Armenians urged not to ‘politicise tragedy’ following murder of family by Russian soldier

A Russian military base in Gymuri, currently under investigation for its connection to the attack
A Russian military base in Gymuri, currently under investigation for its connection to the attack

Armenian authorities have this week urged citizens not to react to the recent deaths of a family in the Armenian city of Gymuri by dragging politics into the situation.

The request was made by Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan following the recent deaths of six members of the same family that was thought to have been at the hands of a Russian soldier based in the area.

Valery Permyakov, the soldier currently suspected of committing the attack, was arrested while trying to flee to Turkey. According to officials Permyakov is accused of deserting his post and committing the atrocity, which left six dead, including a two-year old child, and left a six-month old baby in a critical condition.

Following news of the attack many Armenians took to the streets of Gyumri to protest to killings. During the spontaneous rally Armenians from across the political spectrum joined in demanding that authorities take action.Several online groups were also quickly established for Armenians to share their thoughts on the situation.

Armenian authorities are now concerned that growing anti-Russian sentiment in wake of the attack may create a difficult political situation for the country, who recently agreed to join the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

Armenia relies heavily on Russia for trade and military support and hundreds of Russian troops are based permanently in Armenia. Although many Armenians support Russia there are several anti-Russian groups who often accuse Armenia of maintaining a master-slave relationship with the Kremlin.

Following an ongoing criminal investigation reports are also claiming that security in Russian military sites has been increased, fearing protests and attacks by Armenian citizens.

Recent protests have led to concerns that further anti-Russian dialogue may become jeopardise Armenian links with their Russian allies. Among the demands made by some Armenians included the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops.

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