YEREVAN — Vano Siradeghyan, a once powerful Armenian politician and former government member, has died at the age of 75 more than two decades after fleeing the country to avoid prosecution on murder charges denied by him.
Siradeghyan’s death was announced by his wife and son in a short statement issued at the weekend. They did not specify its cause, reveal his last place of residence or say whether they want to bury him in Armenia.
Vano Siradeghyan was born on November 13, 1946 in the village of Koti.
He held several high-ranked positions in the 1990s. Between 1992 and 1996 he was Minister of Internal Affairs and Mayor of Yerevan from 1996 to 1998.
A former novelist, Siradeghyan was one of the leaders of a popular movement for Armenia’s unification with Nagorno-Karabakh that erupted in 1988 and toppled the then Soviet republic’s last Communist government in 1990. He became one of the newly independent country’s most powerful men when serving as interior minister in the administration of its first President Levon Ter-Petrosyan from 1992-1996.
After President Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s resignation in February 1998, criminal charges were filed against him. Siradeghyan disappeared in April 2000, and had
In a weekend statement, Ter-Petrosyan’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) party, paid tribute to Siradeghyan, saying that as interior minister he managed to quickly “root out crime” and maintain “internal stability and law and order” and thus contributed to the Armenian victory in the 1991-1994 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The HAK also deplored the “trumped-up” charges brought against him during Kocharian’s rule and urged the current Armenian authorities to allow Siradeghyan’s family to bury him at the National Pantheon in Yerevan.