On January 30, referring to the incident that happened the day before in Yerevan near the “Children of the besieged Leningrad” monument, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova, claimed that the monument was allegedly desecrated and vandalized.
“We strongly condemn the vandalism committed in Yerevan on January 29 near the “Children of the besieged Leningrad” monument. We note with deep sorrow that this is not the first case of desecration of monuments dedicated to heroic pages of common history for Russia and Armenia. ․․․ We expect the authorities of the republic to suppress such manifestations of barbarism in the future,” said Zakharova.
On January 27, a video by a user was shared on social media, in which the latter tears off the ribbons of the Russian flag from the wreaths placed near the monument and tramples them, then pushes the wreaths to the ground.
There is no footage in the video that would support claims of damaging, desecrating or vandalizing the memorial itself.
It is noteworthy that according to the press secretary of the President of the RA Investigative Committee Gor Abrahamyan, a criminal proceeding was initiated in connection with the incident under Article 297(1) of the RA Criminal Code (hooliganism).
“An investigation is underway to reveal the circumstances of the incident and to make a legal assessment of the actions of the mentioned person,” the release states.
Vandalizing or damaging the monument and the punishment provided for it are defined in Article 301 of the RA Criminal Code. In fact, the criminal case has apparently been initiated on the ground of hooliganism, not vandalism.
It is also noteworthy that in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia (Article 472) liability is defined only for disrespecting the state symbols of the Republic of Armenia.