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“The Case is Left Unrevealed”: 15 Years Since October 27

Today, is the 15th anniversary of the October 27, 1999 terrorist operation in the Armenian Parliament. On that wednesday evening, at around 5pm, Nairi Hunanyan, Karen Hunanyan, Edvard Grigoryan, Vram Galstyan, and Derenik Bejanyan stormed into the Armenian National Assembly and opened fire directed toward Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and NA Speaker Karen Demirchyan. The later two, as well as, the NA deputy-speaker Yuri Bakhshyan, Ruben Miroyan, MPs Mikayel Kotanyan, Henrik Abrahamyan, Armenak Armenakyan, and Minister of Emergency Situations Leonid Petrosyan were killed.

After the incident, Armenian official sources did not confirm the terrorist act for a few hours, and at around 10pm, a statement was released from the President’s office, stating that there were deaths and injured at the National Assembly. President Robert Kocharyan had met with the terrorists and negotiated with them until the dawn of October 28, when the terrorists turned themselves in after receiving security guarantees.

The trial of Nairi Hunanyan’s group began on October 27, 2001 and lasted nearly 3 years. Everyone that had stormed the National Assembly were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The October 27 trial process and verdict did not satisfy a group of Armenian political players. Vazgen Sargsyan’s brother, the Hanrapetutyun Party president Aram Sargsyan, and Karen Demirchyan’s son, Armenia’s People’s Party President Stepan Demirchyan, continually stated that other figures were behind Hunanyan’s actions, whose names were not revealed during the trial. The two political figures supported the political movement created by former-President Levon Ter-Petrosyan in 2007, leading to the Armenian National Congress alliance, in which the members would state before and after the 2008 presidential elections that 2nd and 3rd President Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan (since 1999, Sargsyan was head of the National Security Ministry (now Service) were guilty of the October 27 shootings.

In an interview with Stepan Demirchyan, he stated in numerous instances that the current administration will not reveal the October 27 case. Aram Sargsyan claims that the authorities who came after October 27, have “their names connected to October 27,”because they do not want to to reveal the case.

One of the suppositions to October 27, is that the killings were organized by the Russian Spetsnaz. In 2005, former USSR and Russian Spetsnaz employee, Aleksander Litvinenvo,  gave an interview for “Realny Azerbaijan” about the operation. The Russian embassy in Armenia denies Litvinenvo’s statement, however, the latter has stated multiple times that the “Russian Spetsnaz is a terrorist organization.”

In April and May of this year the Hraparak paper published a series of articles about the October 27 case. In one article the author, Mariam Kostantyan, wrote a list of individuals related to the case who had died, while in another article the author claims that Tigran Nazaryan, a US resident and witness to the killings, sent a recording to the Armenia in regards to the case.