Edik Baghdasaryan

Mayor Vardanik of Gyumri: What’s This Bad Boy Done Now?

Last week the T.V. news show “Haylur” reported that after its program aired, the chief of staff of the presidential office would personally get involved in the matter of the Gyumri boiler plant. What went down in Gyumri and why did the chief of staff decide to step into the affair? What prank did Gyumri Mayor Vardan Ghukasyan pull this time?

The Gyumri mayor has been mixed-up in a seemingly unending series of scandals and has always been able to wriggle free. This time, Mayor Ghukasyan decided to remove the boiler plant, built by the Lincy Foundation, piece by piece and rebuild it in the vicinity of the newly constructed Municipal Building in order to heat his office and the offices of his subordinates. The Lincy-financed boiler plant was built specifically to heat the homes constructed for those left homeless due to the 1989 earthquake.

The Lincy Foundation has over the years been involved in a host of benevolent projects in the disaster zone; from repairing roads to housing. So now we had this mayor, Vardan Ghukasyan, who decided to take advantage of the plant for his own narrow purposes. If the press hadn’t covered this latest outrage by Ghukasyan and made a stink about it…good-bye boiler plant. After the intervention of the chief of staff the plant was returned to where it belonged. Here we are in the middle of winter and the plant, of course, isn’t doing its job of heating homes.

The Republican Party mayor enjoys an invisible shield of immunity; he’ll never face dismissal for such chutzpah. In fact, Mayor Ghukasyan might be awarded a medal for getting through another scandal unscathed. Questions remain. Why did the presidential chief of staff get involved and not the General Prosecutor’s Office? Why hasn’t Mayor Ghukasyan been criminally charged with gross negligence and abuse of office? Finally, and most importantly, why is the government of Armenia so impotent when it comes to confronting Vardanik from Gyumri? Is there a lack of political will, or what? What is it about Vardan Ghukasyan that keeps him above the law and the government to treat him with kid gloves? I’ve been scratching my head in search for an answer. But to no avail. Maybe it’s because he’s been registered as “certifiably insane” by the local psychiatric ward.