Artsakh hero and former Secretary of Security Council of Artsakh Vitaly Balasanyan, held a press conference in Stepanakert on October 15, 2019 on current domestic political processes, the RA government and other topics.
The Fact Investigation Platform has verified the authenticity of some of Balasanyan’s statements.
Do Pashinyan and Ter-Petrosyan agree on Artsakh issue?
Balasanyan touched upon the policy pursued by the Armenian authorities over the Nagorno Karabakh issue.
“The policy of the current Armenian authorities over the Nagorno Karabakh conflict has already convinced me that it is a continuation of Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s policy, which is, ‘Sergo jan, we will not live well until we surrender Karabakh.’ Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s plan was to give Nagorno-Karabakh broad autonomy within Azerbaijan. (29:45),” said Balasanyan.
However, Balasanyan’s statement is groundless. Pashinyan has never expressed the view that Armenia cannot develop without “handing over” Artsakh. Moreover, since independence Pashinyan has been the only Armenian leader who has not spoken about giving up territories. As for the continuation of Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s program, one should keep in mind Pashinyan’s very critical words in 2016 and 2017 about Ter-Petrosyan’s approach to the Artsakh issue.
In addition, Ter-Petrosyan has never proposed to give Nagorno-Karabakh a broad autonomy within Azerbaijan.
In his famous article “War or Peace?” Ter-Petrosyan presented his scenario as follows:
“As a result of the negotiations, a step-by-step settlement is signed, but it is implemented after the clarification of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Nothing was said about Nagorno-Karabakh being part of Azerbaijan, instead it was about a step-by-step version of the settlement, and the status of Artsakh had to be determined before the implementation the mentioned settlement.
On Adam Fish
Balasanyan announces that PM Pashinyan has met with Adam Fish in the US and expresses his dissatisfaction with it.
“Who is Adam Fish? We are aware that Adam Fish is the leader of a group that has already begun the process of an impeachment of the United States President. Is this the policy of Nikol Pashinyan?“- said Balasanyan (36:20)։
Adam Fish mentioned by Balasanyan is most likely a member of the US House of Representatives Adam Schiff, who is the Chef of the House Intelligence Committee.
In addition to being an advocate of impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump, Schiff at least in Armenia and within Armenian circles is known for his pro-Armenian activities.
Back in 2001 he visited Armenia and met with President Robert Kocharyan. He has repeatedly initiated and supported the process of Armenian Genocide recognition in the US Congress and has publicly stated its importance. In addition, Schiff has met on many occasions with representatives of Artsakh and made statements in support of Artsakh.
On Bolton, Hunan Poghosyan and on closing the Iranian border
Balasanyan announces that Pashinyan’s appointment of Hunan Poghosyan as Syunik governor was done “to implement John Bolton’s plan.”
According to Balasanyan, the plan envisages “the deployment of the UN, NATO and, in this case, the US troops on the Artsakh-Iran border as soon as possible.” As evidence, Balasanyan cites Pashinyan’s statement where Pashinyan does not exclude that the Armenian border with Iran could be closed (52:50)։
John Bolton was appointed US Presidential Security Advisor in April 2018 by the US President Donald Trump, then he was relieved of his post one month earlier on September 10, 2019. It is unclear what plan Bolton can implement now that he has no position.
As for Pashinyan’s statement, in November 2018 he said the following in the National Assembly: “The Armenian-Iranian border, for example, could be de facto closed at any time because of relations with the US and Iran and other geopolitical issues.”
Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan made this statement clear and noted that it was about challenges, not about intentions.
“The comment concerned the challenges, not an intention to open or close the border. It was about the depth of the challenges, the different developments that could have a negative impact on our national interests. “said Mnatsakanyan.
That is, Pashinyan publicly expressed his concern over the de facto closure of the Armenian-Iranian border as a result of possible geopolitical developments.
On the fact-finding group investigating the March 1 events
During the press conference Balasanyan claimed that the fact-finding group investigating March 1 events had been in operation for ten years, noting that the state had spent so much money on that group’s work for so long (2:08:10)։
In fact, however, the fact-finding group investigating the events of March 1 and 2 was established on October 23, 2008 by a decree of President Serzh Sargsyan and was dissolved by the order of June 6, 2009. That is, the group was desolved more than ten years ago and operated for about eight months, not ten years, as Balasanyan claims.
On sending notices from Armenia to Artsakh
Balasanyan states that the RA Special Investigation Service (SIS), the National Security Service (NSS) and the Prosecutor General’s Office have no right to send notice or detain a citizen registered in the Republic of Artsakh (2:12:30):
However, Article 205 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia stipulates that in the absence of the person summoned the summons for interrogation shall be “handed over to one of the adult family members, neighbors, the condominiums or transmitted to person through the administration of employment or place of study”. However, there is no restriction in the same Code that the notice can be sent only in the territory of the Republic of Armenia.
Repeated claims and statements
Balasanyan has also made several statements and allegations that Fip.am has already referred to.
For example, Balasanyan insists that the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia does not include the term “commander-in-chief”(1:19:40). In fact, paragraph 4 of Article 155 states that “the prime minister is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces during the war.”
The second repeated claim concerns the political events that took place in the fall of 2018, when Pashinyan resigned as prime minister, and it was envisaged that the National Assembly would not elect him the second time as prime minister, thus new parliamentary elections will be called.
Balasanyan claims that because the National Assembly had not twice elected Pashinyan to the post of prime minister, and he continued to serve as prime minister, he had thus seized power (1:52:00)։
Article 158 of the Constitution, however, clearly states that “government members continue to perform their duties until the new government is formed.” In other words, Balasanyan’s claim that Nikol Pashinyan seized power is incorrect.
Balasanyan also notes that on May 20, constitutional order was overthrown by Pashinyan’s appeal of blockading the court buildings.
The Fact Investigation Platform has addressed this issue the back in May, stating that the constitutional order was not overthrown by Nikol Pashinyan’s call.
Thus, Artsakh hero Vitaly Balasanyan made manipulative, untrue statements during a three-hour press conference.