The history of the security bodies of Armenia with all of its drastic upheavals and eventually with the rocky, bloody, but heroic path towards the independence of the Armenian land is inseparably connected with millennia lasting history of our nation.
А number of studies indicates that even during the Urartu period (IX-VII centuries B.C.) intelligence and counterintelligence activity was placed on state basesand was one of the directions of state activity. During the times of ancient and medieval Armenia both state authorities (ministries, agencies) and state officials were working on security matters. Priority was given to the protection of military and other secrets.
The period from 1375, after the fall of the Cilicia Armenian Kingdom till 1918, the First Republic’s rise up as a result of May uprisings, was the biggest and long-lasting trial not to lose the statehood, which, however was not able to destroy the century-long dream of the Armenian people to restore it.
The archived data, though being scarce, provide the bases to assume that the special services were the integral part of the security system of the First Republic of Armenia. During the difficult conditions of 1918-1920 that important structure didn’t manage to become a completely autonomous service but functioned as an intelligence and counterintelligence unit of headquarters of the RA Military Ministry. Within two and a half years this Ministry had 4 leaders: Colonel Alexander Shneur (since the establishment till September 1919), Captain Vahagn Mouradyan (from September 1919 till April 1920), Captain Tigran Devoyants (April-June of 1920) and second lieutenant (podporuchik) Miqayel Dodokhyan (from 1920 July till the fall of the Republic).
The pivot of the activity of special services of the First Armenian Republic was the fight against the hostile activities of Azerbaijan and Turkey. With limited staff and scarce opportunities, the required data on the deployment of forces in Transcaucasia, troops’ movement, destructive activities of Azerbaijan and Turkey, were obtained. A number of Azerbaijani spies were revealed, including the Azerbaijani diplomatic representative, who was spying under the diplomatic cover, was neutralized and expelled from the country as an unwanted person.
The intelligence division was trying to conduct activities in abroad as well and for organizing of which the capabilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were used.
It should be noted with pain that the intelligence and counterintelligence activities for various reasons did not have their logical growth, which had a tragic role in the breakdown of the Republic.
On December 2, 1920, under the Alexandrapole Treaty Soviet power was established in Armenia and by December 6 the 1st Decree of the Revolutionary Committee of Armenia already referred to the establishment of Emergency Committee(EC).
According to Bolshevik ideology newly formed authorities had the following particular tasks: fight against counterrevolution, speculation and crimes committed abusing official position. EC authorities and their successors were strictly following the will of the Communist party and, in line with their mane duties, were often forced to engage in disrespectful activities for the realization of the short-sighted and politically meaningless ideas of the leadership of State.
Nikolay Yemelyan Ayvazov was the first chairman of ASSR EC. In January 1921 it was chaired by famous bolshevik Shavarsh Amirkhanyan (until 1924), Sergey Melik-Osipov was his deputy (from 1924 to 1929 he was the head of the system). From March 1929 to October 1930 Sedrak Margaryan, Hayk Petrosyan, Sedrak Otyan replaced each other in the State Political Directorate (GPU) of ASSR. They and their predecessor Sergey Melik-Osipov later became the victims of Stalin's repressions (1937 -1938).
Soviet state security authorities, including the respective units of Soviet Armenia, periodically turned into a tool of punitive policy. Only in the period of 1937-1938 in Armenia 8104 people were convicted, from which 4530 were shot, moreover only 249 people (only 3.07 % of convicted people) were convicted for espionage, banditry or terrorism.
During the years of the Patriotic war some structural changes took place in the security system. In February 1941 the People’s Commissariat for State Security of USSR (NKGB) was separated from the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs of USSR (NKVD), but in July 1941 these structures were again united in NKVD. In 1943 they again separated. In the years of the Great Patriotic war, the security authorities of Armenia were led by Major General Georgy Yosef Martirosov. He made a valuable contribution to the state security of the Republic in the period of war.
G. I. Martirosov led the security authorities of Armenia for the second time from 15 August 1952 to 26 April 1954.
During the war and the post war years more than 260 participants of the Great Patriotic war, who had bravely fought in different fronts, served in the state security authorities of Armenia.
From 1945 to 1947 ASSR State Security Authorities were led by colonel Nikita Arcady Qrimyan, from1947 to 1952 by State Security Minister Sergey Arcady Korkhmazyan.
On 13 March 1954 the Presidium of the Supreme Council of USSR made a decision to create State Security Committee. From 1954 to1972 the State Security Committee adjunct to the Council of Ministers of ASSR was led by Georgy Artashes Badamyants, from1972 to1977 by Arcady Pavel Ragozin, from 1977 to 1978 by Hrayr Avanes Miqayelyan, from 1978 to 1988 by Marius Aram Yuzbashyan, form 1988 to 1991by Valeri Georgy Badamyants.
As a result of the popular referendumof 21 September 1991, the independence of Armenia became a reality, and from the very first the issue of restructuring of the security agencies became order of the day.
According to the law on the structure and composition of the government of RA, adopted on 4 December 1991, the State Security Committee was renamed into the RA State Directorate of National Security; Major General Husik Suren Harutyunyanwas appointed head of the RA State Directorate of National Security. (was in the office from 1991 to February 1992).
Officers of the state security agencies proved their devotion to the newly independent State, as well as the exceptional importance of the activities in the battles for the protection of the borders of Armenia and for Artsakh. Serving and retired 218 officers of the National Security Service of RA have a status of combat veterans.One of the most important achievements of the officers of the national security agencies is the detection of numerous cases of the fighting on the side of Azerbaijan ofAfghan mojaheds, other foreign mercenaries, of participation of agents against Armenia and Artsakh.
After H. Harutyunyan, heads of the RA State Directorate of National Security were: Major General Valeri Vagharshak Poghosyan (1992-1993), Major General Eduard Grigor Simonyants (1993-1994), David Gurgen Shahnazaryan (1994-May1995). In 1995, the RA State Directorate of National Security was renamed into the Ministry of National Security. Serzh Azat Sargsyan was appointed Minister of the RA Ministry of National Security. On 8 November 1996, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of National Security merged into the Ministry of the Interior and National Security. S. Sargsyan continued to be at the head of the structure (was in the office from 1995 to November 1999). The Ministry of the Interior and National Security was again separatedinto the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of the National Security. In November 1999 Karlos Khachik Petrosyan was appointed Minister of the National Security (was in the office from November 1999 to 5 November 2004).
On 17 December 2002, by the Decree of the President of RA, the Ministry of National Security was restructured into the National Security Service adjunct to the Government of RA. From 8 November 2004 to 12 February 2016, Colonel General Gorik Gurgen Hakobyan was at the head ofthe NSS under the Government of RA.On12 February 2016, Georgi Karen Kutoyan was appointed Director of the National Security Service adjunct to the Government of the Republic of Armenia and was in the office till 10 May 2018.
On 10 May 2018, by the decree of the President of RA, Artur Gagik Vanetsyan was appointed Director of NSS and was in the office till 16 September 2019.
From 19 September 2019 to 19 March 2020 Colonel Eduard Ashot Martirosyan was appointed Acting Director of the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia by the Decree of the President of RA. On 19 March 2020 Colonel Eduard Ashot Martirosyan was appointed Director of the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia by the Decree of the President of RA and was in the office till 8 June 2020.
On 8 June 2020 Colonel Argishti Elbek Kyaramyan was appointed Director of the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia by the Decree of the President of RA.
The contemporary history of the national security agencies of RA was marked by successful detection, prevention and suppression of intelligence and subversiveactions of some hostile States, organizations and individuals, including the uncovering of agents of foreign special services.
As a whole, from 1991 to 2020 the national security agencies of RA instituted and investigated more than 1800 criminal cases.
23 persons were indicted for intelligence and terrorist activities against RA.
On 28 June 2018 by the decision of the Prime Minister of RA, the new charter and structure of the National Security Service of RA were established. Besides the traditional directions of activities of the Service, the function to ensure the economic security and to counter corruption on the institutional level has been outlined.
Heads of Special Services of Armenia
Nikolay Yemelyan Ayvazyan /1889-1937/
EC chairman /from 6 December 1920 to January 1921/
Shavarsh Mehrab Amirkhanyan /1894-1959/
EC chairman /from 9February1921 to May 1924/
Sergey Dmitri Melik-Osipov /1882-1937/
EC chairman /from November1924 to January 1929/
Sedrak Nikolay Margaryan/1898-1937/
Head of the GPU/from Marchto November 1929/
Hayk Grigor Petrosyan/1897-1938/
Head of the GPU/from November 1929 to May 1930/
Sedrak Gevorg Otyan / 1898-1937/
Head of the GPU/from Mayto October 1930/
Armenak Gerasim Abulyan /1895-1935/
Head of the GPU/from October 1930 to July 1934/
Khachik Khlghat Mughdusi/1898-1938/
Head of the NKVD/fromJuly 1934 to January 1937, Major of Sate Security
Victor Vasili Khvorostyan /1903-1939/
People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs/ from October 1937 to February 1939/, Major of Sate Security
Aleksey Vasili Korotkov /1906-1945/
People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs/ from February 1939 to February 1941/, People’s Commissar of State Security/ from February to July 1941/
Georgy Iosif Martirosov /1906-1977/
Major General,People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs/1941-1943/,People’s Commissar of Sate Security /1952-1953/, Minister of the Interior /1953-1954/
Nikita Arcady Qrimyan/1913-1955/
Colonel, People’s Commissar of Sate Security-Minister of SateSecurity/1945-1947/
Sergey Arcady Korkhmazyan /1912-1974/
Colonel, Minister of SateSecurity/1947-1952/
Georgy Artashes Badamyants /1910-1988/
Lieutenant General, head of the SSC(KGB) adjunct to the Council of Ministers of ASSR /1954-1972/
Arcady Pavel Ragozin /1918-1998/
Lieutenant General, head of the SSC(KGB) adjunct to the Council of Ministers of ASSR /1972-1977/
Hrayr Avanes Mikayelyan/1920-1995/
Major General, head of the SSC(KGB) adjunct to the Council of Ministers of ASSR /1977-1978/
Marius Aram Yuzbashyan /1924-1993/
Lieutenant General, head of the SSC(KGB)of ASSR/1978-1988/
Valeri Georgy Badamyants/born in 1940/
Major General, head of the SSC(KGB)of ASSR/1988-1991/
Husik Suren Harutyunyan /1945-2006/
Major General, head of the SDNS /1991-1992/
Valeri Vagharshak Poghosyan/ born in 1944/
Major General, head of the SDNS /1992-1993/
Eduard Grigori Simonyants/1937-2005/
Major General, head of the SDNS /1993-1994/
Davit Gurgen Shahnazaryan/born in 1954/
Head of the SDNS /1994-1995/
Serzh Azat Sargsyan /born in 1954/
Minister of National Security /1995-1996/, Minister of the Interior and National Security /1996-1999/
Karlos Khachik Petrosyan /born in 1951/
Lieutenant General, Minister of National Security/1999-2002/, Director of the NSS/2002-2004/
Gorik Gurgen Hakobyan /1946-2017/
Colonel General, Director of the NSS /2004-2016/
Georgy Karen Kutoyan/1981-2020/
Major General, Director of the NSS/2016-2018/
Artur Gagik Vanetsyan/born in 1979/
Major General, Director of the NSS /2018-2019/
Eduard Ashot Martirosyan /born in 1974/
Interim Director of the NSS /2019-2020/
Colonel, Director of the NSS /03.2020-06.2020/
Argishti Elbek Kyaramyan /born in 1991/
Colonel, Director of the NSS /2020/
EC-Emergency Committee GPU-State Political Directorate NKVD-People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs NKGB-People’s Commissariat for State Security SSC(KGB) –State Security Committee SDNS-State Directorate of National Security NSS-National Security Service