At one Armenia-Diaspora convocation in Yerevan long ago, where more than 3,000 participants were attending, a dramatic incident took place. Prime Minister Vazken Sargsyan, who had just returned from the US, had announced his determination to eradicate corruption in Armenia. He was a larger-than-life figure with a booming voice commensurate with his physical presence. As he delivered his speech, he tried to reassure his diasporan audience that Armenia would establish more transparent laws to secure foreign investors. Then, he added, “Some officials in the highest levels of our government have been pleading to provide personal guarantees to foreign investors. There is no such thing as personal guarantees. We have to apply the laws rigorously.” And he looked at President Robert Kocharyan seated on the dais. At that moment, I saw Kocharyan visibly shrinking on his seat, since he had been running around and giving personal assurances to the investors.
At that moment, I felt that Kocharyan’s destiny was doomed.
Little did I know that the roles would be reversed when on October 27, 1999, the parliament massacre took place and Vazken Sargsyan and Speaker of Parliament Karen Demirchyan were among the first victims.
All along, people viewed the three powerful statesmen, namely Demirchyan, Sargsyan and Kocharyan, as a trio that worked in tandem.
The October massacre came to prove that they had been contenders for power and one had to eliminate the others to inherit that absolute power. The person emerged to be Robert Kocharyan.
The head of the terrorists, Nairi Hounanyan, summoned Kocharyan to the parliament to negotiate a deal for his surrender. Kocharyan reached the parliament and had a one-on-one discussion with Hounanyan. No one, to this day, has been aware of the content of that discussion. But since October 27, 1999, a cloud of suspicion has been hanging over Kocharyan’s head. A proper prosecution was not conducted but the fact that Kocharyan benefited from the outcome of the crime unofficially made him the main suspect. He did not allow the due process of law to take its course, which in a way, confirmed those suspicions.