YEREVAN (RFE/RL/Noyan Tapan)–The last vacant ministerial post was filled Friday in the Armenian government with the appointment of a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Party as the Minister of Culture–Youth Affairs and Sports. Fiction writer and journalist Roland Sharoyan has become the second ARF party member to take over a ministerial post in Armenia in the last 77 years. The other ARF cabinet member–Education and Science Minister Levon Mkrtchian–was appointed last month with the rest of the new ministers.
Presenting Sharoyan to the ministry’s staff–Prime Minister Armen Darbinian attributed the delay with the last appointment to the great importance the government attaches to the field. Meanwhile–Sharoyan told RFE/RL later in the day that bolstering Armenian "national–cultural and spiritual values" will be the cornerstone of his policy. He promised to approach youth problems with a "new thinking." Sharoyan said his experience gained during active membership in the ARF will be very helpful in his work. Sharoyan’s appointment is widely interpreted as a political step by President Robert Kocharian–aimed at cementing his alliance with the ARF.
In another important development–the government decided that Deputy Culture Minister Aram Manoukian of the Armenian National Movement will keep his job. In late 1994–Sharoyan was arrested and released by the ANM-led authorities in connection with the controversial Dro case–in which the ARF was charged with terrorism and drug trafficking.
Sharoyan was born in 1952 in Arshag Village of the Talin region. In 1974 he graduated from the Yerevan State University Department of Journalism and began work as news editor for youth news at the state television. He then worked at "Yerevan" Film Studio.
Sharoyan was a founder of the "Dzidzernag" children’s program–of which he ran the literary section–and an editor of the "Karoun" monthly newsletter.
Sharoyan has published numerous articles–essays–historical research and plays. He has contributed to the production of the movie "Lost Paradise," and earned awards for his books "Marakhough (Fog)" and "Khaghagh Gesor (Calm Noon)."
Sharoyan is the author of five books. He has been a member of the Writers’ Union and the Journalists’ Union since 1982.
In 1993–he founded the "Marzashkharh (Athletic World)" and "Navasart-II" sports–cultural and literary newspapers–as well as the sports writers’ "Navasart" national club. Sharoyan also authored the first Armenian translation of the "Encyclopedia of Football."