Robert Setrakovich Kocharyan was born on 31 August 1954 in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. His father, Sedrak S. Kocharyan, studied and worked as an agricultural scientist; his mother, Emma Ohanian, graduated from Yerevan Veterinarian Institute. Robert Kocharyan graduated with honors from the Yerevan Polytechnical Institute in 1982, majoring in electrical engineering. Kocharyan was politically active as a youth and eventually joined the Communist Party, serving as secretary of the Silk Mills Committee from 1987–89. Kocharyan resigned from the Communist Party in 1989 and now claims to be nonpartisan. He is married to Bella Aloyan, a medical doctor who received her training at the Yerevan Medical Institute. They have two sons (Sedrak born in 1981, and Levon born in 1985), and one daughter (Gayane born in 1983), all of whom are currently students at the Yerevan State University. For recreation Kocharyan enjoys soccer, basketball, swimming, hunting, and listening to jazz.