On July 18 2015, National Security Service employee Vladimir Hakobyan was appointed Spokesperson of RA President by Serzh Sargsyan’s decree.
This appointment was accompanied by a scandal which accounted for the most significant circulation of Vladimir Hakobyan’s name in media. It turned out that the failed attempt to recruit journalist, Board Member of Heritage Party Hrayr Manukyan by using threats had been made by Mr. Hakobyan himself. This topic was circulated in media immediately after Mr. Hakobyan’s appointment as RA President’s Spokesperson, after which he “went underground”.
Spokesperson’s position suggests that he/she should frequently communicate with media representatives, is open to comments, accessible for journalists and is generally a well-known figure. Hakobyan’s case shows completely the opposite.
We tried to make Internet search to find out the number of comments to media provided by Vladimir Hakobyan during the 17 months in his position. We managed to find only 5 references. Moreover, one out of these five refers to his past in the NSS, another one to Viktor Dallakyan and only 3 refer to the president’s activity. The aforementioned 5 comments can be found here: Past.am, Tert.am, Armlur.am, “Azatutyun”, “168 Hours”.
Mr. Hakobyan is not active in his Twitter page either, which he actively uses especially during Sargsyan-Aliev meetings. At the moment of publication of this material, the last update in Mr. Hakobyan’s Twitter page was made on August 30 and it was about Davit Hakobyan’s personal exhibition.
Besides, the spokesperson’s name was widely circulated in media on October 16-17, when the news websites were actively spreading his wedding photos.
In fact, the responsibilities of the Spokesperson of the RA President have been reduced to expressions like “send an official inquiry” or “we will inform you in due time”. Meanwhile, heads of press services of leaders of other states are influential figures who make numerous statements on a weekly basis and actively communicate with journalists.
Not long ago Armenia used to have a president’s spokesperson who had weekly briefings (for instance, during Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s presidency). Unfortunately, this democratic tradition was killed in Armenia. We have even reached the point when we wonder why the position should be kept at the expense of taxpayers if the president’s spokesperson does not speak to the media.