Robert Kocharyan

Last updated
Robert Sedraki Kocharyan
Ռոբերտ Քոչարյան
Robert Kocharyan's Interveiw, 2003.jpg
Kocharyan in 2003
2nd President of Armenia
In office
9 April 1998 9 April 2008
Acting: 4 February – 9 April 1998
Prime Minister Armen Darbinyan
Vazgen Sargsyan
Aram Sargsyan
Andranik Margaryan
Serzh Sargsyan
Preceded by Levon Ter-Petrossian
Succeeded by Serzh Sargsyan
6th Prime Minister of Armenia
In office
20 March 1997 10 April 1998
President Levon Ter-Petrossian
Preceded by Armen Sargsyan
Succeeded by Armen Darbinyan
1st President of Nagorno-Karabakh
In office
29 December 1994 20 March 1997
Prime Minister Leonard Petrosyan
Preceded by Garen Baburyan  [ hy ](Acting)
Succeeded by Leonard Petrosyan (Acting)
2nd Prime Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh
In office
August 1992 29 December 1994
President Georgy Petrosyan (Acting)
Garen Baburyan (Acting)
Preceded by Oleg Yesayan
Succeeded by Leonard Petrosyan
Personal details
Born (1954-08-31) 31 August 1954 (age 65)
Stepanakert, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union
(now Azerbaijan (de jure)
Republic of Artsakh (de facto))
Spouse(s) Bella Kocharyan
Alma mater National Polytechnic University of Armenia
Signature Robert Kocharyan signature.png

Robert Sedraki Kocharyan (Armenian : Ռոբերտ Սեդրակի Քոչարյանpronounced  [ɾɔbɛɾt kʰɔtʃʰɑɾjɑn] ; born 31 August 1954) is an Armenian politician who served as the second President of Armenia between 1998 and 2008. He was previously President of Nagorno-Karabakh from 1994 to 1997 and Prime Minister of Armenia from 1997 to 1998. He was arrested on December 7, 2018.

Armenian language Indo-European language

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language that is the only language in the Armenian branch. It is the official language of Armenia as well as the de facto Republic of Artsakh. Historically being spoken throughout the Armenian Highlands, today, Armenian is widely spoken throughout the Armenian diaspora. Armenian is written in its own writing system, the Armenian alphabet, introduced in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots.

Prime Minister of Armenia Head of Government of Armenia

The Prime Minister of Armenia is the head of government and most senior minister within the Armenian government, and is required by the constitution to "determine the main directions of policy of the Government, manage the activities of the Government and coordinate the work of the members of the Government." Also, according to the constitution, the Prime Minister heads the Security Council, which prescribes the main directions of the country's defense policy; thus, the Prime Minister is effectively the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Armenia. Under the new 2015 constitution, the Prime Minister is the most powerful and influential person in Armenian politics. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of Armenia upon the vote of the National Assembly. The Prime Minister can be removed by a vote of no confidence in Parliament. In the constitutional referendum held in 2015, citizens voted in favor of transferring Armenia into a parliamentary republic.


During most of his presidency, between 2001 and 2007, Armenia's economy grew on average by 12% annually, [1] largely due to the construction boom. [2] His presidency witnessed two of the bloodiest events in post-independence Armenian history: the 1999 Armenian parliament shooting and the killing of ten people during the 2008 presidential election protests. [2] He has been held responsible for both events by the opposition, especially by Armenia's first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan and his party. [3]

Armenian parliament shooting political terrorist attack

The Armenian parliament shooting, commonly known in Armenia as October 27, was a terrorist  attack on the Armenian National Assembly in the capital Yerevan on October 27, 1999, by a group of five armed men led by Nairi Hunanyan that, among others, killed the two de facto decision-makers in the country's political leadership—Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and Parliament Speaker Karen Demirchyan. Their reform-minded coalition had won a majority in the parliamentary election held in May of that year and had practically sidelined President Robert Kocharyan from the political scene.

2008 Armenian presidential election protests protest

A series of mass protests were held in Armenia in the wake of the Armenian presidential election of 19 February 2008. Mass protests against alleged electoral fraud were held in the capital city of Yerevan and organised by supporters of the unsuccessful presidential candidate and first President of the Republic of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

Levon Ter-Petrosyan first President of Armenia from 1991 to 1998

Levon Hakobi Ter-Petrosyan, also known by his initials LTP, is an Armenian politician. He was the first President of Armenia from 1991 to 1998. A senior researcher at the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, he led the Karabakh movement for the unification of the Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia in 1988. After Armenia's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ter-Petrosyan was elected president in October 1991 with overwhelming public support. He led the country through the Nagorno-Karabakh War with neighboring Azerbaijan, during which Armenia supported the Republic of Artsakh in fighting against Azerbaijan.

Both the 1998 and 2003 presidential elections were held in two rounds. They were disputed by the opposition candidates and criticized by international observers. Kocharyan and his family amassed a fortune and extensive business interests worth hundreds of millions of dollars if not billions during his time in office. [4]

1998 Armenian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Armenia on 16 March 1998, with a second round on 30 March. The result was a victory for independent candidate Robert Kocharyan, who won 58.9% of the vote in the second round. Turnout was 63.5% in the first round and 68.1% in the second.

2003 Armenian presidential election

The 2003 Armenian Presidential election took place in Armenia on 19 February and 5 March 2003. No candidate received a majority in the first round of the election with the incumbent President Robert Kocharyan winning slightly under 50% of the vote. Therefore, a second round was held and Kocharyan defeated Stepan Demirchyan with official results showed him winning just over 67% of the vote. However both the opposition and international observers said that the election had seen significant amounts of electoral fraud and the opposition did not recognise the results of the election.

On July 26, 2018 the Special Investigative Service (SIS) of Armenia charged Kocharian with “overthrowing constitutional order of Armenia” during the final weeks of his rule. The SIS asked a Yerevan court to remand him in pre-trial custody. [5] On July 27, 2018 he was arrested. On August 13, 2018 Kocharyan was freed from custody following a court ruling, but remained accused of the charges he was arrested for. [6] On December 7, 2018 Kocharyan was arrested again following another ruling by the Court of Appeals. [7] Armenia's Criminal Court of Appeal refused to release him from custody on February 7, 2019. [8] Kocharyan‘s trial began on May 13, 2019. [9] On May 18, 2019 Kocharyan was freed on bail from pre-trial detention. [10] On June 25, 2019 he was arrested for the third time. [11]


Robert Kocharyan was born in Stepanakert, NKAO, Azerbaijan SSR. He received his secondary education there and from 1972 to 1974 served in the Soviet Army. He and his wife, Bella Kocharyan, have three children: Sedrak, Gayane, and Levon; all of whom were born in Stepanakert. In addition to his native Armenian, Kocharyan speaks Russian and English.

Stepanakert City in Artsakh

Stepanakert, Khankendi and originally called Vararakn, is the capital and the largest city of the de facto Republic of Artsakh. The Republic has limited international recognition, being deemed part of the Republic of Azerbaijan by most countries. As of 2015, the population of Stepanakert is 55,200.

Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast autonomous oblast within the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, in the former Soviet Union

The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was an autonomous oblast within the borders of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians. It was divided into five raions or administrative divisions:

Bella Kocharyan First Lady of Armenia

Bella Kocharyan is the wife of former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and is the former First Lady of Armenia.

Career timeline

Soviet Army Name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992

The Soviet Army was the main land-based branch of the Soviet Armed Forces between February 1946 and December 1991, when it was replaced with the Russian Ground Forces, although it was not fully abolished until 25 December 1993. Until 25 February 1946, it was known as the Red Army, established by decree on 15 (28) January 1918 "to protect the population, territorial integrity and civil liberties in the territory of the Soviet state." The Strategic Missile Troops, Air Defense Forces and Air Forces were part of the Soviet Army in addition to the Ground Forces. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.

Moscow Capital of Russia

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 15.1 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and approximately 25 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.

Komsomol youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The All-Union Leninist Young Communist League, usually known as Komsomol (; Russian: Комсомо́л, a syllabic abbreviation of the Russian Коммунистический Союз Молодёжи, was a political youth organization in the Soviet Union. It is sometimes described as the youth division of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, although it was officially independent and referred to as "the helper and the reserve of the CPSU".


Kocharyan in December 2001 Robert Kotscharian.jpg
Kocharyan in December 2001

After his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrossian was ousted as President, Kocharyan was elected Armenia's second President on 30 March 1998, defeating his main rival, Karen Demirchyan, in an early presidential election marred by irregularities and violations by both sides as reported by international electoral observers. Complaints included that Kocharyan had not been an Armenian citizen for ten years as required by the constitution, [12] even though it would have been impossible for him to be a 10-year citizen of a republic that was less than 7 years old; however, the Armenian constitution recognized the Armenian SSR as its predecessor state.

During his presidency, several opposition leaders in the Armenian Parliament and the Prime Minister of Armenia were killed by gunmen in an episode known as the 1999 Armenian parliament shooting. Kocharyan himself negotiated with the terrorists to release the MP hostages.

In 2001 Kocharyan was attending a jazz performance at Poplavok cafe in Yerevan, and was greeted by former classmate Poghos Poghosyan with the words "Hi Rob". The casualness of the greeting was taken as an insult, and Kocharyan's bodyguards took Poghosyan into the cafe toilet and killed him. [13] The bodyguard, Aghamal Harutiunyan, received a one year suspended jail term for the killing. [14]

2003 election

The 2003 Armenian Presidential election was held on 19 February and 5 March 2003. No candidate received a majority in the first round of the election with the incumbent President Kocharyan winning slightly under 50% of the vote. Therefore, a second round was held and Kocharyan defeated Stepan Demirchyan with official results showed him winning just over 67% of the vote.

In both rounds, electoral observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe reported significant amounts of electoral fraud by Demirchyan's supporters and numerous supporters of Demirchyan were arrested before the second round took place. [15] Demirchyan described the election as having been rigged and called on his supporters to rally against the results. [16] Tens of thousands of Armenians protested in the days after the election against the results and called on President Kocharyan to step down. [15] However Kocharyan was sworn in for a second term in early April and the constitutional court upheld the election, while recommending that a referendum be held within a year to confirm the election result. [17] [18] On April 14, 2004 Armenian poet Silva Kaputikyan wrote an open letter Kocharyan Must Go, where she protested Kocharyan's harsh methods towards the demonstrators on April 12–13, 2004. She also turned back Mesrop Mashtots Medal awarded by Kocharyan some years ago. [19]

2008 election

A presidential election was held in Armenia on 19 February 2008. The incumbent President Kocharyan, who was ineligible for a third consecutive term, [20] backed the candidacy of Prime Minister of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan. [21]

Following the election result, protests organized by supporters of unsuccessful candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian began in Yerevan's Freedom Square and accompanied by mass disorders. On March 1, the demonstrators were dispersed by police and military forces. Ten people were killed during skirmishes between police and crowd, and President Kocharyan declared a 20-day state of emergency. [22] This was followed by mass arrests and purges of prominent members of the opposition, as well as a de facto ban on any further anti-government protests. [23] [24]

Foreign policy

Kocharyan with Russian President Vladimir Putin, March 2002 Vladimir Putin 1 March 2002-10.jpg
Kocharyan with Russian President Vladimir Putin, March 2002

As President, Kocharyan continued to negotiate a peaceful resolution with Azerbaijani Presidents Heydar Aliyev and Ilham Aliyev on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. In October 1999, Kocharyan became the first President of Armenia to visit Azerbaijan, holding talks with Aliyev at the border of the two countries. [25] Talks between Ilham Aliyev and Kocharyan were held in September 2004 in Astana, Kazakhstan, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit. Reportedly, one of the suggestions put forward was the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the Azeri territories adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh, and holding referendums (plebiscites) in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan proper regarding the future status of the region. On 10–11 February 2006, Kocharyan and Aliyev met in Rambouillet, France to discuss the fundamental principles of a settlement to the conflict, including the withdrawal of troops, formation of international peacekeeping troops, and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. [26]

During the weeks and days before the talks in France, OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen expressed cautious optimism that some form of an agreement was possible. French President Jacques Chirac met with both leaders separately and expressed hope that the talks would be fruitful. Contrary to the initial optimism, the Rambouillet talks did not produce any agreement, with key issues such as the status of Nagorno-Karabakh and whether Armenian troops would withdraw from Kalbajar still being contentious. The next session of the talks was held in March 2006 in Washington, D.C. [26] Russian President, Vladimir Putin applied pressure to both parties to settle the disputes. [27] Later in 2006 there was a meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents in Minsk on 28 November and ministerial meetings were held in Moscow. "These talks did not initiate any progress, but I hope that the time for a solution will come" said Peter Semneby, EU envoy for the South Caucasus. [28]

In September 2006, in his congratulatory message [29] on the occasion of 15th anniversary of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Kocharyan said "The Karabakhi people made their historic choice, defended their national interests in the war that was forced upon them. Today, they are building a free and independent state." The accompanying message said that the duty of the Republic of Armenia and all Armenians is to contribute to the strengthening and development of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as to the international recognition of the republic's independence. [30]


Protest against order of the Court of general jurisdiction of Yerevan to free Robert Kocharyan on bail from pre-trial detention. May 18, 2019, Yerevan. Protest against Kocharyan 18.05.2019 2.jpg
Protest against order of the Court of general jurisdiction of Yerevan to free Robert Kocharyan on bail from pre-trial detention. May 18, 2019, Yerevan.

On July 26, 2018 the Special Investigative Service (SIS) of Armenia charged Kocharian with “overthrowing constitutional order of Armenia” during the final weeks of his rule. The SIS asked a Yerevan court to remand him in pre-trial custody. [31] On July 27, 2018 he was arrested. On August 13, 2018 Kocharyan was freed from custody following a court ruling, but remained accused of the charges he was arrested for. [32] On December 7, 2018 Kocharyan was arrested again following another ruling by the Court of Appeals. [33] In 2019, all property of Robert Kocharyan, other than his pension, was arrested by the court. [34] On May 18, 2019 Kocharyan was freed on bail from pre-trial detention. [10] On June 25, 2019 he was arrested for the third time. [11]

Related Research Articles

History of Armenia aspect of history

Armenia lies in the highlands surrounding the Biblical mountains of Ararat. The original Armenian name for the country was Hayk, later Hayastan, translated as the land of Haik, and consisting of the name of the ancient Mesopotamian god Haya (ha-ià) and the Persian suffix '-stan' ("land"). The historical enemy of Hayk, Hayastan, was Bel, or in other words Baal.

Vazgen Sargsyan military commander, politician

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Republic of Artsakh Disputed territory in the South Caucasus

The Republic of Artsakh, or simply Artsakh, also known by its second official name, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, is a breakaway state in the South Caucasus that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The region is currently populated mostly by Armenians and the primary spoken language is Armenian. Artsakh controls most of the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and some of the surrounding area, giving it a border with Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. Its capital is Stepanakert.

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Karabakh movement

The Karabakh movement was a mass nationalist movement in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh from 1988 to 1992 that advocated for the transfer of the mainly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of neighboring Azerbaijan to the jurisdiction of Armenia.

The following lists events that happened in 2008 in Armenia.


  1. "Country Information". United Nations in Armenia. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  2. 1 2 Abrahamyan, Gayane (20 November 2012). "Rotating Around Presidents: Kocharyan's "shadow" a curse or a blessing for Armenia?". ArmeniaNow . Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  3. Martirosian, Anush; Meloyan, Ruben (28 October 2009). "Armenia Marks Parliament Attack Anniversary". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty . Retrieved 6 April 2013. The opposition alliance described the parliament attack as “the darkest page in Armenian history” that laid the foundation of the country’s existing “criminal-oligarchic” system. It again blamed Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian for the killings, claiming that most Armenians consider them the masterminds of the crime.
  4. "hetq". hetq.
  5. "Kocharian Charged Over 2008 Crackdown". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան (in Armenian). Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  6. "Armenia's ex-president Kocharyan freed from custody: lawyer". Reuters. 2018-08-13. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  7. "Armenian ex-president Kocharyan detained after court ruling - lawyer". Reuters. 2018-12-07. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  8. "Armenia 2nd President's attorney: Robert Kocharyan is political prisoner". Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  9. 1 2 "Former Armenian Leader Freed From Pretrial Detention". Voice of America . 18 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  10. 1 2 "Armenian court orders arrest of ex-president Kocharyan: RIA". Reuters . 25 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  11. Staff (4 February 1998) "Armenian president resigns" BBC World Service
  12. Barsoumian, Nanore (2012-01-27). "To Maim and Kill with Impunity". The Armenian Weekly. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  13. "Kocharian Bodyguard Gets Suspended Sentence". 2002-02-21. Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  14. 1 2 Stern, David (2003-03-07). "Anger at 'flawed' poll in Armenia". Financial Times . p. 4.
  15. "Incumbent 'wins' Armenia vote". BBC Online . 2003-03-06. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  16. "Armenia: President Sworn In Amid Protests". The New York Times . 2003-04-10. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  17. "Constitutional court stirs Armenian political controversy". 2003-04-23. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  18. Kocharyan Must Go by S. Kaputikyan//Shrjadardz Armenian Magazine, #2, 2004, p. 21
  19. The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (27 November 2005), Chapter 3: The President of the Republic, Article 50 Archived 15 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  20. Robert Kocharyan To Support Serzh Sargsyan,
  21. "State of emergency declared in Armenia". RTÉ News. 2008-03-01. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  22. "Armenia: Police Beat Peaceful Protesters in Yerevan", Human Rights Watch (NY), March 2, 2008.
  23. Ter-Petrosian ‘Under House Arrest,’ Rally Broken Up Archived 2008-11-23 at the Wayback Machine , Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, March 1, 2008.
  25. 1 2 Ghazinyan, Aris (10 February 2006) "Drawing the Line: Maps meet principles in the search for a settlement over Nagorno Karabakh" Armenia Now
  26. Staff (23 February 2006) "Putin Going to Invite Kocharyan to Moscow to Discuss Karabakh Issue" YERKIR Armenian Online Newspaper Archived 6 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  27. Staff (21 February 2007) "Peter Semneby: EU tries to create trust between Karabakh and Azerbaijan" More than 4 bln dollars were stolen by his clan in Armenia YERKIR Armenian Online Newspaper
  28. (1 September 2006) "Congratulations on Independence Day" Azat Artsakh Newspaper Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  29. Staff (1 September 2006) "Robert Kocharyan: Nagorno Karabakh People Made Their Historical Choice, Protected Its National Interests in the Forced War. Today They Built Free and Independent State" ARMINFO News Agency
  31. "В Армении арестовали все имущество экс-президента Кочаряна, кроме пенсии". Interfax (in Russian). 2019-05-03. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
Political offices
Preceded by
Oleg Yesayan
Prime Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh
Succeeded by
Leonard Petrosyan
Preceded by
Garen Baburyan
President of Nagorno-Karabakh
Succeeded by
Leonard Petrosyan
Preceded by
Armen Sargsyan
Prime Minister of Armenia
Succeeded by
Armen Darbinyan
Preceded by
Levon Ter-Petrosyan
President of Armenia
Succeeded by
Serzh Sargsyan