Short Term: Official’s bodyguard dismissed from school administration after controversial appointment

A controversial aide to Syunik’s odious governor Surik Khachatryan has been relieved from his duties as deputy school headmaster in Kapan one day after being controversially appointed to the position.

The dismissal of Zarzand Nikoghosyan, who also serves as Khachatryan’s bodyguard, came after Minister of Education and Science Armen Ashotyan was reportedly alerted to this appointment by media.

In the past Nikoghosian was involved in at least two criminal investigations as a suspect. In particular, along with Khachatryan’s son, Tigran, he was charged with murder after the 2013 shootout near the Khachatrians’ mansion in Goris, but the charges were subsequently dropped as investigators controversially found that the two acted in self-defense.

The news of Nikoghosian’s appointment on September 1 – the day when schools reopened for classes in Armenia – created a storm in Armenian social media.

Minister Ashotyan promised to deal with the matter and within hours the official wrote on his Facebook that the decision on Nikoghosyan’s appointment had been cancelled.

Earlier, Marine Davtyan, the principal of Kapan’s school N6, told media that she herself had appointed Nikoghosyan as her deputy and that Governor Khachatryan had no influence on that decision.

This is not the first controversy surrounding the Armenian education sphere during the past several days.

Last week, Yerevan’s school N27 controversially restored Susanna Sargsyan as principal despite the fact that she was tried and convicted for embezzlement committed while serving in the same position two years ago. Sargsyan said her reelection showed that the school staff continued to trust her, but senior educationalist and politician Anahit Bakhshyan said she took it as a sign that “corruption in school N27 will continue.”

Another education-related controversy was fueled by reports that Minister Ashotyan’s two sons were enrolled in an expensive private school – something that media alleged showed the official’s mistrust towards public schools. But Ashotyan categorically refuted the view that his sending his sons to a private school meant that he considered public schools to be “no good”.