Hero of Artsakh, former Secretary of Security Council of the Republic of Artsakh Vitaly Balasanyan announced in his interview with “168 Hours” on October 1 that Nikol Pashinyan’s entry into the Public Radio building in 2018 was an act of terrorism and similar to the actions that took place in the Police base in 2016.
“Actions in the Public Radio are identical to those in the Police base”
In particular, Vitaly Balasanyan noted: “When Nikol Pashinyan captured the building of the Public Radio during his revolutionary march, it is called terrorism. A special area of state protection has been invaded, the actions being the same as in the Police base. Weapons were used, there were hostages, the population living in the area was intimidated. In the case of the Public Radio, the property was destroyed, the same in the radio, weapons were used but without shots and deaths.”
The Fact Investigation Platform has checked whether this statement corresponds to the reality.
According to RA Government Decree N 1008 adopted in 2004, Public Radio of Armenia CJSC is on the list of the most important buildings subject to state protection by the RA Police. This assertion is also confirmed in a statement issued by the Police on April 14, 2018.
However, there was no use of weapons, as Balasanyan claims. Moreover, as seen in the footage of Radio Liberty, a policeman in charge of Public Radio security directed a gun at the activist who entered the building, not the other way around.
As for the damage to the property, it is probably the door that was broken by the demonstrators (can be seen in the same video). The broken door was repaired on May 7, 2019, when Pashinyan visited the Public Radio building and participated in the repair works himself.
Accordingly, Vitaly Balasanyan’s statements are partially true and are manipulative.
“Our diplomacy is meeting Adam Schiff”
In the same interview, Vitaly Balasanyan criticized Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for meeting with Congressman Adam Schiff during his official visit to the United States.
“During his recent visit to America, the Prime Minister of Armenia met with a man, Adam Schiff, who has made a statement that he will soon begin the process of impeachment of the US President, if he has not started it yet. Is this our diplomacy?” Balasanyan said.
It should be reminded that the US House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Adam Schiff, is currently discussing the phone conversation between Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and US President Donald Trump. On the basis of this issue, the Democratic Party has begun the process of impeaching Trump.
US Congressman Adam Schiff is a member of the Democratic Party. He has been known for his pro-Armenian activities for years. For example, he authored Resolution 106 on recognition of the Armenian Genocide introduced to the US Congress in 2007. For years, he has called for the Armenian Genocide to be officially recognized by the United States.
Schiff is also known for his pro-Armenian stance on the Artsakh issue. When an Armenian helicopter was hit in the conflict zone in 2014, he issued a statement, noting that Azerbaijan’s behavior was fraught with the danger of destabilizing the entire region.
Nikol Pashinyan is not the first Armenian president to meet with Adam Schiff. In April 2010, President Serzh Sargsyan met with the Congressman within the framework of the Global Nuclear Security Conference and thanked him for “the active efforts in the US Congress aimed at recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as well as for the support provided to Armenia and Artsakh.”
Given the precedent, the meeting between Nikol Pashinyan and Adam Schiff cannot be considered extraordinary, and Vitaly Balasanyan’s statement is out of the context of US congressman’s activity and is manipulative.
“Nikol Pashinyan has overthrown the constitutional order”
In an interview on October 1, Vitaly Balasanyan again stated that Nikol Pashinyan has overthrown the constitutional order.
The Fact Investigation Platform addressed this issue back in May, stating that Nikol Pashinyan’s call to block the courts has not constituted overthrow of the constitutional order.
“There has been seizure of power”
Vitaly Balasanyan also touched upon the process of electing Nikol Pashinyan as Prime Minister.
According to him, seizure of power took place. “When Nikol Pashinyan is nominated in the National Assembly, he resigns for the National Assembly to be dissolved by the force of law, he is nominated for the second time, he resigns again. Then the National Assembly is dissolved, and Nikol Pashinyan reappears in the Prime Minister’s post. He was a resigned official at the time. In those days, before the new election of the Prime Minister, after the formation of the National Assembly, there was a seizure of power. It’s like sitting on the street and saying, ‘I’m the prime minister.” he said.
On October 16, 2018 Nikol Pashinyan announced his resignation from the post of Prime Minister. Thereafter, on October 24 and November 1, the Prime Minister’s election was held in the National Assembly, with Pashinyan not being elected Prime Minister. In accordance with the Constitution, the National Assembly was dissolved. Parliamentary elections were held on December 9. Pashinyan’s “My Step” bloc received more than 70% of the votes. On January 14, President Armen Sargsyan signed a decree appointing Nikol Pashinyan as Prime Minister of Armenia.
As for Pashinyan’s tenure in that process, according to Article 158 of the Constitution, “members of the government continue to perform their duties until the formation of the new government.”
This means that there were no violations in the 2018 PM election process, and Vitaly Balasanyan’s claim that Nikol Pashinyan seized power is not true.
It should be reminded that Vitaly Balasanyan has previously made numerous manipulative and false allegations, including those referring to seizure of power.