Serge Avetisyan, a six-month old infant, is fighting for his life now. Armenian doctors managed to restore activity of his vital organs but the boy’s brain is still not functioning properly. Serge was raised in a big family, but suddenly he became an orphan. Six members of his family were shot and stabbed to death by Valeriy Permyakov, a mentally unstable defector from a Russian military base. He killed them for no reason.
The tragedy plunged the whole country into shock; the fact that Russia was not going to deliver the criminal has triggered a wave of the nation’s indignation. Mass protest actions were held in Yerevan in Gyumri. The authorities urged the people to let them settle the matter with Russian servicemen.
Raffi Aslanyan, local prosecutor:
“After the meeting there will be a statement and after that it will be clear to you what will happen in this criminal case. And only after that let us discuss the plan for both your and our future actions.”
While Yerevan protestors were throwing eggs at the Russian consulate, thousands of people were chanting near the Russian 102nd military base in Gyumri: “We are masters of our country!” As a result, its commanders made special security arragements.
Boris Navasardyan, Yerevan press club chairman:
“For me it is obvious that Armenian authorities should have demanded a handover to the Armenian Republic’s law enforcement and Russian military should have complied to this demand. Because if it does not happen, then circumstances might develop in a really negative way both in terms of Armenian-Russian relations and in the question of our internal political stability.”
The Russian 102nd military base in Gyumri is virtually a town where about 5,000 troops are stationed; more 2,500 persons being members of Russian officers’ families. The base was established in the 1990s amid rising tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. There are tanks, armoured vehicles, air defense forces, MIG-29 fighters, S-300 and S-200 anti-aircraft missiles, even notorious Buk-M missile system. Russia does not pay the Armenian government for the military base as its existence meets political interests of Yerevan and Moscow. According to the agreement, the Russian military will be present in the base for at least 29 years. They regularly take part in international war games. Valeriy Permyakov, a driver mechanic, came from the Russian town of Chita (Zabaikalye).
On January 12, 2015 six people were found dead in Gyumri. The Armenian Investigative Committee named Valery Permyakov, a Russian serviceman reportedly deserted the Russian 102nd military base in Gyumri, as a suspect. He left a gun and his military uniform at the scene of the crime. He entered the family’s home to ask for some water but got scared the family could deliver him to the authorities .
The six victims, the family Avetisyan, were identified on the same day. A six-month old infant survived the attack and was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.