YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — President Serzh Sarkisian has appointed Georgi Kutoyan as the new head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) replacing Gorik Hakobian who was appointed Advisor to the President.
Introducing him to senior NSS officials later in the day, Sarkisian described Kutoyan as a “true professional” and “principled” person. “He is capable of coordinating parallel processes and finding the best way to solve a problem,” the president said. “For five years I worked with Georgi Kutoyan, and during those five years I never had a sense of dissatisfaction.”
In remarks publicized by his press service, Sarkisian put Kutoyan’s appointment in the context of his recent constitutional reform and Armenia’s resulting transition to the parliamentary system of government. The NSS must ensure that this transition, which will end in 2018, is “smooth” enough, he said.
Sarkisian said he now also expects the NSS to wage a tougher fight against corruption. “This doesn’t mean that national security bodies have not fought against corruption until now,” he said. “It’s just that we need a more acute fight at this stage.”
A lawyer by education, Kutoyan worked as an assistant to Sarkisian from 2011 until this month. From 2011-2014, he headed a presidential body monitoring anti-corruption measures supposedly taken by the Armenian government.
Before joining the presidential staff, he worked as a law lecturer at state-run colleges and as a senior staffer in the office of the Armenia’s state human rights ombudsman.
Apart from a 2005-2006 stint at the Office of the Prosecutor-General, Kutoyan has, according to his official biography, no prior work experience in the field of security and law-enforcement.