Saturday, July 02, 2005

Karabakh General Admits Beating ARF-D Candidate

Lieutenant-General Seyran Ohanian, the commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh military, has admitted to beating Pavel Manukian, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutiun (ARF-D), on 21 June 2005. Ohanian says he did so because Manukian, himself a veteran of the war with Azerbaijan, insulted the Karabagh military.
Manukian, who unsuccessfully ran for parliament on the Dashnaktsutyun list, publicly ridiculed the generals for their stated readiness to obey government orders to withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territories surrounding Karabakh. He also questioned their moral integrity.

According to Manukian, Ohanian swore at Dashnaktsutyun during the beating and said the NKR leadership would not allow Dashnaktsutyun and other local opposition groups to win the June 19 election. Ohanian appeared to deny this, saying that he has never had problems with Dashnaktsutyun. “Attempts to attribute anti-Dashnak feelings to me or to link the incident to the elections are absolutely groundless,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Defense Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sarkisyan, who was himself once the commander of the NKR Defense forces, admits that Ohanian over-reacted and that there should not be internal conflict with the ARF-D, part of the ruling coalition in Armenia but opposition in Karabagh. However, he says that more respect must be shown for the army in the disputed territory which is still the subject of ongoing negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The full report can be read online here. Ara Manoogian, an Armenian-American based in Martuni, blogs about the reaction from people in Karabagh to the incident over at Martuni or Bust.

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