Rumors are flying about a number of current authorities who have allegedly eluded compulsory military service on illegal grounds and in illegal ways. Taking into account the fact that the public keeps the issue around a number of officials, who have not completed military service, under the spotlight, we do research in this regard and will periodically report the results of our studies.
First, we will speak about RA Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, since the issue that he had not completed military service is in the center of public attention, and it has become a subject of public debate. Also, taking into account the public distrust of the legitimacy of the grounds for exemption from service, there is a need to make some clarifications on this issue.
We have made two inquiries to clarify the grounds for Tigran Avinyan’s exemption. Our first inquiry was addressed to the prime minister for the latter to assign Tigran Avinyan to disclose the grounds for not completing compulsory military service. A letter was sent from Tigran Avinyan's office in response to our inquiry. We were told in the letter that Tigran Avinyan had been awarded a military deferment to continue his education at the Faculty of Applied Mathematics at the Armenian - Russian University in 2005-2009, after which he was exempted from compulsory military service because of health problems as prescribed by law.
We made our second inquiry to the RA Ministry of Defense and asked for information on the grounds for Tigran Avinyan’s exemption from compulsory military service. In our inquiry letter, we also asked for the name or description of the illness in case the exemption was because of health conditions, as well as for mentioning the grounds for rejection in case of refusing to provide information.
We were told in the response letter that the information holder refused to provide information as it violated the person’s right to privacy or disclosed data requiring restricted access due to professional activities (medical privacy). It was also mentioned in the response letter that the patient’s records could be shared only with his consent. Hence, they refused to provide corresponding information based on the aforementioned.
From the two inquiries that we had sent, we did not get information on the illness for which Tigran Avinyan had been recognized unfit for military service and for exemption from it. If Tigran Avinyan has serious health problems, which served as a basis for exemption, the public should learn about them, because maybe the deputy prime minister is unable to perform public service properly as well because of these health problems. However, since the deputy prime minister consistently avoids providing any details about the grounds for his exemption from the army, the society, therefore, must continue to believe in the rumors that Avinyan was exempted from the army illegally. If no unlawful mechanism has been used in this case, then why are there no comments made about these rumors to dispel all doubts?
Author - Mari Avagyan