Kocharian, Robert Sedraki, 1954–, Armenian political leader. He served (1972–74) in the Soviet army and worked as a mechanical engineer (1977–81) before graduating (1982) from the Yerevan Polytechnic Inst. A native of the ethnically Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan, he rose through the ranks of its Communist party. By the late 1980s, Kocharian had become a leader of the regional forces fighting to break away from Azerbaijan and incorporate Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia. After a ceasefire was declared in 1994, he became president of Nagorno-Karabakh, which subsequently became a de facto part of Armenia. Appointed Armenian prime minister in 1997, Kocharian was elected president of Armenia in 1998. He was reelected in 2003 in a runoff that observers said was tainted by fraud, and retired from office in 2008.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.