SETTLING SCORES ON THE STREET IN ARMENIA

2006 October 18, 04:08 (Wednesday)
06YEREVAN1457_a
UNCLASSIFIED,FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
UNCLASSIFIED,FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
In the metadata of the Kissinger Cables this field is called ‘Previous Handling Restrictions’.

Cablegate does not originally have this field. We have given it the entry ‘Not Assigned’.

Citations for acronyms used are available here.” data-hasqtip=”true” oldtitle=”Handling Restrictions” title=”” style=”box-sizing: inherit; background: transparent; color: rgb(33, 107, 124) !important; text-decoration: none; font-size: 10pt !important; cursor: pointer; padding: 0px 1px; margin-top: 2px; margin-left: 2px; display: inline-block;”>Handling Restrictions

— Not Assigned —
5782
— Not Assigned —
TEXT ONLINE
— Not Assigned —
TE – Telegram (cable)
— N/A or Blank —
— N/A or Blank —
— Not Assigned —
— Not Assigned —

 

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY.

——-

SUMMARY

——-

1. (U) Oligarchs and thugs have taken to settling scores on the street in greater numbers in the last few months, and high-profile assassinations and murder attempts are on the rise in Armenia. Though the crimes do not appear to be related, and in most cases the motives are unclear, the increase in violence may indicate a new trend in domestic politics. END SUMMARY.

———————————–

BUSINESSMAN FOUND BEHEADED IN A CAR

———————————–

2. (U) On September 30, 2006, the beheaded body of businessman Artur Khalatian was discovered in a car parked in a garage in the village of Zar. Khalatian was one of the heads of the “Avia-Service” company, which belongs to oligarch Gagik Tsarukian, the founder of the new Prosperous Armenia political party. According to local press reports, police said Khalatian was killed by Robert Sargsian, a man who said he wanted to buy Khalatian’s Yerevan apartment. The police told the press that Khalatian went to Sargsian’s village to collect the USD 140,000 payment for the apartment. According to police, Sargsian and two friends killed Khalatian and hid the body in the trunk of his car, where Sargsian’s family found it. Police have arrested one suspect, Tatoul Mirzoyan, but Sargsian and his cousin Henrik Hovnikian are still wanted.

——————————————— ———

NK VETERANS’ UNION MEMBER SHOT DEAD IN DRIVE-BY ATTACK

——————————————— ———

3. (SBU) Sedrak Zatikian, an influential Yerkrapah (NK war veterans’ political movement) leader was shot dead in broad daylight while driving his car in late June. A bystander was also killed in the crossfire. Despite his youth, the 26-year-old Zatikian was wealthy, relatively powerful and notorious. He headed a suburban Yerevan chapter of Yerkrapah (literally “Defenders of the Land”) and earned his infamy for assaulting the nephew of powerful parliamentary deputy Hakob Hakobian in 2004. Zatikian managed to avoid prosecution by hiding from police for several months and then making peace with Hakobian’s clan. Another of Hakobian’s nephews was arrested in connection with Zatikian’s death but was charged only with illegal arms possession. 4. (U) Zatikian’s funeral was a mafia-style affair, and mourners’ cars crowded the streets of Noy, an affluent subdivision that is also home to many Embassy families. Streets surrounding the area were blocked for hours.

———————————————

FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER BLAMES PM FOR ATTACK

———————————————

5. (U) Opposition politician Suren Abrahamian, a former interior minister and mayor of Yerevan, was reportedly attacked near his house by unidentified men on October 8, sustaining minor injuries. Abrahamian’s Republic Party fingered Prime Minister Andranik Markarian in what they called “an act of political intimidation” by the government. Markarian denied any involvement. Abrahamian, who is a vocal detractor of the Armenian government in general and presidential front-runner Defense Minister Serzh Sargsian in particular, recently had criticized the prime minister publicly, calling him a “criminal element.” Abrahamian told the press that one of his assailants demanded he apologize for his statements but did not specify which statements, nor to whom he should apologize. “Whether or not he ordered the attack, Prime Minister Andranik Markarian is responsible for what happened,” Abrahamian told a news conference.

——————————-

POLICE CHIEF SHOT IN HIS GARAGE

——————————-

6. (U) Police General Aram Zakarian, the chief of the special protection department of the National Police, was wounded after being attacked October 4 in his garage by an armed man.

———————————————

FINANCE MINISTER UNSURE WHETHER HE WAS SHOT AT

———————————————

– 7. According to the local press, Finance Minister Vardan Khachatrian reported to police that someone shot at him on October 2 while he YEREVAN 00001457 002 OF 002 sat in a cafe with friends. Police reportedly interrogated everyone who was at the caf while the minister was there, but nobody corroborated his report. Khachatrian then said he had been drunk while at the caf, and that there had not been a shooting. However, the following day, the minister said there had in fact been a shooting. The Prosecutor General’s office told us the shooting had taken place, but that it was not aimed at the minister, and that Khachatrian had fulfilled his “civic duty” by reporting the case to the police. (NOTE: This case is still a mystery; we saw one article on it October 5, and then it disappeared from the news. END NOTE.)

——-

COMMENT

——-

8. Though these incidents, together with the car-bomb death of a senior tax inspector (reftel), indicate a trend, there is no clear link between them. What is clear is that the perpetrators of these crimes are brazen and have committed several of them in broad daylight. Almost all of the victims and assailants in these incidents have reputations for criminal activity. It’s possible their undercover maneuverings have begun to morph into public clashes, in which case we may reasonable expect more to come as the parliamentary elections approach. GODFREY

 

Source: wikileaks.org

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.