center is funded by one of Russia’s once richest businessmen, Kremlin critic and now émigré Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The article mentions the names of famous people such as the former President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan and the leader of the Prosperous Armenia opposition party, prominent businessman Gagik Tsarukyan.
Moreover, the investigation says that “allies of Russia” do not need to be afraid of the spy revelations, since the National Security Service of Armenia has long been known as “a branch of the Lubyanka”.
The head of the National Security Service of Armenia stated that the article’s claims are already being inspected. According to Argishti Kyaramyan, in the near future “a criminal-legal assessment will be given to all the facts that the investigation contains.”
All the details – who is mentioned in the investigation, who is “Boroda [Beard]” from Yerevan and what does the Armenian opposition accuse the National Security Service of?
The article published by the Dossier Center notes that every step of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is closely monitored by the administration of the Russian president. And that Pashinyan has been given a nickname, too – ‘Boroda [Beard]’.
The authors of the investigation have studied documents from the secretariat of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service General, Vladimir Chernov. The article doesn’t specify how exactly they were obtained.
It is only known that Chernov, having been a KGB officer in the Soviet years, has been heading the Russian president’s department for interregional and cultural relations with foreign countries since 2012.
“In fact, this structure was created ‘to combat color revolutions in the CIS space and to promote the interests of Russia… The general achieved his most outstanding success in Armenia, where a whole network of ‘allies of Russia’, both open and deeply conspiratorial, operates,” writes Dossier.
The authors of the investigation claim that these “allies of Russia” have settled down in almost all state structures – the government, parliament, special services, and the MFA. And after the Velvet Revolution of 2018, the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, whom they represent as “the henchman of the Soros Foundation”, was under the special monitoring of General Chernov’s subordinates.
“It was not possible to neutralize Nikol before August like Misha promised. Now, apparently, a tough scenario will be launched,” one Svetlana Maksimova is cited as having reported.
Or “Here comes the outrageous Pashinyan… well, well, let’s wait, we’ll see how he stumbles. And thank him for revealing so many pro-Western hangers-on at once,” the Dossier quotes members of this network as saying.
Maksimova is not the only agent who sends info on the Armenian prime minister, the investigation says. There is also another source – under the operational nickname “Candidate”.
“Pashinyan refrains from post-Soviet unity. He did not even attend the Victory Parade in Moscow, inappropriately pointing at problems with the coronavirus. The course of moving away from Russia was characteristic of Pashinyan. Moreover, under him, pro-American politicians, suspected of having ties with the United States, came to power,” says one of the “messages” from “Candidate”.
One of the main agents and “allies” of Russia, based on the materials provided by the Dossier, is the former head of the National Security Service, Karlos Petrosyan. He headed the department during the presidency of Robert Kocharyan.
According to the Dossier, Lieutenant General Petrosyan received Russian citizenship in a special order immediately after his resignation in 2004 and now lives in the Moscow House of Composers, where he purchased an apartment worth 200 million rubles.
In addition, thanks to an order issued by Putin, he received a former KGB dacha in the Malakhovka suburb, near Moscow. It is not clear what merits earned him such privilege, since this decision of the President of Russia was confidential.
Among the papers of General Chernov, there is also a copy of the passport of the founder of the Prosperous Armenia party and President of the National Olympic Committee of Armenia Gagik Tsarukyan.
“The leader of Prosperous Armenia is a frequent visitor to Moscow, and in February 2019 his party signed a protocol on cooperation with the United Russia ruling party,” the Dossier writes.
How and why the copy of Tsarukyan’s passport was found and kept in the folder of the General of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service is not specified in the investigation. But the article emphasizes that during the Velvet Revolution, Tsarukyan supported Pashinyan, but then became his main opponent and has since been demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister.
Reaction of the National Security Service
“We regard this publication as a report on a crime and will pursue it legally. The NSS, as a law enforcement structure, will naturally give a criminal-legal assessment to any fact described in it,” the head of the NSS of Armenia said.
According to Argishti Kyaramyan, criminal proceedings have not yet been initiated.
When asked by journalists about the possibility of lustration in the structure, the director of the NSS said:
“There are many ambitious officers in the National Security Service who do their job for the benefit of Armenia, and, naturally, as in all other structures, there are persons who, in the course of a normal process, must leave the ranks of the NSS. This process has begun, and I would like my words to be perceived correctly. This is a normal process – people come, people leave.”
What the opposition is unhappy about
Iveta Tonoyan, MP from the Prosperous Armenia opposition faction, accused the NSS of the problems and said the issues wouldn’t have arisen “if the NSS had been engaged in preventing and disclosing external threats with the same zeal with which it bugs the opposition.”
Her fellow party member Arman Abovyan recalled that the Dossier is financed by the Russian oppositionist Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In his opinion, “the information reported by the Dossier raises more questions than it provides answers.”