After weeks of mass protests across the country led by opposition figure Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, who had just completed two terms as president, was forced to resign on April 23. A referendum on a package of Constitutional reforms in 2015 that switched the country’s governance from a presidential to a parliamentary one, paved the way for Sargsyan to seek the new and powerful office of Prime Minister. Pashinyan, along with the Reject Serzh and Take a Step initiatives were able to capitalize on what many in Armenia saw as a power grab by Sargsyan and his powerful Republican Party (RPA). Following the resignation of Sargsyan, the country was thrown into political crisis. Pashinyan and his supporters continued to mobilize the population to demand that he, as the “people’s candidate,” should be elected as the country’s interim prime minister in a parliament that was dominated by the RPA.
On May 1, a special parliamentary session failed to elect a prime minister after the RPA refused to vote in favor of Pashinyan. However, on May 8, after another week of widespread protests, labor and student strikes across the country, the RPA relented and provided just enough votes to allow the election of Nikol Pashinyan as prime minister.
Ararat Mirzoyan, First Deputy Prime Minister
Mirzoyan, 35, is the founding member of the Civil Contract Party and was elected to Armenia’s parliament in 2017 from the territorial electoral list for the Yelk Bloc. He is a PhD in History, is a professor at Yerevan State University, was a junior researcher at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, chief archivist of the Department of Socio-Political Documents of the National Archives of Armenia, worked at HSBC as a specialist, was an analyst of the news agency Regnum, coordinator of the voter information program with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), and head of the research group of the Aurora and 100 Lives initiative of the IDEA Foundation, expert on political parties and strategic planning of the Netherlands Institute for Multi-Party Democracy. He is the author of numerous analytical publications in the Armenian and international media. He has two children.
Below we present the biographies of the new cabinet formed by Pashinyan. He has approximately 20 days to present his government’s program, which must be approved by a majority in parliament. If his program does not secure the necessary votes in the National Assembly, the country must then prepare for snap elections.
Tigran Avinyan, Deputy Prime Minister
Avinyan, 29, graduated with a Masters degree in finance from Queen Mary University, London. He founded and led Cyber Vision, an IT agency specializing in development and graphic design. Following the Four Day War in April 2016, he was awarded with a special certificate by the Ministry of Defense for “active involvement in the protection of the borders of the homeland and for carrying out military duties in April and May conscientiously.” He is a member of the Civil Contract party, is married with two children.
Mher Grigoryan, Deputy Prime Minister
Grigoryan, 46, a banker, has worked in Armenia’s Central Bank, AmeriaBank, HSBC, was the Executive Director of Inecobank, and Deputy Executive Director of VDB Bank. He has been awarded the Anania Shirakatsi medal, is married with two children.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mnatsakanyan, 52, is a career diplomat and was Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He graduated from the department of International Economic Relations from Moscow State Institute of International Relations and received a Masters in Economics in Western European politics from the Department of Politics, Economics and Social Studies of Victoria University of Manchester. He has served as a diplomat in London, Vatican City, Geneva, was Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, was the chief negotiator of the EU-Armenia Association Agreement for four years, and was then appointed as the Permanent Representative to the UN. He has been decorated with the Medal of Mkhitar Gosh for distinguished service in diplomacy. He is married with two sons.
Artak Zeynalyan, Minister of Justice
Zeynalyan, 49, was elected to Armenia’s parliament in 2017 on the Yelk Bloc ticket, representing the Republic Party. He graduated from Yerevan State Medical University and did his residency at the National Institute of Health in 1999. He later studied at the Academy of Management and in 2006 graduated from the Law Faculty of the Gladzor Management University. From 1998-2001, he served as Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Health, he has headed the Committees for Humanitarian Aid adjunct to the Government of Armenia: the Republican Committee on Health and the Republican Committee for the reassessment of medical supplies received by humanitarian means. For many years, Zeynalyan was a human rights defender: member of the Human Rights NGO Tanik (Roof), member of the “Public Council for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,” member of the Human Rights NGO Lawyers Against Torture, Chairman-founder of the Human Rights NGO “Rule of Law.” He is a founding member of the Yerkrapah Union of Volunteers and a founding member of the Republic Party. He has been awarded the Medal of Courage and awarded the title of “Human Rights Defender of the Year” by the US Embassy in Armenia. He volunteered in the Artsakh Liberation War with the Nikol Duman Yegrapah division. He was wounded in 1992 and lost a leg. He’s married with four children and one grandchild.
Levon Vahradyan, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs
Vahradyan, 34, graduated from the State Institute of Physical Education where he also taught from 2006-2010. He has also graduated from the Academy of Public Administration. He has worked at the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs as assistant and later advisor to the minister. He has also served as the head of the Policy Department for Sports and Physical Education of the ministry. He is married and has one child.
Hrachya Rostomyan, Minister of Emergency Situations
Rostomyan, 37, is a dentist by profession and a PhD of Pedagogical Science. He has lectured at Yerevan State Medical University, served as an alderman in Yerevan Municipal Council, was the President of the Armenian Basketball Federation, Secretary General of Armenia’s National Olympic Committee, was the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs from 2012-2016. For many years, he played for Armenia’s men’s national basketball team and participated in numerous international tournaments and is an international referee. He served in the Armenian Armed Forces with the rank of Lieutenant. He does not belong to any political party, is married with two children.
Lilit Makunts, Minister of Culture
Makunts, 35, is a PhD of Philological Sciences. She has participated in a summer diploma program at Tuft University’s Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. She is an associate professor at the Russian-Armenian University and since 2016 works with the Peace Corps. She is not married.
Erik Grigoryan, Minister of Ecology
Grigoryan, 39, served as Deputy Minister of Nature Protection and advisor to former Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. An economist, Grigoryan has been working in the Ministry of Ecology since 2002 where he has had several positions. He has also worked at the American University of Armenia, and participated in programs by the UN and the OSCE. He is the author of several academic articles. He does not belong to any political party, is married with two children.
Suren Papikyan, Minister of Territorial Administration and Development
Papikyan, 32, studied history at Yerevan State University, later pursuing his PhD in history from the State University of St. Petersburg. He is a member of the Civil Contract Party and serves as the party’s Deputy President.
Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, Minister of Diaspora
Hayrapetyan, 27, is an Orientalist who has worked at several media organizations as an analyst. Along with Gevorg Petrosyan founded an independent website focused on Turkey and Turkish Studies.
David Tonoyan, Minister of Defense
Tonoyan, 51, graduated from Yerevan State University and the Military Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Federation. He has held several positions at the headquarters of NATO’s Allied Command Operations, was the Armenian Armed Forces Representative to NATO, head of International Military Cooperation and Defense Programs of the Ministry of Defense, head of the Department of Defense Policy of the Ministry, First Deputy Minister of Defense and later Minister of Emergency Situations.Tonoyan served in the Soviet Army. He is the recipient of several medals for Services to the Fatherland and for Meritorious Service including the Vazgen Sargsyan and Andranik Ozanyan medals. He does not belong to any political party, is married with two children.
Mane Tandilyan, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs
Tandilyan, 40, graduated from the faculty of history of the Armenian State Pedagogical University, and has a Masters of Business Administration from the American University of Armenia. She has worked as a chief accountant in several organizations including Hovnanian International, Mentor Graphics Development Services, was the Deputy Financial Director of Synopsis Armenia from 2009-2017 and since 2016 is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). She was active in the “Dem Em” Movement in 2014 that sought to pass a new law privatizing the country’s pension system. In 2017, she was elected to Armenia’s parliament representing the Yelk Bloc. She is the Vice President of the Bright Armenia party, is married and has two children.
Arsen Torosyan, Minister of Health
Torosyan, 36, graduated from Yerevan State Medical University. He is a healthcare management and public health professional. From 2010-211 he was the deputy director and head of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the National Tuberculosis Control Center; director of the MIBS Medical Diagnostic Center. He is the author of several academic articles. He does not belong to any political party, is married with two children.
Arthur Khachatryan, Minister of Agriculture
Khachatryan, 46, served as governor of Shirak Marz and before that as Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Development. He has a degree in physics from Yerevan State University, an MBA from the American University of Armenia and an MBA from Imperial College London. He was the Academic Dean of Management Faculty at the French University, Deputy Director of Operations and Head of HR at Ardshininvestbank, and director of Vivat Consulting. He is a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, is married and has three children.
Atom Janjughazyan, Minister of Finance
Janjughazyan, 47, is a PhD of Technical Sciences and the author of several academic articles. He has been working at the Finance Ministry since 1995 and since 1999 is the Deputy Chief Treasurer of the ministry. He lectures at several universities in Yerevan, is married and has three children.
Arthur Grigoryan, Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources
Grigoryan, 49, has worked at the Control Chamber of the Ministry of Justice. In 2010, he was appointed as Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and is a member of the Prosperous Armenia Party. He graduated from the Faculty of Law of Yerevan State University, worked as a judicial officer at the Civil Court of the Hrazdan region. He headed the Legal Department of Armenia’s Control Chamber. He served in the Soviet Army and is Lieutenant Colonel of Justice. He is married and has two children.
Artsvik Minasyan, Minister of Economic Development and Investments
Minasyan, 46, served as Armenia’s Minister of Economic Development and Investment and later as Minister of the Environment. He was first elected to Armenia’s parliament in 2007 and again in 2012 as a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. He has a PhD in economics and a law degree from Yerevan State University. He is the author of 11 scientific/academic articles. In the mid-1990s he worked in the Ministry of Finance and Economy as a specialist and led several divisions. He worked in the country’s Securities Commission, has taught at Yerevan State Institute of Economy and at the Accountants and Auditors Association of Armenia. He has served as Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. He is married with three children.
Ashot Hakobyan, Minister of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies
Hakobyan, 50, studied law at Yerevan State University. He has worked in the main investigation department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Security. He was the head of the investigative department of the Avan and Nor Nork Administrative District’s Investigative Committee and head of the General Directorate of Crimes. He is a Lieutenant Colonel of Justice. For the last several years, he has been in the private sector. He is married and has two children.
Arayik Harutyunyan, Minister of Education and Science
Harutyunyan 39, is a member of the Civil Contract party and a councillor of the Yelk Bloc in the Yerevan City Council. He studied at Yerevan State University, the Damascus Institute for Foreigners and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His PhD dissertation was “Turkish-Syrian Relations in the 1980s: The Beginning of the 21st Century.” He lectures at Yerevan State University, is the author of several academic articles. His academic interests include the modern history of Arab countries, Arab-Turkish and Turkish-Israeli relations. He is among the founders of a civic initiative “We are against foreign-language schools,” and is a member of the “Army in Reality” civic group.
Eduard Aghajanyan, Chief of Staff
Aghajanyan, 30, has a Masters in Business Administration from the International University of Monaco. He is an entrepreneur and a DJ. He is a member of the Civil Contract party and a councillor of the Yelk Bloc in Yerevan City Council.
Valery Osipyan, Chief of RA Police
Osipyan, 48, has been serving in the Yerevan police force since 1999. Since 2012, he has served as the Deputy Police Chief of Yerevan. He was one of the hostages during the 2016 Daredevils of Sassoun armed takeover of a police station in Yerevan. Osipyan is non partisan.
Arthur Vanetsyan, Chief of National Security Service
Vanetsyan, 38, studied at the Agrarian University in Yerevan, has a degree in law from St. Petersburg Institute of Foreign Economic Relations, Economics and Law and is a graduate of the Academy of Federal Security Services of the Russian Federation. Has served in the Armenian army from 1997 to 1999. Has been the head of the Erebuni and Nubarashen administrative districts of Yerevan City Police Department from 2009 till 2016. Has been deputy chief of Yerevan police since 2016. Is married with two children.