He was born on August 16, 1956 in Yerevan.
He graduated with degrees in history and archaeology from the Moscow Pedagogical Institute in 1978. He is a Historical Sciences PhD. From 1978-1980 he served in the Soviet army.
In 1980-1989 he worked as a research assistant and later as a head of the scientific research division in the Erebuni Museum. In 1989 he worked as a research assistant in the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography under the Academy of Sciences.
In 1990-1992 he took part in the Artsakh liberation movement.
In 1990-1992 he was a member of the Armenia Central Committee of the Armenia Revolutionary Federation and from 19921995 was a member of ARF bureau. In 1995-1998 he was arrested for a political cause (the allegation was not confirmed).
In 1998-1999 he worked as an advisor to the President of the Republic of Armenia and head of the Commission on Issues of Local Self-Government.
1999-2003 was his first term as a deputy in the NA (electoral district # 17), where he as Chairman of the NA Standing Committee on Defense, National Security and Internal Affairs; he was also a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Faction.
On May 25, 2003 he was reelected by the proportional system from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and elected Vice-President of the National Assembly on June 12.
He was also a member of both the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Faction and its bureau.
On May 12, 2007 he was elected as a deputy of the National Assembly by the proportional system from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
On June 7, 2007 he was elected Vice-President of the National Assembly and on February 28, 2008 he resigned.
He is married and has two children.