Armenian media outlets write from time to time that this or that official will resign soon. However, stubborn “predictions” and “reliable” news mostly do not come true. The press has especially cited rumors about the resignation of Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan, which have been denied with the same rigor. Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan and Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan also have not escaped the media attention․ They too are often among the officials who have “signed resignation letters”.
The Fact Investigation Platform tried to summarize the publications about the officials “sent home” by the press, but still remaining in their positions.
Hayk Marutyan resigns every month
On October 10, 2018, actor Hayk Marutyan assumed the post of Mayor of Yerevan, and after some time, every month, sometimes several times a month, the press wrote that Marutyan would resign soon, specific dates were mentioned: “New Year without a Mayor” “It is Hayk Marutyan’s last autumn”, “He will leave the post after April 5”, etc.
The first news item about Marutyan’s possible resignation was written by 168.am in February 2019. “According to very reliable sources, the mayor of Yerevan Hayk Marutyan wants to resign, but the prime minister urged him not to take that step, to hold office for at least two months.” A similar article was published by “Iravunk” newspaper in July 2019 with the headline “Hayk Marutyan wanted to resign from the post of mayor, but Pashinyan urged to wait a little longer.” In August, Analitik.am wrote: “Will Hayk Marutyan resign because of Amulsar?”, And 10 days later hraparak.am insisted, “The issue of Hayk Marutyan’s resignation is on the agenda.”
In September, the press again predicted the mayor’s resignation. “Irates” wrote “Last autumn? Hayk Marutyan will resign.”
In November 2019, three articles on this topic were published at once. Hraparak.am reported: “We were recently informed that the mayor of Yerevan, Hayk Marutyan, has resigned.” A few days later, “Iravunk” newspaper wrote: “New Year without a mayor. The issue of Hayk Marutyan’s resignation is on the agenda again.” And at the end of the month, “Hraparak” newspaper referred to the same issue again: “Hayk Marutyan is in a deep depression: He is writing resignation letters to the Prime Minister.”
By the way, “Hraparak” and “Iravunk” dailies stood out with the articles about Hayk Marutyan’s resignation.
In December, “Hraparak” newspaper wrote again: “Some people claim that Marutyan’s resignation is inevitable.”
They are persistently trying to send Hayk Marutyan home this year. In March, referring to its sources, “Zhoghovurd” daily wrote: “The dawns in the city hall are not so peaceful, and even inside they do not rule out that Hayk Marutyan will leave his post after the referendum on constitutional amendments on April 5.”
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, no news was published about Marutyan’s resignation for several months, and only in August 2020, three articles were published at once, two of which were “information from sources close to the government” on the Armdaily.am website, according to which Hayk Marutyan had decided not to return to his post after his vacation. However, the mayor’s spokesman’s denial was also mentioned in the same article.
On August 18, “Hraparak” newspaper wrote that there are persistent rumors that Marutyan may leave his post.
A few days ago, Hayk Marutyan referred to the recent publications about the resignation of the mayor of Yerevan on his Facebook page. “I follow with high spirits the rumors spread by some media outlets serving the former corrupt authorities about my imaginary ‘resignation.'”
The last announcement about Marutyan’s resignation was on August 25. Even after the mayor’s denial, the “Hraparak” daily does not seem to give up. “The Civil Contract Party believe that it is high time to change Marutyan,” the newspaper wrote. On the same day, 168.am website noted: “Will Hayk Marutyan go to work tomorrow? Today is the last day of his vacation.” Marutyan did return to work.
The press has been sending Tigran Avinyan home since April
Politik.am has been consistently writing about the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, which in April 2020 had verified the news spread earlier from the sources in the government that “Avinyan has just been fired.” According to the sources of the website, the issue of resignation was decided, but the terms were being discussed.
From the beginning of May, Armlur.am personally asked Avinyan whether he would resign or not, to which the Deputy Prime Minister gave a negative answer. However, at the end of the same month, Hraparak.am continued to insist on the rumors of Avinyan leaving his post, already mentioning specific dates: “Avinyan will resign by mid-July.” In June, Hraparak.am changed the terms. “It is almost certain that Avinyan must leave, they are waiting for the right moment.” Avinyan still holds the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
Arsen Torosyan should have submitted his “resignation” letter in 2018
Arsen Torosyan was appointed Minister of Health in May 2018 after the Velvet Revolution. Back in October 2018, referring to the reliable information of “Past” daily, Armenian news websites wrote that Arsen Torosyan will not be reappointed Minister of Health after the snap parliamentary elections.
Then, in May 2019, Hraparak.am raised a question: “Will Arsen Torosyan leave his post?” In September, Kentron TV prepared a report, then headlined on its website, “Will Arsen Torosyan resign?”, although Torosyan had answered the journalist’s question during the report, noting that he was not going to resign.
In May 2020, Hraparak.am wrote that not only Tigran Avinyan will leave his post, but also the issue of Arsen Torosyan’s resignation is on the agenda. In June, the Armdaily.am website insisted that staff changes in the ruling elite would continue; next, the issue of the resignation of the Minister of Health Arsen Torosyan is discussed.
During the days of the pandemic, the media often tried to get clarification from the minister on the issue that the public demands his resignation for failing the fight against the coronavirus. In June, he referred to this issue: “If people think that working as a minister in this situation is such a pleasant occupation, then I can resign whenever they want.”
The issue of the resignation of the Minister of Health has caused a great deal of controversy in the press in recent days, after it became known that the Minister had deactivated his personal and official Facebook accounts. The media raised a question on August 24: “Did Arsen Torosyan resign?”
“Hraparak” newspaper wrote on August 25: “Two days ago, Torosyan wrote a resignation letter, but Pashinyan was very angry, tore up the letter and said, ‘You do not decide when to go, I decide.’ Then Politik.am wrote that Arsen Torosyan insulted Pashinyan and left. It was followed by rumors that by the decision of the Prime Minister, Arsen Torosyan will go on vacation from August 31 to September 18, inclusive. On August 26, the minister’s spokesperson denied the rumors about his resignation.” Arsen Torosyan has not submitted a resignation letter and is not going to. After the vacation leave, the minister will return to his routine activities.” Whether Torosyan will return or not will become clear only on September 19.”
However, it is noteworthy that not only Arsen Torosyan, but also Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan, Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Defense Minister David Tonoyan, Minister of Emergency Situations Felix Tsolakyan, Minister of Environment Erik Grigoryan (he resigned in May 2020), Ministers of Finance and Economy, Minister of Social Affairs Zaruhi Batoyan were “sent home” by “Zhoghovurd” daily in September 2019. However, all of them are still in office except for Erik Grigoryan.