GYUMRI, Armenia—In the first interrogation after his capture, Russian soldier Valery Permyakov has confessed to killing a family of six in Gyumri, the Deputy Chief of the Armenian Police Hunan Poghosian told Armenian Public Radio (ArmRadio.am) on Tuesday.
Permyakov is currently being kept under detention at the Russian military base in Gyumri.
Permyakov deserted his post on Sunday night and went on a rampage, killing six members of an Armenian family, among them a two-year-old girl. A six-month-old infant survived the attack but is in critical condition at a Yerevan hospital. Permyakov then went on the run, until he was caught by border guards at the Turkish border.
Russian officials began an investigation on Monday, while Armenian prosecutors announced that Russia will have custody of Permyakov until the end of a criminal investigation into the gruesome crime, reported RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). Officials indicated that Permyakov will be tried in Russia, while the pre-trial probe will be conducted by Armenian and Russian security bodies.
“In terms of information subject to publication, [Permyakov] deserted his military post with an assault rifle and two loaded magazines,” Poghosian told a news conference in Gyumri. “He claims that he wanted to stroll around the city and entered that house by accident, without knowing whether or not there are people inside it.”
One of their neighbors, Manvel Yeghiazarian, described the victims as “very quiet, kind and hard-working people” who “never caused trouble.” “We just don’t know why it happened,” the middle-aged man told Azatutyun.am.
Like other neighbors, Yeghiazarian insisted that he heard no gunshots shortly before the Avetisians were found dead on Monday morning.
On Tuesday, Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian met with Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Arkady Bakhin, who briefed Ohanian on a Russian Defense Ministry task force dispatched to Armenia to help investigate the crime, ArmRadio.am reported.
Ohanian urged continued cooperation between the two countries to help law enforcement resolve the case.
Permyakov to Be Tried By Russia
The Armenian Prosecutor’s Office reported on Tuesday that it has discussed the case with the Russian Prosecutor’s Office, confirming that Permyakov will be tried by the Russian government and that he will not be extradited to Armenia, ArmRadio.am reported.
“The perpetrator of the crime, Valery Permyakov, is a citizen of the Russian Federation and is under the control of the Russian law enforcement bodies,” a report from the two offices said. “Therefore, the issue of handing over Permyakov to the Armenian party is not subject to discussion in compliance with Article 61.1 of the Russian Constitution, which states that ‘the citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state.’”
The Armenian Prosecutor’s Office said the two parties agreed that Permyakov should be punished to the fullest extent.
The investigation into the crime will be carried out by both Armenian and Russian law enforcement bodies.
Surviving Infant Moved to Yerevan Hospital
The six-month-old Seryozha Avetisyan, the only member of the Avetisyans family who survived the vicious murder, was moved to the Surb Astvatsamayr (Holy Mother of God) Yerevan Medical Center on Tuesday, the Health Ministry’s Spokeswoman Anahit Aytayan told ArmInfo.am.
The infant is in critical condition and is being treated at the hospital’s intensive care unit, Aytayan reported. Permyakov stabbed the baby multiple times in the chest, medical examiners said. The infant survived with wounds for several hours, suffering heavy blood loss, before he was found.
The head of Gyumri’s Australian Hospital, Ashot Kurghinyan, described Seryozha’s survival as “a miracle.”
Requiem Mass Planned for Slain Family
The government of Shirak Province, where Gyumri is located, is organizing a requiem mass for the members of the Avetisyan family, Armenpress reports.
According to officials, the requiem mass will be held at Gyumri’s St. Nshan Church Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. local time. The funeral service will take place on Jan. 15 at 1 p.m.
Self-Proclaimed Father Offers Condolences
A man claiming to be Permyakov’s father called the offices of a local Armenian news agency Tuesday to express his condolences to the relatives of the murdered family in Gyumri, Arka reports.
The man introduced himself to Novosti Armenia (News.am) as Pavel Permyakov, the father of Valery Permyakov.
“I have called to express my condolences to the relatives of the family, to all the inhabitants of this city. I still cannot believe how this could happen,” the man said.
He told Novosti Armenia that his son Valery Permyakov originally had his military service in the Trans-Baikal Territory of Russia after four months of training.
“He had served there for four months. He was willing to serve the military and had successes in combat training, tank driving, and was promoted to a higher rank,” the man said.
He did not confirm reports in Armenian media that Valery Permyakov repeatedly deserted his military post during his service.
“I have no such information, we talked on the phone … He was a good guy, a good soldier, but he was also a young guy, and young people are young people and maybe he had done a wrongdoing, but he never spoke about them,” he said.
He said he last spoke with his son on the phone on Christmas Day, Jan. 7, and didn’t notice anything unusual during the conversation.
“My wife and I had no doubt or hints that he had a problem. He is a straightforward guy and he would have told us if he was unhappy or had enough of it and wanted to be back home. He never said he had problems,” the man said.
“He liked the service. Everything was good, and we still cannot believe it, because there were no preconditions … We do not understand how it could happen, because he never complained and was pleased with the service …” said the man.
The self-proclaimed father expressed willingness to cooperate with the investigation. According to him, he was informed that his son had left his military unit. He said that an investigator accompanied by a district police officer visited him and his wife on Tuesday to take testimony.
Novosti Armenia has published an audio recording of the phone conversation.