Karabakh General threatens to ‘destroy’ Armenian PM
Major General Vitaliy Balasanyan, the former secretary of the Security Council of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and a national hero of Artsakh, has criticised the authorities of Armenia on many occasions.
This time around, he has not limited himself to harsh attacks against the Prime Minister of Armenia and accusations, in particular, of “usurping” the authorities, but also threatened physical punishment for Nikol Pashinyan.
Answers from Armenia did not have to wait long. Local politicians do not hide their indignation regarding Balasanyan’s statements and demand that he be held accountable.
All this is happening on the eve of the upcoming presidential elections in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, in which one of the contenders for the presidency is Vitaly Balasanyan.
Details of Balasanyan’s interview
The Karabakh general expressed his opinion about the post-revolutionary authorities of Armenia in an interview with LIVEnews.am which lasted almost two hours.
Below, the most scandalous statements by Vitaliy Balasanyan, which provoked quite the reaction in Armenia.
Firstly, he stated that the current Prime Minister of Armenia came to power thanks to the “well-known centers” in the West, and that they continue to rule Nikol Pashinyan and dictate further actions to him.
He expressed the opinion that in the spring of 2018, Nikol Pashinyan came to power, having carried out a coup, and in fact “usurped” the government.
Secondly, Balasanyan stated that in 2016 Nikol Pashinyan was trying to control the protest that arose after the Sasna Tsrer group seized the building of the police patrol and police regiment in Yerevan.
Balasanyan was referring to the events of July 2016, when an armed group seized a police station and demanded the release of opposition leader Zhirayr Sefilyan from arrest, but protest gradually grew into a demand for the resignation of then-President Serzh Sargsyan.
Nikol Pashinyan at that time was an opposition politician and openly spoke about the need for a change of government. But the armed group voluntarily surrendered, the protests did not reach that critical point, and thus the change did not take place.
Vitaly Balasanyan called Sasna Tsrer a terrorist group and linked it to the prime minister.
In his opinion, Nikol Pashinyan and Sasna Tsrer “are elements of one terrorist group.” And the recent meeting of the prime minister with the leaders of the Sasna Tsrer he assessed as an attempt to put pressure on dissidents:
“Nikol Pashinyan is trying to terrorize everyone, including me, saying: ‘Look, I have a combat wing that will physically deal with you at the click of a finger.’ I want to tell Pashinyan and Sasna Tsrer, that they shouldn’t hold such conversations, they will answer for it …
“In 2016, we forgave these terrorists and did not kill them, but now I declare: we will physically destroy everyone, those who try to carry out provocations and terrorist acts against me, our people, state, statehood, borders, authorities – that is, the Karabakh authorities.”
Response from Armenia
Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, wrote on his Facebook page:
“Vitaly Balasanyan behaves like a bully, and not as a candidate for the presidency of Artsakh. Each time after meeting in Stepanakert with Serzh [meaning Serzh Sargsyan, the former president of Armenia, who left power under the pressure of thousands of people during the “velvet” revolution of 2018 – JAMnews], Vitaly begins to stroke tension.
“Balasanyan, who connected his political career with Serzh Sargsyan back in 2016, will be in the political dump where his leader is located.”
The Sasna Tsrer All-Armenian Party also issued a statement:
“It is disturbing and perplexing that the law enforcement agencies of Armenia have not yet taken any steps to check the likelihood of these threats being realized and to prevent violence against citizens and the state …
“We urge the authorities to show the necessary political will and instruct law enforcement agencies to fulfill their direct responsibility and eliminate real threats to state security and the lives of citizens. The collective source of these threats is the 5th column known to everyone: Robert Kocharyan, Serzh Sargsyan [second and third presidents of Armenia – JAMnews].”
Arman Babajanyan, a deputy of the National Assembly of Armenia, also spoke out on Facebook:
“This is not the first public threat from Vitaly Balasanyan. Due to the lack of an adequate reaction in previous similar cases, Balasanyan allows himself … to speak the language of threats and blackmail against the legitimate authorities of Armenia, its leader.
“Unfortunately, this happens with the tacit consent of the current Artsakh authorities and the obvious enthusiasm and support of the revenge-seeking forces of Armenia. The honorary title of the hero of Artsakh does not give anyone the right, including Vitaly Balasanyan, to go beyond morality and the law…”
Bagramyan 26 telegram channel published the following text:
“Vitaly Balasanyan has given every reason to be held accountable for calls to physically destroy Pashinyan and co. He is actually threatening to kill the country’s leader and his supporters. Does Balasanyan not understand this? His goal is to provoke the authorities to prosecute him, in order to then try to tear at their throats and shout that look, ‘they are persecuting me for political reasons!’
“He purposefully goes into this tough confrontation, hoping to receive political dividends on the eve of the election of President Artsakh and for the future struggle. The authorities are in a difficult position. On the one hand, it is necessary to force Balasanyan to answer before the law for such threats, and on the other hand, one must not succumb to his gross provocations.
“What is the way out of this situation? The process of punishing Balasanyan begins in Artsakh itself, at the hands of local authorities, and not the authorities of Armenia. Pashinyan’s supporters in Artsakh appeal to the local prosecutor’s office to consider Balasanyan’s statement and give a legal response, according to the laws of Artsakh.”