President of the Republic of Armenia

By Gevork Nazaryan

Robert Kocharyan was born on August 31, 1954. He finished the secondary school in Stepanakert. In 1972-74 he served in the Soviet Army. In 1982 he graduated from the Yerevan Polytechnic Institute as an engineer, and upon graduation, he started working in the Stepanakert Electro-Technical Factory. From 1980 he had been occupying various positions in Komsomol (Young Communists League) and Communist organizations. Since February 1989 he has been among the most active leaders of the Karabagh movement, becoming a key leader of the self-determination movement of Nagorno-Karabagh. He associated with Krunk (political organization), and in 1989, became one of the founders of the Miatsum (Unification) non-governmental organization and served as Advisor to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Nagorno-Karabagh. In 1989, he was elected deputy to the Soviet Supreme Council (Parliament) of the Republic of Armenia – the Nagorno-Karabagh representative.

In 1989 and 1990 he was elected as a Deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. In 1991 he was elected as a Deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Karabagh. In August 1992 Robert Kocharyan took the post of Chairman of the State Committee of Defense and later was appointed Prime Minister of Karabagh. Under pressure by the Azerbaijani military aggression, he organized the Nagorno-Karabagh self-defense forces, thereby established defense and security infrastructures for Nagorno-Karabagh. These defense forces achieved successive victories, securing the safety of the people and the borders of Nagorno-Karabagh. In May of 1994, a cease-fire between Nagorno-Karabagh and Azerbaijan was negotiated – that cease-fire continues today.

Under Kocharyan’s leadership, Nagorno-Karabagh became a negotiating member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for the settlement of the conflict. He also became the first Karabagh representative to negotiate directly on behalf of the people of Nagorno-Karabagh in international forums.

On December 24, 1994 following the decision of the National Assembly of Karabagh, and by an overwhelming majority Robert Kocharyan was elected the first President of Nagorno-Karabagh. Kocharyan’s appeal that “a nation tested by the ordeals of war must pass the test of peace” marked the beginning of a large-scale social and economic rehabilitation of Nagorno-Karabagh.

In March 1997, Robert Kocharyan was appointed Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. As Prime Minister, he tackled issues of corruption and intensified efforts to institutionalize a free market economy.

On April 1998, Robert Kocharyan was elected the second president of the Republic of Armenia. The Kocharyan administration is known for its visionary leadership to integrate Armenia into the regional and global economy with its open door policy for international investments and participation in regional programs, and its strong position in pursuing a peaceful and lasting resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.

He is married to Bella Kocharyan and has three children.


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