The tragedy in Harsnakar shocked the society of Armenia. The security guards of the restaurant owned by Ruben Hairapetyan severely beat a group of military doctors dining there. Vahe Avetyan, one of these doctors, is on the verge of death.
Yesterday the Association of ENT Doctors made a statement demanding genuine investigation and prosecution. Today an action of protest is organized in front of the National Assembly. The army is angry. Appeals for lynching are heard.
The first steps taken by the authorities immediately after the incident of Harsnakar revealed their confusion. First the case was sent to the investigation department of the Ministry of Defense, then was returned to the Police. The first reactions revealed a tendency to shift the problem from the legal level to the so-called moral level, to distort the issue, as it had been the case with other crimes involving high-ranking officials.
However, the strong public backlash forced the government to set the tradition aside this time and treat this case in legal terms. Chief of Police Vladimir Gasparyan announced that bullying will not be tolerated, and all those guilty will be punished. Already 6 have been arrested.
Judging by similar precedents, people have certain reservations regarding the practices and honesty of the authorities. The point is that in similar developments one or two proxies were punished who were set free early. For instance, ex-president Robert Kocharyan’s bodyguard nicknamed Cuckoo who killed a person at Aragast café but “served” only one year.
Now Ruben Hairapetyan, one of the pillars of the government, is staked, of the government which states to end bad practices, to listen to the vox populi. This case will indicate whether the government has ridded of the past practices. It is a vital issue for the government because if the past practices continue, the present government will become redundant.
Besides, time has changed, the society has leapt towards putting forth its problems and rights. Hence, the case of Harsnakar is a touchstone for this government, in terms of both the society and the system. If the government follows the same path, it will fall down from the hits of the society and the system.