Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday unceremoniously fired Valery Osipyan, whom he had named his chief adviser two weeks ago after removing him from the position of Armenia’s police chief.
The prime minister’s office did not offer any explanation for this decision.
On September 18, Osipyan announced his resignation as police chief and was immediately appointed by Pashinyan as his chief adviser. When asked during a press conference in Los Angeles about the exact nature and capacity of Osipyan, Pashinyan was evasive.
When announcing his resignation Osipyan said in a statement that he would “speak about the reasons of my departure in the future.”
Osipyan’s dismissal as police chief came days after Pashinyan fired the head of Armenia’s National Security Service Arthur Vanetsyan, who similarly said that he would address “reasons” for his resignation at a later date. In his case, however, the war of words with Pashinyan spilled onto the public stage with both making assertions about the other. During the Los Angeles press conference, it was clear that Pashinyan was displeased with Vanetsyan, who took to social media to air his grievances about the prime minister.
Osipyan was appointed Armenia’s Chief of Police in May, 2018 after the new government took over. He served as the deputy chief of Yerevan’s police during the previous administration and became the face of law enforcement beginning with the Electric Yerevan protests on 2015, where thousands took to the streets to protest electricity rate hikes. Police violently clashed with protesters at the time, unleashing water hoses to disperse protesters.
A year later, Osipyan would be entangled in the saga of Sasna Dzrer—Defenders of Sassoun—the group that seized a police barrack and for two weeks held several people hostage, among them Osipyan.
During the 2018 popular movement, Osipyan, in his role as Yerevan Police Chief, was careful to minimize violent clashes with protesters and after Pashinyan took office was appointed to the post he left on Wednesday.