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Armenian MP Against Racism, Xenophobia. A Year Ago He Justified Hate Crime

The fight against terrorism is the focus of several Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Armenia, said National Assembly Vice President, Republican Party of Armenia spokesperson Eduard Sharmazanov at the meeting of the Standing Committee on Defence and Security of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Oct. 8 in St. Petersburg.  

Sharmazanov expressed regret that in the territory of the CIS there are still countries today where inter-ethnic and inter-religious hatred prevails and where xenophobia and terrorism are born. Some CIS countries, he said, considering this or that nation their enemy, at the state level instill hate among the new generation.

It is his deep conviction that terrorism is born where there is no tolerance, which leads to radical nationalist sentiments.

However, in May 2012, when brothers and nationalists Arame and Hambik Khabazyan set fire to DIY, a bar in central Yerevan, Sharmazanov not only didn’t condemn their actions, but also publicly declared his support, saying that what they did was “completely right and justified”.

Furthermore, he said that all those who “attempt to protect degenerate faggots in our society defile the national portrait of us Armenians.” His statements drew the attention of the European Commission against Racism and Intolernace, a body of the Council of Europe, which said that such statements “create a dangerous sense of impunity”.    

After these statements, which Sharmazanov had conveyed to a local newspaper, Public Information and Need of Knowledge (PINK Armenia) NGO President Mamikon Hovsepyan appealed to the parliamentary ethics committee, asking it to investigate whether these statements comply with the ethics of a lawmaker. Hovsepyan pointed out that by publicly justifying a hate crime, Sharmazanov violated the RA National Assembly’s Code of Ethics, as well as his oath in office.

Several NGOs have called the DIY bombing “a blatant act of terrorism directed against minorities”.