Ex-presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan, recently freed from custody, meet in Armenia
Former presidents of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, and Robert Kocharyan, who was recently freed from custody, met in Armenia. What the former leaders of the country discussed is still unknown.
On June 19, the Court of Appeals decided to grant Kocharyan’s lawyers’ request to put him on bail and he was released.
The case he is involved in is known as the “March 1 case.” In July 2018, Robert Kocharyan was charged with overthrowing the constitutional order. The charges referred to an order he gave back in March 2008 to break up a protest against the results of the March 2008 presidential election. Military weapons were used in Yerevan, killing 10 people.
A criminal case has also been brought against Serzh Sargsyan, who assumed the presidency after Kocharyan. The case he is involved in is known as the “diesel case.” In January 2020, the preliminary investigation in this criminal case was completed. Sargsyan is accused of embezzling of more than $1,000,000 of budgetary funds.
Because of this, many in Armenia are inclined to believe that the two former presidents are uniting forces against the new government that took power following the Velvet Revolution in 2018.
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What we know about the meeting
Mary Harutyunyan, head of the office of Serzh Sargsyan, gave information about the two former presidents’ meeting:
“Yes, Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharyan met two days after the court decision to change the pre-trial measure against Kocharyan and release him. Serzh Sargsyan visited Robert Kocharyan.”
She emphasized that the meeting was personal in nature, “therefore, it is inappropriate to discuss the details of their conversation.”
The office of the other former president had no other commentary. Victor Soghomonyan only confirmed that the meeting took place.
It was held on June 22, although the news about it broke only two days later.
Many Armenians are now speculating on what the two may have discussed.
Political observer Hakob Badalyan wonders if Serzh Sargsyan offered something to Robert Kocharian:
“The relationship between the two presidents was very confrontational, including during Kocharyan’s presidency. The conflict might have started after became clear that Kocharyan had other plans for the transfer of power [Kocharyan did not want to see Sargsyan as the head of state]. But in the end, Serzh Sargsyan won, not without help from Moscow.”
The expert does not the possibility that the two have decided to leave their past behind and now ready to cooperate.