Due to the overlap in years of education and army service, Director of National Security Service Artur Vanetsyan’s biography raises a number of questions.
It is noted in the biography published on the NSS website that Artur Vanetsyan studied in the Armenian Agricultural Academy [presently Armenian National Agrarian University] in 1995-1999]. The biography also says that he served in the RA Armed Forces in 1997-1999.
It turns out that the director of the National Security Service completed a four-year university course and, at the same time, did compulsory military service during the same period, which, however, is not possible.
Fip.am decided to find out how the NSS director managed to serve in the army and get education at the same time.
We sent inquiries to the Armenian National Agrarian University, the Ministry of Defense and the National Security Service, asking if it is possible to combine education with military service.
Response from the National Security Service
In response to the inquiry, the National Security Service confirmed that Vanetsyan’s biography did not contain any mistake, and the NSS director succeeded in serving in the armed forces without interrupting his studies. However, they advised to contact “relevant institutions” (probably Agrarian University and Defense Ministry) regarding details.
Response from the Ministry of Defense
The Ministry of Defense informed us that Vanetsyan really served in the army in 1997-1999. However, the Ministry does not have the function of keeping records of compatibility between military service and university education.
Response from Armenian National Agrarian University
Interesting details about the director of the National Security Service were revealed in the response of the Agrarian University. Thus, in 1995 Artur Vanetsyan was admitted to the Department of Distance Learning at the Agrarian University (with the specialty “Animal Husbandry”) and graduated in 1999.
The Agrarian University informed that the data on the NSS Director’s military service is not available at the University and “it is possible that Vanetsyan submitted a document permitting participation in the distance learning process, the duration of which was three weeks for each semester.” The university also informed that such documents, if any, are kept for up to five years and then destroyed.
And how did Vanetsyan manage to complete the distance education in four years? The Agrarian University informed that according to the curriculum approved by the Rector in June 1998, the distance education in the field of “Animal Husbandry” was set for four years, giving graduates the qualification of a Bachelor of Animal Husbandry.
It turns out that Vanetsyan took part in the learning process for 12 weeks or 60 days during the two years of military service. Let’s try to understand if the law gives such an opportunity.
What the law requires
Thus, according to Article 32 of the Law on Social Security of Military Servicemen and Their Family Members (Granting a leave to soldiers):
- During the military service, servicemen of the regular compulsory military service may be granted a leave: 15 days for soldiers, 20 days for sergeants and seniors.
- By the commander’s decision, ordinary military servicemen may be granted a five-day additional leave based on exceptional performance in military education or service, and five days for married people once a month.
- Based on family, education-related circumstances and other valid reasons, commander (s) may decide that the conscript may be granted additional annual leave up to 10 days.
This means that even if Vanetsyan took advantage of all the leaves given to servicemen by law, he could not have taken part in the distance learning for 60 days. Thus, either he did not participate, or the learning process was at the expense of the military service.
Artur Vanetsyan does not give clarifications
FIP.am asked the director of the NSS to clarify this puzzle of this combination of learning and service. However, Vanetsyan refused, noting “We have already answered that question.”
It should be noted that the director of the NSS stated during his briefing in May that he served in the military police unit in Hrazdan in 1996. The issue how Vanetsyan managed to serve at 50 km distance from the place of his residence is a different topic of investigation.
Thus, Vanetsyan could not have participated in the distance learning process during his military service in accordance with the law. Consequently, we should either question the integrity of Vanetsyan’s service in the Armed Forces or his skills in Animal Husbandry.