YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Law-enforcement authorities have moved to prosecute Hayk Marutyan, a former Yerevan mayor ousted by Armenia’s ruling party last December, just days after he scheduled satirical shows that appear to have attracted strong interest.
Marutyan was deposed by the city council after falling out with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. He kept a low profile in the following months amid lingering speculation about his plans to regain his position in the next municipal elections due in 2023.
The former TV comedian stoked that speculation on Monday, September 12, when he posted on Facebook a video ad promoting a solo show in which he will play in the country’s leading theater. The 90-second clip featuring political hints received 22,000 “likes,” a very large number by Armenian standards.
Tickets for the first four performances of the play titled “The Mayor” were sold out within hours, leading Marutyan and the theater administration to schedule additional shows. The show will be played for a total of 14 times from September 19 through the middle of November.
“I am immensely touched by such a positive reaction,” Marutyan wrote later on Monday.
Three days later, some Armenian media outlets reported that the police department of Yerevan’s Nor Nork district is poised to accuse Marutyan of illegally allocating land to a local restaurant in 2019. The police denied those reports.