“Russians consider us lower than dirt and treat us accordingly”
22 January, 2015
“Russians consider us lower than dirt and treat us accordingly”
Armenia is in mourning. An 18-year-old soldier who deserted from the 102nd Russian military base in the city of Gyumri has slaughtered the Avetisyan family with unimaginable cruelty.

“The ruthlessness of an 18-year-old Russian soldier has dealt a stronger blow to Russia’s and Armenia’s “century-old friendship” than Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s intelligence agencies could ever hope to.”

The bloody incident has already caused political complications. Inhabitants of Gyumri have held protests in front of the Russian military base in response to
the merciless slaughter of civilians. Citizens from Yerevan have come to their support, and the protests have quickly snowballed into clashes with the police, with up to 20 people being injured as a result.
During the protest, angry citizens tore Russian tricolor flags to pieces and trampled upon them, something which has never happened in the entire history of Armenian-Russian relations.
A majority of the Armenian population demands the Russian soldier be handed over to stand trial in accordance with Armenian law. The Kremlin, however, is reluctant to do so, since the Russian constitution does not envision handing over Russian citizens accused of a crime to foreign authorities. On the other hand, an agreement signed between Russian and Armenian sides implies full judicial authority of Armenia over law violations that take place outside the Russian military base. However, this clause loses power if the crime is military in nature. Since Permyakov also committed a military crime by deserting his post while at arms, this necessitates a court martial before he can be tried for other crimes.
This is not the first tragedy involving Russian soldiers in Armenia. In 2013, an unexploded landmine left behind after Russian military training at the Shiraq polygon resulted in the death of two children. Ingeotv.ge 1999, two drunken Russian servicemen opened fire at traders at the Gyumri market, killing two and injuring fourteen.
The Russian government does not wish to hand over a murderer to a friendly country for trial because he is a Russian citizen. However, if Russian generals manage to smuggle the accused soldier into Russia from Armenian territory, it will cause further indignation of the Armenian people and will cast significant doubt on benefits of Russian-Armenian partnership. Armenians may even demand the removal of Russian bases from their territory.

Georgian Journal contacted Robert Martirosyan, a resident of Gyumri:

Despite such a tragedy, Russian media is very reluctant to report it. Russian military’s 102nd regiment is stationed in Gyumri, and cases like this are quite frequent. But you should have seen the hysteria Russian media was in when an Armenian living in Moscow lost control of his car and crashed, killing several people. Every single news broadcast began and ended with this.
Russians consider us lower than dirt and treat us accordingly. We are suffering here – they claim to be here for our protection and yet slaughter us without a care.

Prepared by Irakli Aladashvili and Lali Papaskiri
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