Gagik Beglaryan tendered his resignation yesterday, after he was involved in an "incident" with Aram Kandayan, an employee of the president's protocol department.
Vahagn Khachatryan, a member of the opposition Armenian National Congress and himself a former mayor of Yerevan, said Beglaryan's fate was the result of the permissive atmosphere amongst the elite.
"These phenomena are typical for countries like Armenia, where it is a matter of honour to violate the law. Beglaryan's resignation proves that sometimes the existing system in the country eats its own sons. Everyone, even those closest to Serzh Sargsyan, may incur his displeasure in an instant," he told an Arminfo correspondent.
Khachatryan thought the incident with Aram Kandayan was only a pretext for Beglaryan's resignation. It looks as though the mayor refused to obey the general rules of the game, he said. "Therefore, Serzh Sargsyan gave his entourage to understand that they could share Beglaryan's fate in the event of disobedience."
Armenian National Congress coordinator Levon Zurabyan thought the incident illustrated the criminal nature of the authorities.
"The beating of Aram Kandayan by Yerevan Mayor Gagik Beglaryan looks like a smear campaign by Serzh Sargsyan. If this incident really did happen, it shows the criminal nature of the authorities and the fact that the power system makes a doormat of its leader. In any normal, law-based state, a criminal case would have been immediately instituted instead of demands for an apology, as was done in our country," Zurabyan said.
Aram Karapetyan of the opposition New Times Party said Beglaryan was far from the worst amongst the authorities, but declined to name names.
He did not think the resignation had a political subtext.
After the announcement of Gagik Beglaryan's resignation, the president's spokesman confirmed that an "incident" had taken place, but denied press reports that Beglaryan had abducted Kandayan.
“The president of Armenia has repeatedly expressed his view of such incidents. Such behaviour is unacceptable and intolerable,” presidential spokesman Armen Arzumanyan said.
The Armenian press reported that Gagik Beglaryan had abducted Aram Kandayan and given him a severe beating, because Kandayan had asked Beglaryan's wife to move to another place at a Placido Domingo concert in Yerevan last week, rather than sit immediately next to the president .