Sargsyan, Serzh

Sargsyan or Sarkisyan, Serzh,

1954–, Armenian political leader, president of Armenia (2008–), b. Nagorno-Karabakh. He served in the Soviet armed forces (1972–74) and graduated from Yerevan State Univ. in 1979. Sargsyan held various posts with the Communist party in Nagorno-KarabakhNagorno-Karabakh
, region (1990 pop. 192,000), 1,699 sq mi (4,400 sq km), SE Azerbaijan, between the Caucasus and the Karabakh range. Khankendi (the capital, formerly Stepanakert) and Shusha are the chief towns.
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 (1979–88), and after Armenian independence he held several cabinet positions in the Armenian government, including minister of defense (1993–95), minister of interior and national security (1996–99), secretary of the national security council (1999–2007), minister of defense (2000–2007), and prime minister (2007–8). He was elected president in 2008 in balloting marred by irregularities and denounced as fraudulent by the opposition; his reelection (2013) also occurred amid charges of fraud, but his percentage of the vote was similar to the results of preelection polling.