Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Serzh Sargsyan

Serzh Azati Sargsyan (Armenian: Սերժ Ազատի Սարգսյան, born June 30, 1954) is the third President of Armenia. He won the February 2008 presidential election with the backing of the conservative Republican Party of Armenia, a party in which he serves as chairman, and took office in April 2008.

Personal Life
Serzh Sargsyan was born on June 30, 1954 in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, Azerbaijan SSR. He was admitted to Yerevan State University in 1971, served in the Soviet Armed Forces during 1971-72, and graduated from the Philological Department of Yerevan State University in 1979. In 1983, he married his wife, Rita. They have two daughters, Anush and Satenik, and one granddaughter, Mariam. He is the chairman of the Chess Federation of Armenia. In addition to his native Armenian, he is fluent in Russian, English and Azeri, but he has not spoken Azeri for 20 years. He is of no relation to the current Prime Minister of Armenia, Tigran Sargsyan.

Early Career
Sargsyan's career began in 1975 at the Electrical Devices Factory in Yerevan, where he worked as a metal turner until 1979 when he became head of the Stepanakert City Communist Party Youth Association Committee. Then served as second secretary, first secretary, the Stepanakert City Committee Propaganda Division Head, the Nagorno-Karabakh Regional Committee Communist Organizations' Unit Instructor, and finally as the assistant to Genrikh Poghosyan, the First Secretary of the Nagorno-Karabakh Regional Committee.

As tensions rose over Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, Sargsyan became chairman of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Self-Defense Forces Committee and was subsequently elected to the Supreme Council of Armenia in 1990. He organized several battles in the Nagorno-Karabakh War and is considered to be one of the founders of Nagorno-Karabakh's and Armenia's armed forces. He became the Armenian defense minister in 1993, head of Armenian state security department in 1995 and minister of national security in 1996. In 1999, he became Robert Kocharyan's chief of staff, then secretary of the national security council, defense minister, and prime minister in 2007.

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